The Palmares community of Brazil

Palmares statue
Sun, 1605-02-06

*The Palmares community in 1605 is celebrated on this date. This was a Brazilian settlement of runaway and freeborn African slaves.

Palmares or Quilombo dos Palmares were located in the Serra da Barriga hills of northeastern Brazil. The term "Quilombo" is a link between Palmares and the culture of central Angola where the majority of slaves were forcibly brought to Brazil. During slave trafficking, natives in central Angola, called Imbangala, had created an institution called a "Kilombo." They were various tribes of diverse lineage in a community designed for military resistance against their oppressors. The Palmares was legendary for its size and power. An independent, self-sustaining republic, at its height it hosted a population of over 30,000 free African men, women and children.

Palmares successfully defended itself militarily against several attempts by Dutch and, later, Portuguese colonial powers to destroy it and kill or capture its citizens. The Cafuzos, or Maroons, of Brazil were fierce and cunning fighters trained in a martial arts form called Capoeira, developed in Brazil by African slaves in the 1500s. This acrobatic fighting style made the renegades of Palmares virtually invincible in hand-to-hand combat against the Europeans. The Portuguese defeated and over through the Palmares community on February 6, 1694.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, Twenty-fourth Edition.
Copyright 1996 Encyclopedia Britannica Inc.
ISBN 0-85229-633-0

The World Book Encyclopedia.
Copyright 1996, World Book, Inc.
ISBN 0-7166-0096-X