Heroes or Villains

Historic of the Potiguara Trail is full of great names. Meet four characters that played important roles in Paraíba’s historical process.

Imagem de André Vidal de Negreiros

André Vidal de Negreiros

Son of Portuguese, André Vidal de Negreiros was born in 1606, in a mill on the lowland of Paraíba River, current Santa Rita County.

He was one of the leaders of the Pernambucana Insurrection that culminated of the Dutch expulsion. For his military success and known strategist capabilities, he was successively named governor of Maranhão and Grão-Pará captaincies, in 1655, of Pernambuco, in 1657, and of Angola, in 1661. He died of natural causes, in 1680.

In 2012, by Decree-Law, his name was written in the select Book of Fatherland Heroes, displayed on the Tancredo Neves Fatherland and Liberty Pantheon, at the Three Powers Square, in Brasília.

Imagem de António Filipe Camarão

António Filipe Camarão

Commander of Potiguara Indians, allied to the Portuguese, was, along with, André Vidal de Negreiros, one of the heroes and leaders of the Pernambucana Insurrection.

It is not known what year he was born. Educated by priests and Jesuits, baptized in June 13, 1612, when he had his named changed to Antonio (day’s saint) Filipe (in honor to Spain’s King, Filipe III) Camarão (translation of Poti to Portuguese).

In 1630, year of the Dutch invasion on the coast of Pernambuco, he began to participate, leading his tribe next to his wife, Clara Camarão, into ambush actions in defense of the captaincies of Pernambuco, Alagoas, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Sergipe and Bahia.

As reward, besides payment, received, from the Spanish Crown, the rank of Capitan General of Indians, and the Knight of the Order of Christ Commendation, becoming a nobleman.

On the Pernambucana Insurrection, Filipe Camarão took part in decisive combats, among them, the first Guararapes battle, where commanded the right wing of the Pernambuco’s army. Died in 1648, one month after the iconic battle due to injuries. As André Vidal de Negreiros, he had his name written in the Fatherland Book of Heroes.

The Brazillian Army, on its turn, denominates the Seventh Motorized Infantry Brigade as Filipe Camarão Brigade.


A kind of anti-hero, this fearless Potiguara leader always fought with the perspective of obtaining some advantage facing war.

Zorobabé fought the Portuguese, but switched sides in 1599, after losing, alongside French allies, an important battle in Copaoba Sierra, in Paraíba’s agreste. Since then, he began exchanging services to the Lusitanian forces and became one of the greatest quilombo slave hunters in Brazil’s history.

On the most commonly known episode, he attacked without authorization the Itapucuru River Quilombo, in Sergipe, where killed most of the black people. The survivors were sold to buy clothes and weapons.

In 1608, fearing he would rebel against the Crown, he was arrested and sent to Évora, Portugal, becoming Brazil’s first exiled in history. After suffering many assassination attempts, died in prison.

Pedro Poty

The great leader Potiguara Pedro Poty ended the belief of passive submission of the Indians to the interests of the colonizing nations .

His surprising story began in 1625 when, still young, was taken from Baía da Traição, along with six Indians, to Amsterdam, Holland, where studied, for five years, the foreign language and the reformed Christian religion. In 1630, came back to Brazil with a squadron of the Western Indians Company, on the second Dutch invasion. His mission was to articulate alliances with local tribes. On the Brazil-Dutch Indian Assembly, in 1645, was elected Capitan General Governor, with honors from the Brigade General, and took part, actively, on the creation of resolutions that prohibited the slavery of his people.

Pedro Poty had as his main weapon the word. On the famous Tupi Letters exchanged between him and his cousin, Antônio Filipe Camarão, he eloquently argued in order to convince his relative to see the Portuguese’s shady interests and switch sides.

On the second Guararapes battle, in 1649, he was captured and taken to Cabo de Santo Agostinho, Imprisoned, suffered torture for nearly three years.

In 1652, the Potiguara hero died as the first Protestantism’s Brazillian martyr, inside the cellar of a Portuguese vessel that was taking him to trial in the Holy Inquisition Court, in Lisbon.

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