Canudos Peasant Rebellion 1896–97

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Canudos Peasant Rebellion (1896–97)


an uprising that centered on Canudos in the state of Bahia in Brazil.

After Negro slavery was abolished in Brazil in 1888, large groups of former slaves and fugitive landless peasants came to settle around Canudos. The area became the center of a unique peasant community, where land, forests, pastures, and water were considered communal property. In 1896, Canudos had a population of 25, 000–30, 000. The main principles of the community were joint labor, common ownership of land, and equality of all its members. Private property was declared illegal and criminal. The government sent troops against Canudos, but the peasants built fortifications and repulsed and routed several punitive expeditions. However, the peasants were powerless against the artillery, which destroyed their primitive fortifications. Government represssions were cruel and almost all the rebels were killed. The government did not permit any mention of Canudos in the press for five years. The Canudos peasant rebellion is a heroic page in the history of the Brazilian peasants’ struggle for land and freedom.


Fako, R. “Krest’ianskaia voina v Kanudose.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1959, no. 1.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.