São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga

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Pátio do Colégio: former Jesuit church and college in the centre of São Paulo. It is a landmark of the foundation of the city.

São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga (Saint Paul of the Fields of Piratininga in Portuguese) was the village that grew into São Paulo, Brazil in the region known as Campos de Piratininga. It was founded as a religious mission and a Jesuit Royal College by priests José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega on January 25, 1554 (the date of the first mass and the anniversary of Saint Paul's conversion). The village was initially populated by Portuguese colonists and two tribes of the Guainás Amerindians. Later, São Paulo became the origin of the Bandeiras in the great colonial expansion of the 17th century.


Early European colonisation of Brazil was very weak. Portugal was more interested in Africa and Asia. But with English and French privateer ships just off the coast, the territory had to be protected. Unwilling to shoulder the burden of defence himself, the Portuguese ruler, King João III of Portugal, divided the coast into "captaincies", or swathes of land, 50 leagues apart. He distributed them among well-connected Portuguese, hoping that each would take care of itself. Fearing Amerindian attack, João III discouraged development of the territory's vast interior.

The first coastal settlement in Brazil, São Vicente was founded in 1532 and was the first permanent Portuguese colony to thrive in the New World.[1] Twenty two years later the Tibiriçá Chief and Jesuit missionaries Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta founded the village of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga 68 kilometres (42 mi) inland from São Vicente on a plateau between two rivers, the Tamanduateí and the Anhangabaú. On January 25, 1554 the village formally was recognized when the priests celebrated the inaugural mass of the Jesuit school.[1]

Santo André da Borda do Campo was a town founded in 1553 on the same the plateau. In 1560, the threat of Indian attack led many to flee from the exposed Santo André da Borda do Campo to the walled Pátio do Colégio in São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga. Two years later, the Colégio was besieged. Though the town survived, fighting took place spasmodically for another three decades.

Located just beyond the Serra do Mar cliffs, above the port city of Santos, and close to the Tietê River, the new settlement became the natural entrance from the South East coast to the vast and fertile high plateau to the West that would eventually become the richest Brazilian state.[2]

The inhabitants of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga, called Paulistanos were very poor and started explorations called Bandeiras in search of precious metals and stones, runaway slaves, and to capture new indigenous slaves. Those participating in the expeditions were called the bandeirantes, including allied indigenous Brazilians and spoke Língua Geral. In contrast the clergymen had established their mission aimed at converting the Tupi–Guarani indigenous Brazilians to the Catholic faith, as well as to make it easier for the Portuguese crown to rule them. But since its beginnings, the Jesuit action in evangelising the Amerinds clashed with the interests of many settlers, who used indigenous slave labour and profited from the indigenous slave trade.

Because the expeditions of the bandeirantes to the hinterland in order to capture Amerinds were an important economic activity, the Jesuits were often at odds with them for protecting converted natives in their missions. The conflicts led to the expulsion of the Jesuits from the village in 1640. Only in 1653 did bandeirante Fernão Dias Paes Leme allow the Jesuit priests to return.

São Paulo officially became a city in 1711.

Campos de Piratininga[edit]

The Campos de Piratininga (Fields of Piratininga in Portuguese) is the relatively flat plains territory at the top of the Serra do Mar just off the cities of Santos and São Vicente in the Brazilian state of São Paulo.

Other cities there are São Bernardo da Borda do Campo, Santo André da Borda do Campo and the rest of the Greater São Paulo. The limit of the Campos de Piratininga on the 700 meters high coastal wall of the Serra do Mar is fittingly called Borda do Campo, or the Border of the Field.

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