painting of tiradentes during the minas gerais conspiracy

Have you ever heard of the Minas Gerais Conspiracy? It was a very important moment in Brazil’s history! The central figure of this historical event was none other than Tiradentes. But who was he and what did he do to deserve a special Tiradentes Day? What exactly is his story and what happened during the Minas Gerais Conspiracy in Brazil? Time to find out!

What is the history behind Tiradentes’ holiday?

The Inconfidência Mineira was a failed independence conspiracy that took place in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil in the late 18th century. The word inconfidência can be translated to “lack of confidence,” which was used in this context to express the conspirators’ dissatisfaction with the Portuguese colonial rule.

The movement was led by a group of wealthy intellectuals, including Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, also known as Tiradentes. The group’s main goal was to establish an independent republic in Brazil, free from Portuguese colonial rule, and inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions.

The conspirators had a plan to seize control of the state government and declare independence, but their plot was discovered, and the Portuguese authorities arrested and tried the leaders. You now must be wondering: What happened to Tiradentes? Well, he was hanged and later drawn and quartered in Rio de Janeiro on the 21st of April 1792, and that is why we have this holiday. Tiradentes was sentenced to death while other leaders were only exiled or imprisoned.

Why do we still remember this event today?

So, what was so remarkable about this event? Well, it was the first Republican movement in Brazil. Which makes Tiradentes pretty much a national Republican icon. In fact, the inconfidentes (name given to the people who participated in the Minas Conspiracy) created a flag that is still used to this day. The flag of the state of Minas Gerais states, in Latin: “Freedom albeit late”.

flag from minas gerais, inspired by tiradentes ideals

The Inconfidência Mineira is remembered as an important moment in Brazilian history because it demonstrated the growing discontent with Portuguese colonial rule and laid the groundwork for future independence movements. Tiradentes is also remembered as a national hero and martyr in Brazil, and his execution is celebrated as a symbol of Brazilian independence and the struggle for liberty.

When is Tiradentes Day celebrated?

Tiradentes Day is observed on the 21st of April, and it is a national holiday, in homage to Joaquim José da Silva Xavier and his role as a republican martyr against the colonial tyranny.

What is the meaning of the name Tiradentes?

This guy was many things, but his nickname (and the name of the holiday) came about due to his role as an amateur dentist. In Portuguese Tiradentes is a word invented by the union of two words tirar and dentes. Tirar means to remove and dentes means teeth. So, his name basically means the one who removes teeth. Interesting, right?

Tiradentes City in Minas Gerais

historic center of tiradentes city

When the republic was proclaimed in Brazil, the city of Vila de São José do Rio das Dores got a new name, in homage to the hero, and now it is known as Tiradentes. Since his role against monarchy was so important, the state of Minas Gerais thought it was fair to name the city after him. The city is a popular tourist destination due to its well-preserved colonial architecture, charming streets, and cultural attractions.

One of the main attractions in Tiradentes is the historic city center, which has been designated a national heritage site. Visitors can explore the narrow cobblestone streets, which are lined with colorful houses, shops, and restaurants. There are also several churches and museums in the area, including the Church of Saint Anthony and the Museum of Sacred Art.

Another popular attraction in Tiradentes is the Maria Fumaça, a steam train that runs between Tiradentes and the neighboring city of São João del Rei. The train ride offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside and is a wonderful way to experience the area’s natural beauty.

Tiradentes is also known for its vibrant cultural scene. The city hosts several festivals throughout the year, including the Festival of Brazilian Cinema, the International Photography Festival, and the Festival of Baroque Music. These events attract visitors from all over the world and highlight the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Overall, Tiradentes is a charming city full of history, which offers visitors a unique glimpse into Brazil’s colonial past and its fight against monarchy. With its beautiful architecture, cultural attractions, and natural beauty, it is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to the region.

Vocabulary for Tiradentes History!

arquitetura colonialcolonial architecture
calçada portuguesacobblestone
trem a vapor steam train

Exercise about Tiradentes’ History and Minas Gerais

Now that you know more about this important person in Brazil’s history, let’s do an exercise to challenge your knowledge. Complete the sentences with parts of the text. If you really want to test your comprehension skills, read this Dica in Portuguese to complete the exercise, otherwise it may be too easy!

  1. A cidade que hoje é conhecida como Tiradentes antigamente se chamava __________.
  2. Ele liderou um importante movimento revolucionário brasileiro chamado __________.
  3. Foi escolhido para ser líder por conta de suas habilidades __________.
  4. Seu apelido surgiu por conta de __________.
  5. A data de sua morte foi __________.
  6. O motivo principal da revolução era __________.
  7. Este feriado é dia __________.
  8. O nome do líder da revolução era ____________________.

That’s all folks! We have just learned a bit more about of one of the most important characters in Brazilian history. Tiradentes was not only important to Minas Gerais history, but for Brazil as well. Who’s the most important person in your country’s history? Learn a bit more about Brazil by staying tuned to our Dicas everyday! And if you want to learn, even more check out our online Portuguese classes to discover everything about our history, culture, and language!

We’ll see you in our next Dica!

Kisses from Rio & Learn!

Click in the links below to see more related Dicas
Brazil Holidays
Months in Portuguese
Good Friday in Brazil
Holiday in Portuguese


  1. A cidade que hoje é conhecida como Tiradentes antigamente se chamava Vila de São José do Rio das Dores.
  2. Ele liderou um importante movimento revolucionário brasileiro chamado Inconfidência Mineira.
  3. Foi escolhido para ser líder por conta de suas habilidades de organização e liderança.
  4. Seu apelido surgiu por conta de sua atuação como dentista amador.
  5. A data de sua morte foi 21 de Abril de 1792.
  6. O motivo principal da revolução era romper com o domínio colonizador de Portugal.
  7. Este feriado é dia 21 de Abril.
  8. O nome completo do líder da revolução era Joaquim José da Silva Xavier.

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