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Joaquim José da Silva Xavier (Tiradentes)
BirthplaceFazenda do Pombal (Tiradentes), Minas Gerais, Portuguese Colony of Brazil


(tērəthĕn`təs), 1748–92, Brazilian patriot. His real name was José Joaquim da Silva Xavier. He gained his nickname, which means "tooth-puller," working as a healer in his youth. He later became an army officer. In the late 1780s he joined and soon became the leader of the Inconfidência Mineira, a movement against Portuguese rule and for revolutionary democracy in Brazil that was inspired by the American Revolution and was based in Vila Rica (now Ouro Prêto). In 1789 the movement was betrayed and its leaders were imprisoned. They were freed and exiled in 1792 with the exception of Tiradentes, who was executed in Rio de Janeiro.



(real name, Joaquim José da Silva Xavier). Born Nov. 12, 1748, in Pombal; died Apr. 21, 1792, in Rio de Janeiro. Leader of the Brazilian revolutionary movement of the 1780’s known as Inconfidencia Mineira, or Minas Gerais Conspiracy.

Tiradentes was born into a poor family. He engaged in various kinds of work, including dentistry, whence he got the name Tiradentes (toothpuller). He joined the military and became part of a secret society of progressively oriented intellectuals and officers. The society’s program included proclamation of Brazil as an independent republic, the abolishment of classes and privileges, the elimination of colonial taxes, and the equality of all citizens before the law. An anti-Portuguese rebellion was planned, and the first laws of a proposed republican government were drafted.

In May 1789, however, Tiradentes and the other conspirators were denounced by a traitor and arrested. Most of them were sentenced to hard labor or exile. Tiradentes, the acknowledged head of the conspiracy, was executed; parts of his body were exhibited on stakes along the road to Minas Gerais, and his head was displayed in the square of Villa Rica (now Ouro Préto). Tiradentes’ name has served as an inspiration to many generations of Brazilian revolutionaries.


Ignat’ev, O. Tiradentis. Moscow, 1966.