The name Tiradentes means the “tooth puller.” Odd as that might sound, every Brazilian takes it with reverence. Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, or Tiradentes, was a dentist who organized a movement against Portuguese rule in Brazil in 1789.
On April 21, Tiradentes was hanged in Rio de Janeiro, in the plaza today known as Praca Tiradentes. Thirty years later Brazil received its independence and Tiradentes became a national hero. Today, Brazilians recognize his martyrdom every year on Tiradentes Day.
Tiradentes Day timeline
Not a pretty picture. His body was quartered, the pieces sent to Vila Rica to be displayed in places where he used to propagate his liberal ideas.
Along with José Alvares Maciel, Tiradentes created a group of freedom fighters who would work against the tyranny of the Portuguese.
Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier was born to a poor family in Pombal. His godfather later adopted him.
How to Observe Tiradentes Day
Remember a hero
It's a day to dive into history books and know more about this Brazilian hero.
Lay a wreathe
Place a wreath near the monument of Tiradentes in Praça Tiradentes. Honor the "tooth puller."
Share the story
Children must know about the sacrifices made for the freedom they enjoy. What better story to tell than the story of the martyr Tiradentes!
Meet Tiradentes: 3 Facts About A Martyr
It's all in the name
Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier received this nickname because he was a dentist.
A born leader
Tiradentes unsuccessfully led a conspiracy aimed at creating a republican government.
Tiradentes also worked as a miner and cattle driver.
Why Tiradentes Day is Important
Remembering a national hero
Tiradentes gave his life to a movement that helped Brazil achieve independence.
Freedom is precious
Days like these remind us of the sacrifice people make while they struggle and fight for independence.
A season of celebration
St. George's Day follows soon after Tiradentes Day, which means several days of festivities.