Slavery in Brazil: Run-away Slaves -- Quilombos

Brazilian run-away slaves
Figure 1.--The quilombos are Brazilian settlements founded by escaped slaves, mostly in northeastern Brazil where the sugr inmdustry was importnt. The inhabitants are called quilombolas. The photo was taken in a modern quilombo in Pará state near Alagoas were Palmares was located.

Escaped slaves in the United States did not organize important run-away or Maroon communities, except for a short time in Florida. Some joind Native American communities. Escaped slaves in the United States seem to have primarily attempted to cross the Ohio River and reach the northern free states or Canada. Others tried to disappea into the population of norhern cities like Boston wih free black poputions. In the Caribbean and South America the ituatin was different. Maroon communities devloped and played important roles: Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Suriname. They were imoprtant enough in Jamaica and Suriname that treaties were vnegotiated wth them by colonial authorities. They were also important in Brazil where they were called 'quilombos'. The Muslim Sudanese were seen by the Brazilians as the most civilized and became the leaders of rebellious groups. The run-away groups varied substantially in organization and sophistication. The more important 'quilombo' was the Palmares which operated in the interior of Alagoas (17th century). Alagoas thus became the center of the domestic resistance to slavery. Both the Dutch and Portuguese battled with the slaves there. At a fairly early point in Brazilian history (mid-17th century). Colonial chroniclers described runaway slaves. There were numerous accounts of Palmares, the most important of all the many quilombos. Palmares was a federation of Maroon settlements. There is no precise account of the population. Contemporary sources vary widly. We have noted estimates rnging from 10,000 - 30,000 people. Its several constituent settlements were located on the Serra da Barriga, a mountain chain in the interior backlands of what was at the time the Captaincy (region) of Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, the modern Brazilian state of Alagoas. A legendary figure emerged from Alagoas--Zumbi. Portuguese authorities arrested and executed him (1695).


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Created: 12:55 AM 1/19/2019
Last updated: 12:55 AM 1/19/2019