José de Anchieta

José de Anchieta

Infobox Person
name = José de Anchieta Llarena

image_size = 250px
caption =
birth_date = birth date|1534|3|19|mf=y
birth_place = San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands
death_date = death date|1597|6|9|mf=y
death_place = Reritiba, Espírito Santo
occupation = Missionary
spouse =
parents =
children =

José de Anchieta (March 19 1534–June 9 1597) was a Canarian Jesuit missionary to Brazil in the second half of the 16th century. A highly influential figure in Brazil's history in the first century after its discovery on April 22 1500 by a Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral, Anchieta was one of the founders of São Paulo, in 1554, and Rio de Janeiro, in 1565. He was a writer and poet, and is considered the first Brazilian writer. Anchieta was also involved in the catechesis and conversion to the Catholic faith of the Indian population; his efforts at Indian pacification, together with another Jesuit missionary, Manuel da Nóbrega, were crucial to the establishment of stable colonial settlements in the new country.

Early life

José de Anchieta Llarena was born on March 19, 1534, in San Cristóbal de La Laguna on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain, to a rich family. His father, Juan López de Anchieta, was a landowner from Urrestilla, in the Basque Country, who had escaped in 1525 to Tenerife after participating in a failed rebellion against the King, Charles V. His mother, Mencia Díaz de Clavijo y Llarena, was a descendant of the conquerors of Tenerife, and came from a Jewish family. He was a relative of Loyola's.

Anchieta first went to study in Portugal when he was 14 years old, in the Royal College of Arts in Coimbra. He was intensely religious and felt the vocation for priesthood, so he sought admission in 1551 to the Jesuit College of University of Coimbra as a novice. During his studies, the young Anchieta became quite sick, with an affliction of the spine which tormented him throughout his life, but he was considered an exceptionally intelligent student and a gifted poet. He learned to write in Portuguese and Latin as well as in his mother tongue. at the age of seventeen, and when a novice nearly ruined his health by his excessive austerity, causing an injury to the spine which made him almost a hunchback. [ [ Catholic Encyclopedia] ]

Missionary in Brazil

In 1553, just nineteen years old, Anchieta was chosen to travel to Brazil as a missionary of the third group of Jesuits sent to the New World, accompanying Duarte da Costa, the second governor general nominated by the Portuguese crown. After a perilous journey and a shipwreck, Anchieta and his small group arrived in São Vicente, the first village which was founded in Brazil, in 1534. There, he had his first contact with the Tapuia Indians living in the region.

In the same year, Manuel da Nóbrega, a Portuguese Jesuit, sent 13 Jesuits, Anchieta among them, to climb the fearsome Serra do Mar to a plateau which the Indians had named Piratininga, along the Tietê river, where the Jesuits established a small missionary settlement. This was done in January 25, 1554, the date when the first mass was celebrated. There, Anchieta started with his Jesuit colleagues the work of conversion, baptism and catechesis and education for which the Society of Jesus was so famous. Anchieta taught Latin to the Indians and began to learn their language, Old Tupi, and to compile a dictionary and a grammar, as it was the aim and custom of Jesuit missions all over the world, after their first contact with the "heathens". The Jesuit College of São Paulo of Piratininga, as it was called, soon began to expand and to prosper as a population nucleus.

Meanwhile, due to the systematic killings and ransacking of their villages by the Portuguese colonists and attempts at enslaving them, the Indian tribes along the coast of present-day states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Espírito Santo rebelled and formed an alliance, the Tamoyo Confederation, which soon supported the French colonists who in 1555 had settled in the Guanabara Bay under the command of a Huguenot Vice-Admiral, Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon. The Confederation attacked São Paulo several times from 1562 to 1564, but the town resisted. Anchieta and Nóbrega, who were against the way the Portuguese colonists treated the Indians, and had had a serious conflict with Duarte da Costa over the matter, decided to initiate peace negotiations with the Tamoyos, in the village of Iperoig (in present-day Ubatuba, in the northern coast of São Paulo state). Anchieta's skill with the Tupi language was crucial in these efforts. After many incidents and the near massacre of Anchieta and Nóbrega by the Indians, they finally succeeded in gaining the Indian's confidence, and peace was established between the Tamoyo and Tupiniquim nations and the Portuguese.Peace was broken, however, when Estácio de Sá, a nephew of the new governor-general of Brazil, Mem de Sá (1500-1572), was ordered to expel the French colonists definitively. With the influential support and blessings of Anchieta and Nóbrega, he departed with an army from São Vicente and founded the ramparts of Rio de Janeiro, at the foot of Pão de Açúcar, in 1565. Anchieta was with him and participated in a number of battles between the Portuguese and their Indian allies and the French and their Indian allies; acting as a surgeon and interpreter. He was also responsible for reporting back to the governor-general headquarters in Salvador, Bahia and participated in the final, victorious battle against the French, in 1567.

An apocryphal story places Anchieta and Nóbrega against this background and blames them for the arrest of a Huguenot refugee, the tailor Jacques Le Balleur, by Governor General Mem de Sá in 1559. Out of a desire to eliminate "heresy," Anchieta supposedly killed Le Balleur himself after an executioner refused to carry out the Protestant's death sentence. Although this spurious story was long-ago disproved through documental evidence, it refuses to die.

After the peace, a Jesuit college was founded in Rio under the direction of Nóbrega, and Anchieta was invited to stay, succeeding him after his death, in 1570. Despite his frailty and ill health, and the rigors of slow travel by foot and ship of the time, in the next ten years Anchieta travelled extensively between Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Espírito Santo and São Paulo consolidating the Jesuit mission in Brazil. In 1577 the fourth superior general of the Jesuits, Everard Mercurian, appointed Anchieta provincial superior of the order's members in Brazil.

With worsening health, Anchieta requested relief from his duties in 1591. He died in his country of adoption, on June 9, 1597, at Reritiba, Espírito Santo, mourned by more than 3,000 Indians, who much valued his intercession in the defense of their souls and human dignity.

During and after his life, José de Anchieta was considered almost a supernatural being. Many legends formed around him, such as when he supposedly preached and calmed down an attacking jaguar. To this day, a popular devotion holds that praying to Anchieta protects against animal attacks.

José de Anchieta is celebrated the founder of Brazilian letters and, with Nóbrega, of Brazil. He gives his name to two cities, Anchieta, in the State of Espírito Santo (formerly called Reritiba, his place of death), and Anchieta, in the state of Santa Catarina, and many other places, roads, institutions, hospitals, and schools.

Beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980, Anchieta acquired the title "Blessed José de Anchieta." A movement exists to promote his eventual canonization and thus veneration as a Catholic saint.


In the tradition of Jesuits, Anchieta was a prolific rapporteur, communicating mainly by letters to his superiors, writing flawlessly in Spanish, Portuguese, Latin and Tupi. His writings are published in "Cartas, Informações, Fragmentos Históricos e Sermões" (Letters, Reports, Historical Fragments and Sermons), and he has also written volumes on theology, religious instruction, theater and poetry, and the first published work on the Old Tupi language. He was accomplished at singing religious chants and wrote several ones, as well as a drama to teach morals to the Indians by means of music and theater. He wrote a famous poem to Virgin Mary, allegedly writing it every morning on the wet sand of a beach at Iperoig and committing it to memory until he could much later transcribe its more than 4,900 verses to paper. Because of this, Anchieta is the patron of literature and music in Brazil.

He was also a historiographer, a keen naturalist (he described several new plants and animals) and an excellent surgeon and physician. The lucid and detailed reports he left are still important today to understand the lifestyle, knowledge and customs of Indian and Europeans during his time, as well as the astounding novelties of Brazil's wildlife and geography.

Anchieta's poem "De Gestis Meni de Saa", written around 1560, described the "heroic deeds" of Portuguese soldiers fighting these wars of conquest "in the immense wilderness."

ee also

*History of Brazil
*Jesuit Reductions
*Colonial Brazil
*Pátio do Colégio
*France Antarctique
*Old Tupi
*List of things named Anchieta


External links

* [ Joseph Anchieta] . "Catholic Encyclopedia On-Line"
* [ (Dead Link) A Catalog of Anchieta's Works] . National Library Foundation, Brazil (In Portuguese).
* [ Fac-simile reproductions of Anchieta's poems in the codex ARSI MS OPP NN 24] . Also includes fac-simile reproductions of some of Anchieta's sources for "contrafacta".
* [ Association for the Canonization of Anchieta] (in English)
* [ Jacques Le Balleur] In the Portuguese-language version of Wikipedia
* " [ Cartas, Informações, Fragmentos Históricos e Sermões] ". (In Portuguese) Fac-simile digitized on-line reproduction of main publication of Anchieta's works (in Portuguese only)
* [ Portugal in America]
* [ The Iberian Cancionero in José de Anchieta - A study on music in Anchieta's poetry] (M.A. Thesis, University of São Paulo, 1996. In Portuguese with English abstract)

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jose de Anchieta — José de Anchieta José de Anchieta (* 19. März 1534 in La Laguna (Teneriffa); † 9. Juni 1597 in Reritiba (heute Anchieta)) war kanarischer Missionar und Sprachforscher und wird in der katholischen Kirche als Seliger verehrt. Nachde …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José de Anchieta — (* 19. März 1534 in San Cristóbal de La Laguna (Teneriffa); † 9. Juni 1597 in Iriritiba (heute Anchieta) war kanarischer Missionar, Jesuit und Sprachforscher und wird in der katholischen Kirche als Seliger …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José de Anchieta — Beato Sacerdote y misionero jesuita español en Brasil. Nacimiento 19 de marzo de 1534 La Laguna, España …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jose de Anchieta — José de Anchieta Pour les articles homonymes, voir Anchieta. José de Anchieta José de Anchieta (San Cristóbal de La Laguna …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José De Anchieta — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Anchieta. José de Anchieta José de Anchieta (San Cristóbal de La Laguna …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José de anchieta — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Anchieta. José de Anchieta José de Anchieta (San Cristóbal de La Laguna …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José de Anchieta — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Anchieta et Saint Joseph. José de Anchieta Le bienheureux José de Anchieta (ou Joseph de Anchieta), né le 19 mars 153 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • José de Anchieta Fontana — (* 31. Dezember 1940 in Santa Teresa, ES; † 9. September 1980 ebenda) war ein brasilianischer Fußballspieler. 1958 Vitoria, ES 1959–1962 Rio Branco, ES 1962–1968 Vasco da Gama 1969–1972 Cruzeiro, MG 1970 gehörte Fontana als Abwehrspieler der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • José de Anchieta Fontana — (born 31 December 1940 in Santa Teresa, Espírito Santo; died 9 September 1980 in Santa Teresa) was a Brazilian football (soccer) player.During his club career he played for: * 1958 Vitoria * 1959 1962 Rio Branco * 1962 1968 Vasco da Gama * 1969… …   Wikipedia

  • José de Anchieta Fontana — Fontana Pas d image ? Cliquez ici. Biographie Nom José de Anch …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.