War of the Emboabas

War of the Emboabas

War of the Emboabas
Date 1707 - 1709
Location Modern day Minas Gerais
Result Defeat of the paulistas.
Creation of the Captaincy of São Paulo and Minas de Ouro
Bandeirantes Paulistas European "Emboabas"
"Emboabas" from other parts of portuguese America
Commanders and leaders
Borba Gato Manuel Nunes Viana

The War of the Emboabas (Portuguese: Guerra dos Emboabas, "newcomers′ war"), was a war waged in the early 18th century between two generations of Portuguese settlers in the viceroyalty of Brazil - then the Captaincy of São Vicente.

Starting from the village of São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga (now São Paulo) the Bandeirantes had explored all of current Brazil, effectively taking advantage of the union of the Crowns of Portugal and Spain from 1580 to 1640 to incorporate all the former Spanish territories then west of the Tordesilhas Line. Their goal was to capture new Indian slaves (which put them in conflict with the Jesuit Reductions), recapture runaway slaves and find precious minerals.

Their search was rewarded in a then inaccessible area just north of their original Capitania that was to become Minas dos Matos Gerais (now simply Minas Gerais). The problem was that the mines, while rich, were in a vast area they couldn't effectively settle, so it attracted a gold rush from Portugal. The newcomers, called Emboabas, found an alternative, shorter route to the sea; the Caminho Novo das Minas dos Matos Gerais to São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro on Guanabara Bay, bypassing and alienating the original discoverers.

The Bandeirantes, or simply Paulistas, tried to assert rights of precedence but were defeated. As a result the provinces of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro were formed, their capital cities of Vila Rica do Ouro Preto and São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, respectively, became the new centers of power in the vice-kingdom of Brazil. São Sebastião (later shortened to its present name of Rio de Janeiro) became the capital city of the viceroyalty and later of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.


  • The Emboabas 1
  • Consequences 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4

The Emboabas

As soon as news of the discovery of gold spread thousands of people moved to the area and became known pejoratively as "Emboabas". The term is derived from the tupi mbóaba which literally means "hairy leg" (mbo (leg) + tab (hairy)). Originally the term referred to birds with feathered legs and as, unlike the pioneers, the outsiders always wore trousers and they began to be referred to this way. [1] [2] [3]

Alternatively, according to the Dicionário Houaiss emboaba could be derived from the Tupi words mbo (do) and tab (hurt) meaning "those who invade or attack" and would be applied to a group rather than an individual.


Brazil after the war
  • Regulation of the distribution of mines between Emboabas and Paulistas.
  • Regulation of collection of the quinto do ouro tax.
  • Breakup on 3 November 1709 of the Province of São Vicente into São Paulo e Minas de Ouro and Rio de Janeiro, ruled directly by the Crown.
  • São Paulo attained city status.
  • End of the wars in the mining areas with the crown assuming the administrative control of the region.
  • The defeat of Paulistas caused some of them to move west where, years later, they would discover new gold deposits in the current states of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso and Goiás.
  • The production of gold after the war increased so that Minas Gerais became the richest region of Brazil between 1740 and 1760.


  1. ^ NAVARRO, EA (2013). Dicionário de tupi antigo: a língua indígena clássica do Brasil [Dictionary of Old Tupi: the classical Indian language of Brazil] (in Portuguese). São Paulo: Global. p. 560. 
  2. ^ "Há controvérsias" (in Portuguese). Biblioteca Nacional. 2008-10-01. 
  3. ^ FURTADO, Júnia Ferreira. José Rodrigues Abreu e a geografia imaginária emboaba da conquista do ouro. In: Modos de Governar - Ideias e práticas políticas no Império Português séculos XVI a XIX. BICALHO, Maria Fernanda & FERLINI, Vera Lúcia do Amaral (Orgs.). 1ª ed. São Paulo: Alameda, 2005, p.278

Further reading

  • Leme, Pedro Taques de Almeida Paes, "Nobiliarquia Paulistana Histórica e Genealógica", Ed. São Paulo University (1980, São Paulo).
  • Taunay, Afonso de E., "Relatos Sertanistas", Ed. São Paulo University (1981, São Paulo)
  • Taunay, Afonso de E., "História das Bandeiras Paulistas", Ed. Melhoramentos (São Paulo)
  • Franco, Francisco de Assis Carvalho, "Dicionário de Bandeirantes e Sertanistas do Brasil", Ed. São Paulo University, São Paulo, Ed Itatiaia, Belo Horizonte (1989)
  • Mello, José Soares de. Emboabas. São Paulo: Governo do estado de São Paulo, 1942.
  • Ribeiro, Berta. O índio na história do Brasil. Editora Global, 1987.
  • Miranda, Ana. "O retrato do rei" São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1991. Romance brasileiro.
  • Boxer, Charles. "The Golden Age of Brazil"