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date: 22 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Central Brazil was a contested region in the eighteenth century, where Luso-Brazilians with indigenous and African slaves had seized lands rich in gold from indigenous nations along the Tocantins and Araguaia rivers. The Portuguese called this region the captaincy of Goiás, including the modern states of Goiás and Tocantins with parts of Minas Gerais and Mato Grosso. Portuguese officials claimed to have conquered the territory, but indigenous nations and runaway slaves maintained control over vast areas. For more than a century after the discovery of gold in the 1720s, lands remained in dispute; there was no closure of the frontier in favor of the Portuguese. And in the early nineteenth century, the indigenous nations of Tocantins almost drove Luso-Brazilians from their territory. This chapter demonstrates how indigenous peoples used their skills in warfare, trade, and diplomacy to ensure their survival.

Keywords: Autonomous nations, bandeiras, colonial rule, indigenous warfare, trade, diplomacy, intertribal relations, missions, enslavement, quilombos

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