Tupi is the name of a language family which spoken along the Brazilian coast at the time of its discovery. The Portuguese, when landing in Brazil, found out that wherever they went along the vast coast of this newly discovered land, natives spoke a similar language which was then named "General Language." It was systematized by the Jesuits and spoken until the nineteenth century in that region. It is still used today by Indians around the Rio Negro region, where it is called Nheengatu [ņe-engatOO], or "fine language".

Tupi is also the name of one of the main people of Brazilian Indians who first inhabited the Amazon region, then spreading southward, gradually occupying the Atlantic coast. From the sixteenth century the Tupis and the related Guaranis were enslaved or simply exterminated by Portuguese and Spanish settlers--this nearly led to their complete annihilation. The remnants of these tribes are today confined to Indian reservations in the Amazon region or acculturated into the dominant society.

See also