Slavery in Brazil


May 20, 2022

The history of the abolition of slavery in Brazil goes back to the first attempt concerning the slavery of the Indians in 1611, definitively suppressed by the Marquis of Pombal, during the reign of Dom José I, as well as to the emancipationist movements in during the colonial period, particularly the Bahian Conspiracy of 1798, which had among its projects the eradication of slavery. After the Independence of Brazil, the discussions on this subject continued throughout the imperial period, becoming really important from 1850 and acquiring a truly popular character from 1870, culminating in the signing of the Golden Law of May 13, 1888, which put an end to slavery, and in particular that of which blacks are victims, in Brazil.

History of slave labor in the world

When we speak of slavery, it is difficult not to think of the Portuguese, the Spaniards, the French and the British who stuffed the holds of their ships with black Africans, to put them up for sale throughout the American zone. On such a subject, it is difficult not to remember the capitães-do-mato, whose job it was to pursue the maroon niggers, those slaves who had fled the farms, of the Palmares, of the Civil War, of the passion with which the abolitionists have defended their ideas and many other facts connected with the question. All these examples do not prevent slavery from being much older than the traffic in Africans. It appeared from the dawn of human history, when peoples defeated in battles were enslaved by their conquerors, like the Hebrews, who were sold as slaves from the beginning of their history. Many civilizations have used menial labor for the execution of the most difficult and coarse tasks. Among them are Greece and Rome, which had a large number of slaves, although many of them were well treated and had the opportunity to buy their freedom. The last country in the world to abolish slavery was Mauritania; it only did so on November 9, 1981 by decree 81.234.

In Portugal

During the long Reconquista (722-1492) of the Iberian Peninsula (medieval Spains), or Al-Andalus, particularly during the crisis of the Spanish (and Portuguese) Middle Ages, in the 14th-15th centuries, the rulers had to establish or restore a viable economy for the benefit of the Christian populations, by renewing a part of former slavery and serfdom. Colonial-type slavery appeared in the mid-15th century, when the Portuguese, under the leadership of Henry the Navigator, captured or purchased African captives to deport them to their colonies of Madeira and Cape Verde. The Atlantic slave trade began in 1441 with the deportation of African captives to the Iberian Peninsula for several decades. The first sale of black captives raided from the Atlantic coasts took place in 1444, in the Portuguese city of Lagos. In 1455, Pope Nicolas V authorized the King of Portugal to subjugate the Muslim populations of Africa, following the conquests of the Ottoman Empire which closed access to Asia to the West.

In Brazil

The pre-Columbian civilizations so justly reputed correspond above all to the Mesoamerican civilizations and the Andean civilizations, with their great empires, and sometimes conflicting relations between peoples. The precolonial period of the history of Brazil remains rather poorly known. The discovery of Brazil dates from 1499. The Portuguese colonization of America, initiated in 1500, really began in 1532. The indigenous peoples of South America are very diverse, particularly the indigenous peoples of Brazil. The indigenous peoples in Brazil were mostly semi-nomadic tribes with economies