Essay on Slavery During Latin America 's Colonial Period

Essay on Slavery During Latin America 's Colonial Period

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Despite Brazil being the last country to abolish slavery in 1888, there was a considerable amount of resistance to slavery before this, so much that runaway slaves formed separate communities called Quilombos. Throughout history, slave resistance has taken many forms. During Latin America’s colonial period in which the film is set, escape was the most tangible slave resistance method. Thus, escape occurred constantly both individually and through large rebel slave groups. This is how Palmares, an area in the mountains of northeastern Brazil, became the center for blacks seeking refuge from enslavement at white sugar plantations. In contrast to other Quilombos, Palmares was rare for its longevity and for its ability to grow as a society despite being at the center of various international political conflicts. Specifically, the Brazil sugar trade competition between the Portuguese and the Dutch transformed into an international conflict. While the Dutch-Portuguese conflict became the central focus, the runaway slave society of Palmares was gaining considerable strength.
The film opens in 1650 with the torture of a black slave by his master on a sugar plantation. As a viewer, we are made to understand very early on the excruciatingly brutal nature of their enslavement that eventually sparks a rebellion. The film follows Ganga Zumba 's journey as he escapes from slavery as Albioca, moves to Palmares with a rebel slave group, and eventually becomes the ruler of his Quilombos community. As soon as they arrive in Palmares, Acotirene names Ganga Zumba her successor and disappears. For these slaves, Palmares was a safe haven where they could live freely and escape the constant pressures of racism and slavery within white communities. Palm...


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..., Quilombos were multiethnic communities that were remarkably resistant to Portuguese invasions. Carlos Diegues’ Quilombos depicts the rise and fall of Palmares, as told through the epic battles of great heroes, the self sacrifice of black slaves, and the victory against both racism and slavery. In part, this movie is about creating a history of the transfer of African culture to the Americas. The institution of slavery, which lasted longer in Brazil than most colonies, is the very basis for mythologizing stories through the use of factual history as a context for fantasy. Thus, this film is not simply a history of a slave community attempting to recreate Africa. It is the early history of Brazil, and because of this, the film redefines Brazilian national identity through myth and fantasy intertwined with the gruesome and oppressive history of Afro-Brazilian slavery.

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