The name Tiradentes means the “tooth puller.” Odd as that might sound, every Brazilian takes it with reverence. Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier, or Tiradentes, was a dentist who organized a movement against Portuguese rule in Brazil in 1789.
On April 21, Tiradentes was hanged in Rio de Janeiro, in the plaza today known as Praca Tiradentes. Thirty years later Brazil received its independence and Tiradentes became a national hero. Today, Brazilians recognize his martyrdom every year on Tiradentes Day.