Movers of Slaves



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Conclusion


Following the opening of the slave export trade from Cattle Bay to Rio de Janeiro in 1722, Brazilians became an ubiquitous feature of Benguela. Central agents in the movement of half a million slaves from this central Angolan port to Guanabara Bay, they persisted in Benguela as long as the trade itself continued. Whites and especially mulattos and blacks, men, but also a few women, engaged in various occupations, some free, others convicts, others still freed, and even slaves periodically arrived in Cattle Bay from the land of Vera Cruz to manage and to support the enslaving connection with Rio de Janeiro. The declining post-1795 slave exports, the 1808 relocation of the Portuguese Court in Rio de Janeiro, the independence of Brazil in 1822, and the 1830 ban on slaving in the Atlantic world reduced but did not end the Brazilian presence behind Cattle Bay. Even under these circumstances, the captives shipped from Benguela remained a most lucrative leg of the Atlantic slave trade for the merchants based around Guanabara Bay.

The continuous presence of Brazilians in Benguela offers important implications for our understanding of the South Atlantic. This was clearly a world on the move: beyond the thousands of slaves shipped from Cattle Bay to Rio de Janeiro in any given year, smaller numbers of all kinds of people headed in the opposite direction to underpin their movement. Moreover, since slaves, forros, and free mulattos and blacks were, regardless of birthplace, part and parcel of this Brazilian community, their presence in Benguela further indicates an earlier “back to Africa” movement from the land of Vera Cruz than that associated with West Africa following the mid-1830s. The 1835 Malê uprising in Bahia or the subsequently expanding abolitionist movement in Brazil did not generate the first slaves, former slaves, and their descendants to return to the “motherland.” Another return had been quietly underway well before.

And the implications are no less significant at the micro level. The Brazilian community in Benguela played more than a determining role in the economic life of this central Angolan port town. If its slave exports went overwhelmingly to Guanabara Bay, there was little imported that did not originate within or was re-exported through Rio de Janeiro. The connection between Guanabara Bay and Benguela was enslaving in more ways than one. And it was precisely because of such an intense economic dependency that Brazilians were able to exert a great deal of influence over Benguela’s political life. Not only did some occupy key positions in the municipal and colonial governments, thereby protecting the interests of their financial backers in Rio de Janeiro, but they also nearly succeeded is wrestling this part of Angola from the Portuguese Crown. Yet another area where Brazilians played a fundamental role was in the demography of Benguela, not to mention that of its hinterland. An early, not to mention prolific, student of central Angola remarked en passant that by about 1850, which roughly coincides with the end of the slave export trade in the region, the “sons of Brazil” had vanished.60 If this was indeed the case, it also true that Brazilians left behind relatively large numbers of sons and daughters through their liaisons with enslaved, freed and free local women. How could it have been otherwise when so few brought their women with them? In short, if Benguela and its hinterland can be said to represent the “mother” of a significant percentage of the pre-1850 population of Rio de Janeiro, the enslaving connection also resulted in Brazil as the “father” of an appreciable portion of the population of central Angola.


Table I. Probable Brazilian Male Residents in Benguela, 1797


Name


Color

Marital Status

Age

Occupation

Slaves

Owned


Property Owned in Benguela / Dependents

Antonio Jozé de Barros

White

Single

35

Sargento mor dos Auxiliares, Negociante

14 M

8 F

Cazas telha de sobrado

Domingos Ferreira Leite

White







Negociante, morador no Rio de Jan.







cazas de telha terries servem de alugueis

Antonio Botelho da Cruz

Black

Single

33

Tenente dos Henriques dum dos terços do Rio de Janeiro, Sapateiro










Valentim Martins de Siqueira

Black

Married,

Bahia


55

Taverneino




1 F

telha terrias

João Nunes

Black

Married,

Bahia


65

Ajudante dos Henriques, Taverneiro


2 M

4 F

Cazas de palha terrias; 1 negra forra Juliana, 40 annos com 1 filho mulatto de id.e 7

Joaquim Teixeira

Black

Married,

Rio de Jan.



52

Taberneiro

2 M

2 F

Cazas de telha terrias

João Coelho



Mulatto

Married,

Bahia


45

Taberneiro, officio de carpinteiro e calafate

4 M

7 F

cazas de palha terrias; 1 filha Anna Joaquina mulatta id.e 8

João da Matta

Mulatto

Married,

Bahia


34

Carpinteiro




1 F

cazas de palha terrais

Chrispim da Silva e Souza

White

Married,

Rio de Jan.



28

Assistente em casas terrias de Palha, Negociante bolante










Vitoriano da Sousa

Pardo

Married,

Bahia


50

Assistente em casas terrias de Palha, Taverneiro

3 M

3 F

1 aggregada, preta Maria

Manoel Gomes de Campos

Pardo

Married,

Rio de Jan.



60

Pedreiro, assistente em cazas de sobrado de telha

2 M

6 F

agregado, Thomas Nicolão preto solteiro idade 40 com 7 escravas

Felippe Jose da Graça

Pardo

Married,

Pernamb.o



35

Ourives, assistente em cazas terrias de telha




5 F

Agregada,Getrudes Maria do Rozario idade 30 annos branca e sua filha Thereza de Jezus branca idade 10 annos

Francisco Lourenço Rodate

White

Married,

Pernamb.o



30

Negociante, assistente em cazas terrias de telha, Taverneiro

2 M

4 F




Antonio Jose Pinto










Capitão, assistente no Rio de Janeiro







cazas de sobrado e outras terrias de telha

Pedro da Silva

Black

Married,

Rio de Jan.



60

Assistente em cazas terrias de palha










Miguel Ferreira

Black

Married,

Rio de Jan.



32

Taverneiro assitente em cazas terrias de palha

3 M

3 F

Agregado, Sebastiao Ferreira preto idade 40 annos Solteiro

Source: See footnote 8.

Table II: Enslaved Africans Dispatched from Rio de Janeiro to Benguela, 1827-1832





Name of Slave

S

e

x



Type of Slave



Owner




Date


Source: ANRJ, Códice 424, Registro de Polícia, Saída de Escravos.

Not Listed


M

New

n.g.

Jan. 15, 1827

Vol. I, fl. 156

Francisca Benguela

F

Ladina

Justino Martins da Roza

Oct. 02, 1829

Vol. III, fl. 106v

Francisco Benguela

M

Ladino

Justiniano José dos Reis*

June 04, 1830

Vol. IV, fl. 177v

Not Listed

F

New

n.g.

July 12, 1830

Vol. V, fl. 10

Francisco Benguela

M

n.g.

Francisco Marques d’Oliveira

July 05, 1830

Ibid, fl. 25

Diogo Benguela

M

n.g.

Francisco Marques d’Oliveira

July 05, 1830

Ibid, fl. 25

João Benguela

M

n.g.

Francisco Marques d’Oliveira

July 05, 1830

Ibid, fl. 25

Not Listed

M

n.g.

Aurelio José Antunes

Aug. 11, 1830

Ibid, fl. 28

Not Listed

M

n.g.

Aurelio José Antunes

Aug. 11, 1830

Ibid, fl. 28

Andre Benguela

M

Ladino

Maria Antónia de Carvalho

Sept. 09, 1830

Ibid, fl. 92v

Anacleto Benguela

M

Ladino

António de Carvalho Soares*

Jan. 01, 1831

Ibid, fl. 104

Lourenço Benguela

M

Ladino

António de Carvalho Soares*

Jan. 01, 1831

Ibid, fl. 104

António Songo

M

Ladino

António de Carvalho Soares*

Jan. 01, 1831

Ibid, fl. 104

Feliciana Benguela

F

n.g.

Dona Eugenia da Costa Faria*

Feb. 05, 1831

Ibid, fl. 117v

Manuel

M

Ladino

Pe Thome F. Alfonço Pinha

Feb. 05, 1831

Ibid, fl. 118

João

M

Ladino

Pe Thome F. Alfonço Pinha

Feb. 05, 1831

Ibid, fl. 118

Genoveva

F

Ladina

Pe Thome F. Alfonço Pinha

Feb. 05, 1831

Ibid, fl. 118

Izabel

F

Ladina

Pe Thome F. Alfonço Pinha

Feb. 05, 1831

Ibid, fl. 118

Sabina

F

Ladina

n.g.

Feb. 26, 1831

Ibid, fl. 127v

Luiza

F

Ladina

Maria Carneiro**

Jan. 04, 1832

Ibid, fl. 173

Victoria

F

Ladina

Maria Carneiro**

Jan. 04, 1832

Ibid, fl. 173

Joana

F

Ladina

Maria Carneiro**

Jan. 04, 1832

Ibid, fl. 173

*residents of Benguela **free black, former owner



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