Get to know the history of one of the Brazilian symbols: Zumbi dos Palmares

The history of Brazil is surrounded by several remarkable events that are honored annually in our culture. One is Black Awareness Day, which marks the fight against repression and slavery in pursuit of equal rights. What many people do not know is that this date was chosen because it is also the death of the Zombie Palmares. But who was he? And how important is it to the country's trajectory? Let's tell a little here.

Childhood and youth

He was born as a free man around 1655 (some of the dates are not accurate due to the little documentation of the time), in the former Capitania de Pernambuco, present state of Alagoas. There is differing information about when the child was taken from his parents, but the most historically reinforced version was that it was when he was 7 years old. Brás da Rocha Cardoso was responsible for the act and handed the young man over to the Church, specifically to Father Antonio Melo.

Under the care of the clergyman, the boy was baptized, then nicknamed Francis. Studied Portuguese and Latin, something unusual for young prisoners of the time. At 10, he was already fluent and had an unusual cognitive ability for slaves and even free children, according to some historical passages.

At the age of 15, he left the city of Porto Calvo - fled, obviously - and returned to Serra da Barriga, his birthplace. Then he also set aside his Portuguese name and became known as the Zombie. The king of Palmares at the time was Ganga Zumba, who soon adopted the young prodigy.

The Quilombo of the Palmares

Highlighted as one of the main quilombos of the country, at its peak had more than 30 thousand people. The first settlements began around 1590, when slaves escaping the pressure from large farmers and other masters found a place with relatively difficult access that could house people.

The mocambos (settlements) that were part of the quilombo housed a lot of people, and soon agriculture was developed to the point that the rulers were uncomfortable with the growth of the site. For with the harvests also came business with the nearby cities, something unacceptable for a large part of the population.

Zombie's rise to power

Ganga Zumba was a great negotiator and managed to keep the peace between his people and the ruling whites of the time. But that did not come easily. The constant raids made in an attempt to tear down the site have eroded the entire community and cost countless lives.

In 1675, Zombie led a counterattack to combat the troops of Sergeant Major Manuel Lopes Galvão, who had conquered one of the main Mocambos. At the age of 20, the rising young man proved to be a great strategist and was able to expel the invaders, thereby strengthening his reputation and prestige in the community, as well as the wrath of those who feared community growth.

In 1678, leader Zumba signed a treaty to prevent further attacks and thus allow his people to live peacefully. It turns out that the Quilombolas were unhappy with the attitude in view of everything they had suffered at the hands of the landlords. Ganga then fell into a trap and was poisoned in 1680 - which further heightened the raid on the whites.

From that, Zombie stepped forward as the great head of the community and began to make even more war against the slave peoples. He gathered the available people and set up an army to defend his people from constant attempts at invasion.

Fall and symbolization

There were 66 raids to the Palmares quilombo between 1602 and 1694. The site was fiercely defended during 92 years of attempts. Finally, the Indian hunter hunter Domingos Jorge Velho, aided by Bernardo Vieira Melo's troops, overthrew Palmares after long fighting.

Zombie was injured during the battle, but managed to escape and stay alive. Speculation about the death of the quilombola leader spread quickly; but in 1695 he again commanded attacks against slaveholding farms - until he was betrayed by one of the generals.

Captured and killed, his body was quartered. The head was sent to Recife, along with its sexual member (placed in its mouth), and was on display in Pátio do Carmo until the decomposition was complete, as a warning to the population.

The date of his death, November 20, 1695, became a symbol of the history of Brazil and Zombie, one of our illustrious characters.


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