Brazilian Culture: An Introduction to the Study of Culture in Brazil

By Fernando de Azevedo; William Rex Crawford | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER ONE
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COLONIAL EDUCATION

The ecclesiastical origin of education in Brazil -- The Jesuit Missions and catechism in the colonies -- The first school master -- Manuel da Nóbrega and Aspilcueta Navarro -- Apostles and educators -- José de Anchieta -- In the patios of the colleges and in the villages of the catechumens -- Schools of reading and writing -- Popular literary education with a religious background -- The expansion of the Portuguese language among the aborigines -- The social landscape of the Colony -- The patriarchal family -- The situation of women -- The three careers or directions followed by the sons -- The chaplains and uncles who were priests -- The ideals of the cultivated man in Portugal -- Teaching and the Jesuits -- The colleges of the Fathers -- Bachelors and masters of arts -- Higher studies in the home country -- The role of the University of Coimbra in the training of the élite -- Seminaries -- The monopoly of teaching -- Toward the training of clerics and men of letters -- The system of teaching as an ally of the city against the country -- The colleges of the Jesuits and the patriarchal regime of life -- The process of urbanization of the élite -- The work of the Jesuits and national unity -- The Marques de Pombal and the expulsion of the Jesuits ( 1759) -- The destruction of the colonial educational system -- The reform of Pombal put into execution -- The royal schools and the literary subsidy -- The schoolmaster-priests and chaplains of the sugar mills -- Colleges of the monastic orders -- The period of decay and transition.

THE COMING of the Jesuit Fathers in 1549, not only marked the beginning of the history of education in Brazil, but inaugurated a first phase, the longest in our history and certainly the most important, if we consider the amount of the work carried on and, above all, the consequences which resulted from it for our culture and civilization. When in that year six Jesuits came to Bahia with the first Governor General, Tomé de Sousa, the Society of Jesus was not more than nine years old officially, its base having been laid down on August 15, 1534 in the chapel of Montmartre by Ignatius de Loyola and his six companions and, scarcely had it been confirmed in 1540 by Paul III, when it scattered over the continent of Europe in missions designed to combat heresy and, abroad, to propagate the faith among the unbelievers and to diffuse the gospel to all people. Animated by an apostolic zeal and bound together and to the Catholic church by rigorous, carefully thought out and universally accepted discipline, the disciples of Ignatius de Loyola, not slow in conquering a place of just preeminence in the hierarchy of religious orders and an immense moral authority, to which they gave the seal of martyrdom in their ceaseless combat to serve religion without compromise. An unshakable faith like that of the first apostles, and one disposed to make all sacrifices; a discipline which gave the appearance of a militia to the new order, founded during the stormy days of the Reformation by the intrepid soldier of Pomplona, and a literary culture both sacred and profane, which had reached a high

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