14 Facts About Tupi people


Subdivision of the Tupi-Guarani linguistic families, the Tupi people were one of the largest groups of indigenous Brazilians before its colonization.

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Scholars believe that while they first settled in the Amazon rainforest, from about 2,900 years ago the Tupi started to migrate southward and gradually occupied the Atlantic coast of Southeast Brazil.

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Guarani people are related to the Tupi but are considered distinct from its tribes because of their linguistic differences.

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Tupi people inhabited almost all of Brazil's coast when the Portuguese first arrived there.

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The Tupi people were adept agriculturalists; they grew cassava, corn, sweet potatoes, beans, peanuts, tobacco, squash, cotton and many others.

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The settlers began erecting villages for the Tupi people, known as aldeias, with the intention of more disciplined religious conversion and institutionalization of European customs.

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The warriors captured from other Tupi people tribes were eaten as it was believed by them that this would lead to their strength being absorbed and digested; thus, in fear of absorbing weakness, they chose only to sacrifice warriors perceived to be strong and brave.

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The Tupi people have been documented to eat the remains of dead relatives as a form of honoring them.

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Practice of cannibalism among the Tupi people was made famous in Europe by Hans Staden, a German soldier, mariner, and mercenary, traveling to Brazil to seek a fortune, who was captured by the Tupi people in 1552.

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Our understanding of Tupi people cannibalism relies mostly on primary source accounts of primarily European writers, the very existence of cannibalism has been disputed by some in academic circles.

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Tupi people was particularly criticized for trying to discredit the association of the Tupi with savagery, not by realizing that the Europeans failed to comprehend the meaning of traditional practices such as cannibalism, but by promptly negating their existence altogether.

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Darcy Ribeiro wrote that the features of the first Brazilians were much more Tupi people than Portuguese, and even the language that they spoke was a Tupi people-based language, named Nheengatu or Lingua Geral, a lingua franca in Brazil until the 18th century.

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Some examples of Portuguese words that came from Tupi people are: mingau, mirim, soco, cutucar, tiquinho, perereca, tatu.

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Tupi people surnames do exist, but they do not imply any real Tupi people ancestry; rather they were adopted as a manner to display Brazilian nationalism.

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