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In 1441nearly 60 years before the official discovery of Brazil

Portuguese navigator Antao Goncalves captured and transported

the first shipment of African tribesmen to Portugal.



African Slavery, Religion, and Colonial Brazil



Slave Port: Salvador, Brazil

On November 30, 1996, representatives from the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism, organized by the World Council of Churches, gathered at a dockside in Salvador, Brazil. The location was significant. In past centuries at this very port, millions of Africans had been sold as slaves. "This sea gathered their tears," remarked one clergyman, referring to the captives' ill-fated journey.

Saving Lost Souls

In 1441--nearly 60 years before the official discovery of Brazil--Portuguese navigator Antao Goncalves captured and transported the first shipment of African tribesmen to Portugal. Few in medieval society questioned the morality of enslaving prisoners of war, especially those whom the church labeled as "infidels." Over the next two decades, however, the lucrative peacetime slave trade did require justification. Some claimed that by enslaving Africans, they would be "saving lost souls," as they were rescuing these foreigners from their pagan way of life.

The Bull Romanus Pontifex (Nicholas V), January 8, 1455 (excerpt)

"And so it came to pass that when a number of ships of this kind had explored and taken possession of very many harbors, islands, and seas, they at length came to the province of Guinea, and having taken possession of some islands and harbors and the sea adjacent to that province, sailing farther they came to the mouth of a certain great river commonly supposed to be the Nile, and war was waged for some years against the peoples of those parts in the name of the said King Alfonso and of the infante, and in it very many islands in that neighborhood were subdued and peacefully possessed, as they are still possessed together with the adjacent sea. Thence also many Guineamen and other negroes, taken by force, and some by barter of unprohibited articles, or by other lawful contract of purchase, have been sent to the said kingdoms. A large number of these have been converted to the Catholic faith, and it is hoped, by the help of divine mercy, that if such progress be continued with them, either those peoples will be converted to the faith or at least the souls of many of them will be gained for Christ."

Plantation Slavery & Brazil

The Romanus Pontifex bull, issued by Pope Nicholas V on January 8, 1455 gave formal support for the already thriving slave trade. Thus the church was no bulwark against slavery. On the contrary, some of its clergymen were "stubborn advocates," observes Brazilian historian Joao Dornas Filho. The stage was thus set for slavery to spread to Brazil when Portuguese colonists settled there. In 1549, newly arrived Jesuit missionaries were alarmed to discover that much of Brazil's ork force was made up up illegally captured Africans. Landowners had simply rounded them up to work on their plantations.

For God or for Gain

Fernao de Oliveira, a Portuguese scholar of the 16th century, asserted that greed--not evangelical fervor--motivated slave traders. Ships from Europe carrying manufactured goods bartered for captives at African ports. these captives were then transported to the Americas and traded for sugar, which was then taken back to Europe to be sold. This triangular trade route generated huge profits both for merchants and for the Portuguese Crown. Even the clergy stood to gain, for priests charged a per capita tax for baptizing Africans before they were carried off to the Americas.

Theology of Slavery

As the clergy strove to reconcile Christian values with a system that was powered by relentless exploitation, they created a moral support for slavery--what one theologian calls a slavery theology.

Thus, with clerical blessing the importation of African slaves steadily increased. Brazil became heavily dependent on the Atlantic slave trade. By 1768 the Jesuit-owned Santa Cruz farm had 1,205 slaves. The Benedictines and the Carmelites also acquired properties and large numbers of slaves. "The monasteries are full of slaves," cried 19th century Brazilian abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco. Many of the cleric who protested the abuse of slaves had a "low regard for Africans" and "held that discipline, chastisement, and work were the only way to overcome the slaves' superstition, indolence, and lack of civility."

Instant Christians?

In the early seventeenth century, it became customary Africans captured or bought for American slavery to be baptized before their departure. They received no instruction whatever before this ceremony, and many and perhaps most had no previous indication of a Christian God. "So the Christening was perfunctory" (Hugh Thomas, The Slave Trade). Usually a slave spoke to a slave in his native tongue about their conversion. "Then a priest would pass among the bewildered ranks giving to each one a Christian name, which had earlier been written on a piece of paper. he would then sprinkle salt on the tongues of the slaves and follow that with holy water. Finally he might say through an interpreter, "Consider that you are now children of Christ. You are going to set off for Portuguese territory, where you will learn matters of the Faith. Never think any more of your place of origin. Do not eat dogs, nor rats, nor horses. be content."

Source: Awake! September 8, 2002

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Brazilian Slavery an Inconvenient Portuguese History 1 / Brazilian Slavery an Inconvenient Portuguese History 2

Brazilian Slavery an Inconvenient Portuguese History 3 / Brazilian Slavery an Inconvenient Portuguese History 4

Brazilian Slavery an Inconvenient Portuguese History 5

This is a history that is not main stream. Brazil has today & back then the most black people x-slaves in the world next to Africa. This documentary tells you the Evils of Portuguese & there ungodly geed for power & exploitation by any means. This video will show you the beginnings of slavery before the Americas. To the mutilation rape killed by working to death or by the hands of the Portuguese all the way to the 19 century.

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