Catarina Paraguaçu

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Catarina Paraguaçu's Dream, a 1871 painting by Manuel Lopes Rodrigues

Catarina Álvares Paraguaçu,[1] also known as Catarina do Brasil (baptized June 1528 — 1586), was a Brazilian Tupinambá Indian. She was born in what is today the State of Bahia (dates unknown), and was married to Portuguese sailor Diogo Álvares Correia, known as "Caramuru". She and Caramuru would become the first Brazilian Christian family.

Her father, the cacique of the Tupinambás, offered her as a wife to Correia, since he was a prominent figure to the Indians. Correia travelled to France in 1526, taking his wife with him, and, in 1528, in the city of Saint-Malo, Catarina was baptized, receiving the name Catarina do Brasil (French: Catherine du Brésil; English: Catherine of Brazil). She and Caramuru would have three children: Gaspar, Gabriel and Jorge, all named knights by Tomé de Sousa.

Death and legacy[edit]

Paraguaçu died in 1586, and, according to her last will, her possessions were given to the Benedictine monks. She is buried at the Igreja da Graça, in Salvador, Bahia.


A legend says that Catarina would dream constantly about castaways, dying of cold and hunger. In one of those dreams, she saw a woman with a baby in her arms. Trusting in the mystic qualities of her dreams, Caramuru told the people to search everywhere around the shores. Many castaways were found, but no woman among them.

Days later, Catarina would dream again with the same woman, who told her to build a house for her in her village. Soon after, a statue of the Virgin Mary carrying Child Jesus was found.

The statue can now be found at the altar of the Igreja da Graça, in Salvador.


  1. ^ According to Catarina's baptism certificate, her original name was Guaibimpará.