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Os mártires e a cristianização do território na América portuguesa, séculos XVI e XVII

Author(s): Renato Cymbalista

Journal: Anais do Museu Paulista
ISSN 0101-4714

Volume: 18;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 43;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Portuguese America | Martyrdom | Society of Jesus | Religious History

This paper looks into a group of social agents who played a significant role in the Christianization of Portuguese America, namely, the Christian martyrs - very special individuals who were ready to wet the land with their own blood in order to make possible a definitive and irreversible occupation of the territory by Christian settlers. The martyrs, and above all the stories told about them, seem to have been called upon to integrate Portuguese America and its native inhabitants into the temporalities and territory of Christendom. Mostly made up of missionaries, this group of 16th and 17th-century martyrs reedited the martyrdom of early Christians, who spread their creed across numerous parts of the Ancient World. They enabled the Christianization of new frontiers by consecrating the soil with their divine blood and paving the way for subsequent processes of urban development. In addition to their strategic significance for Christianity, the text also shows that their martyrdom played a specific role in the Christian settlers' interaction with Amerindian culture, whose main cults included the figure of the great warrior, ever ready to shed his own blood for his group.
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