Palmares


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Palmares

 

a state of runaway Negro slaves that existed from 1630 to 1697 in the palm forests of northeastern Brazil, in the captaincy of Pernambuco. Negroes, who were subjected to cruel exploitation, often escaped to the forests, where they formed fortified settlements. In the 1630’s, several settlements united into a primitive feudal state with elements of tribal family organization, retaining to a significant extent the customs of primitive clan democracy, which was evidently the reason that contemporaries called Palmares a republic. The state was led by a chief and a council of elders, both elected for life. The population of Palmares, totaling 20,000, engaged in land cultivation and crafts, such as pottery, textiles, and blacksmithing, and bartered with Indian tribes. The inhabitants fought against Portuguese and Dutch colonizers in defense of their independence. During the largest battle, which took place in 1694, most of the population of Palmares was killed. The last settlements were destroyed in 1696–97.

REFERENCES

Pombu, Rocha. Istoriia Brazilii. Moscow, 1962. Pages 215–20. (Translated from Portuguese.)
Ocherki istorii Brazilii. Moscow, 1962.
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