Africa Speaks
Race and HistoryNews and Views
Terms of Service | Translator | Nubian School | Channel Africa | Recommended Books

Articles Archive: Page 1 - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4 - Page 5 - Page 6

Race and History Forum



Brazil has had a history of division of Blacks since the days of slavery. In Brazil, shades of color from cafe-au-lait to pure Black has been labeled and classified into a number of shades and castes, similar to he first ancient aspects of the caste or "varna" (color consciousness) used to devide and conquer India.

From the beginning of Brazilian history, one aspect of human interaction has been a fact of life. That aspect is the abuse and violation of African females by the slavemasters which brought into existance the many varieties of skin color resulting from European exploitation of Africans and Indians.

Yet, slavery in Brazil was not like slavery in the U.S., where slaves were totally debased to the extent that every effort was made to destroy the African language, culture, religion and intellectual capacity. In Brazil, the number of slaves imported was quite large. Moreover, most slaves in Brazil came from parts of Africa with developed culture.


Most of the Africans who were sent to Brazil came from West Africa and Congo-Angola between the mid 1500's to the late 1880's. Angola, one of Africa's important kingdoms had been organized long before the 12th Century. The Portugese arrived in Angola region during the 1400's. By the 1500's they were involved in trade and in trying to spread their religion into Angola. One of Angola's Kings, Matamba and his daughter Nzinga Matamba, the Queen of Angola during the 1600's, fought the Portugese for many years to stop the destruction of their country and the rapid enslavement of the Central African People, who were being shipped to Brazil, the Spanish colonies and later the U.S. (Many Black Americans west of Florida are of Angolan/Congolese origins. Louisiana's 'Congo Square" or "Angola" institution were named due to the connection with Angola.

The ancestors of Afro-Brazilians also come from West Africa, parts of East Africa, Southern Africa and all the areas where the Portugese colonized, including Mozambique.


The first system of private education in Brazil was began by the African Muslim Societies whose members came from West Africa. The African slaves who came from the literary and West African college system, were hired to teach he children of the Portugese slavemasters. At the same time, these slaves created their own schools.


Brazil has retained many aspects of African culture from the very beginning of its colonial history. The Africans sent to Brazil came from a number of important kingdoms and empires. They included the Mende group from the Guinea region ow West Africa, the Yorubas from Benin and Nigeria, the Tiv and Ashanti from Ghana, the Congo region people, the Angolans from the Angola Kingdom, Africans from the Mozambique and Swahili regions, Sudanese and East Africans. These Africans made for a strong cultural combination.


There are aspects of African culture that Africans in Africa are allowing missionaries from the European and Arab world to destroy are the traditional Afriçan spiritualist religions such as Vadu and Shango. African religions thrive in Brazil, whether its Mbanda, Condomble, or the Orisha tradition. These religions are like a steel bond that holds Afro-Brazilians to their African heritage and culture.


Carnaval in Brazil as far as many Afro-Brazilians are concerned is connected to the ancient Yoruba and Egyptian festivals. In fact, there are some who connect Brazilian carnaval to the ancient Egyptian Feast of Oisirus, which was spread to West Africa most likely by the descendants of the Yoruba. Some sources point out that the Yorubas migrated from Egypt during the time of the Exodus. Others point out that the Yoruba origins is in Sudan at a later period. Still, there are very strong connections between the Yorubas and the ancient Egyptians ond Kushites (Nubians) of ancient Sudan.


Africans have been visiting Brazil since prehistoric times. In fact, over the years, Negroid skulls dating back over 30,000 years ago have been found in North-Eastern Brazil (National Geographic; also Scientific American, Sept. 2000) See also the book, "A History of the African-Olmecs:Black Civilizations of America from Prehistoric Times to the Present Era," published by 1stBooks Library, )

The slaves sent to Brazil came from parts of Africa where the Arabs and Portugese had been engaged in war with the Africans. In places like Mali, Mauritania and the Sahel Region, many captives were warriors captured in warfare. They were shipped to the coast of West Africa and then to Brazil. In kingdoms like Bushongo (Zaire) and the Angola Kingdom, there were also wars against the Spanish and Portugese invaders and slave raiders. In fact, Queen Matamba Nzingha made war on the Portugese to stop them from enslaving her people.


Over the past many years, the idea of Olodum, a call for Afro-Brazilian cultural renaissance, has gain a foothold in the consciouisness of Brazil. Black consciousness in Brazil is growing to such an extent that those Brazilians who are mixed are refusing to let the Portugese/German/European elite devide them. Today in Brazil, more Brazilians are rejecting terms of skin complection grades that were used to devide the Blacks of Brazil.

Afro-Brazilian rebirth includes the return to creating masterpieces of artwork using the African style. Musical instruments, carvings, paintings, drums, clothing, hats, religious items, and a large variety of cultural items are being created daily by Afro-Brazilians. This is a phenomena that is also occurring all over the Caribbean, where local arts, crafts, and industries of a traditional type such as wood carving and pottery making is adding to the economy.

It is apparent that many Afro-Brazilians realize that no matter their skin tone, their African origins and their African heritage and forefathers and mothers remain in their consciousness. They realize that the slavemasters exploited them all, no matter the shade of skin. Afro-Brazilians are also very well aware that long before the Europeans and Arabs invaded Africa, there were tribes with a range of skin tones, heights, sizes and from various cultures. Brazilian slaves from southern Africa were lighter complected than those from Guinea and those from Sudan were taller than those from other places.

Among the aspects of culture that Afro-Brazilians have been developing over the many decades are the Angolan martial art called "capoeira." Capoeira is of Angolan Bantu origins and it was used in Brazil by slaves to defend against the Portugese and Dutch slaveowners and raiders. Capoeira is second in popularity only to soccer in Brazil.

Brazilian music like Samba is also being cherished along with other types of Afro-Brazilian music. The religions of Condomble, the Orishas, Mbanda and other spiritualist religions are of great importance to Afro-Brazilians because these are religions where humans participate in what would be called spiritual activities. They do not simply recite an event that occurred thousands of years ago, or read from a book of such event. In African religions like those practiced in Brazil, spiritual events and rituals are made to exist.


Racism in Brazil is of the most devastating kind. In Brazil with about 80 million Blacks, like the rest of Latin America, with tens of millions, the destruction of Blacks is taking place in a systematic manner. Recently the Final Call News discussed a meeting held by the Organization of Africans in the Americas (held in Venezeula in the year 2000), to discuss the racist genocide being applied to Blacks in Latin America. That genocide includes in Brazil, eliminating Black children from the streets, throwing thousands of primarily Black men in camps, racist discrimination and other forms of racism. In the rest of Latin America, the pattern is the same. Blacks are neglected and in some cases not even considered part of the population. One clearly sees that when Mexicans talk of their nation being 'Spanish and Indian," and not accepting the fact that Mexico is also African and has been African for thousands of years, or that today in Mexico, there are about one million African people with million more who have African ancestry. In lands like Columbia, Black villages and settlements are usually destroyed and Blacks suffer from poverty and racial discrimination.


There has been lots of discussion by the Germanic-Italian-Portugese settlers in South-western Brazil about separating from the rest of Brazil and creating a separate nation. Yet, in the History of Brazil, the North-eastern part of Brazil, with its huge Black population, included one of the first slave kingdoms in Latin America. That Kingdom was the Kingdom of Palmares, and it had a king called Zumbi. Zumbi and others established a series of quilimbos (towns) and controled an area of land in what is today the state of Alagoas. The king of Palmares was Zumbi. Today, Zumbi is a heroic figure in the history of Afro-Brazilians and the revival of the feeling and desire for independance by Afro-Brazilians is seen as the solution to the ending of racism, neglect, genocide and oppression of Blacks in Brazil. Brazil may in fact be the nation that leads a Black renaissance and social change in Latin America, where Black culture, religion, art, language, food, music and other cultural contributions are stolen by the white Latin elite, while they are systematically oppressing Blacks at the same time. This trend sounds very similar to the same scheme of racism and cultural genocide occurring in other parts of the world. In some cases Blacks sit back and let the oppressors trick them into rejecting their Black culture, yet in Brazil, the exact opposite has happened. Blacks in Brazil are holding on to their religion and culture and are working to liberate and free themselves.


Recently, there was a move by officials in Brazil to implement affirmative action remedies in the racist movie and motion picture industry where the only Blacks seen are maids, criminals and gardeners. The very same trend is common in Latin American television and movies right here in the United States. Due to this racist trend, there have been protests by Blacks in Brazil who are tired of being negatively portrayed.

Brazilian Blacks are not sitting around begging for the white Brazilians to let them into their companies and businesses. Black Brazilians are creating their own companies for they like African Americans know there is a very large worldwide Black population who speak Portugese and who would appreçiate seeing Brazilian culture on screen. Unlike some of us in the U.S., who are constantly lied to and told that "whites don't watch Black movies," therefore Hollywood will not invest in Black movies, Brazilians and Blacks in the U.S. have been working together and on their own to create their own product and to take the Black market that the same people claiming there is no market for Black movies have been exploiting.


The creation of the Organization of Africans in the Americas and the holding of their meeting in Venezeula last year 2000 was a very significant step, (see literature on the call for such unity attempts, "Susu and Susunomics: The Theory and Practice of Pan-African Economic, Racial and Cultural Self-Preservation," published by ). Blacks in the Americas total about 250 to 300 million, with 200 million in Latin America and the rest spread out all over the Americas. Black in this context means people of African descent, African genotype and phenotype and African origins regardless of current language spoken. The fact is people of African descent in the Americas are even more closely connected than are Russian Jews with Moroccan Jews, yet, no one will say Russian Jews and Moroccan Jews are not Jews. Hence, it is hypocritical and downright racist to attempt to devide the Black race by saying that a person with a few drops of blood from another race, but with a predominant African genotype and phenotype is "multiracial," "colored," or "mullato," as is done in Brazil, South Africa and now being attempted in the U.S. At last Afro-Brazilians, seeing the trick to weaken them are rejecting these classifications and claiming the title, Afro-Brazilian or Black Brazilian.

Paul Barton

more on Black Brazil, see "Raca Brazil," or

Trinicenter Int. | Africa News Links | 9/11 Home | Latest News | Sources | Search | Homepage

NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. is a 100% non-profit Website.