Brazil in the South Atlantic: 1550-1850

Luiz Felipe de Alencastro
Translated by Emilio Sauri

This article originally appeared in Annales HSS 61.2 (March-April 2006) 339-382. It was written in large part at the John Carter Brown Library (Providence, Rhode Island), where the author spent 2004 as an Andrew W. Mellon Senior Research Fellow.

The history of modern Brazil has always been interpreted on the basis of one central question or another. Cattle raising in the São Francisco valley, the relationship between masters and slaves, the structures of dependency generated by merchant capital, bureaucratic privileges, or the stakes of the gold economy in the eighteenth century: all have, in their turn, served as the connecting thread for studying Portuguese domination, which is disrupted by the economic plan in 1808, with the end of the metropolitan monopoly, and which comes to an end in 1822, with the independence of Brazil.1

New research on the slave trade, on the subjugation of the Indians, on internal and international migrations, allows for the elaboration of an interpretive axis of wider scope: the transformations of labor in the colonial and national context through the middle of the nineteenth century. The only European colony of the New World that was not fragmented at the moment of its independence, Brazil possesses a powerfully regionalized historiography, as if the colonial history of the nation had been confused with the history of the Brazilian colonial territory. However, the investigation of the labor question invites us to turn to Africa as well and situate the colonial spatial matrix in the South Atlantic. Consequently, another periodization imposes itself: it is in 1850, with the end of the African slave trade, that the real breakdown of the colonial order takes place.

The Emergence of the South Atlantic System

Fifty years after the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, the slave trade is initiated and the Luso-African colonization of South America begins. Since the end of the sixteenth century, exchanges between the metropolis and Portuguese America are carried out through a navigational corridor connecting, at the top of the Tropic of Capricorn, the zones of South American slave production with the slave trade zones of Central Africa. What this means is that the transatlantic slave space delimits the horizon of Brazilian history for three centuries. Rather than droning out the strory of each South American territory, it seems preferable to retrace the evolution of African slave markets which, alongside the metropolis, shape Brazil.

Initially centralized in Senegambia and in the Gulf of Guinea, Portuguese slave trafficking was redirected toward Angola, where the littoral, bordered by the Benguela current, was more sheltered from privateers and European competitors. After the alliance with the kingdom of Congo, Lisbon’s hold over Africa affirmed itself during the Union of the Two Crowns (1580-1640). As is well known, all Spanish contracts of asiento (privileges of slave importation) sold in Madrid between 1595 and 1638 were acquired by Portuguese traders, sometimes at the head of investment groups.2 As a result, the slave trade employed structures capable of attracting large European merchant capital. And it is in Angola that the impact of the asiento was felt most.

Combining the roles of asiento holder and governor of Angola (1602-1603), João Rodrigues Coutinho triggers – from Luanda, the Angolan capital – several wars, with the aim of creating slave-trade markets. Having subdued a number of tribal chiefs (sobas), the colonial authorities organize slave markets within the interior. To this end, the Portuguese ally themselves with jagas, multiethnic warrior hordes that participated in the hunting of captives. Directly or by means of intermediaries, the asiento sharers associate themselves with the Angolan governors. In considering the tri-continental schema of the slave trade, it is in Africa that the most shadowy zones subsist. Yet Angola appears as the slaving enclave where one can best grasp realities that are difficult to perceive elsewhere in Africa.

With the establishment of maritime circuits and specialized practices within large-scale slaving, one witnesses the consolidation of the Portuguese presence within Central Africa. Four of the five forts located on the coast and in the interior, constituting so many points of articulation between Atlantic routes and African continental trade, were built or consolidated in Angola during the period of Portuguese asientos. In the first decades of the seventeenth century, Luanda became an important base for slave shipping, prefiguring an evolution that made it the largest slave port in the history of the trade.3

At the same time, following Dutch offensives, and subsequent English aggressions in Asia, Portuguese merchant capital abandons the Pacific for the Atlantic. Within the context of Lusitanian imperial strategy, the South Atlantic took precedence over the Indian Ocean and Asia, and it is thanks to the slave trade that Lisbon defines its long destiny as a colonial power.

The framework of interwoven interests during the period of the Portuguese asiento appears within different spheres of power. João Rodrigues Coutinho was not only the governor of Angola and an asiento holder, but also the business associate of his brother, Gonçalo Vaz Coutinho – who held the asiento himself until 1609. One of the sons of the latter, Francisco de Sousa Coutinho, head of Portuguese diplomacy after the Restoration (1640), worked vigorously, in the United Provinces and within European courts, to restore Lisbon’s sovereignty over Angola and Brazil.4 In so doing, the descendents of the Coutinho brothers remained active within the South Atlantic.

After the accession of the Braganzas to the throne in Lisbon [in 1640], the war between the two Iberian capitals explodes. With the displacement of the Portuguese from Hispano-American ports, those circuits of trade that had formerly been attached to the asiento were redirected toward Brazil, the only market open to their operations. This is due to a significant fact, inherited from the domination of the Habsburgs [1580-1640], in the Lusitanian Atlantic: even if the colonists could establish a regular trade of Amerindian captives, the plantations of Portuguese America were completely integrated into the gears of the slave trade developed through the asientos. Henceforth, and until the middle of the nineteenth century, Angola continued to be the private preserve of the Brazilian economy.

Presented in this way, this sequence of events has the whiff of a certain historical determinism. Yet, following the experience already accumulated in the Canary Islands, in Madeira, in São Tomé and, with the Spanish, in Hispaniola, the Crown’s decision to introduce the cultivation of sugar cane in Portuguese America responded to a well-defined goal: to plug the region into the commercial networks operating in the metropolis and in African ports.5 This choice had durable consequences, which are nevertheless somewhat different than those observed in the islands cited above. The uniqueness of Portuguese America stems from its direct bilateral relations with African ports, alongside the triangular trade centered in Lisbon. How were these exchanges formed?

Sustained by the export of South American products, such as cowries, manioc flour, cachaça, and tobacco, various permutations persist until the middle of the nineteenth century. Similarly, Portuguese triangular trade did not function in only one direction. Boats from Lisbon could transport European or Asian goods to Brazil, particularly fabrics from India, which were then re-exported to African ports. Inversely, slave traders regularly bought ivory or beeswax in Angola, which was brought into Brazilian ports in order to be redirected to Lisbon. Nonetheless, the bilateral trade between Brazil and Africa emerges as the cause of a certain contradiction between metropolitan and colonial merchants in the history of the Portuguese Atlantic.

Indeed, Angola’s evolution differs from that of Portuguese and European outposts located elsewhere in Africa. The others were limited to seaports; Angola was the only region to witness an occupation of the backcountry, giving rise to the implantation of Iberian institutions. In the seventeenth century, the municipal chambers of of Luanda and Maçangano (located 150 km southwest of Luanda) managed relations with the metropolis, on one side, and, on the other, native communities, colonists, merchants, and the clergy. The last was connected to the diocese of Congo and Angola, where the bishops resided between 1596 and 1621 at the Episcopal See of Mbanza Congo or São Salvador do Congo (200 km from the coast) – the first to have been established in the hinterland of the dark continent – and later in Luanda. River waterways and a number of paths connected the outposts of the interior with maritime ports.

The region included between one and five thousand Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian inhabitants in the seventeenth century, a figure shifting according to the number of soldiers on the ground. Ultimately, this possession represented, as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, the principal zone of European population in Africa. In alliance with the Portuguese, jaga warriors, Mubiré (the Vili tribe from the Congo participating in long-distance trade), and pombeiros (native wandering merchants) extended European commercial activities well beyond harbor zones.6 Unlike other regions of black Africa before the nineteenth century, the significance of the presence of European colonists in Angola (the “Angolistas”7) is far from negligible.8

The Thirty Years’ War in the South Atlantic

The extension of the front lines of the Thirty Years’ War to the shores of the South Atlantic reveals the complementarity established between Brazil and Angola. As we know, the Dutch West Indian Company (WIC) seized a portion of the sugar regions in Portuguese America in 1630. After having reactivated sugar mills seized in the colonies, the WIC administration in Pernambuco realized what profit it could draw from a confiscation of Portuguese ports in Africa. The outpost of Elmina, in the Gulf of Guinea, was taken by the Dutch in 1637. Without the knowledge of the WIC administration in Amsterdam – which expected to attack Bahia, the capital of Portuguese America – the Dutch government of Pernambuco began a military campaign against Angola in 1641.

Seven years later, the Portuguese and the Brazilian colonists launched a counter-attack from Rio de Janeiro, this time crossing the ocean themselves in order to reconquer Angola. What were the motives behind an operation as surprising as it is unnoticed in colonial history? The commander of the campaign, Salvador de Sá, the powerful governor of Rio de Janeiro, whose father and grandfather had also controlled this territory, wanted to retake Angola for two reasons. First, it was for him a matter of securing blacks for export to Buenos Aires, in order to revive smuggling between La Plata and Rio de Janeiro. Second, the campaigners sought to provide the planters of Guanabara Bay with Africans. In reality, the demand for blacks in this sugar region was still modest and could be met through the subjugation of Indians. Knowing the South Atlantic well, Salvador de Sá had understood that the route from Rio de Janeiro to Luanda was the best means to reach Buenos Aires and gain access to the silver from the mines of Potosí.9

Initiated in the course of the last two decades of the sixteenth century, trade between La Plata and Rio de Janeiro is maintained intermittently until the beginning of nineteenth century. Thus, Buenos Aires – alongside Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Recife, Ouidah, and Luanda – constitutes one of the poles of the South Atlantic system. So much so that the WIC and Portuguese Crown alike considered taking Buenos Aires from the Spanish with the aim of better controlling trade between Luanda and Potosí. This peruleiro (the name given to Portuguese traders in the region of upper Peru) plot designed by people from Rio de Janeiro gave rise to the Colônia do Sacramento, the illegal outpost by the River Plate, founded in 1680 by a Luso-Brazilian expedition led from Guanabara Bay.

The Luso-Brazilian Intervention in Central Africa

Deprived of the African pole of the South Atlantic system after their expulsion from Angola, besieged at Pernambuco, and weakened by the defeat of the United Provinces during the first Anglo-Dutch War, the WIC surrendered at Recife in 1654. These facts are exemplary in more than one way. All at once, the Portuguese and Dutch perceived the South Atlantic slave system as one front, confirming the strategic unity of the South American and African enclaves. But military operations in Africa present another interest. Elmina, where the Portuguese busied themselves above all in acquiring African gold that was immediately dispatched to the metropolis, remained in the hands of the Dutch. In return, Angola was seized once again by Lisbon thanks to the support provided by South American colonists. Salvador de Sá himself became governor of Angola in 1648. He was later succeeded by other governors who came from Brazil or who were bound up with Luso-Brazilian interests. One could undoubtedly do no better than name the colonists settled in Portuguese America Brasílicos, as they were already called in the sixteenth century,10 suggesting that they possessed a solid regional identity (the Paulistas, the Pernambucans) distinct from metropolitans (the reinóis), without, as Brazilian historiography will later claim, constituting a supra-regional or proto-national community. Increasing the number of their transatlantic interventions, which have no equivalent among other American colonists, the Brasílicos emerge unquestionably as actors in the rivalries that clashed in Central Africa. In opposition to established colonists – the Angolistas – and the Crown itself, they asserted their own interests within African territory. Brasílicos and Angolistas alike are agents that were involved in the formation of the South Atlantic system.

Each of the three Brasílico governors of Angola – Salvador de Sá (1648-1652), João Fernandes Vieira (1658-1661) and André Vidal de Negreiros (1661-1666) – and the officers that accompanied them, owned slave properties in Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco, or Paraíba, from where they watched the development of Angola. They knew that that the regional slave market was in the hands of Angolista merchants and their native pombeiros, who acted as brokers between the ports and the markets of the interior (sertão). Having settled in Luanda, the governors, who sought to bypass these intermediaries, launched several raids (guerras do sertão)against the rebellious natives and those suspected as such, capturing them and later deporting them to their Brazilian properties. These raids, however, disarranged the network of pombeiros and sertão markets, destabilizing regular land trade and resulting in the displeasure of the Angolistas. For this reason the Angolistas, in a petition sent to the Crown in 1660, protested against these wars, which ended up “blocking common trade” within the entire region.11

Other reasons help explicate Lisbon’s opposition to the intervention of Brasílicos. In the middle of a troubled period, the raids launched by the governors mobilized troops toward the hostile and insalubrious lands of the interior, leaving the port of Luanda at the mercy of a seaborne assault. In fact, the armed truce between Portugal and the United Provinces was a tense one. In Lisbon, therefore, people feared that the Dutch, who reappeared in the Congo Estuary, would launch a counter-attack on Luanda. Similarly, Spain, which was at peace with France (The Treaty of the Pyrenees, 1659) but continuously at war with Portugal, was capable of surrounding the Lusitanian territories. Without access to African markets, Madrid – leaning on Spanish capuchins settled in the Kingdom of the Congo – might send a naval expedition in the direction of Angola. Between 1650 and 1660, Luanda was on several occasions informed of a Dutch or Spanish threat.

During this same period, a number of mulatto militiamen arriving from Pernambuco played a major role at the Battle of Ambuila (1665), which broke up the Kingdom of Congo. Coordinated by the governor of Angola, André Vidal de Negreiros – former commander of the Brasílico forces that defeated the Dutch at Pernambuco and grand proprietor of sugar mills in Paraíba – Ambuila is the most important colonial battle of black Africa in the modern era. There too, one discovers the participation of colonists from Brazil. Unlike other Angolan governors, coming generally from Lisbon or Portuguese Asia with an administrative or concrete knowledge of indigenous hierarchies, Brasílicos remained strangers to the idea of native sovereignty. Nurtured by the South American experience – which included the subjugation of Indian communities and wars against quilombos (Maroon villages) – these governors considered the kingdom of Congo, whose independence was even recognized by Rome and Lisbon, a runaway-slave refuge, or a quasi-quilombo. Despite the reservations of Angolistas and the Court, the resultant Brasílico colonialism provided, in the long run, the Portuguese occupation with a more solid foundation. Between the middle of the seventeenth century and the middle of the eighteenth century, no less than ten Brasílico campaigns were organized in order to help the Angolistas; and there was at least one intervention carried out by Brasílico troops in Mozambique at the end of the seventeenth century.12

Inured to war in the tropics, partially immune to the diseases of the region – the cause of heavy losses among the soldiers arriving from the metropolis – Brasílicos proved to be better adapted to the theater of operations in Africa. Fighting with wheel-lock rifles, and later percussion rifles, more suited to ambushes and tropical humidity than the matchlocks used by European troops, eating cassava and dried meat, marching in sandals or barefooted, this “new model of colonial army” intensifies the plundering carried out by the slave trade. In addition, royal functionaries, missionaries, merchants, and adventurers who contributed to the expansion of Portuguese domination in Central Africa traveled between Brazil and Angola.

We should bear in mind that between 1648 and 1810 several bishops and a dozen governors in Angola occupied similar posts within Portuguese America, before or after having assumed their functions in Luanda.13 Some studies devoted to the careers of late seventeenth-century governors highlight the activities of royal officers who were connected through business and familial ties within the arrangement of exchanges in the South Atlantic.14 Soon thereafter, governorships were reserved for members of the metropolitan aristocracy, although some other functions in Angola were still carried out by colonists arriving from Brazil.15 In the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the decline of gold mining in Minas Gerais pushed adventurers and small businessmen toward the other side of the ocean.16

In order to approximate best the changes that took place after the Thirty Years’ War, which Charles Boxer calls the “first world war,” we should not turn to Lisbon, but rather to Rome. The new map of dioceses drawn up by Innocent XI (1676-1689), took into account not only geopolitics, but also trade circuits and their ease or difficulty. For this reason Salvador de Bahia in Brazil, raised to archiepiscopal rank in 1676, possesses authority not only over the Brazilian dioceses of Olinda and Rio de Janeiro, created that year, but also over the dioceses of Luanda and São Tomé (which included the harbor areas in the Gulf of Guinea), while the Episcopal See of São Luís (Maranhão in northern Brazil) was a suffragan of the Lisboan metropolis. Until 1845, Episcopal cartography codified and consolidated the South-Atlantic space in which Brazil took shape.

If it is true that African slavery asserts itself as the dominant form of labor within Portuguese America, it is no less true that the subjugation of Indians continues to play a decisive role within the regions not integrated into the Atlantic market, as is the case in São Paulo in the seventeenth century and in the Amazon until the last quarter of the eighteenth.

Expansion and Decline of Servile Amerindian Labor

On the margins of Rio de Janeiro’s African connection, colonists in São Paulo expanded food-producing cultivation, notably the cultivation of wheat, and other activities founded on the subjugation of Amerindians.17 Amerindians were already employed in the transportation of goods and persons through the precipitous path separating the maritime port of Santos from the plateau of São Paulo. A preliminary question must be asked: what were the dimensions of the grain market in Portuguese America?

Somewhat isolated from Lisbon and the territories of the north, the government of Bahia was supplied by colonists from the south since the maritime stage of the Dutch-Portuguese War (1621-1630). The export of foodstuffs from São Paulo to the north increased with the movement of troops and the disembarkation in Bahia of Iberian soldiers who had come to battle the Dutch. The difficulty of obtaining fresh supplies became worse after 1640, when the Portuguese-Spanish conflict deprived Brazilian ports of the comestibles and dried meats exported from La Plata. It is within this context of a breakdown in the import of African producers and foodstuffs that the great Paulista “bandeirantes” campaigns are launched to capture Amerindians, particularly in the Jesuit missions of Guyará. Seeking slaves, Portuguese American colonists not only crossed the ocean toward Africa but also entered Spanish territories, in the direction of Paraguay.

The Indians captured in the south are not sold to the planters of the northeast. They remain in captivity in São Paulo and, to a lesser degree, in Rio de Janeiro, used as they were in the transportation of goods, in the construction and maintenance of infrastructures and defense works, and, above all, in the production of foods that supplement the shortage of European, porteña and Brazilian comestibles in the ports of the northeast.18

This all suggests that the number of Indians captured and placed in captivity between 1625 and 1650 is equal to that of Africans introduced to Portuguese and Dutch Brazil throughout the same period. Globally, the number of Africans deported to the Americas, the islands of the Atlantic, and the Iberian Peninsula constitutes less than 150,000 during this quarter of a century.19 Concentrated in the south, and having brought about the capture of approximately 100,000 Indians, the bandeirante expeditions between 1627 and 1640 emerge as one of the most predatory slave operations of the modern era. Several indexes confirm that the Paulistas’ grand forays took place in a situation wherein the breakdown of the Atlantic trade caused the price of African slaves to double in Portuguese America – a rise, moreover, that motivated the only two seventeenth-century slave-trader expeditions between Mozambique and Brazil, in 1643 and 1644, which sought to compensate for the loss of Elmina and Luanda.20

In this connection, the slave-trade operations of colonists from Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco, incorporated into Atlantic circuits, contrast sharply with the Paulistas’ continental enterprises, founded on the subjugation of Indians and the production of comestibles for the interregional market. Experienced in land forays, the Paulistas mobilized warrior slaves (servos de guerra), typically Temiminó Indians, in order to form mobile columns of hundreds of combatants.21

The divergence of interests between colonists from Rio de Janeiro and those from São Paulo experienced its most striking manifestation in 1648. While Salvador de Sá brought together militiamen from the Guanabara Bay, Bahia, and Pernambuco for his transatlantic expedition, the Paulistas went off on their own. Worse still, since 1640, the year in which Pope Urban VIII’s encyclical against the enslavement of Indians was declared, they had been engaged in a rebellion against the Crown that was prolonged until 1654. Having expelled the Jesuits from their city, the Paulistas refused to obey royal orders that required them to readmit the missionaries and to restore the Indian goods and villages under their jurisdiction. In the month of April of 1648, while Salvador de Sá’s fleet prepared to raise anchor from Guanabara to fight a battle in Angola, the chief bandeirante Rapôso Tavares and his men departed from São Paulo, beginning their long trek in search of Indian slaves. For more than three years, they cross the forests and savannahs of the Center-West, descend the Mamoré, Madeira, and Amazon rivers, all the way to Belém, carrying out a journey of close to ten thousand kilometers.22 Little noticed, the concomitance of these two antagonistic expeditions reveals the political dilemmas engendered by the enslavement of Amerindians. Evolving outside of the Atlantic merchant networks, the circuits of Indian slaving evaded the Crown’s control.

The Paulistas’ situation became more uncertain during the second half of the seventeenth century. The Dutch withdrawl from Angola and Pernambuco reintroduced the import of Africans and of European comestibles, displacing São Paulo products from regional markets. Gradually, the cultivation of wheat disappeared from the Paulistas’ countryside and memory.23

Some colonists left the region. Besides those who set out for the São Francisco valley to devote themselves to cattle raising, other groups from São Paulo enlisted as mercenaries in the pay of authorities and cattle farmers grappling with the Indians of the northeast. In the course of one of these forays, the chief bandeirante, Domingos Jorge Velho, and his four hundred men attacked Palmares [the great Maroon kingdom in what is now Northeastern Brazil] several times – at the request of the governor of Pernambuco – destroying it in 1694. A dispute over the surrounding lands – land that had been promised to the Paulistas as recompense for their victory – then began between the Paulistas and regional proprietors. Underlining the royal guarantees which had been given to him regarding these lands, Velho added, “If not, for what reason would the supplicants [the Paulistas] have abandoned a land incomparably vaster and better – excluding its distance from maritime places – which belonged to them without opposition, to come and conquer others?”24 This is a crucial question that illustrates a fact: the land had value only if it were found within an accessible region.

Pleading their case, the Paulistas explain that the lands in Palmares were better because they were located in the vicinity, not of a simple port, but of a “maritime place,” that is, of a port connected to the Atlantic market. Their petition returns to this point in addressing the land shortage in São Paulo: “The intention of the aforementioned Paulistas is to attract many other colonists [moradores], their compatriots, who wish to spread out, because in São Paulo there are no longer any lands where they can cultivate and plant.” To believe the bandeirantes, in the middle of the seventeenth century, there were no longer any vacant lands. What can be said about such a paradox? Simply this: the Paulistas owned Indian captives and lands in São Paulo that had become useless due to waning activity at the port of Santos, a decline in the demand for comestibles from the interior, or the isolation of their properties. There one touches upon one of the fundamental ideas underpinning the notion of commercial circuits in Braudelian analysis: “completion impossible, business impossible.”25

One could object that other Paulistas were able to settle in the sertão, away from the coastline. Although this is true, it remains limited to cattle raising. Jorge Velho’s compatriots themselves wanted to “cultivate and plant” in the northeast, where the only profitable crops were tobacco or sugar cane. But in order to transform the output of their lands and of their Indians into commodities, they were required to go through traders found in maritime places. Yet these buyers of regional output also controlled the sale of products imported from Europe and of African slaves. Ultimately, it is through market supply that both the slave trade and black slavery spread throughout the colonial space. The circuit is in this way completed. The enclave of São Paulo was subsequently going to be grafted onto metropolitan merchant networks.

This is the process that elsewhere we have called the “colonization of colonists”:26 the Crown learned to direct the flow of Brazilian rivers toward the metropolitan sea; the colonists understood that the apprenticeship of colonization had to coincide with the apprenticeship of the metropolitan market. Only then do colonial domination and colonial exploitation understand and complement each other. At this stage, the lack of land and labor has little to do with South American geography and Amerindian demography: it is a question of the connected variables that fit into the wider-ranging whole shaped by colonial slavery. Various reports of metropolitan ministers observe, from the middle of the seventeenth century, the preeminence of the Angolan slave trade, the decline of Amerindian populations, and the fact that they are no longer an alternative to servile African labor. For Lisbon, the exploitation of Brazilian territory became a Portuguese and African affair.27 Is it necessary to recall that the slave trade was transformed into an important source of revenue for merchants and the Crown, and that, without access to the Spanish asiento, Portuguese slave traders were henceforth required to search for slave markets in Brazil? In any event, it is worth noting that four of the five signatory ministers of the report, in 1656, on the decline of Amerindians and the advantages of Angolans had links to the slave trade.

Cattle Raising and Repopulation

In the middle of the seventeenth century, the development of cattle raising in Brazil acquired a new dimension within the Portuguese Empire. As is known, cattle breeding increased food supplies within coastal plantations, allowing for an increase in the concentration of slaves used in export agriculture. Entitled Brasilia qua parte paret Belgis, a map representing Dutch territory in South America in 1647 already indicates the advance of cattle within the São Francisco valley. This is the reason why the region constitutes one of the stakes of Luso-Dutch negotiations behind the treaties of Westphalia.

Extending the occupied territory, including in the south, where herds from Jesuit missions were scattered, the rapid development of beef herds transformed colonial society. Beginning in the 1680s, livestock farming was partially drawn by the Atlantic market with the startup of tobacco exports, whose rolls were wrapped in leather that represented 15% of the exported product’s price.28

One must point out that extensive farming created production relations unfavorable to the slave system. The weak presence of merchant capital, the nature of the production process, and the absence of the direct control of owners reduce slavery’s influence in the heart of these ranches, although one there observes the presence of black, Indian or mixed-race captives, cowherds paid in kind or by the piece for pasturing the herds and driving them to markets.29 Whether he was free or not, the cowherd of the São Francisco sertão – called a “curraleiro” – had few things in common with the captives or free farmers supervised by the mill masters from the coast. An activity ancillary to export agriculture, cattle farming extends the market zones, drives the Indians off of their lands and extends domination throughout the hinterlands. Here we find ourselves within a logic of colonial repopulation: the natives are expelled or eliminated while their territory is repopulated by colonists and black and mixed-race captives.30 Undoing the isolation of the state of Grão-Pará e Maranhão (the Portuguese Amazon), the raids against Indians and the advance of cattle open up routes to the northeast and to the territories of the north, otherwise isolated due to opposing maritime currents. In his Crônica on the Amazon (1698), Father Bettendorf records the gripping event that occurred in the year 1696: the arrival in Belém (at the mouth of the Amazon), “of men from Brazil”:31 farmers who came on horseback from Bahia, across the vast savannahs of the backcountry, to solicit the governor of Pará in order to obtain pastureland for their cattle.

Throughout the Portuguese overseas, the colonial repopulation of Brazil already marked a difference. Comparing the scarce data available for the seventeenth century, one might note that in India, the population of Portuguese origin declined and consisted of less than two thousand individuals; that in Angola it remained stagnant at somewhere between three and five thousand colonists; while in Brazil this population had doubled, reaching one hundred thousand people in 1700.32

The Brazilian-African Bilateral Trade

A number of South American commodities for their part subtend Luso-Brazilian operations in the Gulf of Guinea and in Central Africa. Several indexes show that the export of cowries (zimbos) from the beaches of Bahia – ignored by many researchers – possessed considerable importance. Standard currencies in Angola and in the Congo, these Bahian zimbos stimulated sixteenth- and seventeenth-century South Atlantic circuits.33 Moreover, facing the difficulty of storing foodstuffs in the tropics, colonists, sailors, servicemen, and merchants appreciated the preservability of cassava, sweet potato, peanut, and corn cultivated by Amerindians. Introduced in West African ports, in Luanda and in Mpinda (at the mouth of the Congo), these plants were later cultivated on the farms of Jesuits from Bengo, close to Luanda. In this well-irrigated zone, the missionaries – assisted by many slaves – transplanted fruits of South American origin, like the banana, the papaya, the guava, the Cayenne cherry (pitanga) and the araçá, a fruit-bearing myrtle tree. Sometimes possessing nutritious and curative qualities, these foodstuffs and their fruits were also cultivated along paths, facilitating the expansion of land trade and the maintenance of captives.34

Known since the Pre-Columbian era by the peoples of Tupi-Guarani as ouï-antan (“war flour”), manioc flour was exported from Brazil to Africa until the nineteenth century. At the same time, one witnesses the rapid development of the Angolan production of this foodstuff, whose sum total, around 1630, could represent a third of the value of blacks exported from Luanda.35 Little by little, manioc became an essential component of the “slave diet” on both sides of the South Atlantic and in a part of the Antilles.36

Tobacco exports from Bahia permitted Portuguese trade to recover a footing in the Gulf of Guinea, in spite of the loss of Elmina and competition from other European markets within the region. These bilateral exchanges of slaves for tobacco were maintained as late as the middle of the nineteenth century, not without creating conflicts between colonial merchants and metropolitan merchants. It is again in the last decades of the seventeenth century that Brazilian exports of jeribita (or cachaça, an alcohol made from sugar cane)to Angola are initiated. Competing with Portuguese wine and eau de vie (aguardente) on the Angolan market, measures were taken in Luanda, under pressure from metropolitan exporters, against the import of this Brazilian drink. A few years later, in 1690, these prohibitions were lifted, thanks to a collusion of interests between sugar cane planters, jeribita manufacturers, merchants, and slave traders from Brazil and Angola. Exemplifying the dynamism of inter-colonial exchanges, Brazilian products gained the advantage over metropolitan products in Angola – all, of course, in the interest of the slave traders and of the South Atlantic system.37 Exported to Africa, jeribita played at that time an anticyclic role during the economic crisis at the end of the seventeenth century. This product upheld Afro-Brazilian exchanges and reduced the price of slaves acquired by planters from Portuguese America. From this point of view, jeribita’s arrival in the Atlantic circuits made it one of the first distilled drinks to be exported on a large scale. It helped to anchor Angolan trade further in the Brazilian market. After Brazil’s independence (1822), Angolistas protested against new Portuguese tariffs which, quite naturally, taxed jeribita as much as foreign eau de vie. According to them, the preservation of these tariffs would bring about “the all but total destruction of trade in Angola.”38

The Justification of the Slave Trade by the Jesuits

We know that important Iberian missionaries explained to American colonists and to the metropolis the correlation between the emancipation of Amerindians and the enslavement of blacks.39 Those missionaries believed that the introduction of Africans would reduce the pressures on the labor of Amerindian communities required to fulfill the corvée. African slavery thus became a necessary compensation for the catechization and freedom of Amerindians. As regards to this subject, we should briefly recall the particular attitude of Portuguese Jesuits with respect to the African slave trade.

Having arrived in the Congo in 1548 and in Angola in 1560, the Jesuits lend a strong hand to the governor, Paulo Dias Novais, during the conquest of the region. As Superior of the Luandan order, Father Balthazar Barreira – considered in his time as the greatest expert on African affairs – supported the legitimacy of the slave trade, and in particular of the Angolan trade, in his correspondence with the lay intelligentsia in Salamanca, Évora, and Coimbra, who raised doubts about the matter.40 Soon afterwards, his successor in Luanda, Father Luis Brandão, presented a peremptory defense of the Angolan slave trade in response to Father Alonso Sandoval’s inquiry regarding African slavery.41

The Jesuits in Angola, as the result of their guardianship over village communities combined with bequests left by colonists, became proprietors, like their counterparts in Brazil, of a certain number of slaves, notably on their farms in Bengo. Exempt from the payment of export taxes, they oriented the trafficking of Angolans toward their sugar mills and their college in Bahia, where they possessed many slaves as well. Involved in the slave trade circuit, engaged in both missionary work and the material life of the South Atlantic slave system’s two poles, the Portuguese Jesuits were – more than any other religious order – directly invested in the slave trade. Some colonists, several authorities, and even some Italian capuchins in Angola challenged them on this subject.

It is within this context that the Jesuit António Vieira (1608-1697) takes a decisive step by setting forth an audacious justification for the Atlantic slave trade. In his sermons delivered to the blacks of the Bahian friary, Our Lady of the Rosary, Vieira explains the “great miracle” accomplished by their holy protectress: the transplantation of Africans to Brazil delivers them from a certain death in paganism, ensuring the health of their souls in a Christian land. To better understand the argument, we should add that over the years the Jesuits manifested less and less enthusiasm for their Angolan missions. They believed that the unfortunate climate and epidemiological environment, as well as the natives’ resistance, blocked evangelization in this part of the globe. In the interests of their health, it was necessary to remove Africans from Africa and to enslave them: the present captivity of their bodies assured the future liberty of their souls. This is precisely what Father Vieira says in his Bahian sermons: “The captivity of the first transmigration (transmigração) is ordained by Her grace [Our Lady of the Rosary] for the liberty of the second.” In other words, deportation to Brazil is presented as anticipating the migration of souls to Heaven….

The thesis that Vieira expounds – that the slave trade can save souls from paganism – was not new.42 It had been formulated at the very beginning of the African slave trade by Pope Nicolas V,43 and disseminated throughout Brazil and Portugal, where Father Vieira published his sermons a few years later.44 And the author of Peregrino da América (1728), a book of Christian morality that underwent five editions in the eighteenth century, constituting a colonial “best-seller,” contributed to spreading Vieira’s ideas concerning the evangelizing role of the slave trade.45

The religious justification of the slave trade coincided with its civil legislation, which resulted from the Crown’s taxation of the slave. In fact, the levying of taxes on each deportee, sanctioned by the Crown’s seal branded with red iron onto the bodies of Africans, granted – upon departure from Luanda – royal recognition of the lawfulness of the slave property. From this transatlantic perspective, the debate concerning the legitimacy of slavery in Brazil became a secondary exercise, and, in the instruction provided by professors from Coimbra and in the decisions of colonial authorities, the proof was already there:46 why call into question the right to possess slaves in America if this right has already been ratified, by the prince and by the Church, the moment the slave trader purchased the slave in Angola?

Gold and the Inter-regional Division of Labor

At the turn of the seventeenth century, the mining of Brazilian gold, a source of profound transformations within the Portuguese Atlantic, begins. Little by little, the growing number of prospecting sites in the hinterlands draws out a vast mining polygon, with its center located in Minas Gerais and its angles in Mato Grosso, Goiás, and Bahia. A new stage in the history of the South Atlantic subsequently opens.

In the beginning, the Crown sought to restrict exchanges with the interior, in order better to incorporate the mining regions within metropolitan networks, especially in view of the reversal of alliances that Lisbon carried out after the War of Spanish Succession, which rendered Portuguese America vulnerable to attacks and, in particular, to French naval incursions.47 In agreement with this policy of containing the gold mines, the opening of the “Caminho Novo” (1701), connecting Minas Gerais to Rio de Janeiro, was completed through the interlocking of paths between Minas and the territories of Bahia and Espírito Santo. The discovery of gold in Goiás (1725) pushed the Court to restrict access to the region to only one route, eliminating contact with Maranhão in the north. Finally, the opening of new paths toward the mines was prohibited in 1733. These measures stemmed from laws that had curbed the emigration of metropolitans to the colony since 1720.

But the colonists continued to spread throughout the mining zones, bringing about a new turn of the metropolitan screw. An embargo was placed on the collection of gold in Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Maranhão, while the prospecting of diamonds in Minas Gerais was placed under the direct control of the Crown. A singular case during the colonial period, a biannual head tax – levied on merchants, on artisans, on each slave and each free prospector – was applied to the mining regions between 1735 and 1750.48 Operations prone to squander capital and blacks at the gold mines were banned. In fact, the Crown had prohibited the construction of sugar mills and the production of cachaça in Minas Gerais since 1714. Partially applied, this legislation contributed nonetheless to the concentration of productive forces within the dominant branch of economic activity in each territory. Under these conditions, the administrative and fiscal web pierced the regional economic specializations around the mining polygon.

With the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Madrid (1750), one witnesses a complete inversion of royal directives: the policy of containment is succeeded by a state interventionism having territorial expansion in mind. Previously prohibited, riverine connections across the 5,000 km separating Mato Grosso from the port of Belém (at the mouth of the Amazon) were thus authorized in 1748. In order to stimulate trade between the two regions by way of the Guaporé, Madeira, and Amazon rivers, the Crown granted the merchants of Belém the monopoly of the sale of salt to Mato Grosso. Similarly, Africans imported to Mato Grosso through northern waterways, and not by the usual paths from the southeast leading to São Paulo and to Rio de Janeiro, would be exempt from taxes (1752). In 1770, a decree determined that all trade from Mato Grosso should only be done via the rivers leading to the port of Belém.49 From that moment on, the Crown depended on the dynamic of the mining regions in order to redeploy colonists and transportation routes, in view of a better occupation of the territory gained from Spain [with the Treaty of Madrid].

Activities in the south of the colony, which were more characteristic of the consolidation of regional economies within the mining network, illustrate the scope of the new territorial politics. Besides the cattle coming from the fazendas (large properties) of the São Francisco valley, Minas Gerais received, as of the 1730s, via São Paulo, horses and in particular mules from the southern plains — mules whose increasing use helped the circuits of transportation and population evolve. Some directives regarding the mule trade were decreed by Luiz Antônio de Souza, the Morgado de Mateus,50 governor of São Paulo from 1765-1775, whose jurisdiction extended above all throughout the south of Portuguese America.51 Having prohibited mule raising in Mato Grosso, Goiás and in Minas Gerais, Souza reserved this activity for farmers from southern prairies, who drove herds up to markets in both São Paulo and Minas Gerais, along paths lined with posts for royal collection (registros) of tolls (entrada) on the “beasts coming from the South.”52

The Crown subsequently benefited from the deterritorialization of mule reproduction, obtaining three advantages: complementarity of regional economies, the growth of market and tax department revenues, and the consolidation of the southern frontier, the only point of contact between Portuguese and Spaniards. This politics of economic and regional complementarity, which de Souza’s successors adhered to, marked the mule market until the middle of the nineteenth century.53

This schema of mule trading helps us to understand the profits obtained by the deterritorialization of slave reproduction in the Atlantic. To be sure, by acquiring blacks, the colonists of Brazil developed an economy that complemented that of Portuguese possessions in Africa, increased the profits of merchants and of the royal Treasury, and strengthened the Portuguese presence in American and African lands. From the transatlantic point of view, it has been observed that the diversification of trade in Portuguese America was sustained by access to new ports in the Gulf of Guinea and by the increased consignments of the Angolan trade. The slave trade became invaluable for assuring the development of the ensemble of Brazilian regions. Unloaded in greater numbers, directed toward new and traditional trade sectors, Africans labored on littoral plantations while developing the mines and annexed zones of the backcountry. The intensification of trade reduced the intra-sectional productivity gaps (existing between the different regions of the coast devoted to export agriculture) and the intersectional profitability gaps (between mines and agriculture). In other words, the continued flux of Africans amortized – to the benefit of less dynamic regions and forms of trade – the competitive effect created by the transfer of Africans and capital to the mining zones.

Seeking to occupy the territory gained as a result of the Treaty of Madrid (1705), which redrew the borders of the Portuguese and Spanish empires, the Crown promoted an interregional division of labor around gold-producing zones. Posts for military training and tax collection were installed along communication routes. From Viamão (near Porto Alegre), in the south, to Alcobaça (Pará), well in the north, from Cuiabá (Mato Grosso), in the far west, to Paraty (Rio de Janeiro), south of the Atlantic coast, no less than 138 registros dotted the continental circuit of trade formed around the gold and diamond mines in the eighteenth century.

The Reforms of the Marquis de Pombal

Accelerating Atlantic exchanges, Brazilian gold exposed the political and economic vulnerability of the metropolis. Moreover, it was well known in Europe: Portugal, a “precarious power which has no other sovereignty than independence,” mined gold from Brazil “for the account of some Englishmen for whom it is nothing more than the middleman,” declared the Marquis de Mirabeau. Voltaire spoke of the same thing: “It is on behalf of the English, in fact, that the Portuguese have toiled in America.”54 These reflections date from 1756, when the production of Brazilian gold was at its height. The Marquis de Pombal, the all-powerful minister in Lisbon between the years 1755 and 1777, would have challenged neither one. Indeed, it is this assessment that led Pombal to formulate – a novelty in Europe – a project of national development in a situation defined by dependence on another power – an initiative that brought about the reorganization of Portuguese trade with England and the definition of an industrial politics in the metropolis.55

Within the South Atlantic, Lisbon was to take up a completely different challenge. Boosted by gold, the slave trade gave rise to a loss of equilibrium within Atlantic exchanges, to the detriment of metropolitans and to the advantage of Brazilian slave traders. Thus the most emblematic measures are taken within the domain of the organization of labor. At the instigation of the Crown, two trade companies, “Companhia Geral do Grão Pará e Maranhão” (CGGPM) and “Companhia Geral de Pernambuco e Paraíba” (CGPP), were founded in Lisbon, in 1755 and 1759 respectively, in order, among other things, to provide the north and northeast of Portuguese America with slaves. Funded by the governments of Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, the CGGPM was intended to stimulate commercial agriculture on the Amazonian littoral by providing slaves from Bissau. The transatlantic dimension of their allocation demonstrates the shortcomings of any analysis that limits the colonial history of Brazil to the Brazilian colonial territory.

Extending beyond commercial transactions, the CGGPM mobilized African slavery in order to initiate the Amazon’s passage from a forest gathering economy to a plantation economy. On its initiative began the cultivation of white rice and the regular planting of cacao and cotton, until then mostly gathered in the forest. Developing cattle raising and granting loans to the Crown, moreover, the CGGPM facilitated the construction and population of frontier forts on the Amazon and in Guinea-Bissau.56 For this reason, the Portuguese Crown was able to consolidate its territories flanking the Spanish Empire in South America, and in Senegambia, where the presence of the French became progressively significant.57

For its part, the CGPP bought Africans in the Gulf of Guinea and Angola to sell them in Pernambuco, in Paraíba, and throughout the surrounding regions. In addition to establishing measures aiming to reorient shipping toward African ports better controlled by Lisbon, the company favored the participation of metropolitan merchants in a branch that up to that point had been monopolized by Brasílicos. Furthermore, analysis of company stockholders shows that the majority of them resided in Portugal, confirming that the operation sought to reduce the hold Bahians had on Atlantic trade.58 But these last came to oppose the inclusion of the Bahian territory in the region covered by the company. The Crown nevertheless placed Pernambuco, Paraíba and their annexed territories – regions dominated up to that point by Bahian merchants – under the monopoly of the CGPP. Consequently, throughout the years 1760-1770, all of the territory north of the São Francisco River (that is, the largest part of the northeast, and of lands allowing access to the mines, including the Amazon), fell under the control of the two companies.59

Isolated from the markets of the mining polygon, the slave trade in Bahia underwent a refocusing that worked in favor of sugar cane and tobacco planters, who were able to acquire the majority of the regional supply of Africans. Ultimately, despite the metropolitan commercial offensive, the Bahian markets pulled through. Through an increase of marginal gains, obtained thanks to a reduction in the weight of tobacco rolls exported to Africa, they were able to compensate for losses brought about by restricted access to the markets of the gold mines.60 In fact, when he stressed England’s ascendancy over Portugal, the Marquis de Mirabeau referred to the power struggle operating on the northern side of the Atlantic system. King Agonglo’s dissatisfaction with the smaller tobacco rolls points to the situation that prevailed on the southern side. One can, therefore, retrace the chain reactions generated by the asymmetrical exchanges that underlie the Portuguese Empire in the eighteenth century: England taxed Portugal, who taxed the Brazilian colonists, and they themselves the African aristocracies, and those, finally, their village communities.61

For all that, Portuguese and Luso-Brazilian cooperation within the South Atlantic met its limits. After the two companies ceased to trade (the CGGPM in 1778, the CGPP in 1780), the African slave trade continued to slip away from metropolitan circuits. A point of no return had been reached in the Gulf of Guinea, where the domination of Bahian and Pernambucan slave traders (who also exported tobacco) was a fait accompli. Such are the conclusions of the Portuguese overseas councilor, in a memorandum addressed in 1779 to the governor of Bahia.62

Further down the African coast, the rivalry between metropolitan and colonial slave traders had other consequences. In order to get around Lisboan competition in Luanda, Brazilian trade, and in particular that of Rio de Janeiro, increased slave traffic departing from the port of Benguela.63 Immediately following Brazilian independence, in 1822, the government of Angola warned Lisbon of anti-metropolitan movements existing in Luanda, and above all in Benguela: “The public opinion is steered by some rich men whose interests are closely tied to the slave trade from Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco.”64 In fact, there was only one part of Portuguese South America to have been transformed by the intervention of Pombal’s companies: the Amazon. Indeed other circumstances accelerated these transformations, at first within this region, and later throughout all of Brazil.

The Enlightenment and Indian Policies

One can measure the simultaneous development of the organization of the slave trade and Amerindian politics, in noting that the three royal edicts drafted by the Marquis de Pombal – declaring the Indians of the Amazon free, transferring the control of native villages held by Jesuits to officers of the Crown, and creating the chartered company (CGGPM) in order to introduce Africans into the region – were signed without delay by King Jean V, on June 6 and 7, 1755.65 Once again, the slave trade’s role as instrument of colonial politics reemerged. Once more, the bondage of Africans appeared as the guarantor of the freedom of Indians. To pull the Amazon out of the seclusion preserved by Jesuit missions, the Crown had to connect the region to the African market, as a means to link it eventually to metropolitan circuits.

After the Jesuits had been isolated and the order expelled from the kingdom (1759), the royal code, which was decreed in 1758 – the Directório – was the instrument through which the royal administration upheld the preeminence of secular thought over religious thought in the process dedicated to the social integration of Indians.66 Applied to the whole of Portuguese America since 1759, the code’s ninety-five articles concern, among other things, the management of Indians (transformation of settlements [aldeamentos] into villages enjoying municipal franchises, recognition of Indian leadership), the organization of villages (construction of homes for each household in place of collective dwellings) and the economy (increase in the cultivation of cassava, beans, corn and “all comestibles”; growth of exchanges “so that the Indian can be civilized by the gentle means of trade and of communication”). This last point allows us to grasp one of the principle objectives of the Directório: the managed labor of Indians was meant to complement the servile labor of Africans. Hence the emphasis placed on the cultivation of “comestibles,” intended to counterbalance the chronic shortage in the supply of foodstuffs, caused by the hypertrophy of slave production oriented toward exportation.

The advancement of the Indian fit into imperial geopolitics, providing foundation stones for territories delimited by the Treaty of Madrid. It was necessary to guarantee the freedom of the nomadic tribes of the south, the Marquis de Pombal wrote to the general charged with drawing up the new Luso-Spanish frontiers, so “that they find more advantages living in the territories of Portugal than in those of Spain.”67 The majority of these measures unquestionably remained dead letters and the confiscation of Indian aldeamentos placed tribes under a new kind of servitude. Employed in the fabrication of canoes and small boats, forced to serve as rowers for merchants, functionaries, and clerics, the Amazonian Indians were severely exploited.68 Even though the code continued to have supporters in Portugal and in Brazil, the Marquis de Pombal’s reversal in 1777 led to the annulment of the Directório in 1794. This code nevertheless represented a turning point in colonial politics.

What is most interesting about it is the application – for the first time in the West – of the concepts “civilization” and “civility” to a body of laws concerning thousands of natives, in the heart of a territory of continental dimensions. 69 Recasting from scratch royal legislation and missionary practices relating to Indians, the Directório and its corresponding legislation drew their inspiration from the very sources of the rationalist and universalist ideology of the Enlightenment. “His Majesty decided that after the discovery of Brazil no other matter had become as important as the civility of the Indians, and that the difficulties encountered in gathering them into society arose from our barbarity and nor theirs,” wrote the Overseas Council in 1771.70

Absent as such from the Directório, the word “civilization” appeared for the first time in Portuguese in the “Plan for the Civilization of Brazilian Indians…,” composed in 1788 by a Luso-Brazilian officer.71 Nevertheless, we know that the Marquis de Mirabeau’s aforementioned book – in which the concept of civilization was originally announced – was commented on in 1758, in Bahia, during the royal advisors’ meetings on the application of the new Indian code. 72

The commitment to the lay virtues of power, labor, and civilization, the training of Indians by a number of civil directors, their role in the defense of colonial frontiers, the superior character of their village law, the conjunction between the method for “civilizing” and the search for socially useful labor (one should write colonially useful), emerge as equally original elements. From this viewpoint, the Directório presents itself as a key document among colonial doctrines conveying the ideology of progress developed in the West throughout the nineteenth century. It is also during the Pombalian period, and around the mining pole, that Brazil assumes a more well-defined social profile. For the first time since the arrival of Europeans, colonists coming from the different territories encounter each other in the middle of Portuguese America, pouring into the cities of Minas Gerais. Little by little, the Brasílicos become Brasileiros. Previously designating the trader of Brazilian wood, this last word takes on, during the eighteenth century, its generic and present meaning, namely Brazilian.73

The Napoleonic Wars and Brazilian Independence

Not unlike the upheavals provoked overseas by the Thirty Years’ War, the international conflicts at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries changed the cartography of the South Atlantic.

Chased from Lisbon by French troops, the Portuguese court transferred to Rio de Janeiro in 1808. In contrast to the drop in the production of gold and diamonds, commercial agriculture had been booming for two decades. To sugar cane, tobacco, leather (more and more exported from the South), and other traditional commodities, cacao and cotton were added, as well as two crops newly introduced into the territory: white rice and coffee.74 At the same time, one witnesses disruptions in competing agricultural zones. The American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, the continental blockade, and uprisings in Spanish America all brought about a rise in the price of tropical commodities, favoring Brazilian exports. Decreed in Rio de Janeiro in 1808, the opening of trade to third countries, and above all Great Britain, underscores this evolution.75

Rio de Janeiro’s ascension to the status of capital of the monarchy (1808-1821) led to Brazil’s elevation to the rank of United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve (1815) and – in 1822, after the court’s return to Lisbon – to independence. Organized in the form of a constitutional empire, Brazil came to be the only monarchy in the New World (1822-1889). At the same time, the transplantation of the metropolitan bureaucracy provides the new national capital with an administrative pole capable of incorporating the regions of the former Portuguese viceroyalty. With good reason, the transformations brought about by the arrival of the Court and the liberalization of exchanges with foreign countries, in 1808, occupy an important place in the history of Brazil. Yet it might be necessary to consider the impact produced in Brazil by another decisive event that occurred in this same year: the abolition of the slave trade by England and the United States. In fact, the withdrawal of England, the United States, and other nations that until then had permitted slavery left more African ports in the hands of traffickers who supplied Brazil and, to a lesser degree, Cuba.

Various factors bolstered the South Atlantic routes. Most importantly, the enlargement of exchanges with Europe and Africa favored the growth of agriculture. We should note that British exports destined for Brazil included goods suitable for African commerce, stimulating in turn the purchase of slaves. At that time, Brazil also assumed control of slave trafficking in Mozambique, in India and in the Indian Ocean, reorienting the trafficking of East African blacks toward Brazil. This is what we have called elsewhere the “Atlanticization of Mozambique.” Casting its nets wide, the Brazilian trade dominates slave traffic in the Atlantic of the first half of the nineteenth century.76

There we touch upon an essential point. If one compares the slave trade oriented toward Brazil with those from other parts of the Americas, one observes a permanent feature: each new productive period in Brazil entails an acceleration in the import of slaves. This was the case between 1575 and 1625, the ascendant phase of sugar exports; in the years 1701-1720, with the beginning of gold mining; and throughout the period 1780-1810, during the new agricultural boom that included the cultivation of coffee. Inversely, the years marked by a crisis or recession in colonial production mark a reflux in the trading of slaves. One perceives it in the seventeenth century, with the Dutch invasion (1625-1650), as well as through the accumulated effects of the European crisis and of Antillean competition, and in the eighteenth century, during the declining phase of gold production.

Few statistical curves synthesize the evolution of production and labor in a given region, over the long term, with as much sharpness as can be clearly seen in the graphic below. This curve partly charts the characteristics proper to the slave trade itself and to the sale of export commodities, which are similarly found in the majority of American slave societies. And yet, the fact that the curve representing the import of Africans also clings to the fluctuations of the economy further responds to the fluidity of the networks that joined Brazilian productive sectors to the African slave trade zones.

This is because only one economic cycle exists for modern Brazil: the multi-century cycle of the African slave trade. All the rest – those of sugar, of tobacco, of gold, of coffee or of cotton – stem directly from the longue durée of the slave trade, which persisted from 1550 to 1850.

The Pax Britannica and the Slave State

Latin American national independence is often presented as a tipping of the scales that drove Liverpool to displace Cadiz and Lisbon as principle commercial port to the former Iberian colonies.77 This is not the case with Brazil, where the country’s independence did not alter the colonial spatial matrix. Liverpool did, indeed, replace Lisbon as primary commercial port; yet before and after 1808, and until 1850, it is the African ports – with Angola first among these – which maintained second place among the country’s foreign exchanges.

This kind of international integration set the new state against the current of the juridical order and market that England imposed on the seas. Settled in 1810, when the Portuguese Crown remained hostage to the Royal Navy, the Anglo-Portuguese treaty of alliance required Lisbon to cooperate with London in bringing the African slave trade to an end. A new treaty between the two countries, signed in 1815 at the Congress of Vienna, reiterated this policy, which brought about the permanent ban on the trade north of the equator.

Undergirded by a territorial approach to political change, Brazilian historiography often chooses to overlook a question posed with great acuity at the time of independence: how would the leadership manage to develop the new state within the international sphere? Or, more precisely, how would the slave state fit into the concert of nations?

With Brazil’s declaration of independence (September 1822), England’s diplomatic recognition – crucial for the nation, since it entailed Portuguese recognition – was conditioned by the acquiescence to the embargo placed on the trafficking of Africans. Since February 1823 – and no less than five times – the minister of British Foreign Affairs, George Canning, made several proposals to this effect to the government of Rio de Janeiro. These were rejected by virtue of the argument presented by the principal Brazilian minister, José Bonifácio Andrada, according to whom the “precipitous” termination of the import of Africans placed the very existence of the State in danger.78 As in the seventeenth century, when the sudden emergence of the Dutch affected both shores of the South Atlantic, the encroachment of the Royal Navy gave rise to similar reactions in Brazil and Portuguese Africa. Once known, Brazilian independence provoked troubles within the African enclaves. Pro-Brazilian factions sprung up in the ports of trade, notably in the outpost of Ouidah – controlled by the trafficker Francisco Félix de Souza, the Chachá, a very influential Bahian mulatto close to Ghezo, the king of Dahomey – but also in Angola, and in particular in Benguela, where the authorities loyal to Lisbon denounced movements sympathetic to the Brazilian empire, which were supported by Rio de Janeiro. Simultaneously, debates in the Brazilian Parliament indicate a consideration of the nation’s “union” with Angola.79 In order to deal with this risk, the British Foreign Office included a clause that obligated Brazil to abandon the annexation of Portuguese colonies in the Anglo-Brazilian treaty of 1826. Moreover, Lisbon signed a naval pact with London safeguarding its possessions in Africa. In Rio de Janeiro, the British envoy concluded the announcement of this pact with a warning to the government against all intervention in Africa.80 Brazil’s influence in the slave enclaves did not end there. In 1839, the Portuguese authorities still reported the presence of a strong “Brazilian party” in Angola, while at the fortress in Ouidah the Brazilian flag was hoisted until 1844, when a Portuguese detachment reestablished the sovereignty of Lisbon.81

In order to better assess the extent of Anglo-Brazilian disputes, we should stress the situation of two other slave societies. Like Brazil, Cuba and the South of the United States adapted the slave system to transformations resulting from the industrial revolution and the rapid development of Atlantic exchanges. Yet Brazil was the only state involved in trafficking blacks and equipped with a slave system of continental dimensions. Rendered illegal in 1831, by legislation enacted under pressure from the British, this trade persisted until 1850, while slavery was abolished only in 1888.

In Brazil as in the South of the United States, the local or national character of norms and of laws in Brazil brought about the reconceptualization of slavery within the framework of modern positive law. To be sure, this reconceptualization dug into the contradictions constitutive of the institution, and notably the antagonism between the right to freedom and property rights.82 Nevertheless, in these contexts the contradictions manifest themselves at the core of the nation-state – where the sovereign power that makes laws resides – and not in the juridical and social alterity separating the colonial and metropolitan spheres, an alterity displayed in the laws of many European nations, which relegated slavery to colonial territories alone while reiterating the emancipatory virtue of metropolitan soil.83 Obviously, the commitment to slavery as the foundation of national sovereignty indicates, in the North American South and in Brazil, a historical field specific to the nineteenth century.84

Bur Brazilian slavery was extended over the whole of the country’s territory and was not limited to certain states, as it was in the United States; it involved every social milieu and welded national opinion to the preservation of the institution. On one hand, the nation evaded the contradiction at work in the United States, which led to juridical conflicts and then to the Civil War, which opposed the legislation of slave states to that of free states. On the other hand, the continuation of the slave trade achieved the externalization of conflicts, conferring an international dimension to the disputes produced by Brazilian slavery.

In addition, due to the intensity of the African slave trade, slave ownership circulated through all levels of society.85 In the province of Rio de Janeiro, which surrounded the nation’s capital, the number of slaves (293,554) exceeded that of freemen (263,526). Not confined to the rural zones, the institution had its place in the cities. Several cities, such as Recife and Salvador, or Campos and Niterói, in the province of Rio de Janeiro, possessed an elevated proportion of captives. But it was the country’s capital, with a population of 266,000 inhabitants in 1849, of which 110,000 were slaves (41.3%), which maintained the largest concentration of captives recorded in the New World.86 Such broad national consensus regarding slave ownership nourished the South American monarchy’s African plan. What this means is that the greatest obstacle to the separatism of certain Brazilian regions can be found within the sphere of international relations.87 In the provinces where slavery predominated – the wealthy regions of the country – regional oligarchies attempting to elude central power would have run up against the British embargo on the commerce of slaves.

The two longest rebellions in Brazil broke out in the sertão of Maranhão (the “Balaïada,” 1839-1841) and in Rio Grande do Sul (the “Farroupilha,” 1835-1845), cattle raising zones where the slave trade did not play a decisive role. What we find here is a phenomenon observed in the seventeenth century: the most severe regional rebellions took place in zones isolated from the slave trade, from the Atlantic market. One perceives the double role played by centralized power: inside the country, with the establishment of its authority over the provinces, and, outside the country, with Brazil’s integration into the concert of nations. Flaunting its ties to European dynasties and its status as sole American monarchy – allied with “European politics” against “American politics” (republicanism) – the strategy of Pedro I (1822-1831), of regents (1831-1840), and of Pedro II (1840-1889) consisted of tergiversating before British pressures in order to present themselves to the regional oligarchies as their privileged representative among the other European monarchies. This perverse equilibrium assured the preservation of the imperial crown during the first half of the century, all the more so given that the policy of buying time with England involved important economic stakes. In fact, the triangular negotiations between Rio de Janeiro, London, and Lisbon – leading to the recognition of independence (The Luso-Brazilian treaty of 1825), the Anglo-Brazilian treaty prohibiting the slave trade (1826) and the trade agreement between Brazil and England (1827) – complemented each other on many levels.

English Free Trade and the Brazilian Slave Trade

What are the reasons that led the Brazilian trade to cease all at once in 1850, and not in 1831, when it was declared illegal? Why did it not continue until 1867, following the example of Cuban trafficking? The answer to these questions is important for several reasons: it allows us to grasp the transformations brought about by English domination in the South Atlantic; it requires us to consider Brazilian domestic politics; and finally, it clarifies the transition from the slave trade to immigration to Brazil in 1850.88

Representing its own interests and those of the Portuguese Crown, England maintained the upper hand over the accords signed immediately following Brazilian independence. In accordance with the treaty of 1825, Lisbon received the sum of 1.5 million pounds sterling of indemnification for the recognition of the Empire of Brazil, a sum covered by a loan contracted by the government of Rio de Janeiro with the Rothschilds, in London.89 Although weighing heavily, and in a durable manner, on the nation’s finances, this loan also presented itself as London’s endorsement of the monarchical government and of Brazilian national unity. Guaranteed by the revenues generated by Rio de Janeiro’s central customs houses, the British loan presupposed that these would not drop as a result of possible regional successions.

In an attempt to buy, at the time of the anti-trade treaty of 1826, additional time for the slave trade, the government conceded tariff privileges to English products in the trade agreement of 1827.90 Afterwards, several other countries obtained the same rate. Such tariff concessions represented a heavy budgetary constraint, given that Rio de Janeiro had neither the means nor political will to tax the rural proprietors or to increase export duties on agricultural products.

With the expiration of the trade agreement in 1844, Brazil raised taxes on imports and initiated negotiations with its trade partners.91 Nevertheless, in England, the tariff question was grafted onto the abolitionist campaign, dividing opinion into two camps. All abolitionists were found in the first. Joining protectionist Tories and the representatives of Antillean planters – their enemies only until recently – abolitionists fought for the preservation of the surtax on Brazilian and Cuban sugar, products of servile labor.92 In the anti-abolitionist camp, the Anti-Corn Laws movement pursued the elimination of taxes on foreign sugar, without getting tangled up in the abolitionist politics advocated by the government. For this reason, the brand new The Economist, organ of Free Trade advocates, scorned England’s “puerile and suicidal” policy as regards Brazil, pointing to the American penetration of the Brazilian market, as well as the trade agreement that Rio de Janeiro was preparing to sign with Zollverein [the German Customs Union].93

The rest is well known. A firm believer in Free Trade, Lord Russell passed the Sugar Act, in 1846, eliminating the surtax on “slave-grown sugar” and announcing a tariff equalization between foreign sugar and British colonial sugar, from 1851 onward. At the same time, this act anticipated the elimination of the disparity in taxes between British colonial coffee and foreign coffee. Revived by English tariff reductions, poor Cuban crops in 1845, and the relocation of the Royal Navy to Buenos Aires, the import of Africans experienced a revival in Brazil. Informed of this news, English abolitionists and the government saw their worst fears confirmed: the reduction of tariffs on sugar reinvigorated Brazilian and Cuban slavery, and augmented the African trade.

Mobilizing their networks, traffickers succeeded in doubling the number of Africans unloaded in Brazil after 1846, principally in the region of Rio de Janeiro. As they had at the end of the 1820s, slave traders adjusted the supply of blacks according to Anglo-Brazilian tensions, driving proprietors to make advance purchases before the supposedly imminent termination of the trade. Several reports indicate that Brazilians used clippers, and at least two large steamships. Crossing the Congo Estuary, the commander of one of the flotillas of the Royal Navy explained that these two steamships could load “at least ten-thousand slaves per annum.” Whereas no ship sailing under the Spanish flag had been reported, 120 slave ships “under Brazilian colors or without nationality” were seized throughout the course of the year 1847.94

Be that as it may, qualitative analysis demonstrates an undeniable recrudescence of transfers to Brazil. Compared to those during the period 1841-1845, ships in the years 1846-1850 were faster, bigger, and transported more blacks. In total, there is an increase between these two periods of 152% in the number of Africans unloaded.95 Meanwhile, the Brazilian trade extended beyond its usual zones. South American craft were reported in Sierra Leone, while the plunge in the price of Africans in Rio de Janeiro, provoked by massive arrivals in 1848, drove traffickers to head north, to conduct business in Cuba and Puerto Rico. Moreover, news arriving from the Gulf of Guinea confirmed that the enlargement of the slave trade hampered licit African trade and, in particular, the export of palm oil to England.96

The failure of English policy became patent on both sides of the ocean: raids in African ports proved ineffective, while the presence of contraband grew on the Brazilian side, attracting speculators from other nations. All in all, the widening of Free Trade intensified the Atlantic slave trade and hindered English market penetration in Africa. For the government and English experts, it became clear that the Royal Navy’s cannons should have pointed, not toward the open sea or the African ports, but toward Rio de Janeiro. Naturally, the elimination of the economic embargo on “slave-grown sugar” precipitated the hardening of military pressures.97

Focused on the examination of English and North American trade, or on relations between English industrialists and slave-owning cotton producers in the South of the United States, historiography has neglected the contradiction between Free Trade and the slave trade in the middle of the nineteenth century. This inattention entails misunderstandings that extend even to the history of art.98 Trends in opinion and the British press help to explain the hardening of London’s position. Moreover, the geopolitics practiced during the Opium War and the Treaty of Nanking (1842) already foreshadowed gunboat diplomacy and the second European expansion.

The new offensive unfolded in three waves. The first was marked by the Palmerston Act (1839), which unilaterally established the right of access over Portuguese ships. The Royal Navy was consequently able to crack down more broadly in the Congo Estuary and on the Angolan and Mozambican coasts, exclusive preserves of the trade destined for Brazil. Directly taking aim at Rio de Janeiro, the following stage of the offensive was commanded by Aberdeen, Palmerston’s successor in the Foreign Office. After having maintained that the Anglo-Brazilian treaty of 1826 already placed the illegal trade in the same category as piracy, Aberdeen brought to vote a law, known as the Aberdeen Bill (1845), authorizing the right of search and seizure of slave ships flying Brazilian colors.99 Throughout this period, however, other conflicts engrossed European politics in the South Atlantic. In Argentina, the caudillo [Juan Manuel de] Rosas interfered with English and French trade, extending his influence into Uruguay and Paraguay. Then followed an Anglo-French blockade of Buenos Aires and a temporary suspension of English pressure on Rio de Janeiro.

Acceding to the head of the Foreign Office for the third time (1846-1851), Palmerston returned to office with his convictions having been reinforced after the tariff reductions of 1846, favoring Brazilian sugar. Although historiography has in part chosen to overlook the economic motives of English abolitionism, one of those motives preserves its place in Palmerston’s policy: for him, without the prohibition of the slave trade, the growth of Brazilian sugar production would bring about a serious blow to the colonists of the British Antilles.100 Unlike Aberdeen, who limited the Navy’s actions to international waters, Palmerston authorized incursions on the Brazilian coast. The risk of an armed conflict between the two nations became clear after the settlement of Anglo-Argentine disputes, in 1849, when English war ships were relocated from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro.

English pressures, from 1808 on, unquestionably constitute the determining factor of the suppression of African slave trafficking. Notwithstanding, its abolition in 1850 – intervening all at once and in an irreversible manner – responds to the withdrawal of slavers from negotiations with Brazilian authorities, and not to a heightened effectiveness of the British naval repression or to the dismantling of slave trade networks in Brazil. Moreover, the London Committee of the Anti-slavery Society believed that the definitive abolition of slave trafficking was the result of Brazilian initiatives.101

The Second Birth of the Brazilian State

The Aberdeen Bill’s assimilation of the Brazilian slave trade to piracy reduced the Empire to the status of the “barbarous nations,” giving a concrete dimension to the threat of British intervention. This categorical slippage discredited the civilizing guarantee that the Braganza monarchy claimed it secured for the nation. The Crown’s double ascription – central power within the national space and representative of the regional oligarchies within European courts – found its political consubstantiality under attack.

What this means is that the government of Rio de Janeiro did not present itself as a simple emanation of the will of slave traders and planters. Acting mainly at the regional level, these last possessed little experience in public affairs, at a time when diplomacy determined the country’s future. With regard to diplomacy, the imperial administration had inherited from the apparatus of the metropolitan state the diplomatic expertise that authorized it to evaluate the dangers of the international situation. In brief, facing the risk of embargoes and of hostilities with England – both the hegemonic power and the country’s principal market – the government preserved a trump card that could force the slave traders and their allies to yield.

The Brazilian law of 1831 – prohibiting the slave trade for the first time – created uncertainties, given that it stipulated that Africans introduced after this date would be considered free individuals. The result was that neither the property rights of the masters of 710,000 Africans imported after 1831, nor their rights over the descendants of this contingent of individuals were established. Additionally, in virtue of Article 179 of the Criminal Code, they committed the crime of reducing free persons to a state of captivity. Non-compliance with this legislation, derived from the Anglo-Brazilian treaty of 1826, could provide another reason for British intervention. Moreover, at the time of sale, of mortgage, or of the conveyance of inheritances, the right of property over this contingent of slaves could be contested, threatening owners as a whole and doing nothing to alleviate anxiety about the menace of revolt among the slaves. All of Brazilian society was concerned with the problem. Once again, one grasps the ways in which slavery and law overlap: the slave constitutes private property, the possession and control of which requires the repeated guarantee of the public authorities, the power of masters over slaves being a constitutive element of the social pact. For this reason the institution, although founded on constraint, depends on a legitimacy that stems from lawfulness. With masters uncertain of their property, the government could promise a regularization of their patrimony, within the framework of the new legislation concerning the slave trade, which it did in a very officious way.102

More generally, new facts began to change attitudes with regard to the slave trader. Early purchases of Africans left planters in debt, resulting in the seizure of goods belonging to a number of planters by creditors associated with traffickers.103 Another perspective came from businessmen practicing licit trade along the coast, who suffered increasing losses occasioned by British naval operations close to the ports.

On the social plane, the slave trade had increased the proportion of slaves and of Africans in Rio de Janeiro, projecting the specter of an urban insurrection, bigger and more dangerous that the “revolt of the Malés,” which, to the great horror of the white population, had been raised in 1835 by free blacks and slaves from the city of Bahia.104 Sometimes in a veiled manner, the newspapers during this period became the echo of apprehensions inspired by urban captives. Other events came to exacerbate this anxiety. At the beginning of 1850, and for the first time, a yellow fever epidemic struck the country, above all the population of European origin in the capital and principal cities.105 According to general opinion, Africans clandestinely unloaded at Guanabara Bay had spread the disease that had become endemic to Rio de Janeiro.

The prospect of such social and epidemiological dangers fueled the campaign of those who rose up against the “Africanization” of society – an anxiety expressed in the in the editorials of Rio’s press since 1831 – and who banked on the boom in European immigration as a means of civilizing the nation. For the government, that which was essential remained to be done: to convince slavers, intermediaries and planters of the need to end the African slave trade.

The task was completed under the government directed by Eusébio de Queiroz (1812-1868). This was a seminal rupture that signified a second birth for the state. Descended from a Portuguese family from Angola, Queiroz maintained political and familial connections with high functionaries, members of Parliament, planters, and slavers. Between 1833 and 1844, he occupied the post of Chief of Police of Rio de Janeiro, exercising his authority over the provincial capitals. Through his relations and in the exercising of his functions, he could measure the extent of African contraband. Owing to either complicity or political realism, or for both reasons at the same time, he did not suppress illegal trade, which was widely practiced. Named Minister of Justice in 1848, he fulfills, de facto, the post of Prime Minister at the heart of a government whose cohesion left its mark on the history of the nation. He then changes sides and succeeds in definitively ending the slave trade. Carried out by a man rooted in South Atlantic culture, this change in attitude toward the slave trade demonstrates the transformation of the balance of power that occurred in the heart of the state.

This turn occurred in several stages. The government first set the stage through measures that had an immediate effect, including, above all, amnesty for traffickers and owners of blacks brought in after 1831. In so doing, the government ratified the captivity of thousands of blacks who, in the eyes of the law, had become free persons after having tread Brazilian soil.106 More symptomatic of the global negotiations underway, the English government played the game, avoiding opposing itself to this iniquitous decision, even though it had the juridical and diplomatic means of doing so.107 To that is added the Brazilian Ministry’s notice addressed to the principal traffickers, enjoining them to withdraw capital, goods, ships and crews from the African slave trade before a harsher law was passed.108

Several other initiatives form part of the transformations of the nation’s economic geography. As against the seasonal cultivation of sugar cane, coffee presented itself as a semi-permanent crop, in constant progression toward interior lands. The distance from ports increased the expenses planters paid to mule-drivers, responsible for the delivery of harvests up to the ports of Guanabara.109 For the coffee planters in the countryside inland of Rio de Janeiro, the purchase or rental of mules became an economic variable just as important as the acquisition of slaves, because of the increase in the costs of transport at the beginning of the 1840s. Exceeding the regional oligarchies’ means of financing and of management, the transport of harvests was transformed in an affair of state. Do we need to recall that Rio de Janeiro, the final destination for most of the 560,000 Africans unloaded in the south of Bahia between 1831 and 1850, was the principal zone of slave trade contraband in the country?110

For the first time since independence, Brazil maintained a trade surplus between 1845 and 1849, under the combined effect of coffee exports and the rise in import tariffs that occurred in 1844. So much so that Parliament was able to resume discussion concerning the construction of a railway up to the coffee frontier, whose distance was already situated 150 km from the seaports. Through a law passed in 1852, the imperial government guaranteed the shareholders of railroad companies a minimum dividend. Providing a solution to the financing problems that had made similar projects fail in the past, the allocation of public funds rendered the operation viable. An English railroad company was then set up in Rio de Janeiro and, in 1858, the trains began to transport coffee to the capital’s port.111 In order to convince planters of its good intentions, the government granted them a reduction of 25% of the export tariffs on agricultural products.

Yet, the most important decisions concerned legislation related to spaces belonging to the public domain, that is, the “land laws.” Crucial to the future of rural property and of slavery, this legislation was voted and promulgated in 1850, two weeks after the new law regarding the suppression of the slave trade. The coincidence is not fortuitous: the law concerning the devolution of lands was a precondition of immigration policy as well as of the redefinition of the labor market after the termination of the slave trade.112

Immigration and Nationality

Within the framework of the debates on immigration, three motives inspired governmental initiatives. In the beginning, the authorities had brought in colonists in order to consolidate militarily vulnerable regions, such as the south of the country, where some Azorean families were established after the border treaty with Spain (1750).113 In the same way, public lands were distributed to some European colonists in zones threatened by Indian tribes or by Maroon villages. Secondly, the admission of wage laborers responded to the need for bridge and road services. In a province such as Rio de Janeiro, marked by a rolling landscape and a rainfall that regularly damaged roads, new transportation infrastructures were indispensable. For this, the authorities requisitioned Indians from aldeamentos (in accordance with the Directório), as well as slaves and tools belonging to planters. But these measures gave rise to protests and were difficult to employ. From the 1830s on, the provincial assembly of Rio de Janeiro made the most of its new fiscal prerogatives for subsidizing the arrival of Portuguese “volunteers” bound for roadwork. In this phase, immigration once again presents itself as a necessary complement to the rise of slave exploitation.

Everything changes in a third stage, with the end of the slave trade, when immigration policy initiated the substitution of slavery by wage labor. For rural proprietors, then, immigration became an issue of leading importance. But the Brazilian policy had larger significance than it presents at first sight. In Parliament, within the provincial assemblies and within the press, two quite distinct points of view emerged.

Supported by prominent traders, the planters hoped to acquire proletarians from all parts of the world and of all races, provided that they be channeled toward the fazendas to take the place of missing slaves. Inversely, anxious about the social and cultural composition of the nation, the imperial administration, the intelligentsia and a portion of the urban population sought to make immigration an instrument of “civilization,” in other words, of the whitening of the country. These positions sketched out two opposing ways of envisioning the intervention of the state in agrarian and immigration policy.

If the new policy limited itself to substituting Africans with immigrants on the plantations (“directed immigration”), the state should have moved in two directions. Upstream to the migratory flow, official subsidies would facilitate the payment of tickets for the poorest immigrants, European, Asian, or eventually, free Africans.114 In this way, the country could hope to accommodate a significant number of international migrants, and notably those who were forced to work on the fazendas from the time of their arrival at Brazilian ports. Downstream, the access to public lands would be regulated in such a way so as to keep these immigrants from turning away from the plantations in order to set themselves up on their own in the countryside.

On the other hand, if one decided to attract colonists (“spontaneous immigration”) in order to recompose rural property, production, and society, budgetary subventions should have another destination. Funds would be allocated for the development of a survey of public lands and the opening of routes linking these lands to regional markets. Mapped and cleared, these would be sold to emigrants in the Brazilian consulates in Europe. In which case, official subventions for the transport of immigrants would have no raison d’être, since these buyers would have at their disposal their own funds for the trip. Becoming proprietors in Brazil, they would propagate the model of a modern familial agriculture that would break with rustic character of the countryside and society alike.115 On the other hand, proletarians and marginal Europeans, and more generally, Asians and free Africans would have no access to Brazilian ports. In order to facilitate the influx of Protestants – some Swiss and some Germans had already settled in Brazil – the government would establish civil registers in place of the parish registers that had been maintained by curates appointed by the state. Eventually, the Church would lose its status as official religion noted in the Constitution. The “civilizing” current thus expected to seize this opportunity in order to start an agrarian reform and a reform of society as a whole, by changing the race of rural producers. One clearly sees how the labor question leads directly to the national question.

The opposition between these two ways of transitioning from slavery to wage labor becomes as obvious in parliamentary debates as in the press. In order to regulate land laws, the government issued a decree specifying how the law should be applied in 1854 and set up, this same year, the Directorate-General of Public Lands [Diretor-Geral das Terras Públicas (DGTP)], embryo of the future Ministry of Agriculture, created in 1862. Appointed as head of the DGTP, Manoel Felizardo was the emblematic figure of the “civilizing” current and opponent of the policy of “direct immigration,” embodied by Senator Nicolau Vergueiro, with whom Felizardo clashed in 1855, during a parliamentary debate.116

At the moment when Parliament discussed the budgetary subventions for immigration, in 1855, Senator Vergueiro’s opinions were firm. Like the planters he represented, he wanted public subventions for financing transportation to Brazil – and new laborers for his own fazendas. In this way, the sale of allotted lands to immigrants hoping to become rural proprietors, but “having hardly enough money to buy a plot of land,” seemed to him to be a bad solution. Without any capital for clearing and cultivating the lands situated in the forest, with regards to routes and markets, these immigrants, he added, could do no good there. “Only a prominent capitalist capable of mobilizing many people” would be able to develop the country’s virgin lands, he concluded. His colleagues in the Senate and the readers of his speech – published shortly thereafter in the principal journal of the capital – knew that in saying this he had in mind the labor carried out on his own coffee estate in São Paulo, worked by Swiss and Gemans according to a system closely related to sharecropping.117

Manoel Felizardo’s response is just as instructive. For the minister of public lands, the planters should not have counted on state subventions to make up for the lack of rural workers: “The fazendas have always been supplied with slaves acquired without the slightest pecuniary aid from the government.” If it is true that the African slave trade had ended, it was equally true that there were many emigrants whom the planters could make come at their own expense. Consequently, he continues: “Is it just that the nation should contribute so that ten, twenty, one hundred, or two hundred fazendeiros are provided with hands at the expense of the entire country?” Felizardo considered that government subventions should be reserved for “spontaneous immigration,” which would redesign the country’s social profile. In the end, the central government did not settle this debate. It is the provincial governments, in particular that of São Paulo, closest to Vergueiro and the agrarian oligarchies’ ideas, who would facilitate the arrival of rural workers.

In essence, the investigation of the rupture produced by the end of the African slave trade allows us to establish a new periodization, whereby the effects are apparent upstream of and downstream from Brazilian history. Upstream of it, one notes that the colonial spatial matrix is defined within the South Atlantic of the seventeenth century, and that, despite Brazilian independence, it is preserved until 1850. Downstream from it, the internal negotiations that bring about the end of the slave trade as well as agrarian and immigration laws demonstrate that the slave system’s greatest point of crisis and the beginning of its end comes about in 1850, and not in 1871, when the law of the free womb was brought to a vote. Although somewhat minor within Brazilian historiography, this interpretation is not new. In a capital work on the Empire of Brazil, the abolitionist leader and political writer Joaquim Nabuco explained at the end of the nineteenth century: “It was easier to abolish slavery all at once [in 1888] than to enforce the law of September 7 [1831],” which rendered the slave trade illegal.118

Widening the approach, one observes that the contradiction between the agrarian and Afro-Brazilian slave system, on one side, and the British industrial and Free Trade system, on the other, seems symmetrical to that which opposed the South and North of the United States, on the eve of the War of Secession. But whereas the conflict in North America concerned the matter of federal State control, what is at stake in the South Atlantic is the international division of labor, that is, the direct exchanges between the English industrial center and the South American and African peripheries.

Always in a general viewpoint, these events illustrate the structural changes that took place in the Atlantic. In fact, English domination imposed a transformation of Portuguese colonial space within the South Atlantic. There, one touches on the line separating modern colonialism and contemporary imperialism, the first and second European expansion. Along these lines, the Brazilian case points to the difference between the first phase of overseas Victorian expansion, characterized by the assertion of commercial interests and of treaties considered favorable within the framework of an “informal empire,” and the second phase, comprising territorial conquest and the founding of a “formal empire,” 119 as well as the attention of keepers of the doctrine of “humane interventionism.”120

The debate concerning the labor market and agrarian organization once again placed on the agenda a question recurrent since the Marquis de Pombal’s reforms: the civilization of Indians. Some discussions on that subject took place in the Constituent Assembly, in 1823. Very familiar with Europe and European politics, [José Bonifácio de] Andrada – the head of the Brazilian government – was fully aware of the international disputes created by the slave trade. He therefore proposed two complementary projects: the first in relation to the “the general civilization of Indians,” the other pertaining to the end of the slave trade and the gradual extinction of slavery.121 With the Constituent Assembly having been dissolved by Pedro I, the two projects remained dead letters.

Yet his program for the civilization of Indians would represent a milestone. A descendant of the Marquis de Pombal’s policy, Andrada carried on with the general tendencies of the Directório, with one difference. Facing British pressures against the slave trade, he considered the labor of Indians not as a complement to African slave labor, as the Directório had, but instead as an alternative to the slave trade. His proposal might seem illusory. It wasn’t, since it was believed that the Amerindian population remained rather dense. The bishop of Pará, for example, placed the number of subjugated and rebellious Indians within the Amazon region alone at 500,000. In the absence of reliable statistics, this testimony was enough. Andrada, in other words, counted on the demographic growth of the free and emancipated population within the country.

Until the 1850s, the idea of utilizing the Indians in commercial agriculture was discussed in Parliament and within the other spheres of Brazilian power. Despite the increasing importance of immigration, the civilization or “domestication” of Amerindians became integrated into the general politics of the organization of labor. In budgetary debates, subventions for the civilization of Indians were always associated with funds intended for immigration. And the Ministry of Agriculture, created in 1862, quite naturally also managed Indian affairs. The Republic, proclaimed in 1889, maintained this state of affairs, associating the indigenous question with the labor market, extending from the directions taken by the Marquis de Pombal’s and Andrada’s reforms, which came to be anachronistic.

But this debate had consequences of a completely different kind. One will have noted that the problematic born of the secularization of Indian politics remains ambivalent. If on one hand it announces the future of the Indian, on the other hand it confers the mission to civilize the Indians to the metropolitan state and its agents. Moving toward the nationalization of this enlightened colonialism, Andrada had transferred the tasks that had previously been responsibility of Lisbon to the Luso-Brazilian monarchical bureaucracy. From the perspective of the nation’s formation, this mission took another significance. From now on, national leaders were seen as entrusted with the civilization of Indians and, by extension, the civilization of those classes not integrated into society.

This is a thoroughly modern step, since it associates incorporation into the labor market with the juridical personhood of citizens. This ideology – and it is one – was reinvigorated throughout the nineteenth century by the dissociation between the monarchical bureaucracy and the composite population that forms the Brazilian nation. Hollowed out by slavery, then through the arrival of European, Mediterranean, and Asian immigrants, the nation's cultural disparities lead the ruling classes to unite under a “state nationalism,” whose corollary is the reconstruction of society: if the organization of labor in the latifundia continually incorporates foreigners, dismantling the structure of the social body, then the high clerks, the lay intelligentsia, the bursars – the state and parastatal intelligentsia referred to in Brazil as “bacharéis” – take on the historical mission of civilizing the nation. This is the “burden of the bacharéis,” the ideological support of authoritarian thought – in line with the idea of the “white man’s burden” that justified the second European colonial expansion. Failing to help the natives, the debate surrounding the civilization of Indians provided the foundations for Brazilian authoritarianism.

  1. The importance of cattle raising was highlighted by João Capistrano de Abreu, Capitulos de historia colonial (1907; Belo Horizonte: Itatiaia, 2000); the relationships between masters and slaves in the sugar mills are studied by Gilberto Freyre, Maîtres et esclaves (1933; Paris: Gallimard, 1997); Caio Prado, Jr. analyzes the impact of merchant capitalism on colonial society in Formação do Brasil contemporâneo (São Paulo: Livraria Martina Editoria, 1942); Raymundo Faoro looks into bureaucratic privileges with Os danos do poder (Pôrto Alegre: Editôra Globo, 1958); Celso Furtado studied, among other things, the articulation of the domestic market, based on “the gold economy,” in the international market in La formation économique du Brésil (1959; Paris: Publisud, 1998).

  2. Enriqueta Vila Vilar, Hispano-América y el comercio de esclavos: Los asientos portugueses (Seville: Escuela de Estudios Hispano-Americanos de Sevilla, 1977).

  3. José C. Curto, “Luso-Brazilian Alcohol and the Legal Slave Trade at Benguela and its Hinterland, 1617-1830,” Négoce blanc en Afrique noire, ed. H. Bonin and M. Cahen (Abbeville: Publications de la Société française d’histoire d’outre-mer, 2003) 351, n. 2.

  4. Evaldo Cabral de Melo, O negócio do Brasil: Portugal, os Paíes Baixos e o Nordeste, 1641-1669 (Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1998) 78.

  5. The link between sugar cane and the advantages of African slavery is established in, among others places, the royal orders of 1562, intended for the Island of Madeira. Although white workers were used there, the Crown encouraged the slave trade and the substitution of African slaves for European day laborers, in order to increase sugar production and royal revenues (Alvarás, October 16, 1562 and October 30, 1562): Antônio Brásio, Monumenta missionária Africana, 2nd ser., vol. 2 (Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1958-1992) 491-498. Also see Barbara L. Solow, “Capitalism and Slavery in the Exceedingly Long Run,” Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 17.4 (1987): 711-737.

  6. Joseph C. Miller, Way of Death: Merchant Capitalism and the Angolan Slave Trade, 1730-1830 (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1988) 199-200.

  7. The word “Angolista” referring to colonists from Angola was suggested by José Mathias Delgado, taking up once again an expression commonly used during the nineteenth century: see his commentary in José Mathias Delgado, ed., História geral das guerras angolanas, vol. 1, by António de Oliveira Cadornega (1680; Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1972) 322-324.

  8. Delgado, História geral. Published only in 1940 in Portugal, the book’s manuscript had nevertheless circulated throughout Europe. See Charles R. Boxer, “A ‘História’ de Cadornega no Museu Britânico,” Boletim cultural, 1 (1960): 73-80; Beatrix Heintze, “Antônio de Oliveira de Cadornegas Geschichtswerk – Eine außergewöhnliche Quelle des 17. Jahrhunders,” Studien sur Geschichte Angolas im 16 und 17. Jahrhundert: Ein Lesebuch, ed. Beatrix Heintze (Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe, 1996) 48-58.

  9. Nevertheless, contrary to what Charles Boxer has written, the aggravation of the Hispano-Portuguese conflict prevented the revival of trade between Luanda and Buenos Aires after 1648, frustrating Salvador de Sá’s projects: Charles R. Boxer, Salvador de Sá and the Struggle for Brazil and Angola, 1602-1686 (London: University of London, 1952).

  10. Francisco de Brito Freyre, Nova Lusitânia–Histôria da guerra brasílica (1675; Recife: Governo de Pernambuco, Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977) 399.

  11. Lisbon, Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino (AHU), Angola, Box 8, Document #8: “Consultas de Conselho Ultamarino, outubro de 1665.”

  12. Roquinaldo Amaral Ferreira, “Transforming Atlantic Slaving: Trade, Warfare and Territorial Control in Angola, 1650-1800,” diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2003, 183-236.

  13. Anne W. Prado, “A Comparative Study of the Portuguese Colonies of Angola and Brasil and Their Interdependence from 1648 until 1825,” diss., Boston University, 1977.

  14. Maria de Fatima Silva Gouvea, Gabriel Almeida and Marilia Nogueira dos Santos, “Redes de poder e conhecimento na governação do Império Português 1688-1735,” Topoï, 5.8 (2004): 96-137.

  15. See the important study by Mafalda Soares da Chuna and Nuno G. F. Monteiro, “Governadores e capitães-mores do império atlântico português nos séculos XVII e XVIII,” Optima pars: Elites Ibero-Americanas do Antigo Regime, ed. G. F. Monteiro, P. Cardim and M. S. da Chuna (Lisbon: Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2005) 191-242.

  16. See Elias Alexandre da Silva Corrêa, História de Angola, 2 vols. (1782; Lisbon: Editorial Atica, 1937), in particular vol. 1, 39-42.

  17. With regard to this subject, see John M. Monteiro, Negros da terra: Índios e bandeirantes nas origens de São Paulo (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2000).

  18. Luis Felipe de Alencastro, O trato dos viventes: Formação do Brasil no Atlântico Sul, séculos XVI e XVII (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2000).

  19. Herbert S. Klein, The Atlantic Slave Trade: New Approaches to the Americas (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) 210-211, along with the statistical revision by David Eltis, Stephen D. Behrendt, and David Richardson, “A participação dos países da Europa e das Américas no tráfico transatlântico de escravos: novas evidências,” Afro-Ásia, 24 (2000): 9-50, here 28.

  20. No regular trade occurred between Mozambique and Brazil before the end of the eighteenth century.

  21. The column of bandeirantes that assisted Rapôso Tavares during the expedition of 1648 counted only eighty paulistas and eight-hundred Indians. See Jaime Cortesão, Rapôso Tavares e a formação territorial do Brasil, vol. 2 (Lisbon: Portugual, 1966) 175-176; Monteiro, Negros de terra 62-63.

  22. Cortesão, Rapôso Tavares.

  23. In the second half of the eighteenth century, a new attempt to develop the cultivation of wheat, undertaken by some Azorean colonists in Rio Grande do Sul, similarly fails, facing competition from metropolitan and foreign wheat after 1808; Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Capitalismo e escravidão no Brasil meridional (São Paulo: Difusão Européia do Livro, 1962) 49-69.

  24. Ernesto Ennes, Os palmares: Subsídios para a sua história (São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1938) 66-69, 79-80, 123 and 135.

  25. “If, in some circumstance or other, a commercial circuit cannot achieve completion, for whatever reason this may be, it is evidently doomed to disappear”: Fernand Braudel, Civilisation matérielle, économie et capitalisme, XVe-XVIIIe siècles, vol. 2, (Paris: Armand Colin, 1979) 121.

  26. Alencastro, O trato dos viventes 22-23.

  27. Lisbon, Arquivo nacional da Torre do Tombo, Manuscritos da Livraria, liv. 1146, p. 63, “Representação do Conselho da Fazenda sobre as necessidades urgentes em que estava o Reino apontando os remédios, 23 maio de 1656”; A. Brásio, “Consulta de 12 fevereiro de 1656,” Monumenta missionária Africana, 1st ser., vol. 12 (Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1953-1988) 7-9.

  28. Jean-Baptiste Nardi, O fumo brasileiro no período colonial: Lavoura, comércio e administração (São Paulo: Editoria Brasiliense, 1996) 92 and 109.

  29. André João Antonil, Cultura e opulência do Brasil (1711; São Paulo: Editoria da Universidade de São Paulo, 1982) 99-201.

  30. I am here taking up the analysis of colonial repopulation in the Canaries and in the Antilles discussed by Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, “The Inter-Atlantic Paradigm,” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 35.3 (1993): 515-543.

  31. Bettendorf, Crônica dos padres 607.

  32. Maria Luíza Marcílio, “The Population of Colonial Brazil,” The Cambridge History of Latin America, ed. L. Bethell, vol. 2 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1984-1995) 37-63; Adriano Parreira, Economia e sociedade em Angola na época da Rainha Jinga, século XVII (Lisbon: Editorial Estampa, 1990) 98; Teotónio R. de Souza, Goa medieval: A cidade e o interior no século XVII (Lisbon: Editorial Estampa, 1994) 110-120; Sanjay Subrahmanyam, The Portuguese Empire in Asia, 1500-1700: A Political and Economic History (New York: Longman, 1993) 261-269.

  33. Vicente do Salvador, História do Brasil, 1500-1627 (c. 1627; São Paulo: Editoria da Universidade de São Paulo, 1982) 110. The most complete study on the subject does not mention the case of the Bahian zimbo: Jan Hogendorn and Marion Johnson, The Shell Money of the Slave Trade (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986). [Zimbos are small oval white shells and a type of porcelain, used as ornaments and currency in several areas of Africa and India. – Trans.]

  34. Olfert Dapper, Description de l’Afrique (Amsterdam: Boom & Van Someren, 1686) 386. As a result of improvements in sea transport, the mortality rate of slaves shipped by European slave traders as a whole decreased throughout the course of the eighteenth century: Oliver Pétré-Grenouilleau, Les traites négrières (Paris: Gallimard, 2004) 127-145.

  35. Alencastro, O trato de viventes 254-255.

  36. Article 22 of Colbert’s Code noir (1685) refers to it as food for Antillean slaves: “The masters will be obliged to provide their slaves […], for their victuals, two and a half pots, Paris measurement, of manioc flour […],” Recueils de règlements, édits, déclarations et arrêts, avec le Code noir, vol. 2, (Paris: Les Libraires Associés, 1745) 89.

  37. Frédéric Mauro, Le Portugal at l’Atlantique au XVIIe siècle (Paris: SEVPEN, 1960) 512-526; Stuart B. Schwartz, Segredos internos : Engenhos e escravos na sociedade colonial (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1988) 152; Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, Introdução à história econômica (Lisbon: Livros Horizonte, 1970) 173-174.

  38. Manuel dos Anjos da Silva Rebelo, Relações entre Angola e Brasil, 1808-1830 (Lisbon: Agência Geral do Ultramar, 1970) 437-440.

  39. For the Spanish Dominican Bartolomé de Las Casas, refer to Marcel Bataillon, Études sur Bartolomé de Las Casas (Paris: Centre des recherches de l’Institut d’études hispaniques, 1966) 91-94; for the Portuguese Jesuit António Vieira, see Antonio José Saravia, “Le père Antonio Vieira S. J. et la liberté des Indiens,” TILAS [Travaux de l’Institut d’études ibériques et latino-américaines], III (1963): 483-516, and “Le Père Antonio Vieira, S. J. et la question de l’esclavage des Noirs au XVIIe siècle,” Annales ESC, 22-6 (1967): 1289-1309.

  40. Brásio, Monumenta, 1st series, vol. 3, “Informação acerca dos escravos de Angola” (1582-1583), 227-231.

  41. Brásio, vol. 15, “Carta do padre Luís Brandão, Luanda, 21 de agôsto de 1611,” 442-443. There is a recent edition of Alonso de Sandoval’s treatise, De instauranda Aethiopum salute (1627), edited by Enriqueta Vila Vilar, Un tratado sobre la esclavitud (Madrid: Alianza Editorial, 1987) 154.

  42. This thesis is also supported by the Jesuit Luis de Molina: see António Manuel Hespanha, “Luís de Molina e a escravização dos Negros,” Análise social, XXV, 157 (1999): 937-990; and also, Domingos Maurício, “A Universidade de Évora e a escravatura,” Didaskalia, 7 (1977): 153-200.

  43. See the bull Romanus Pontifex (1455), in A. Brásio, Monumenta, 2nd series, vol. 1, 277-286; Charles-Martial de Witte, “Les bulles pontificales et l’expansion portugaise au XVe siècle,” Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique, 53 (1958) : 455.

  44. P. António Vieira, “Sermão XIV,” and “Sermão XXVII do Rosário,” Sermões, vol. 4 (Porto: Lello e Irmão, 1993) 733-769 and 1202-1241.

  45. Nuno Marques Pareira, Compêndio narrativo do peregrino da América, , vol. 1 (1728; Rio de Janeiro: Academia Brasileira de Letras, 1988) 149-150.

  46. D. António de Castro Xavier Monteiro, “Como se ensinava o direito das gentes na Universidade de Coïmbra no século XVI,” Anais (Lisbon, Academia Portuguesa da História: 1993) 26; and “Opinão do um frande capuxinho sobre a escravidão no Brasil em 1794,” Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, 40.2 (1897): 155-157.

  47. Nuno Gonçalo Monteiro, “Portugal, a guerra de Sucessão de Espanha e Methuen: Algumas considerações gerais,” Coïmbre, Congresso de Associação portuguesa de história econômica e social (2003): 1-16.

  48. Cláudia Damasceno Fonseca, Des terres aux villes de l’or. Pouvoirs et territoires urbains au Minas Gerais, Paris, Centre culturelle Calouste Gulbenkian (2003): 220-230.

  49. Colin M. MacLachlan, “The Indian Labor Structure in the Portuguese Amazon, 1700-1800,” Colonial Roots of Modern Brazil, ed. D. Alden (Berkley: University of California Press, 1973) 199-203.

  50. [Morgado de Mateus is a title of Portuguese nobility. – Trans.]

  51. Heloisa L. Bellotto, Autoridade e conflito no Brasil colonial: O govêrno do Morgado de Mateus em São Paulo, 1765-1775 (São Paulo: Conselho Estadual de Artes e Ciências Humanas, 1979).

  52. Documentos interessantes para a historia e costumes de São Paulo, vol. XVI (São Paulo: Arquivo do Estado de São Paulo, 1895) 45.

  53. Documentos interessantes, vol. XIV (1893) 264 and 287; Documentos Interessantes,vol. XIX (1898) 414.

  54. Marquis de Mirabeau, L’ami des hommes ou Traité de la population, Avignon, (n.p., 1756) 329; Voltaire, Essai sur les moeurs et l’esprit des nations (1756; Chicoutimi, Université de Québec: 2002) 117.

  55. Kenneth R. Maxwell, “Pombal and the Nationalization of the Luso-Brazilian Economy,” The Hispanic American Historical Review, 48.4 (1968) 608-631; Jorge Pedreira, “A indústria,” História econômica de Portugal, 1700-2000, ed. P. Lains and A. F. da Silva, 3 vols., vol. I (Lisbon : Imprensa de Ciências Sociais, 2005) 178-208.

  56. Manuel Nunes Dias, “Estratégia Pombalina de urbanização do espaço amazônico,” Como interpretar Pombal? No bicentena‚àö√ë√î√∏Œ©irio da sua morte, ed. M. Antunes et al. (Lisbon: Edições Brote‚àö√ë√î√∏Œ©iria, 1983) 299-365; José Mendes da Chuna Saraiva, A fortaleza de Bissau e a Companhia do Grão Pará e Maranhão (Lisbon: Arquivo Histórico, 1947).

  57. Nearly 25,000 would be sold in Maranhão (42.2%) and in Pará (56.1%) by the CGGPM between 1756 and 1788. Their origin was Bissao and Cacheo (66.6%) and Angola (28.5%): Antônio Carreira, “As Companhias Pombalinas de navegação, comércio e tráfico de escravos entre a Costa africana e o Nordeste brasileiro,” Boletim cultural da Guiné Portuguesa, 23-91/92 (1968): 454.

  58. José Ribeiro Juniór, Colonização e monopólio no nordeste brasileiro: A Companhia Geral de Pernambuco e Paraíba, 1759-1780 (São Paulo: Hucitec, 1976) 92-101.

  59. From 1761 to 1786, approximately 49,000 Africans are brought by the CGPP to Pernambuco (92.5%) and to Rio de Janeiro (3.5%); 87.7% of the deportees come from Angola and 12.3% from the coast of Mina: A. Carreira, “As companhias Pombalinas” 24-93 (1969): 79.

  60. “Dois embaixadores africanos mandados à Bahia pelo rei Dagomé,” Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, 59 (1896): 413 ff; the ambassadors of the king of Dahomey, Agonglo, complain about this situation in 1795.

  61. This is what a historian has called “the quadrangular trade”: Sandro Sideri, Trade and Power: Informal Colonialism in Anglo-Portuguese Relations (Rotterdam: Rotterdam University Press, 1970).

  62. See Pierre Verger, Flux et reflux de la traite des nègres entre le golfe de Bénin et Bahia de Todos os Santos, du XVIIe au XIXe siècle (Paris: Mouton, 1968) 232.

  63. José C. Curto, “Luso-Brazilian Alcohol;” Joseph C. Miller, “Legal Portuguese Slaving from Angola. Some Preliminary Indications of Volume and Direction, 1760-1830,” Revue française d’histoire d’outre-mer, LXII-226/227 (1975) 135-176.

  64. “Junta do Governo de Angola, 19 junho de 1823” (Lisbon: AHU, n. d.) Angola, Box 142, Document 57.

  65. António Delgado da Silva, Colleção da legislação portuguesa desde a última compilação das ordenações, vol. 1 (Lisbon: Typografia maigrense, 1825-1830) 369-376.

  66. “Directório que se deve observar nas povações dos Índios do Pará e Maranhão enquanto sua Majestade não mandar o contrário” (Lisbon: n. p., 1785). Written in 1757 by Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado, brother of the Marquis de Pombal and governor of the Estado do Grão Pará e Maranhão, this code becomes a royal edict on August 17, 1758. For a recent analysis, see Barbara A. Sommer, “Negotiated Settlements: Native Amazonians and Portuguese Policy in Para, Brazil, 1758-1798,” diss., University of New Mexico, 2000, 55-152.

  67. Instructions sent, in 1751, to Gomes Freire de Andrada: Marcos Carneiro de Mendonça, O marquês de Pombal e o Brasil (São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1960) 179-189.

  68. John Hemming, Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians, 1500-1700 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1978) 458-460; Roberta M. Delson, “Inland Navigation in Colonial Brazil: Using Canoes on the Amazon,” International Journal of Maritime History, VII, 1 (1995): 1-28.

  69. See Fernand Braudel “L’histoire des civilisations : le passé explique le présent,” in Écrits sur l’histoire (Paris: Flammarion, 1969) 225-314; Georges Benrekassa, “Civilisation, civilité,” Dictionnaire européen des Lumières, ed. M. Delon (Paris: PUF, 1997) 219-224.

  70. Mertinho de Mello e Castro to the governor of Goiás, 1771; José Martins Pereira de Alencastre, Anais da província de Goiás (1863; Brasília: Editora Gráfica Ipiranga, 1979) 183.

  71. Domingos Alves Branco Moniz Barreto, “Plano sobre a civilização dos Indios do Brazil e principalmente para a capitania da Bahia…,” 1788: Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, 19 (1856): 33.

  72. Émile Benveniste, “Civilisation: contribution à l’histoire du mot,” Problèmes de lingustique générale, ed. É. Benveniste et al., 2 vols., vol. I (Paris: Gallimard, 1966) 336-345.

  73. It is, in fact, in 1706 that this name appeared for the first time with its present meaning: C. Furtado, La formation économique du Brésil and Antônio Candido, Formação literária do Brasil (São Paulo: Martins, 1959) consider the gold cycle, in the eighteenth century, as the definitive moment of Brazilian national formation, within the economic sphere (C. Furtado) and within the literary sphere (A. Candido).

  74. “Memória sôbre a introdução do arroz branco no Estado Grão-Pará,” Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, 48 (1885): 79-84.

  75. For an analysis of the period and the historical debate regarding the “crisis of the colonial system,” see “Colonial Brazil: Foundations, Crises, and Legacies,” spec. issue of The Hispanic American Historical Review 80.4 (2000) and particularly the article by Jorge Pedreira and José Jobson de A. Arruda.

  76. David Eltis, Economic Growth and the Ending of the Transatlantic Slave Trade (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987) 234-244.

  77. Tulio Halperin Donghi, Histoire contemporaine de l’Amérique latine (1970; Paris: Payot, 1972) 83 and 95; Davide Bushnell, “Independence Compared: The Americas North and South,” Independence and Revolution in Spanish America: Perspectives and Problems, ed. A. McFarlane and E. Posada-Carbó (London: University of London Press, 1999) 68-83.

  78. Arquivo diplomático da Independência, Brasilia, Ministério das Relações exteriores, 1972, vol. 1, passim.

  79. Speech delivered by the influential minister from São Paulo, Nicolau Vergueiro (around 1823), Diário da Assembléia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa do Império do Brasil, vol. II (1823; Brasilia: Câmara dos Deputados, 1973) 677.

  80. “Cartas de João Loureiro ao Conselheiro Manuel José Maria da Costa e Sá 1826-1842,” Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico Brasileiro, 86 (1913): 29.

  81. Regarding the reorganization of Portuguese politics in Africa after the independence of Brazil, see Valentim Alexandre, “The Portuguese Empire 1825-1850,” From Slave Trade to Empire: Europe and the Colonisation of Black Africa, 1780s-1880s, ed. O. Pétré-Grenouilleau (London: Routledge, 2004) 110-132.

  82. “American Slavery and the Conflict of Laws,” Columbia Law Review, 71.1 (1971): 74-99; Louise Weinberg, “Methodological Interventions and the Slavery Cases, or Night Thoughts of a Legal Realist,” Maryland Law Review, 56 (1997): 1316-1370.

  83. Notwithstanding, of course, the preeminence of property rights over the right to freedom that, often, allowed Antillean masters to retain their slaves when they resided in the metropolis; see Roger Botte, “L’esclavage africain après l’abolition de 1848. Servitude et droit du sol,” Annales HSS, 55-5 (2000): 1009-1037.

  84. Analyzing the economic and social aspects of the modernization of slavery in the nineteenth century (in Cuba, Puerto Rico, the United States and Brazil), without considering the relationship between this process and the “state building” of the United States and Brazil, the notion of a “second slavery” – conceived by Dale Tomich and utilized by other specialists – loses a great deal of its force; Dale W. Tomich, “The ‘Second-Slavery’: Bonded Labor and the Transformation of the Nineteenth-century World Economy,” Rethinking the Nineteenth Century: Movements and Contradictions, ed. F. O. Ramírez (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988) 103-117; Tomich, “World Slavery and Caribbean Capitalism: The Cuban Sugar Industry, 1780-1868,” Theory and Society, 20.3 (1991): 297-319, as well as Sidney Mintz’s commentaries on pages 383-392 of the same volume.

  85. Owners having 1-4 slaves represented 59.6% of the masters in São Paulo (in 1829), 60.2% in Minas Gerais (in 1833), but only 50.1% in the South of the United States (in 1850) and 54.4% in Jamaica (in 1832): Francisco Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein, Slavery and the Economy of São Paulo, 1750-1850 (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 2003) 129. See also Stuart B. Schwartz, “Patterns of Slaveholding in the Americas: New Evidence from Brazil,” American Historical Review, 87.1 (1982): 55-86.

  86. The municipality of Rio de Janeiro was comprised of rural parishes. In the urban parishes (206,000 inhabitants), the number of slaves reached 79,000 individuals (38%): Mary C. Karasch, Slave Life in Rio de Janeiro, 1808-1850, table 3.6 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987) 62; Almanak Laemmert 1852 (Rio de Janeiro: Laemmert, Supplemento) 95-96.

  87. England imposed anti-slave trade treaties on Chile (January 1839), Venezuela (March 1839), Argentina (May 1839), Uruguay (June 1839), Haiti (December 1839), Bolivia (September 1840), Mexico (February 1841) and Texas (November 1841). Senior members of the Brazilian Council of State closely followed these English initiatives: “Consulta de 20.09.1845,” Atas do Conselho de Estado, vol. 1 (Brasília: Senado Federal, 1978) 433-448. The press in Rio de Janeiro and, in particular, the daily Jornal do Commércio, paid a great deal of attention to parliamentary debates and articles in British newspapers – regularly translated and reprinted – related to the supression of the trade and to tariff policies vis-à-vis Brazilian products.

  88. The 6,400 Africans brought to Brazil between 1850 and 1856 represent a residual effect of the great flows interrupted in 1850.

  89. More accurately, Brazil took responsibility for repayment of the loan, of an equivalent amount, contracted in 1823 by the Portuguese government with the same Rothschilds; see Caroline Shaw, “Rothschilds and Brazil: An Introduction to Sources in the Rothschild Archive,” Latin American Research Review, 40.2 (2005): 165-185, and Stephen Haber and Herbert S. Klein, “The Economic Consequences of Brazilian Independence,” How Latin America Fell Behind: Essays in Economic Histories of Brazil and Mexico, 1800-1914, ed. S. Haber (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997) 243-259.

  90. Since 1833, with the exacerbation of Anglo-Brazilian disputes regarding the African slave trade, decreed illegal in Brazil in 1831, senior members of the Council of State stressed that regulations on the slave trade and tariff policies would remain associated in negotiations with London overall; Atas do Conselho, 10 de outubro de 1833, vol. 2, 293-296.

  91. This concerns the Alves Branco tariffs, fixed for the first time at a rate of “ad volarem,” the declaration of which dates August 12, 1844, but whose application, subject to discussions with interested countries, was added to the budget of 1845-1846: Anais do Senado, Rio de Janeiro, 1845, book 3, 454-456.

  92. C. Duncan Rice, “‘Humanity Sold for Sugar!’ The British Abolitionist Response to Free Trade in Slave-Grown Sugar,” The Historical Journal, 13.3 (1970): 402-418.

  93. The Economist, April 19, 1845.

  94. British Parliamentary Papers: Slave Trade, vol. 4 (1847-1848) (Shannon: Irish University Press, 1968), Reports from the Selected Committee on the Slave Trade, “2nd report” 169-170.

  95. Eltis, Economic Growth 234-244.

  96. “Journal of Lieutenant Forbes, on His Mission to Dahomey,” British Parliamentary Papers, vol. 38, Correspondence with the British Commissioners on the Slave Trade, 1851, 329-347.

  97. See, regarding this subject, François Crouzet, “Puissance maritime et blocus,” La puissance maritime, ed. C. Buchet, J. Meyer and J.-P. Poussou (Paris: Presses de l’Université de Paris-Sorbonne, 2004) 467-478.

  98. English abolitionism also attracted writers and painters, who depicted the tragedies of the slave trade. For this reason, The Slave Ship (1840), by [J. M. W.] Turner, remains the icon of the ideological power of the campaign against the slave trade. Contrary to the standard interpretation, linking the scene in this painting to the drowning of Africans perpetrated in the Antilles in 1781, by the captain of a slave ship (the Zong) based in Liverpool, it has been demonstrated that the painting refers to the dramas born of the revival of the Cuban and Brazilian trade at the end of the 1830s. The Slave Ship was exhibited in London in 1840, during the World Antislavery Convention, whose success made this event the foundational act of an international congress committed to political mobilization. The painting was initially called Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying – Typhoon Coming On. See John McCoubrey, “Turner’s Slave Ship: Abolition, Ruskin and Reception,” Word & Image, 14.4 (1998): 319-353; and Marcus Wood, Blind Memory: Visual Representation of Slavery in England and America, 1780-1865 (New York: Routledge, 2000) 41-74.

  99. Leslie M. Bethell, “Britain, Portugal and the Suppression of the Brazilian Slave Trade: The Origins of Lord Palmerston’s Act of 1839,” The English Historical Review, 80.317 (1965): 761-784; Wilburn D. Jones, “The Origins and Passage of Lord Aberdeen’s Act,” The Hispanic American Historical Review, 42.4 (1962): 502-520.

  100. This is confirmed in one of his responses, in March 1848, to the House of Commons commission of inquiry on the slave trade: “In Brazil, the amount of land that can be cultivated, if there were an unlimited supply of labor, is incalculable. It is a big mistake to believe that the fear of disorders within the social order could cause [the Brazilians] to limit the import of blacks […]; these dangers […] would not have the effects that only after having reached such proportions would be likely to move the Brazilian government. Meanwhile, our Antillean production would have already been subjected to the repercussions of the enormous expansion of Brazilian production”: “First Report from the Selected Committee on the Slave Trade,” March 21, 1848, in British Parliamentary, vol. 4, 4.

  101. Howard Temperley, British Anti-slavery, 1833-1870 (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1972) 183.

  102. “Discurso do conselheiro Eusébio de Queiroz Coutinho em 16 de julho de 1852”: Agostinho Marques Perdigão Malheiro, A escravidão no Brasil: Ensaio histórico, jurídico, social, vol. 1 (1867; Petrópolis: Vozes, 1976) 201-222.

  103. See the debate that took place in the Chamber of Deputies on January 23, 1859, reproduced in the Jornal do Commércio on January 28, 1850.

  104. João José Reis, Rebelião escrava no Brasil (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2003).

  105. Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, “Prolétaires et esclaves: immigrés portugais et captifs africains à Rio de Janeiro, 1850-1875,” Cahiers du CRIAR, Publications de l’Université de Rouen, 4 (1984): 199-156.

  106. Joaquim Nabuco, Um estadista do Império, vol. 1 (1897-1899; Rio de Janeiro: Topbooks, 1997) 229, n. 6. I am willing to wager that Brazilian movements, today, claiming reparations for the descendents of slaves will surely evoke this precise point.

  107. Richard Graham, “Os fundamentos da ruptura de relações diplomáticas entre o Brasil e Grã-Bretanha em 1863: A questão christie,” Revista de historia, 49 (1962): 117-138, and 50 (1962): 379-402; Robert Conrad, “Neither Slave nor Free. The Emancipados of Brazil, 1818-1868,” The Hispanic American Historical Review, 53.1 (1973): 50-70.

  108. The law being prepared stipulated, notably, that crimes related to the slave trade would pass from the jurisdiction of popular juries, manipulated by slavers, to the tribunals of the War Navy, managed by the government.

  109. Luiz Felipe de Alencastro, “Le commerce des vivants: traite d’esclaves et Pax Lusitana dans l’Atlantique Sud, XVIe siècle-XIX siècle,” diss., Université de Paris-X – Nanterre, 1986, 522-527.

  110. D. Eltis, Economic Growth 234-244.

  111. William R. Summerhill, “Market Intervention in a Backward Economy: Railroad Subsidy in Brazil, 1854-1913,” The Economic History Review, 51.3 (1998): 542-568.

  112. Warren Dean, “Latifundia and Land Policy in Nineteenth-century Brazil,” The Hispanic American Historical Review, 51.4 (1971): 606-625; Lígia Osório Silva, Terras devolutas e latifúndio: Efeitos da lei de 1850 (Campinas: Ed. Unicamp, 1996).

  113. José Damião Rodrigues, “Entre duas margens: A circulação atlântica dos Açorianos nos séculos XVII e XVIII,” Arquipélago, VI (2002): 225-245.

  114. José P. Xavier Pinheiro, Importação de trabalhadores Chins (Rio de Janeiro: Typographia de J. L. da Silva, 1869).

  115. Luiz Peixôto de Lacerda Werneck, Idéais sobre a colonização (Rio de Janeiro: Ed. Laemmert, 1855).

  116. Born in Portugal, trained in law in Coimbra, Nicolau Vergueiro arrives in Brazil in 1803, and is then elected deputy to the Portuguese Constituent Assembly convened in Lisbon (1821). Favoring Brazilian independence, he returns to South America to be elected to the Constituent Assembly of his new country (1823). Yet, in exchanging the Constituent Assembly in Lisbon for that of Rio de Janeiro, Vergueiro does not choose Brazilian independence solely: he also opts for the preservation of the Brazilian presence within the South Atlantic. He advocated then the slave “union” project between Brazil and Angola, already mentioned. Several times minister and member of Parliament, prominent land owner, he carried out the illegal trade of Africans after 1831. Perceiving the changing winds, he began transporting, from 1843 on, Swiss, German and Portuguese immigrants to his coffee plantations in São Paulo.

  117. On the limits of this experience see Thomas Davatz, Memórias de um colono no Brasil (1850; Belo Horizonte: Itataia, 1980), and above all the preface by Sérgio Buarque de Holanda, 15-46.

  118. Joaquim Nabuco, Um Estadista do Império 228.

  119. John Darwin, “Imperialism and the Victorians: The Dynamics of Territorial Expansion,” The English Historical Review, 112.447 (1997): 614-642.

  120. Michael Byers, “Policing the High Seas: The Proliferation Security Initiative,” The American Journal of International Law, 98.3 (2004): 526-545; Chaim D. Kaufmann and Robert A. Pape, “Explaining Costly International Moral Action: Britain’s Sixty-Year Campaign Against the Atlantic Slave Trade,” International Organization, 53.4 (1999): 631-668. Like other authors, C. Kaufmann and R. Pape stress that the expenditures for the suppression of the slave trade were superior to the profits obtained for England by the slave trade. Without diminishing the reach of abolitionism, one should dissociate the two questions: the social sectors having profited from the slave trade are not the same as those which, later, would choose to pay for its suppression.

  121. José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, “Apontamentos para a civilizaçao dos indios bravos do Império do Brasil (1823)”, Revista do Instituto histórico e geográfico brasileiro, 12 (1849); Andrada, Representação à Assembléia Geral Constituinte e Legislativa do Império do Brasil sôbre a escravatura (Paris: F. Didot, 1825).