Hello! Ready for another history Dica?
Every country has a dark past, and Brazil doesn’t escape from that either. It was not long ago that we had the end of slavery in Brazil.
Slavery in Brazil
Slavery occurred between the 16th and 19th centuries, with the forced labor of African men, women and even children consolidated by the slave traffic through the Atlantic Ocean. About 4.5 million enslaved Africans were brought to Brazil during the 350 years of slavery. They were bought to work in Sugarcane fields, coffee plantations, mining and with housework.
It was such a big phenomenon, that slaves became the majority in certain regions of the country, such as Bahia.
The trip from Africa
A taste of their horrible approaching future, African slaves were brought by sea, being branded with hot iron to identify their owner and crossing the Atlantic in overpopulated ships, with almost no food.
It was all about survival, in fact a lot of them didn’t survive the trip or were weakened to the point of getting serious diseases.
The arrival points were the ports of Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Fortaleza and São Luís; with Rio becoming the most important after the discovery of gold in Minas Gerais, state in which gold was found and slaves were most needed for mining purposes.
Arriving in Brazil
Their arrival was marked by bureaucracy, being separated by sex and age, they were sent to auction. Most had diseases, bruises, Scurvy or depression caused by the terrible conditions, so they were treated and taken care of prior to being put up for sale. The preference was for grown men, since they were more resistant when working.
Use of slaves
When bought, they were destined to work in farms, fields, big houses or mines. They were divided into field working, cutting sugar cane and picking coffee, and Big Houses (Casa Grande), serving the master and his family. They were also sent to the mines, especially the ones with gold. Treated with so much violence, punishments and disregard, many suffered and died daily.
End of Slavery in Brazil
The leading voice of abolition was Joaquim Nabuco, a Brazilian writer and politician.
Não existe liberdade ou independência em uma terra com um milhão e meio de escravos.
He started fight for abolition in 1873 but slavery officially came to its end on May 13th of 1888 by the signing of the Lei Áurea (Golden Law). Signed by Princess Isabel, D. Pedro II daughter, the law put an end to all the suffering, but she wasn’t responsible for the act itself. By 1880, the abolitionist campaign gained strength aided by big names in all social classes, such as Joaquim Nabuco, from a family of land owners and José do Patrocínio, a journalist son of a slave owner and a black woman, whose name unfortunately was not recorded in history.
Still, as expected, the End of Slavery in Brazil didn’t end prejudice, and sadly still leaves a mark in Brazil to this day.
That’s all! Hope you enjoyed knowing this big piece of Brazilian history.
See you next Dica!