News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Brazil had largest African slave population in the world, substantially larger than the US. In 2016, slavery in Brazil is a 'key part of of the globalized, export-oriented economy Brazil thrives on.' Portuguese used slave labor in Brazil to work sugar cane fields and mines. All classes in Brazil owned slaves. Brazil was last Western Hemisphere country to abolish slavery

4/27/16, "Slavery still exists in Brazil in the Amazon....Modern-day slavery is, as an official with the Ministry of Labor put it, a "key part of the globlalized, export oriented economy Brazil thrives on." Workers are coerced either through violence or debt to provide uncompensated labor and forced to endure the most inhumane conditions. They forge pig iron that goes into Brazil’s steel industry, harvest soy, clear rainforests, cut sugar cane, and serve as domestic workers."... "A Slavers’ Coup in Brazil?" The Nation, Greg Grandin
.............

 "Brazilian Slavery," histclo.com (sources at end of post) 

Slave market in Rio



 
Image caption: "Figure 1.--This drawing depicts a slave market in Rio de Janeiro. The drawing appeared in a book published by Maria Graham who lived in Brazil during the early 1820s. Brazil proved to be a serious problem as the British Royal Navy began its effort to end the Atlantic Slave Trade."

"Brazil had the largest slave population in the world, substantially larger than the United States. The Portuguese who settled Brazil needed labor to work the large estates and mines in their new Brazilian colony. They turned to slavery which became central to the colonial economy. It was particularly important in the mining and sugar cane sectors."

"Slavery was also the mainstay in the Caribbean islands with economies centered on sugar. Estimates suggest that about 35 percent of captured Africans involved in the Atlantic slave trade were transported to Brazil. Estimates suggest that more than 3 million Africans reached Brazil, although precise numbers do not exist. Brazil had begun to turn to slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving along the coast of Africa. With the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese attempted to enslave the Native American population as well. This did not prove successful. The Native Americans died in large numbers, both because of slave trading, mistreatment, and the lack of resistance to European diseases. The Portuguese found captured Africans to be a valuable trading commodity as Europeans began to settle the Caribbean islands. They also began transporting Africans to their Brazilian colony. Portuguese Prime Minister Marquês de Pombal abolished slavery in Portugal (February 12, 1761). The Portuguese action, however, did not address slavery in the colonies. Slave ownership was widely practiced. Brazilians of all classes owned slaves. Slaves were not only owned by upper and middle class Brazilians, but also by lower class Brazilians. 

There were even slaves who owned other slaves. Slavery has a huge impact on Brazil. It affected both the economy and the ethnic make up of the Brazilian population. The importation of such a large number of Africans into a colony with such a small number of Portuguese, profoundly affected the ethnic balance. The level of African imports also meant that unlike North America, African culture was not largely wiped out and thus had a significant impact on Brazilian culture (food, music, dance and religious practices). This is especially the case in Rio and the northwest where many of the slaves were concentrated.

Portuguese Voyages of Discovery

The accumulating knowledge of geography and improvements in shipbuilding and navigation led Prince Henry and King John II of Portugal to seek a route to the Indies through the still largely unknown Atlantic. Portuguese mariners began sailing south along the coast of Africa. Information provided by travelers was refined by explorers who began to sail south along the African coast. Each voyage added to the accumulating data and gradually improving maps and charts. The Portuguese eventually reached the equator (1471)....

Founding of Brazil

The Portuguese when they founded their Brazilian colony, like the Spanish, attempted to enslave Native Americans. Unlike the Caribbean islands, the Native Americans in Brazil could flee to the interior where the Portuguese could not reach them, although slaving raids were conducted up the Amazon. Native Americans who did not flee were decimated by the European diseases the Portuguese carried. Brazil had begun to turn to slavery in the 15th century as explorers began moving along the coast of Africa....

Early Colonial Brazil (16th century)

Portugal at the time of the conquest was a country just emerging from feudalism with an impoverished peasantry. Brazil offered rich agricultural land that was just not available in Portugal itself. At first the Portuguese gave relatively little attention to Brazil. The Portuguese Conquistadores found little gold and the primary focus at the time was primarily on the immensely profitable trade opened with the East (India, Indonesia, and China). Thus for the first three decades Brazil languished. This lack of attention to establishing a colony in Brazil, let to incursions by other European countries. The Portuguese Crown to combat this created a system of occupying the coast without the substantial costs of establishing a colony and maintaining large military force. The Crown created the Hereditary Captaincies system, The King divided Brazil into strips of land that were entrusted to noblemen. They answered to the king and occupying and developing their land grant was done at their expense. It took some time for the monarchy to realize that the Captaincies system was not working. Only two of the land grants were actually occupied by the noblemen to which the land was granted (Pernambuco and São Vicente in the modern state of São Paulo). Brazil produced little income for Portugal in sharp contrast to the Spanish colonies (especially Mexico and Peru-Bolivia where gold and silver was discovered. One of the few important resources found in Brazil was what came to be called brazilwood (Caesalpinia echinata). This was a large tree. The trunk was found to contain contains a prized red dye. Exploitation nearly wiped out the trees. Portuguese settlement of Brazil was initially confined to the coastal regions. The exploration of the interior was limited and largely confined to para-military adventurers--the bandeirantes. They followed the rivers into the interior, looking for gold and Native Americans who could be enslaved. The result was to depopulate large areas of the interior along the major rivers.

The Sugar Boom (17th century)

The Portuguese brought sugar cane to Brazil early in the colonial period, but the sugar industry developed slowly. It was a relatively new crop to the Europeans and it was a labor-intensive crop. This proved a problem because the Native Americans the Portuguese attempted to enslave did not prove suitable. Sugar would prove central to Brazilian economy as well as to the history of Brazilian slavery. It was sugar that made Brazilian plantations really profitable and this fueled the demand for the large numbers of slaves needed to work them

The settlers first tried to enslave the Natives to work the developing plantations. The Native Americans proved unsuitable, primarily because they died in large numbers when exposed to European diseases. As a result, the settlers began to turn to Africans. The Portuguese had begun to trade in captive Africans, albeit in small numbers, as they began moving south down the coast of Africa (15th century). The first Brazilian sugar plantation was operating very early in the colonial era (1518). The industry grew very rapidly. Martim Afonso de Sousa founded the first colony(1532). One report suggests that Santa Catalina Island had some 800 operating sugar cane mills (1540). The Brazilian sugar industry boomed and the colony became Europe's main supplier of sugar. Sugar at the time did not come from the Caribbean in any quantity. Until this the Arabs had been the main supplier, but a astronomical prices making it a luxury for the nobility and wealthier merchants. Brazil changed this. With the large quantities of Brazilian sugar reaching Europe at more reasonable prices, a much larger market began to grow. And Brazil, especially the northern coast, provided virtually perfect conditions for raising sugarcane. Planters cleared more an more land for sugar cane, Sugar production and exports began to reach large quantities (late-16th/early-17th centuries). The sugar cane was grown on plantation called 'engenhos' (factories). The Brazilian Nordeste became the core of the colony's economy and society. There were also plantations on Santa Catarina Island in the south which was originally founded by the Spanish. The modern states of Pernambuco, Paraiba, Bahia, and Sergipe became the center of Brazil’s sugarcane industry. Sugar turned the small Bahia settlements of Salvador and Olinda into some of the thriving ports in the world as the Sugar Boom took hold. And this in turn significantly fueled the demand for slaves to work the plantations. Most of the slaves were brought from Portuguese trading posts in western and southern Africa. Later the slaves for Brazil would come from the Portuguese-controlled areas of southern Africa (Angola and Mozambique). The Portuguese became leaders in the Atlantic slave trade and the major destination was Brazil. Over a third of all the slaves transported to the Americas were landed in Brazil, the great majority to work on the sugar plantations....

Atlantic Slave Trade

Captives from different African regions were transported to Brazil. This included Africams from West Africa, Cape Vert, Angolsa, Mozambique and from interior regions. Large numbers of Africans were obtained from southern Africa (Angola and Mozambique) where the Portuguese had a dominant role. Some Africans from these areas were transported to the Caribbean and the United States as well, but the shipments to Brazil were especially significant. The dimensions of the slave trade are not known with any precession. Estimates vary from 3-5 million Africans transported to Brazil. This is a subststantial proportion of the overall Atklantic slave trade. One historian estimsates about 3.6 million Africans transported to Brazil. [Taunay]. He estimated that most were brough to brazil in he 18th ad 19th century: 0.1 million (16th century), 0.6 million (17th cenury), 1.3 million (18th century), and 1.6 million (19th century). The level of slave shipments during the 19th century is notable given the fact that the Royal Navy was engaged in a major campaign to end the slave trade at the time. About 40 percent of the estimated 11 million Africans transported in the Atlantic slave trade went to Brazil....

Portugal lost its Brazilian colony when it became independent (1822). This meant that Portugal was no longer involved as a destination country. Portugal still controlled African colonies where Africans were seized for slavery. This was especially true in its southern colonies (Angola and Mozambique). Portugal abolished the slave trade (1836). The Royal decree also limited the number of slaves to be transported by colonists, committing to punish Portuguese slave traders, and authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for the slave trade. We are unsure just what convinced Portugal to take this major decesion. The British Parliament passed an act giving the Royal Navy the authority to stop Portuguese slavers vessels and submit them to British Vice-Admiralty courts (1839). Portugal signed another treaty with Britain giving British Royal Navy ships the Right of Search, authorising the condemnation of vessels equipped for slave trade, establishing Mixed Commissions, declaring the slave trade to be an act of piracy, regulating the number of slaves to be carried by Portuguese subjects, declaring that liberated slaves are to be given over to the government whose vessel seized the slaver (1842)....

Slave Life...

Miners needed men who were healthy, young and strong and were prepared to pay the highest prices....Unlike slavery in the rest of the Americas. slaves were not restricted to manual labor on plantations. The small Portuguese population meant that here were openings for urban occupations, including some that were skilled and even managerial. The limited Portuguese female population meant that there an extensive mulatto population developed. And light-skinned men had considerable latitude for upward mobility. And slave women could advance through relations with Portuguese/Brazilian men. Portuguese society was much more open to this than United States society....

Brazilian Empire

Even after Brazil declared independence, Portugal continued to hold its African colonies and a few Asian outposts. Brazilian independence was the most conservative of the Latin American revolutions. Brazil was the only monarchy among the Latin American nations. A factor in Brazil's conservatism was the importance of slavery in the colony. Brazilians wanted nothing to disrupt slavery and the economy and social structure was based on it. Brazil resisted the anti-slavery movement and the Royal Navy's efforts to stamp out the Atlantic slave trade. Brazil had the largest number of slaves in South America. And unlike the Spanish colonies did not move toward abolition after independence. Charles Darwin was horrified at what he saw when the HMS Beagle stopped Brazilian ports. [Darwin] The issue of slavery became the primary domestic issue during the reign of D. Pedro II--the second reign (1840 to 1889)....

Emancipation

Brazil continued as a monarchy for several decades before a republic was finally proclaimed (1889)....Pedro II was a ruler of conservative mindset. He came to see slavery, despite its economic importance to Brazil as inherently evil. Pedro began a series of measures liberating Brazilian slaves. He was posed to entirely abolish slavery. His measures against slavery met opposition from major landowners and the military, the leadership of which was drawn from the landed elite. The Emperor was on a trip to Europe when his daughter, Princess Isabel serving as regent, issued a decree abolishing slavery (May 13, 1888). This essentially did away for the last bastion of slavery, although forced labor continued for some time, in the Western Hemisphere and ended what remained of the the African slave trade. Princess Isabella's decree is known as the Golden Law. It was widely praised in Europe. Abolishing slavery was the last major action taken by the Brazilian royal family. Brazil proved to be the last Western Hemisphere country to abolish slavery."...

"Sources

Darwin, Charles.
Graham, Maria. Journal of a Voyage to Brazil, and Residence there, during part of the Years 1821, 1822, 1823 (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, Brown).
Reis, Joao Jose. Arthur Brakel (trans). Slave Rebellion in Brazil: The Muslim Uprising of 1835 in Bahia. This was one of the Johns Hopkins Studies in Atlantic History and Culture.
Taunay, Carlos Augusto. Manual do agricultor brasileiro (São Paulo : Companhia das Letras, 2001)."

------------------------
......................

4/27/16, "Slavery, however relatively small to Brazil’s larger labor market, represents the thin edge of a larger principle: the right of Brazil’s elites to exploit humans and nature as ruthlessly as they will."...





................


...............................

No comments:

Followers

Blog Archive

About Me

My photo
I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.