That Hair

Posted in Africa, Autobiography, Books, Europe, Novels on 2020-04-10 20:13Z by Steven

That Hair

Tin House
163 pages
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-947793-41-5
eBook ISBN: 978-1-947793-50-7

Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida
Translated by Eric M. B. Becker

“The story of my curly hair,” says Mila, the narrator of Djaimilia Pereira de Almeida’s autobiographically inspired tragicomedy, “intersects with the story of at least two countries and, by extension, the indirect story of the relations among several continents: a geopolitics.” Mila is the Luanda-born daughter of a black Angolan mother and a white Portuguese father. She arrives in Lisbon at the tender age of three, and feels like an outsider from the jump. Through the lens of young Mila’s indomitably curly hair, her story interweaves memories of childhood and adolescence, family lore spanning four generations, and present-day reflections on the internal and external tensions of a European and African identity. In layered, intricately constructed prose, That Hair enriches and deepens a global conversation, challenging in necessary ways our understanding of racism, feminism, and the double inheritance of colonialism, not yet fifty years removed from Angola’s independence. It’s the story of coming of age as a black woman in a nation at the edge of Europe that is also rapidly changing, of being considered an outsider in one’s own country, and the impossibility of “returning” to a homeland one doesn’t in fact know.

That Hair

Tags: , , , ,

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive, Slavery, United Kingdom, United States, Virginia on 2019-02-10 20:15Z by Steven

Researchers seek fuller picture of first Africans in America

The Associated Press

Jesse J. Holland

Lee McBee
FILE – In this April 10, 2018, file photo, Historic Jamestowne staff archaeologist Lee McBee, right, shows artifacts to Carla Howe, of Gilmanton, N.H., left, and her children Caroline, second from left, and Grace, third from left, at the dig site of the Angelo slave house in Jamestown, Va. The first Africans to arrive in North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The first Africans to arrive in English-controlled North America were so little noted by history that many are known today by only their first names: Antony and Isabella, Angelo, Frances and Peter.

Almost 400 years ago, they were kidnapped and forcibly sailed across the ocean aboard three slave ships — the San Juan Bautista, the White Lion and the Treasurer — and then sold into bondage in Virginia.

Now their descendants, along with historians and genealogists, are seeking recognition for a group of 20-some Africans they describe as critical to the survival of Jamestown, England’s first successful settlement in North America.

“We need to reclaim our history. We need to tell our story,” said Calvin Pearson, head of Project 1619 , which is named after the year those first Africans landed near what became Hampton, Virginia

A few historical markers and records mention these early slaves, but there’s been scant research on their lives. President Barack Obama made the area where they arrived a national monument in 2011 to ensure that its history was not lost, and Pearson and others are working to learn more.

Before the slaves arrived, Jamestown was starving. “Basically all of those people were right off of the streets in England,” said Kathryn Knight, who in May will release a book titled “Unveiled – The Twenty & Odd: Documenting the First Africans in England’s America 1619-1625 and Beyond.”…

…Although sold into servitude, many of those original Angolans fared better than the millions of African slaves who came to North America later, said John Thorton, a Boston University professor of African American studies and history.

“They had a better chance at a better future than almost anybody who followed them because they were the first,” Thorton said. “A lot of them ended up owning property, and they ended up owning slaves of their own.”

By intermingling with the English colonists, some had children who ended up passing for white and merging into early colonial society, Thorton said…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Posted in Africa, Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery on 2015-09-13 20:34Z by Steven

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World

Cambria Press
428 pages
6 x 9 in or 229 x 152 mm Case Laminate
ISBN: 9781604978926

Edited by:

Ana Lucia Araujo, Professor of History
Howard University, Washington, D.C.

This book explores the history of African tangible and intangible heritages and its links with the public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. The two countries are deeply connected, given how most enslaved Africans, forcibly brought to Brazil during the era of the Atlantic slave trade, were from West Central Africa. Brazil imported the largest number of enslaved Africans during the Atlantic slave trade and was the last country in the western hemisphere to abolish slavery in 1888. Today, other than Nigeria, the largest population of African descent is in Brazil. Yet it was only in the last twenty years that Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past have gained greater visibility. Prior to this, Brazil’s African heritage and its slave past were completely neglected.

Even after the abolition of slavery in Brazil, African culture continued to be marginalized. Carnival, religious festivals, as well as Candomblé ceremonies, and capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art) created important spaces of black assertion and insurgency. These cultural traditions were contested by white elites and public authorities, but starting in the 1930s, capoeira became a national symbol and Candomblé temples were gradually officially added to Brazil’s list of heritage sites.

In spite of these developments, the Atlantic slave past has remained absent from the public landscape of Brazilian and Angolan former slave ports, suggesting how difficult it is for these countries to address the painful legacies of slavery. African art and material culture also continued to be excluded from museums and other official institutions. In the rare instances that African artifacts were shown, they would be confined to only certain places dedicated to popular culture and associated with the religious sphere.

Even though public attention on slavery was growing internationally through national and international initiatives (e.g., The Slave Route Project by UNESCO), Brazil and Angola developed very few initiatives for the memorialization of slavery and the Atlantic slave trade. This has started to change slowly in the last decade as Brazil has begun engaging in more initiatives to memorialize slavery and underscore the importance of its African heritage.

Brazil’s slave past and African heritage are emerging gradually in urban and rural areas through different kinds of initiatives led not only by activists but also by scholars in association with black communities. Although in their early stages, most of these projects are permanent programs supported by official agencies. This new configuration suggests that––unlike the case in Angola––in Brazil, slavery and the Atlantic the slave trade are becoming recognized as foundational chapters of the country’s history.

This is the first book in English to focus on African heritage and public memory of slavery in Brazil and Angola. This interdisciplinary study examines visual images, dance, music, oral accounts, museum exhibitions, artifacts, monuments, festivals, and others forms of commemoration to illuminate the social and cultural dynamics that over the last twenty years have propelled––or prevented––the visibility of African heritage (and its Atlantic slave trade legacy) in the South Atlantic region.

The book makes a very important contribution to the understanding of the place of African heritage and slavery in the official history and public memory of Brazil and Angola, topics that remain understudied. The study’s focus on the South Atlantic world, a zone which is sparsely covered in the scholarly corpus on Atlantic history, will further research on other post-slave societies.

African Heritage and Memories of Slavery in Brazil and the South Atlantic World is an important book for African studies and Latin American studies. It is especially valuable for African Diaspora studies, African history, Atlantic history, history of Brazil, history of slavery, and Caribbean history.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Introduction: Wounded Pasts: Memory of Slavery and African Heritage in Brazil (Ana Lucia Araujo)
  • Chapter 1: Collectionism and Colonialism: The Africana Collection at Brazil’s National Museum (Rio de Janeiro) (Mariza de Carvalho Soares)
  • Chapter 2: Race and Visual Representation: Louis Agassiz and Hermann Burmeister (Maria Helena Machado)
  • Chapter 3: Counter-Witnessing the Visual Culture of Brazilian Slavery (Matthew Francis Rarey)
  • Chapter 4: Angola in Brazil: The Formation of Angoleiro identity in Bahia (Matthias Röhrig Assunção)
  • Chapter 5: Memories of Captivity and Freedom in São José da Serra Jongo Festivals: Cultural Heritage and Black Identity (1888–2011) (Martha Abreu and Hebe Mattos)
  • Chapter 6: From Public Amnesia to Public Memory: Re-Discovering Slavery Heritage in Rio de Janeiro (André Cicalo)
  • Chapter 7: Uncomfortable Pasts: Talking About Slavery in Angola (Marcia C. Schenck and Mariana P. Candido)
  • Chapter 8: “Bahia is a Closer Africa”: Brazilian Slavery and Heritage in African American Roots Tourism (Patricia de Santana Pinho)
  • Chapter 9: Preserving African Art, History, and Memory: The AfroBrazil Museum (Kimberly Cleveland)
  • Chapter 10: The Legacy of Slavery in Contemporary Brazil (Myrian Sepúlveda dos Santos)
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • About the Contributors
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Race relations in Angola

Posted in Africa, Articles, Media Archive, Social Science on 2012-10-02 01:43Z by Steven

Race relations in Angola

This is Africa: Africa for a New Generation

Lula Ahrens

ANGOLA, LUANDA | “Angolan women don’t like the Portuguese,” says Amelia (30, office cleaner) in a matter-of-fact manner to This is Africa. If you’re not familiar with Angola you might expect this to be the start of a rant against her racist ex-colonisers, but it is, instead, more about aesthetics, as she goes on to explain that the Portuguese are “ugly, impolite and arrogant”. “They’re hideous and short, with fat stomachs, and their asses are turned inwards,” she says with a broad, naughty smile, hilariously imitating their allegedly inelegant walking style and funny accents. “Of course some of them are nice,” she adds.

The jokey way in which she says all this is illustrative of the relaxed way the various races in Angola interact.

“Race relations in Angola are amazing. Amazing,” said dark-skinned Angolan Kelse (30), logistics coordinator at an international oil company, in one of Luanda’s mixed bars. His English is fluent, his accent American. Kelse has many white, black and mixed-race friends and relatives, and has been together with his white Angolan girlfriend for two years. “I’ve been to South Africa more than once and there I see this big separatism: white people in one place, black people in another.” He saw the same during his holiday in Kenya and Uganda. “It made me sad.” In Kenya and Uganda, Kelse experienced discrimination. “I stood out because I was in between these white guys. The black guys were like ‘Why is he hanging with them?’ They just assumed I was American. I was so happy to be back in my home country where you see everyone mixing, no matter the colour of your skin.”

And indeed they do, everywhere, clubs, restaurants, on the work floor. As in many former Portuguese colonies, racial mixing was actively encouraged during the early years of colonization, in contrast to how things worked in the French and British colonies…

…Mestiço envy

There have been interracial relationships in Angola since the early days of Portuguese colonalization, resulting in the ‘mestiços,’ or ‘mulatos’; mixed race people. Angola is said to have the largest non-English-speaking mestiço community in Africa, even though they constitute only between 2% and 3% of Angola’s estimated population of 21 million. The European population is said to have never surpassed 1%. In Luanda, mestiços can be seen everywhere, especially in high positions within companies and in the city’s priciest clubs and restaurants.
Mestiços are traditionally Roman Catholic, speak Portuguese, live in coastal cities and have access to good education. When Angola was declared a Portuguese province in 1951, most mestiços were able to register as Portuguese citizens. Most ethnic Angolans did not have that opportunity.

“The mestiços are an undefined class,” Ico said. “We call them the bats among the birds. They are the wealthiest and best connected individuals in Angola, up to the extent that we use the popular expression ‘I want a mulato life’.
The fact that the mestiços are seen as a privileged group arouses widespread envy in Angola. “White people’s kids generally get a good education. Unfortunately many black people don’t have that opportunity,” Kelse explained. “If you’re gonna do a job interview and you have the choice between a black guy and a mulato, the mulato speaks better and knows more. That’s not racism, it’s a fact. Unfortunately. Overall, mulatos have better jobs, better salaries, better everything. And when people start saying, ‘The mulatos get all the privileges,’ that’s where racism begins.”…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Religion, Slavery, Social Science on 2012-02-13 19:27Z by Steven

Racism and Ethnic Relations in the Portuguese-Speaking World

Oxford University Press
July 2012
300 pages
12 halftones, tables, and graphs
Hardback ISBN: 978-0-19-726524-6

Edited by

Francisco Bethencourt, Charles Boxer Professor of History
King’s College London

Adrian Pearce, Lecturer in Brazilian & Spanish American History
King’s College London

  • Comprehensive overview of racism and ethnic relations throughout Portuguese-speaking world
  • Radical updating – last overview was published in 1963
  • Draws out new connections between different parts of this area over time
  • Experiments with new methods, e.g. anthropological history, visual culture

How did racism evolve in different parts of the Portuguese-speaking world? How should the impact on ethnic perceptions of colonial societies based on slavery or the slave trade be evaluated? What was the reality of inter-ethnic mixture in different continents? How has the prejudice of white supremacy been confronted in Brazil and Portugal? And how should we assess the impact of recent trends of emigration and immigration? These are some of the major questions that have structured this book. It both contextualises and challenges the visions of Gilberto Freyre and Charles Boxer, which crystallised from the 1930s to the 1960s, but which still frame the public history of this topic. It studies crucial issues, including recent affirmative action in Brazil or Afro-Brazilian literature, blackness in Brazil compared with Colombia under the dynamics of identity, recent racist trends in Portugal in comparative perspective, the status of native people in colonial Portuguese Africa, discrimination against forced Jewish converts to Christianity and their descendants in different historical contexts, the status of mixed-race people in Brazil and Angola compared over the longue durée, the interference of Europeans in East Timor’s native marriage system, the historical policy of language in Brazil, or visual stereotypes and the proto-ethnographic gaze in early perceptions of East African peoples. The book covers the gamut of inter-ethnic experiences throughout the Portuguese-speaking world, from the sixteenth century to the present day, integrating contributions from history, sociology, social psychology, anthropology, literary, and cultural studies. It offers a radical updating of both empirical data and methodologies, and aims to contribute to current debates on racism and ethnic relations in global perspective.

Table of Contents

  • Francisco Bethencourt: Introduction
  • Part I. Present Issues
    • 1: António Sérgio Guimarães: Colour and Race in Brazil: From Whitening to the Search for Afro-Descent
    • 2: Peter Wade: Brazil and Colombia: Comparative Race Relations in South America
    • 3: Jorge Vala and Cícero Pereira: Racism: An Evolving Virus
    • 4: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro: Mulattos in Brazil and Angola: A Comparative Approach, Seventeenth to Twenty-First Centuries
  • Part II. The Modern Framework
    • 5: João de Pina-Cabral: Charles Boxer and the Race Equivoque
    • 6: Maria Lucia Pallares-Burke: Gilberto Freyre and Brazilian Self-Perception
    • 7: David Brookshaw: Writing from the Margins: Towards an Epistemology of Contemporary African Brazilian Fiction
    • 8: Michel Cahen: Indigenato Before Race? Some Proposals on Portuguese Forced Labour Law in Mozambique and the African Empire (1926-62)
    • 9: Miguel Jerónimo: The ‘Civilisation Guild’: Race and Labour in the Third Portuguese Empire, ca. 1870-1930
  • Part III. The Long View
    • 10: Ricardo Roque: Marriage Traps: Colonial Interactions with Indigenous Marriage Ties in East Timor
    • 11: Herbert Klein: The Free Afro-Brazilians in a Slave Society
    • 12: Andrea Daher: The ‘General Language’ and the Social Status of the Indian in Brazil, Sixteenth to Nineteenth Centuries
    • 13: José Pedro Paiva: The New Christian Divide in the Portuguese-Speaking World (Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries)
    • 14: Jean Michel Massing: From Marco Polo to Manuel I of Portugal: The Image of the East African Coast in the Early Sixteenth Century
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interracial Marriage in the Last Portuguese Colonial Empire

Posted in Africa, Articles, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Media Archive, Social Science on 2011-10-16 02:20Z by Steven

Interracial Marriage in the Last Portuguese Colonial Empire

Journal of Portuguese History
Volume 5, Number 1, Summer 2007
23 pages
ISSN: 1645-6432

Maria Eugénia Mata, Associate Professor of Economic History and History of Economics
University of Lisbon

The paper presents both the institutional background and the government philosophy regarding equality and non-prejudice within all of the territories under Portuguese sovereignty in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as tests carried out to discover if the decision to marry and racial homogamy could be considered independent variables, using annual data from statistical yearbooks relating to the colonies.

The conclusions demonstrate the existence of a social prejudice towards inter-racial marriage. The paper supports the belief that social divisions based on ethnicity must be included as part of the explanation for decolonization and independence.

The Government’s philosophy on cohesion during the last Portuguese Empire

In the last phase of the Portuguese empire (1930s-1974/5), the government’s political philosophy in relation to the colonial territories was based on considerable propaganda about the respectful relationship between the Portuguese and other peoples in their colonies. It is the aim of this study to describe the official Portuguese literature on these issues and check its accuracy for interpreting social interaction through marriage in the Portuguese colonial territories of the period.

In political speeches, Portugal was presented as a vast and great nation. Its domains and sovereignty spread over a vast range of territory and were distributed across all the continents of the planet. This was a supreme achievement, according to J. M. da Silva Cunha, one of Salazar’s Secretaries of State, later appointed Overseas Minister: “Providence led Portugal to the mission of bringing all the peoples of Europe and other continents together, taking to them the Christian message, along with European civilization”. Official speeches usually presented Portugal as an honorable nation that had set sail from Portuguese coasts to discover the whole world. This heritage was still present in the Portuguese empire, made up of a mainland territory in Western Europe, four archipelagoes in the Atlantic (the Madeira Islands, Azores, Cape Verde and São Tomé and Príncipe), Angola and Mozambique on the African continent, several territories in India, a special pearl close to China, namely Macau, and the territory of East Timor in the Pacific Ocean. So, Portuguese territory was comprised of several provinces, beginning in the northern mainland province of Minho (near Spanish Galicia) and reaching all the way to the antipodes, in Timor.

Also, according to the language of its government, the Portuguese people were a cohesive nation, speaking the same language (Portuguese), sharing the same faith (Christianity), working under the same political rule (the Portuguese administration), and taking pride in the same flag (the Portuguese flag), which was flown in all of the national territory on every continent. There were no ethnic conflicts: “We arrived where we are now, more than five centuries ago, to spread Christianity and to remain”. School children were taught that all Portuguese were equal. Whatever might be their birth, their geographical origin, or the color of their skin, they were all equal. As Cunha (1964) puts it: “So, from the beginning we considered Africans as our equals, in this way eliminating all racial discrimination”.

The Portuguese culture was a single culture, it was said. Even considering that local conditions might be different, the official ideology always stressed that, although they might differ, there were no superior or inferior cultures. Miscegenation was to be the rule, as nineteenth-century literature accused Portugal of a weakness in terms of colonization, which stemmed from miscegenation: “(…) specialist literature of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth (…) accused us of a colonizing disability (as was said at the time), because we could not preserve the purity of our race”.

So, the Portuguese nation, according to the government, was a multi-continental, multi-racial unit based on a Portuguese identity of high moral and political standards: “Portugal will continue to remain integral, with her own features of a State and multi-continental Nation, made up of the most varied ethnicities”.8 Even scholars and academics shared a good deal of this vision. According to Boxer (1961), “It is to the credit of Portugal (…) that she made no distinction of race and color and that all her subjects, once they had become Catholics, were eligible for official posts.” Despite abandoning the thesis of  a shared religious faith, a Portuguese professor of economics at the Technical University of Lisbon was to write in an academic work: “We have created throughout five centuries the most extraordinary multi-racial, national community of all times, in which merit comes from the value of the human being and not from the color of the skin. (…) Historically and currently, the Portuguese nation is, as a consequence, a mosaic of multi-continental, multi-racial populations with religious diversity”.

Sometimes a “civilization-bas” argument was added, and contradictions about the “non-superior character” of some cultures appeared: “While the Portuguese policy for human relationships in the overseas territories is impressive because of the vastness of the territories in which it applies, it is even more impressive because of its purpose of transforming aborigines into Portuguese, as Portuguese as anyone born in mainland Portugal, as it is high moral and social standards that lead them to Lusitanity, and to complete integration in the Nation”.

Did such honorable official aims result in a social cohesion that could be expressed in terms of statistical categories or indicators? Did territorial discontinuities encapsulate different societies, with different literacy levels and prejudice? Was this philosophy confirmed in terms of race relationships, inter-racial marriage and miscegenation? Is it possible to find such a Lusitanity expressed in attitudes towards marriage that lie hidden in the data of registered marriages recording different colored skins throughout the empire? It is a fact that Portugal had one of the most far-reaching colonial empires in world history and that the Portuguese had a reputation for particularly integrative and intimate relations with the indigenous groups that were colonized. In order to unify all of the territories under the same legal rules, to endow them with the same status, and to prove that they were considered as a homogeneous territory, each of the colonies was designated a province, an institutional status that was introduced in the constitutional reform of 1951. In this new institutional framework, overseas provinces and mainland provinces were partners in the same empire. However, did this predominant official discourse reflect the truth? Can we believe in this perspective for the Portuguese colonial empire in the period after the Second World War?

The aim of this paper is to test the accuracy of the language used in official political speeches during these decades, by observing how different kinds of local cultural cleavages led to different social experiences of marriage in the various territories. As far as culture, education and ethnicity are concerned, interracial marriage and miscegenation were two important aspects to be observed in Portuguese colonial territories. This paper observes that social and color differences can help to explain how there was a racial prejudice in the Portuguese Empire that must be recognized as yet one more factor helping to explain the success of the colonial wars for independence.

There is a long bibliography on the period, dating from the creation of the Estado Novo to the independence of the territories that were previously under Portuguese sovereignty (1920s-30s to 1974-75). However, most of the contributions are devoted to imperial, political or economic aspects, and even those studies devoted to analyzing the colonial philosophy, social prejudice and social cleavages do not approach the aspects of inter-racial marriage in a quantitative way.15 A recent work (Matos, 2006) is quite exhaustive in dealing with questions of racial representations and color from the 16th century to the 1970s, although it follows an anthropological approach and does not use any consistency checks.

The independence achieved by the different colonies also makes the study of ethnic and social cleavages much more interesting in so many countries, since they have such different features and geographical locations, while nonetheless sharing a common Portuguese colonial past. This paper seeks to shed some light on the study of all of these colonies today…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Rise of a New Consciousness: Early Euro-African Voices of Dissent in Colonial Angola

Posted in Africa, Articles, History, Media Archive on 2011-10-16 01:57Z by Steven

The Rise of a New Consciousness: Early Euro-African Voices of Dissent in Colonial Angola

Journal of Portuguese History
Volume 5, Number 2, Winter 2007
15 pages
ISSN: 1645-6432

Jacopo Corrado

Events such as the 1820 Liberal Revolution in Portugal and the 1822 declaration of independence in Brazil appeared to the Creole elite based in the coastal centers of Portuguese West Africa as the prelude to a new socio-political order. Moreover, the arrival of hundreds of political refugees and convicts in Angola—from Brazil as well as from Europe—during the decade of 1820-30 helped considerably in spreading revolutionary ideas on that side of the Atlantic Ocean, fueling the hopes and aspirations of a society in which individuals or families were exposed to sudden and at times unpredictable alterations of their social status—often more than once in a lifetime, as the cases of Arsénio Pompílio Pompeude Carpo and Joaquim António de Carvalho e Meneses would seem to confirm.

This paper focuses on these two paradigmatic figures who embodied the discontent that spread among Luanda and Benguela traders and who confronted the authorities as nobody else dared to do in order to defend the interests of a Euro-African elite that, already during the first half of the 19th century, was struggling for more power and was progressively assuming an attitude suggestive of some kind of economic nationalism.

During the first half of the 19th century, Angolan society was characterized by the presence of a semi-urbanized commercial and administrative elite of Portuguese-speaking Creole families – white, black, some of mixed race, some Catholic and others Protestant, some long-established and others cosmopolitan—who were mainly based in the coastal towns of Luanda and Benguela. As well as their wealth, derived from the functions that they performed in the colonial administrative, commercial and customs apparatus, their European-influenced culture and habits clearly distinguished them from the broad population of black African peasants and farm workers. In order to expand its control over the region, Portugal desperately needed the support of this kind of non-colonizing urban elite, which was also used as an assimilating force, or better as a source for the dissemination of a relevant model of social behavior. Thus, great Creole merchants and inland chiefs dealt in captive slaves, bound for export to Brazil: the tribal aristocracy and the Creole bourgeoisie thrived on the profits of overseas trade and used them to live in style, consuming large quantities of imported alcoholic beverages and wearing fashionable European clothes.

The suppression of the slave trade, however, put an end to this situation of mutual advantage and altered forever more the relationship between colonizers and the so-called sons of the country.

In order to understand and contextualize the specificity of the subsequent opposition to the colonial regime put forward by the local Creole elite, it is necessary to retrace the events which unfolded in the Portuguese-speaking world during the 19th century, taking into account different moments of rupture or external influences, together with the most important channels of cultural dissemination of the time. It has to be recognized that the cultural identity of this particular social group strongly relied on metropolitan or Brazilian models in both their forms and contents, but it would be superficial to claim that the cultural imaginary formed in Angola during this period of time totally lacked any original or peculiar features.

On the other hand, how could people’s ways of thinking fail to be influenced by the ideological origins of the revolutions that had been taking place in Europe and America since the late 18th century? Events such as the 1820 Liberal Revolution in Portugal and the 1822 declaration of independence in Brazil appeared as the prelude to a new socio-political order and the arrival of hundreds of political refugees and convicts during the decade of 1820-30, from Brazil as well as from Europe, considerably helped in spreading revolutionary ideas. The political debate was fueled by journals and pamphlets mainly originating in Brazil but, on the other hand, the most conservative aspects of Portuguese liberalism were strongly and officially emphasized in Angola because of the constant fear of a possible social and political uprising.

As a matter of fact, the two personalities to whom this article is dedicated suffered systematic persecution at the hands of the Portuguese authorities and their tormented lives are evidence of the trials awaiting those who decided to assume a critical attitude towards the colonial establishment. On the one hand, we have a former convict born on the periphery of the empire, who had adventurously managed to climb the social ladder and become a serious threat to the establishment. On the other hand, we have the scion of a noble Luanda family who, thanks to the education received in Europe and his long-term experience in diverse fields of colonial administration, breathed life into a revolutionary project that sought to achieve progressive autonomy for his country. Arsénio de Carpo’s life and Carvalho e Meneses’ work perfectly represent both the spirit of the Creole elite and all its contradictions, providing a privileged starting point for better understanding and contextualizing it, focusing our attention on a society in which family, business or social links acquired a special value. In mid-19th century Angola, a good deal or a good position, for instance, often depended on these links, and individuals or families were exposed to sudden, and at times unpredictable, alterations of their social status.This often occurred more than once in a lifetime, as the cases of Arsénio Pompílio Pompeude Carpo and Joaquim António de Carvalho e Meneses would seem to confirm….

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,

The Creole Elite and the Rise of Angolan Proto-Nationalism, 1870–1920

Posted in Africa, Books, Brazil, Caribbean/Latin America, Europe, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Monographs, Slavery on 2011-10-15 21:17Z by Steven

The Creole Elite and the Rise of Angolan Proto-Nationalism, 1870–1920

Cambria Press
340 pages
ISBN: 9781604975291

Jacopo Corrado

This book is about Angolan literature and culture. It investigates a segment of Angolan history and literature, with which even Portuguese-speaking readers are generally not familiar. Its main purpose is to define the features and the literary production of the so-called ‘creole elite’, as well as its contribution to the early manifestations of dissatisfaction towards colonial rule patent during a period of renewed Portuguese commitment to its African colonies, but also of unrealised ambitions, economic crisis, and socio-political upheaval in Angola and in Portugal itself.

Nineteenth-century Angolan society was characterised by the presence of a semi-urbanised commercial and administrative elite of Portuguese-speaking creole families––white, black, some of mixed race, some Catholic and others Protestant, some old established and others cosmopolitan––who were based in the main coastal towns.

As well as their wealth, derived from the functions performed in the colonial administrative, commercial and customs apparatus, their European-influenced culture and habits clearly distinguished them from the broad native population of black peasants and farm workers. In order to expand its control over the region, Portugal desperately needed the support of this kind of non-coloniser urban elite, which was also used as an assimilating force, or better as a source of dissemination of a relevant model of social behaviour. Thus, until the 1850s great creole merchants and inland chiefs dealt in captive slaves, bound for export to Brazil via Cape Verde and São Tomé: the tribal aristocracy and the creole bourgeoisie thrived on the profits of overseas trade and lived in style, consuming imported alcoholic beverages and wearing European clothes.

After the abolition, however, their social and economic position was eroded by an influx of petty merchants and bureaucrats from Portugal who wished to grasp the commercial and employment opportunities created by a new and modern colonial order, anxious to keep up with other European colonial powers engaged in the partition of the African continent.

This book thus considers the first intellectuals, the early printed publications in the country, and the pioneers of Angolan literature who felt the need to raise their roots to higher dignity. Thus, they wrote grammar, dictionaries, poetry, fiction, and of course, incendiary articles denouncing exploitation, racism, and the different treatment afforded by the colonial authorities to Portuguese expatriates and natives.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • List of abbreviations
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Cherished Myths
    • The greatest and most Portuguese overseas possession
    • Lusotropicalism
  • Chapter 2: The Intellectual Setting
    • The Luso-Atlantic cultural triangle
    • Brazil
    • Portugal
    • The literary and cultural influences
    • Diffusion
    • Association
  • Chapter 3: Luanda
    • The advent of modernity
    • Between journalism and literature
    • The new century: Hope and failure
  • Chapter 4: The ‘Creole’ Elite and Early ‘Nationalism’
    • The term ‘Creole’
    • The term ‘Nationalism’
  • References
  • Index
Tags: , , ,