Conselheiro, Antonio (1835–1897)
Brazilian millennialist and religious leader who prophesied
that the world would end in the year 1900. Born Antonio Vicente
Medes Macial, son of poverty-stricken landowners in Ceará,
Brazil, he left home to become a wandering preacher and acquired
the name ‘‘Conselheiro’’ (the Counsellor) from the
peasants, who respected his judgment.
His influence spread rapidly, and after the establishment of
the Republic of Brazil in 1889, his preaching led to skirmishes
with the authorities. After proclaiming the imminent end of the
world, he formed a community of the faithful in the remote
northern village of Canudos. Several military campaigns were
undertaken by the government against his community, but the
troops were repelled.
In 1897 Conselheiro became ill (possibly through dysentery)
and died. Soon afterward his millenialists were defeated.
Sources
Cunninghame, Graham R. B. A Brazilian Mystic Being the
Life and Miracles of Antonio Conselheiro. London Heineman,
1920. Reprint, Freeport, N.Y. Books for Libraries Press, 1971.
Levine, Robert M. Vale of Tears Revisiting the Canudos Massacre
in Northeastern Brazil. Berkeley, Calif. University of California
Press, 1992.
Macedo, Nertan. Antonio Conselheiro. N.p. Graf Record,
1969