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The Price of Betrayal

The Inconfidência Mineira, a 1789 attempt to gain independence from Portugal, was to have been led by Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, better known as Tiradentes, and 11 followers. But Joaquim Silvério dos Reis, a Mineiran who was in on the conspiracy, betrayed the movement in exchange for the pardon of his debt to the crown. Tiradentes assumed responsibility for the planned uprising and was sentenced to death. The Empress Dona Maria I documented how he was to be killed: drawn and quartered, with his body parts hung around Ouro Preto. The date of Tiradentes's execution, April 21st, is a national holiday.

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