History and Latin America

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From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil: Bahia, 1835-1900

Dale Torston Graden

Bahia is a province of Brazil on its northeastern coast and is the size of the country of France. From the sixteenth century through the 1850s, at least 1.2 million African slaves entered Brazil through Bahia, many of those through the major port city of Salvador.

Dale Graden's study is divided into four parts. He first examines the cause of the demise of the slave trade to Bahia by 1851. International political pressures combined with internal slave resistance forced an abrupt decline in slave importations into the province. Second, he traces Bahia's abolitionist movement through the enactment of the Law of the Free Womb in 1871, an unpopular war with Paraguay, and protests led by African Brazilian intellectuals.

Part three focuses on the role of Candomblé, an African religion practiced among the Africans of Brazil, in ending slavery in the area. Slave resistance and committed abolitionists also helped to force the abolition of slavery in 1888. The final section demonstrates how former slaves worked to protect and retain their hard-won liberties.

From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil adds to our understanding of slavery and emancipation in Brazil and in Bahia.


Dale Torston Graden is associate professor of history at the University of Idaho, Moscow.

Lyman L. Johnson is professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. He is also the general editor for UNM Press's Dialogos series.


"...a welcome addition to the field. . . . offers a compelling case study. . . . detailed and well-sourced."


American Historical Review

"Graden's book...should be read by anyone interested in how legal slavery ended in Brazil and those seeking further proof that slaves were never indifferent or powerless subjects."


Hispanic American Historical Review

"( From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil) is an in-depth study--from below as well as from above--of the men and women, people and processes that led to the end of slavery in the largest African-descended community in the last nation to abolish African enslavement in the Americas."


Journal of Latin American Studies

"( From Slavery to Freedom in Brazil) is carefully fashioned as an accessible text for college courses."


The Journal of African-American History

6 x 9 in. 328 pages 14 halftones, 5 maps, 1 graphs, 9 tables