In 1554 a group of Portuguese Jesuit missionaries established a school and settlement in the unexplored interior of Brazil, on a plateau which sits high above the place where the rivers Tamanduateí and Anhangabaú meet. Known as São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga, it was a mixed settlement of Jesuits, Portuguese colonisers and indigenous Caingangue people.
The first Colégio building was a simple wattle-and-daub hut, or in the words of José de Anchieta, one of the founding priests, “um paupérrima e estreitíssima casinha“, a very basic and narrow little house. By 1556 a school and church had been built using rammed earth.
The names for the rivers, and the fact that they shared the settlement, suggest that the indigenous people had good relations with the colonisers. The site for the mission chapel was originally the house of one of the indigenous chiefs.
Not all the settlers had good relations with the…
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