The story

Quilombos History

Quilombos History


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In the period of slavery in Brazil (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries), blacks who managed to escape took refuge with others in the same situation in well-hidden and fortified places in the middle of the woods.

These places were known as quilombos. In these communities, they lived according to their African culture, planting and producing in community.

In colonial times, Brazil had hundreds of these communities scattered, mainly through the present states of Bahia, Pernambuco, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais and Alagoas.

At the time when Pernambuco was invaded by the Dutch (1630), many of the planters eventually left their lands. This fact benefited the escape of a large number of slaves. These, after fleeing, sought shelter in Quilombo dos Palmares, located in Alagoas.

This fact led to the growth of Quilombo dos Palmares. In the year 1670, this already housed around 50 thousand slaves. These, also known as quilombolas, used to sneak food from plantations and mills in nearby regions; situation that bothered the inhabitants.

This situation caused the quilombolas to be fought by both the Dutch (first to fight them) and the government of Pernambuco, and the latter relied on the services of the pioneer Domingos Jorge Velho.

The fight against the blacks of Palmares lasted about five years; however, despite all the hard work and determination of the zombie-led blacks, they were ultimately defeated.


Palmares Zombie: leader of the Palmares Quilombo

The quilombos represented one of the forms of resistance and combat to slavery. Rejecting the cruel way of life, black people sought freedom and a life with dignity, rescuing the culture and way of life they left in Africa and contributing to the formation of Afro-Brazilian culture.

The Abolitionist Campaign and the Abolition of Slavery

From the middle of the nineteenth century slavery in Brazil was rejected by England. In order to expand its consumer market in Brazil and around the world, the English Parliament passed the Bill Aberdeen Act (1845), which prohibited the slave trade, empowering the British to board and imprison ships from countries that practiced this practice.

Brazil, in 1850 yielding to English pressures and approved the Eusébio de Queiróz Law that ended the slave trade. On September 28, 1871, the Free Womb Law was passed which granted freedom to the children of slaves born after that date. And in the year 1885 was enacted the Law of Sexagenarians that guaranteed freedom to slaves over 60 years of age.

Only in the late nineteenth century did slavery become prohibited worldwide. In Brazil, the abolition occurred on May 13, 1888 with the publication of the Golden Law, made by Princess Isabel.


Princess Isabel: symbol of the redemption of captivity



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