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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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they will pick them up from the ports of the Zaire River, or Congo, where they transact with the chiefs there. Blacks, who are dispatched from there to Brazil, are often called cabindas and congas. Perhaps these are less strong than those mentioned above, and less black in color, even sometimes with physiognomic features that differ greatly from the etiopathic type. They are especially appreciated as suitable for farming jobs.

From the east coast of Africa (counter-coast), the Portuguese bring many blacks to Brazil, especially since the restriction of slave traffic in Guinea to the north. In part, they are torn from the depths of Central Africa to Mozambique,

Mozambique

and they mainly belong to the Macuas and Angicos nations. These are far from being of such good conformation and strength, they are also less dark than the black ones of Cabinda and Angola, they are not as smart or energetic.

They hardly adapt in Brazil, and are less employed in domestic service than in farming. From the Cape Verde, Cacheu and Bissau Islands, blacks came before to Pernambuco, Maranhao and Para; This traffic, however, has almost ceased today, and equally rare are the slaves brought from Sao Tome Island, where the number of free blacks is considerable, and where schools for blacks are found and a seminary for black priests, under the direction of the Bishop of La.

As, during the trip, I found the occasion to gather much information about the slave trade, it is not too much to add here the most important facts, taking advantage of the precious news that Luis Antonio de Oliveira Mendes wrote in a treatise "on the condition of the black in his patria, and the diseases they suffered during their imprisonment and transportation to Brazil in the Economic Memories of the Royal Academy of Lisbon "(Tomo IV, 1812 p. 1). The slave trade in Africa has such a great influence on the way of thinking and on the habits of life of the black, that today this traffic is in close relation with all the conditions of life and even the axis around which the laws of this race of men revolves, though so little civilized; for not death, but slavery is, in most cases, the ultimate punishment (1), not simply war, but even the most sacred family relations confer rights for the alienation of individual liberty. The prisoner of war becomes the property of the winner, but also the father has the right to violate the children or the wife. With the loss of freedom and resulting adultery, only theft and murder are punished; Offenders even pay a large debt with the arrest. Uncivilized as these peoples are, there is, however, within them a judicial institution. The Sova attends to complainants, receives witnesses and acquits or condemns slavery. The profit largely belongs to the complainant. The independent man, who loses his freedom, may, when the accuser agrees, trade his wife or son in slavery; but to the weaker sex, generally downtrodden, the most passive servant, enjoying almost no authority, nothing is granted. The motives that determine slavery in Africa are, therefore, imprisonment of war, sentence of the judge and arbitrary decisions by the father of the family. War is generally declared between peoples, or by individuals who, by force or cunning, seek to rob others of their freedom. The unfortunates who, in one of these ways, have lost their freedom, are chained or thrown into wooden trunks around the neck or legs, and held by the mighty of the region or their own families in rigorous imprisonment until slave traders appear and exchange them with the trade articles brought on the backs of other blacks: firearms, ammunition, corals, beads, cotton cloths, jeribita. These merchants of men, the true organs of the heinous traffic themselves, are called the funeral, or, in a more expressive word, burial.

Only when the black man has become a sorcerer or a traitor, or when a murderer's relatives demand revenge, is death the ultimate punishment. In the first two cases, he is subjected to a kind of judgment from God, when the accused, under the tree of justice before the assembled people, is forced to swallow a poisonous bread: if he dies, his guilt is proved; but if the effect is less violent, his innocence is demonstrated.

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