Omagua

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  • Omagua

    Omagua, Native South American tribe of the Tup-Guaran linguistic family, living in northeastern Peru and western Brazil. Their economy is based on agriculture, hunting, and fishing. At the time of the Spanish conquest of South America in the 16th century, an erroneous report credited the Omagua with having tremendous stores of gold, and in 1536, 1541, and 1560 unsuccessful attempts were made by the Spanish to conquer their lands. In the 17th century Jesuit missionaries established 40 villages of Omagua converts along the Amazon River; they prospered despite frequent attacks by Portuguese slave hunters. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish colonies in 1767 the mission settlements broke up, and the Omagua returned to their former way of life. By the 20th century, the Omagua had been absorbed into the mestizo population in Brazil, while by the turn of the century in Peru the tribe was nearly extinct.

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