Guide to Brazil

Marechal Rondon: the legacy of a lifelong defender of indigenous rights

Cândido Rondon devoted his life to protect indigenous communities and inspired generations with a humanistic approach to native peoples

rondon indigenous
Rondon next to Chief Nambikwara and his wife: they laugh at the sound of the pocket watch. Photo: Acervo Museu do Índio/Funai

When Brazil entered World War II, President Getúlio Vargas decided to slice up Brazil’s border regions into separate states as a matter of national security. Parts of the massive north and western expanses of Amazonas, Pará, and Mato Grosso were turned into the new federal bodies of Amapá, Roraima, and Guaporé. In 1956, a vote in Congress changed the name of the latter, making it the only state named in an individual’s honor: Guaporé became Rondônia, in homage to Army Field Marshal Cândido Rondon. 

While there are no shortages of cities, roads, and bridges named after members of Brazil’s...

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