Tiradentes’ Day is celebrated annually in Brazil on April 21. The holiday commemorates the execution of Brazilian national hero Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, also known as Tiradentes, on April 21, 1792. Born November 12, 1746, he was one of the seven children of Domingos da Silva Santos and Antonia da Encarnação Xavier. After the death of his parents, he began to apprentice under a dentist. Thus, he earned himself the nickname ‘Tiradentes,’ meaning “tooth puller.” As an adult, he joined a revolutionary movement that envisioned the independent Brazilian Republic. On April 21, 1792, he was executed for plotting against the Portuguese colonial administration.
History of Tiradentes' Day
Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier was born on November 12, 1746, in Brazil, on the Fazendo do Pombal near Santa Rita do Rio Abaixo. He was the fourth of seven children born to Domingos da Silva Santos and Antonia da Encarnação Xavier. His parents passed away, and the family’s property was lost due to debt. Having received no regular education, he began to apprentice under his uncle and godfather, a dentist, Sebastião Ferreira Leitão. He also made a living as a peddler, though he later became a partner in a pharmacy. He earned himself the nickname ‘Tiradentes,’ meaning “tooth puller.” Later, the nickname was disparagingly applied to him.As a terrain surveyor employed in the public service, he witnessed first-hand the massive transportation of gold and other valuable resources to major cities. As a result, he developed a sense of dissatisfaction with the exploitation of Brazilians by the Portuguese colonial administration and the oppressive class system. Furthermore, the Portuguese imposed heavy taxes on all mining activities, and an annual quota for gold extraction was implemented. When mining communities couldn’t meet the quota, it was burdened with a heavier tax on gold, known as a ‘derrama.’ After teaming up with like-minded individuals, he joined a revolutionary movement called the Inconfidência Mineira. They envisioned an independent Brazilian republic, inspired by the successful American Revolution of 1776.The plan was to proclaim a Brazilian republic on the day the Portuguese colonial administration planned to institute an additional derrama in 1789. However, one of the insiders to the plot exposed the plan, and the conspirators, including Tiradentes, were imprisoned. The trial, which lasted almost three years, ended with Tiradentes and ten others sentenced to death. On April 21, 1792, he was executed by hanging. His body was quartered, and the pieces were sent to places where he had propagated his ideas. After Brazil finally became a republic in 1889, the anniversary of Tiradentes’ death became a national holiday.
Tiradentes' Day timeline
Tiradentes is born as Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier.
Tiradentes is imprisoned for plotting to proclaim the independent Brazilian Republic.
Tiradentes is sentenced to death and executed by hanging.
Tiradentes’ Day is established as a national holiday.
Tiradentes' Day FAQs
Who betrayed Tiradentes?
The man who betrayed Tiradentes was Joaquim Silvério dos Reis.
Does Brazil speak English?
No, English is not a common language in Brazil.
When did Brazil gain independence?
Brazil gained independence on September 18, 1822.
How to Observe Tiradentes' Day
Learn more about the fascinating life of Tiradentes and all his exploits. This incredible revolutionary made a lot of impact during his life.
Celebrate with the Brazilians
Brazil has experienced almost 200 years of independence. Celebrate along with the people of Brazil this monumental event.
Share with others
Share this article. Let people learn about the life of this heroic figure who gave his life in defense of what he believed in. Use the hashtag #tiradentesday for your post to get more visibility.
5 Surprising Facts About Tiradentes
His family was affluent
Before the death of his parents, Tiradentes’ family owned a large plantation where they also worked as miners.
He made artificial teeth
As a dentist, Tiradentes adorned his mouth with artificial teeth he made by himself.
He worked as a doctor
Tiradentes occasionally worked as a doctor because of his knowledge of medicinal plants.
He was once a public officer
After becoming a terrain surveyor, he became an officer in the Minas Gerais Dragoon Regiment.
A city is anointed after him
In the state of Minas Gerais, a city was named after his moniker, ‘Tiradentes.’
Why Tiradentes' Day is Important
He was a hero
Fighting tyranny in the face of peril requires an unlimited amount of fortitude. Tiradentes and other brave Brazilians did this despite knowing the consequences. For this reason, even centuries after his passing, his sacrifice is still honored.
His vision was actualized
Tiradentes imagined an independent republic that would one day be free from Portuguese colonization. Fortunately, his dream came true, and his passing was not in vain.
Tiradentes’ Day is a lesson
Tiradentes’ Day educates Brazilians about the cost of their freedom. This holiday ensures that people learn about their history and what can be done to avoid past mistakes.
Tiradentes' Day dates