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Basílio da Gama

A drawing of Basílio da Gama
Born José Basílio da Gama
10 April 1740(1740-04-10)
São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Died 31 July 1795 (aged 55)
Lisbon, Portugal
Pen name Termindo Sipílio
Occupation Poet
Nationality Brazil Brazilian
Ethnicity White
Literary movement Neoclassicism
Notable work(s) O Uraguai

José Basílio da Gama (April 10, 1740 — July 31, 1795) was a Brazilian poet and member of the Society of Jesus, famous for the epic poem O Uraguai. He wrote under the pen name Termindo Sipílio.

He is patron of the 4th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.


José Basílio da Gama was born April 10, 1740 in the city of São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, to Manuel da Costa Villas-Boas and Quitéria Inácia da Gama. The death of his father, when he was a young child, caused a hard situation in his life. During this period, a brigadier named Alpoim who served as his protector sent him to Rio de Janeiro, where he studied at Jesuit College, starting his novitiate for the Society of Jesus. With the expulsion of the jesuits in 1759, Basílio went to Europe, where he travelled through many countries, such as Italy and Portugal, between the years of 1760 — 1767. In Italy, he ingressed at the Roman Arcadia, where adopted the pen name Termindo Sipílio.

During the first months of 1767, he went to Rio de Janeiro, to the inauguration of the ship "Serpente" (mentioned in the third canto of his epic poem O Uraguai). In 1768, he returned to Portugal, in hopes of entering at the University of Coimbra, but was arrested and exiled in Angola, due to suspects of Jansenism. However, he received the forgiving of the Marquis of Pombal because of an epithalamium he wrote for his daughter.

During his last years, Basílio lived happily, becoming a member of the Sciences Academy of Lisbon. He died July 31, 1795, in Portugal.


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