Traditionally, the Macro-Ge speaking Botocudo were organized into nomadic hunting and gathering bands of 50–200 members led by shaman-chiefs. By the nineteenth century they had been driven inland by frontier wars and colonization from the coastal areas of Espirito Santo and southeastern Bahia to western Espirito Santo and eastern Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Botocudo believed in sky spirits that interceded in human affairs through the mediation of shamans. The remaining Botocudo practice agriculture.
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South America --Eastern South America
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Documents referred to in this section are included in eHRAF World Cultures and are referenced by author, date of publication, and title where necessary.
Direct observations of the Botocudo in this collection pertain either to the 1880s or 1930s in the Vale do Rio Doce region of Minas Gerais and contiguous central-western Espirito Santo, although all authors draw substantially on earlier documentation and note distribution along the coast prior to the nineteenth century, including in southeastern Bahia. The collection includes a short, encyclopedic monograph by Métraux (1946) and a longer one in German by Ehrenreich (1887). Two articles focus respectively on history (Langfur 2002) and religion (Nimuendajú 1946). Keane’s (1884) work is problematic but contains some useful information on language and religious beliefs.
For more detailed information on the content of the individual works in this collection, see the abstracts in the citations preceding each document.