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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:27 AM   #1

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What If The African State of Palmares had never been Conquered.


How many are familiar with Palmares? It was a 17th century State set up in the North Eastof Brazil by runaway slaves whose population was more or less as large as any typical New world colony; and it seemed to have functioned just as well with a majority population of Africans and a minority of Indians and European Settlers.

The settlement came into being at the beginning of the 17th century. It was frequently raided by Dutch and portuguese settlers, who also provided usefuldescriptions of the state :

Quote:
The diary of the expedition describes the large "Palmares": It was surrounded by a double palisade with a spike-lined trough inside. This settlement was half a mile long, its street six feet wide. There was a swamp on the north side and large felled trees on the south. We might guess that the clearing was for cultivation or for defensive reasons.

There were 220 buildings in the middle of which stood a church, four smithies, and a council house. The population was around 1,500. The ruler of that place, according to the diary, was severely just, punishing sorcerers, as well as those who would flee the mocambo. The king had a house and farms outside the settlement. The narrative also includes description of cultivation and foodstuffs, uses made of the palm, and crafts such as work in straw, gourds, and ceramic.
As was so often the case in the long history of wars against Palmares, the soldiers found the settlement virtually abandoned when they arrived; the Palmarinos would receive advance word of expeditions from their spies in the colonial towns and sugar plantations or engenhos.

RAIDING PALMARES
The external history of Palmares from the expulsion of the Dutch in 1654 to the destruction of Palmares in 1694 is one of frequent Portuguese incursions — sometimes more than one a year — and Palmarino reprisals and raids. In the period 1654 to 1678 there were at least 20 expeditions against Palmares. In the internecine peace, Palmarinos traded with their Portuguese neighbors, exchanging foodstuffs and crafts for arms, munitions, and salt. The trade with Palmares was such that many colonials opposed war with the Palmarinos, and in the 1670s there was widespread opinion that establishing peace with Palmares was the best way to achieve stability in the colony.

Nevertheless, many local planters feared the predatory raids by Palmarinos, real or potential. They also wished to eliminate the lure of escape that Palmares constantly represented to the plantation slaves. In spite of much vacillation, colonial leaders opted again for the destruction of the quilombo, and sent militia captain Fernão Carrilho against them. Carrilho's campaign of 1676-77 was not only one of the more devastating, but it also gave us the most substantial descriptions of Palmares.

The "Relação das guerras feitas aos Palmares," from the term of Governor Dom Pedro de Almeida, reported that campaign, mentioning several mocambos that constituted Palmares: Zambi, Acotirene or Arotirene, Tabocas, Dambrabanga, Subupira, the royal compound of Macaco, Osenga, Amaro, and Andalaquituche. The Portuguese, as was their wont, named at least some of these towns for the title-holders living there: Zambi (probably Zumbi), Andalaquituche, brother of "Zambi," and Aqualtune, the mother of the king. Amaro appears to have been the given name of the resident chief of that mocambo. Subupira was the mocambo of Gana-Zona, brother of the king. Some of the names of the mocambos may have Bantu or indigenous American roots, but it is difficult to determine with certainty.

This chronicle reports that at this time the king of Palmares was called Ganga-Zumba, which allegedly meant "Great Lord." He had a palace, guards, ministers, and other officials. His subjects greeted him by kneeling and "clapping" their hands (probably a hand-snapping gesture also used in West Africa). His royal town was Macaco (Portuguese for 'Monkey'), so named because a monkey was killed at the site. Macaco was fortified by a palisade with embrasures, and around the outside was sewn with iron caltrops and pitfalls.

This mocambo contained more than 1,500 houses. The other towns were ruled by chiefs who lived in them. The mocambo of Subupira, for example, was governed by the king's brother. It too was fortified and circled with spiked pitfalls, and it comprised more than 800 houses. Subupira was where the Palmarinos trained for war.. The architecture of Macaco and Subupira suggests that Palmares was on a constant war-footing.
BRAZZIL - News from Brazil - Palmares, Zumbi and Blacks - October 95 cover story
The Kingdom came to an end in January 1694 after being raided by a portuguese military expedition led by Domingos Jorge Velho and Bernardo Vieira de Melo.

Well we know well enough what happenned with Haiti, the world's first black republic, what would have become of Palmares if it had survived?

Last edited by mansamusa; December 6th, 2012 at 05:52 AM.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:37 AM   #2

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Originally Posted by mansamusa View Post
How many are familiar with Palmares? It was a 17th century State set up in the North Eastof Brazil by runaway slaves whose population was more or less as large as any typical New world colony; and it seemed to have functioned just as well with a majority population of Africans and a minority of Indians and European Settlers.

The settlement came into being at the beginning of the 17th century. It was frequently raided by Dutch and portuguese settlers, who also provided usefuldescriptions of the state :



The Kingdom came to an end in January 1964 after being raided by a portuguese military expedition led by Domingos Jorge Velho and Bernardo Vieira de Melo.

Well we know well enough what happenned with Haiti, the world's first black republic, what would have become of Palmares if it had survived?
Edit needed. Surely 1694
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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:40 AM   #3

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That was a very interesting post. How large was the state and was it large enough to support an independent state? My feeling is that Palmares would have eventually have been reincorporated into Brazil proper or faced becoming a colony of some other European nation. Unfortunately, as the article you quote states, Brazil did not want a free colony on its borders so it was probably doomed from the start.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 05:48 AM   #4

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Interesting, I knew nothing about this; I found this short article on it, which gives some details about how it was organized:
The historical encyclopedia of world slavery. 1. A - K - Junius P. Rodriguez - Google Books
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Old December 6th, 2012, 06:07 AM   #5

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Originally Posted by funakison View Post
Edit needed. Surely 1694
Thanks for the correction.


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Originally Posted by Aulus Plautius View Post
That was a very interesting post. How large was the state and was it large enough to support an independent state? My feeling is that Palmares would have eventually have been reincorporated into Brazil proper or faced becoming a colony of some other European nation. Unfortunately, as the article you quote states, Brazil did not want a free colony on its borders so it was probably doomed from the start.
According to wikipedia:

Quote:
One estimate places the population of Palmares in the 1690s at around 20,000 inhabitants, although recent scholarship has questioned whether this figure is exaggerated. Stuart Schwartz places the number at roughly 11,000, noting that it was, regardless, "undoubtedly the largest fugitive community to have existed in Brazil".[2]
Palmares (quilombo) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And they probably were doomed. But the Maroons in jamaica provide an example of possible compromise with European settlers. In a matter of fact the Portuguese offered Palmares a similar compromise, where they give up all Palmares residents not born in the area over to the plantations and return any future runaways;while at the same time allowing their activities to be monitored by colonial authorities.

The Palmares rejected it and chose to instead fight.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 07:40 AM   #6

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Palmares dont had size nor power to withstand a war against the portuguese empire, another problem of Palmares is that the quilombo worked in the same way of a african kingdom, they had slaves,normally anothers africans from the tribes enemies of Palmares rulers,thus they failed to gather the suport of the majority of the slaves
in reality the portuguese had a Tercio of Africans from enemie tribes

Now if Palmares had a strategy of fighting the Portuguese, would be wise to ally with the Native Cariri confederation at the time the portuguese was at war with the Cariri and try to gather the suport of all slaves in a great slave revolt, a alliance betwen this two peoples would have forced the Portuguese to fight on two fronts an with a slave revolt the portuguese whold be in troubles.

Alone Palmares would have no chance as is what happened.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #7

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Palmares dont had size nor power to withstand a war against the portuguese empire, another problem of Palmares is that the quilombo worked in the same way of a african kingdom, they had slaves,normally anothers africans from the tribes enemies of Palmares rulers,thus they failed to gather the suport of the majority of the slaves
in reality the portuguese had a Tercio of Africans from enemie tribes

Now if Palmares had a strategy of fighting the Portuguese, would be wise to ally with the Native Cariri confederation at the time the portuguese was at war with the Cariri and try to gather the suport of all slaves in a great slave revolt, a alliance betwen this two peoples would have forced the Portuguese to fight on two fronts an with a slave revolt the portuguese whold be in troubles.

Alone Palmares would have no chance as is what happened.
What rival tribes. I thought it was a single kingdom in palmsres. What percentage of them were slaves really.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 12:16 PM   #8

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Originally Posted by mansamusa View Post
What rival tribes. I thought it was a single kingdom in palmsres. What percentage of them were slaves really.
a single kingdom sorry for my bad english, the other kingdon that i saying was kingdons in africa the ruling class in Palmares was compost by Bantu, and they taken slaves from the iorubas ashantis Fula and Haussas tribes.

Quote:
Zumbi Sent to capture slaves from neighboring plantations to work for as slaves in the Quilombo dos Palmares. Also kidnapped rare women, and executed those who wanted to escape the Quilombo ".
Johannes Blaer
i dont the now porcentage i must researche
but still some historians says that the slaves in palmares had a better live than the slaves in the rest of the country

Last edited by Tairusiano; December 6th, 2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old December 6th, 2012, 12:49 PM   #9

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Originally Posted by Tairusiano View Post
a single kingdom sorry for my bad english, the other kingdon that i saying was kingdons in africa the ruling class in Palmares was compost by Bantu, and they taken slaves from the iorubas ashantis Fula and Haussas tribes.


i dont the now porcentage i must researche
but still some historians says that the slaves in palmares had a better live than the slaves in the rest of the country
I know that Jamaican maroons sent back to Liberia very often could tell what tribe their parents or grandparents were from. But did such tribal affiliations play any role in Palmares? It was mostly a Creole society made up of Africans born and raised in the new world as far as I know.

...........

And i find it strange that you are so sure that slavery played such a huge part in the ability of Palmares to survive when you and most commentators of the era are not even able to give a detailed account of the scale or nature of that slavery, within Palmares.

Last edited by mansamusa; December 6th, 2012 at 01:44 PM.
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Old December 7th, 2012, 05:30 AM   #10

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Had no idea about Palmares Mansamusa so thanks for increasing my knowledge. I do remember reading about runaway slaves establishing a separate state in Haiti however. Just cant remember their name now.
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