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      searching for their Afro-Brazilian


"traditional African nation" 

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In Brazil, more than half of the citizens have some form of African roots, and a whole generation of young Afro-descendants is searching for their identity and accepting racism at best. In other countries where the slave trade was once practised on a large scale, today's descendants are even using DNA tests to search for their original ethnicity.

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In Brazil centuries ago, the slave trade nurtured a kind of​

"traditional African nation"

Centuries ago, the slave trade promoted a kind of "traditional African nation" in Brazil. The belief in "Mama África" heavily influences the descendants of many former enslaved African tribes today. The Bantu, Nagô, or Yoruba people were particularly affected, as they were forcibly separated from each other and brought to Brazil. Despite their different languages, they shared a similar culture. Many were enslaved as agricultural workers on sugarcane plantations in Bahia and Mato Grosso, while others were used as household slaves in the cities. 

In the 16th century, some of them managed to escape to the malaria-infested hinterlands, which their white slaveholders avoided. There, they founded their own state called Palmeiras, also known as the first "Quilombo." This independent state survived undisturbed for about 100 years and was home to approximately 20 million inhabitants who maintained and developed their own culture. These people were referred to as "Quilombolas."


You can read about their history, origins, and current interpretations in various forms on the internet. It is a mixture of different cultural facets.

Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé, Macumba, and Umbanda are traditional blends of African deities, some Catholicism, and a touch of indigenous cosmology. They are hierarchically structured as strictly as other religions, but with some major exceptions:

Women and LGBT individuals can participate on an 

equal footing in the hierarchy, just like men.


Few people are aware that the famous Brazilian carnival is actually based on the history of the Quilombolas, as they incorporated their traditional nature gods, the Orixás, into the joyful processions to fight for social liberation.


At the time, African slaves were not only forbidden from practicing their traditions but also from owning weapons. In order to solve internal Afro-Brazilian and sometimes external social problems, they began using their bodies as weapons. They founded the martial art Capoeira.

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