REBELIONS IN BAHIA, 1798-l838

I)  From the Inconfidência Baiana (l798) to the Sabinada (l838)

      A)  Between l798 and l838, Bahian history dominated by conspiracies, rebellions, civil wars, military revolts, urban riots (quebra quebras and saques populares), and slave revolts.  Inconfidência Baiana (l798)  inspired by French revolution ideas of liberty, equality, fraternity and the idea of a republic.  A year long war for independence (1822-l823) ends when patriot troops conquer principal city of Salvador (Bahia) which had been held by Portuguese armed forces.  Frequent anti-Portuguese riots between l823 and l831.  Soldier rebellions in l824, l831.  Federalist-Republican movements l831-l833, and l838 (i. e. Sabinada).  15 slave conspiracies, rebellions and insurrections between 1807 and l835.

     B)  War for independence (l822-1823).  Brazilian war for independence occurs in Bahia which becomes the stage for the longest (one year) and largest scaled armed conflict for independence against the Portuguese.  Brazilian patriots must surround and invade city of Salvador in order to defeat Portuguese forces controlling the city.  War fought by land and naval forces.  Included guerrilla warfare.  Initial patriot army group largely consists of native (i. e. indigenous) soldiers.

     C)  Anti-Portuguese "Mata Maroto" riots, l823-l831.

            1)  Combine patriotism (to be patriotic was to be anti-Portuguese) with social justice carried out by the poor.  Portuguese retail merchants and tavern owners are the targets of rioters who loot and destroy commercial establishments and warehouses.  Allows the poor to consume foods and acquire goods otherwise reserved for the middle and upper classes.  Report of French consul (1823) states that "Black soldiers and battalions of mulattos were  on the streets robbing and mistreating some Portuguese and foreigners, insulting the government of Rio de Janeiro, shouting death to the Emperor [Pedro I, l822-l831], and to the Portuguese, and long live independence and the republic.

            2)  1831 anti-Portuguese riots part of movement that forced the abdication of Emperor Pedro I.  An eyewitness observed that the commercial lower city of Salvador was "a perfect anarchy.  All the houses of the Portuguese had been invaded, and every family was a victim of popular furor.  All stores and warehouses were equally looted, with the spigots of casks opened and drained of liquids, shelves smashed and goods thrown in the street, and the owners or cashiers dead if they had been discovered."

The rioters sang:

            Fora maroto fora!
  
         Viagem pode seguir
            Os Brazileiros não querem
            Marotos mais no Brasil

                   Get out Maroto get out!
                   Take a trip
                   Brazilians don't want
                   Marotos any more in Brazil

1831 movement included a rank and file military insurrection with participation of slaves and distribution of guns to various participants.  After news reaches Bahia of abdication and exile of Pedro I who returns to Portugal,  senhores de engenho [sugar plantation owners] in the Recôncavo take the lead to demand the end of anarchy and restoration of urban commerce in the hands of Portuguese.  Recôncavo program of reaction prevails.

            D)  Military revolts frequent, l823-l831.

                 1)  1824 revolt of the Periquitos (parakeets).  Mulatto battalion ordered to march north to suffocate Pernambuco republican Confederation of the Equator revolt of l824.  Soldiers disobey orders, and seize and kill commanding officer.  Joined by other military units and take control of Bahia for a month.  Movement has no political progam and most of the periquitos soon abandon city.  New hard line army commander creates military commissions to try leaders who are executed.   Military commissions intensely disliked by soldiers.  Hard line army commander later named President of Bahia province (l827-l830).  He is assassinated in a public square in broad daylight in l830.  Periquito revolt blamed by white observers on  the practice of recruiting black or mulatto soldiers.  However, the all Afro-Brazilian Henriques regiment remains loyal to government and protects public buildings and commercial property.

                  2)  Other soldier revolts sparked by complaints of unpaid wages, bad food and harsh discipline, or by other social or political questions such as the l831 abdication crisis.

            E)  Sabinada (l838).  Named after Sabino Raboso, one of the leaders.  Large scale revolt in Salvador that declares Bahia an independent republic, and makes favorable reference to the federalist guerra dos farrapos in distant Rio Grande do Sul, and to other contemporary rebellions in Brazil.  Nearly 6,000 combatants on both sides of which 1,600 are killed, and 3,000 made prisoners.  Over 160 buildings in Salvador are burned to the ground.  Sabinada rebels also rely on ideology (i. e. wrote and printed manifestos and patriotic hymns which they compose).

            F)  Slave revolts, l807-l835.  None of the above raise the issue of the abolition of slavery, or the end racism in Bahia.  Slaves must act alone against slavery, although they are sometimes joined by libertos.  15 important slave conspiracies and rebellions in Bahia between l807 and l835.  Also, a widespread quilombo movement.

II)  Bahian social class structure, l800 to l840

All classes participate in the 40 years of turmoil in Bahia from l798 to l838.

     A)  Upper class consists of senhores de engenho, large export/import merchants, high political and religious functionaries, and higher military officers.

     B)  Middle class includes lower bureaucrats and lower ranking military officers, smaller sugar and tobacco farmers, retail merchants, master artisans, rentier class, the professions (priests, doctors, urban lawyers, journalists).

     C)  lower class:  soldiers, day laborers, street vendors (ambulatory), salaried workers, slaves, beggars and vagabond.

40% of population (upper and middle classes) control 90% of wealth and income, while 60% have 10% of wealth/income and are either poor or destitute.

 III)  Population characteristics, l808 and l835

      A)  1808.  Population of greater Salvador in l808 included 50,000 whites (21%), 104,000 free people of color (42%), and 93,000 slaves (37%).  Slaves and free people of color are 79% of population.

     B)  1835.  Estimated percentage of population of Salvador in l835  by race.  28% white, 72% people of color (30% are free; 42% are slave).  African born people (slave and liberto) are 34% of the total.  President of province wrote (l835) that the "class of blacks immensely outnumbers that of whites."  Sex ratio roughly equal between men and women for non-African born population, including slaves.  African born slaves and libertos are overwhelmingly male.

IV)  Culture in Bahia

            A)  Cultural diversity.  Afro-Brazilian, African, Euro-Brazilian and indigenous culture reflected in religious diversity, e. g.

                 1)  Catholicism (legal state religion), and Protestant Christianity (legally tolerated, but public worship not allowed),

                 2)  Candomblé  Afro-Brazilian religion of Yoruban, i. e. Nigerian origin.  Illegal.  Candomblé  grounds are subject to surprise invasions.  Practiced by Afro-Brazilian population.  Candomblé religious leaders extend their rituals to Catholic churches, i. e. the Nosso Senhor do Bonfim-Oxalá-Xangô phenomenon, and to Muslims due to the Muslim emphasis on ablutions.

                 3)  Islam.  Islam is the religion of most Africans, slave and free in Bahia, after l800.  Illegal, clandestine, and subject to state harrassment.  Based  on Koran and written word--Muslims are clandestinely teaching reading and writing. (Most free Bahians would not know how to read at this time.)  Amulets.  Special clothing.

                4)  Angolan ancester worship

                5)  Native or Amerindian Brazilian religion

         B)  Culture of slavery.  Slavery practice among all classes.  Slaves are owned by upper and middle classes, by the poor, and even by other slaves.  Slaves were plantation workers (men), household domestics (mostly women), urban workers skilled and unskilled-- commonly porters, stevedores, butchers, carpinteers, coastal sailors.  Negro de ganho or slave day laborer phenomenon are urban slaves who work daily and usually independent of master's oversight, and who may live independently, but who owe masters a daily income, being allowed to keep anything beyond.  Upper, middle and lower classes all invest in slaves.  The negro de ganho usual paid his cost in three  years.  Poor people bought negro de ganho slaves for additional income.  Slaves bought them for income that could be used to purchase them own freedom.  Muslim negro de ganho slaves and libertos joined together in groups to save money to purchase freedom for individual slaves.

V)  Revolt of the Malês

     A)  Malê was the name in Bahia for African Muslims.

Continual warfare after l800 between different groups--Muslim and non-Muslim--in areas occupied by modern day Nigeria led to captives being largely sold into slavery in Brazil.  Islam is growing in west African and appeals to poor and enslaved peoples, acquiring an anti-slavery ideology.  African Muslims bring literacy, and a sense of cultural and religious superiority to Bahia.

     B)  Malês are a large group of free and enslaved mostly male Africans in Brazil who do not seek close ties with Brazilian born slaves, libertos or people of color, nor do Brazilian born people of color--slave or free--want close ties with Africans.  Religion (i. e. Islam), and other cultural differences separate these people.

     C)  Malê revolt is against slavery,  and against free Afro-Brazilians and whites who are seen as collabortors and enemies of the Malês.  Malê revolt occurs over two days in January, l835 in Salvador during an important Christian holiday when there would be less vigilance, and during the Muslim month of Ramadan.  Revolt quickly suppressed, and not allowed to spread to Recôncavo.

            D)  Punishment of rebels unusually harsh for Bahia.  While only four rebels were executed, others who were tried were given long terms at hard labor under military discipline, or public whippings, and especially deportation to Africa.  Bahian authorities turned against Malês as a foreign subversive threat.