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Antônio, Joaquim  

Mark Harris

Afro-Amazonian leader of a band of five hundred slaves during the Cabanagem, an antigovernment rebellion that took place in the Brazilian north between 1835 and 1840, was probably a slave from a plantation in the rural vicinity of Belém. He was executed by firing squad in front of the palace of governors in Belém, the regional capital of the province of Pará. The order to kill Joaquim was made by Eduardo Angelim, the third and most significant rebel provincial president. Angelim punished Joaquim for being the leader of the group, and for allegedly killing slave owners and looting property. The president by popular acclamation wanted to demonstrate his authority to a recently liberated city.

Aside from the details drawn from charges that led to the execution order little is known about Joaquim s life We know only that he was an officer in a rebel militia and proclaimed the ...

Article

Barrios, Miguel “El Negro”  

Juliet Montero Brito

fugitive slave and leader of an anticolonial rebellion in Venezuela from 1553 to 1556, was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico (Venezuela). He was a slave of Don Pedro Del Barrio, the son of Damián Del Barrio, who had discovered an important gold mine in Segovia de Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and moved his family and slaves from the island of Puerto Rico to Venezuela to establish a slave labor regime in the mines. In 1552 Miguel Barrios was moved to Nueva Segovia de Barquisimeto, at which point he had already earned a reputation as a rebellious and courageous slave, unbreakable in character. In 1553 he struck his master Del Barrio and then fled to the nearby mountains Once there he declared himself free and during the following year under cover of darkness came down from the mountains and convinced many of the other black and indigenous slaves to join ...

Article

Barule  

Yesenia Barragan

(fl. late seventeenth century/early eighteenth century), enslaved rebel leader in the province of Chocó in the viceroyalty of New Granada (modern-day Colombia) who organized and led the infamous slave rebellion of Tadó in 1728 According to trial records located in archives in Bogotá and Popayán Colombia Barule worked as a slave in the gold mines owned by Garzia Hurtado in Nóvita the colonial capital of Chocó and center of gold mining in the region Like many other slaves in Chocó in the early eighteenth century Barule was likely from Jamaica given that he reportedly spoke English and that many of the contraband and legal slaves brought to Chocó at the time were purchased from Jamaica and the Anglophone Caribbean via Cartagena As recounted by one of his co conspirators at the trial Barule famously proclaimed to his fellow rebels in English How good it is to kill the whites ...

Article

Bayano  

Yvette Modestin and Toshi Sakai

(fl. 1540s–1550s) is the most famous of several black liberationist leaders of colonial Panama. By the mid-sixteenth century, thousands of Africans in the isthmus had escaped enslavement and were living free in the forests. Called Cimarrones, from the Taino word sima meaning “flight,” they formed self-governing, African-rooted societies. Bayano was the leader of some 1,200 Cimarrones (Pike, 2007; Araúz, 1997) in the eastern region that extended from the Darien to the Rio Chagres. The earliest references to him appear in the mid-1540s when Spanish colonial authorities warn travelers of the danger of Cimarron ambushes on forest roads.

Details of Bayano’s birth, ethnicity, early life, and path to power are not known, but theories abound. The historian Fernando Romero (1975) speculated that his name may indicate Vai origin one of many ethnic groups from the large area then known as Guinea in West Africa but ...

Article

Bayano  

Jeremy Rich

fugitive slave and leader of an anticolonial rebellion in Panama, was born somewhere in Africa in the early decades of the sixteenth century. Nothing is known of his life prior to his enslavement and transport to the Americas. However, some have contended Bayano may have been a Mande-speaking Muslim from West Africa.

A Spanish ship carrying Bayano and 400 other slaves headed to the thinly populated colony of Panama in 1552. Smallpox and mistreatment had killed many Native Americans living in Panama, and so the Spanish government hoped to bring in these slaves as workers to replace indigenous people. However, the isthmus of Panama region also by this time had become a favored destination of many cimarrones (runaway slaves). Slave revolts had already taken place in Panama in 1525, 1530, and 1549 Slaves outnumbered free people in many Panamanian locales Bayano thus was well positioned to ...

Article

Biassou, Georges/Jorge  

Jane G. Landers

former slave who became one of the leaders of the 1791 slave revolt on Saint-Domingue, was born on that French Caribbean island in the late eighteenth century. Biassou’s African-born mother, Diana, was a slave in Providence Hospital, affiliated with the Fathers of Charity, in the capital city of Cap-Français. Nothing is known of his father, Carlos. As an adult, Biassou served as a slave driver on a sugar estate owned by the Jesuit order in Haut de Cap. On 14 August 1791 Biassou joined other slave drivers at the Lenormand de Mézy plantation to plan the revolt that changed history. On 22 August 1791 several thousand slaves across the island’s northern plain set fire to the cane fields and great houses, and smashed the sugar-refining equipment on more than thousand plantations.

After the revolt s leader Boukman Dutty was killed Biassou assumed command of the slave armies sharing leadership with ...

Article

Biassou, Jorge  

Jane G. Landers

Haitian revolutionary, was born a slave in Cap Français (or Guarico, in Spanish), on the northern coast of Saint Domingue, in modern Haiti. Spanish documents give his parents' names as Carlos and Diana, and Biassou and his mother were the slaves of the Holy Fathers of Charity in Cap Français, where Biassou's mother worked in the Hospital of the Holy Fathers of Charity, probably as a laundress or cook. Biassou's father's owner and occupation are unknown.

In 1791 Biassou joined Boukman Dutty, a slave driver and coachman considered by the slaves to be a religious leader, and Jean‐François, also a slave from the Northern Plains of Saint Domingue, in leading the largest slave revolt in the Western Hemisphere on–the richest sugar colony of its day, French Saint Domingue. Boukman was killed in November of 1791 only three months into the revolt and Biassou and Jean François assumed command ...

Article

Biohó, Benkos  

Ángela Lucía Agudelo González

and possible founder of San Basilio de Palenque, the first free black town in the Western Hemisphere, was born in West Africa on the island of Bissagos in Guinea-Bissau. In 1596 he was captured by the Portuguese slave trader Pedro Goméz Reynel and was sold later on to a Spaniard by the name of Alfonso del Campo at Cartagena de Indias, a major slave-trading port on the Caribbean coast of the New Kingdom of Granada. Campo baptized him with the Christian name Domingo Biohó and employed him as a rower on a boat on the Magdalena River.

After trying various times to escape from his master, in 1599 Benkos managed to escape with a group of other slaves, his wife, and his children. Together they fled the city of Cartagena and installed themselves in swampy, difficult-to-access lands. It was there that they founded the continent’s first palenque maroon community ...

Article

Boukman Dutty  

Jeremy D. Popkin

the first leader of the slave uprising in Saint-Domingue’s North Province in August 1791 that marked the beginning of the Haitian Revolution.

Little is known for certain about the life of Boukman Dutty. The place and date of his birth are unknown. According to tradition, he had been sold to Saint-Domingue from Jamaica. It has been suggested that his name, “Boukman,” came from the English “Book-man” and indicated that he could read and even that he was a Muslim devoted to the religion’s holy book (the Qur’an). The manager of the Clément plantation, near Cap-Français, on which the insurrection began on the night of 22–23 August 1791 recalled him as the most intelligent of the slaves there and witnessed him taking decisive action to force others to join the movement striking waverers with the butt of a musket and shouting March negro dogs march or I ll shoot you ...

Article

Bussa  

Curtis Jacobs

a central figure in Barbados’s April 1816 slave revolt, was also known as Busso or Bussoe. It is the only time in Barbados’s history that slave resistance came to the point of overt collective violence.

Previous attempts at rebellion after the establishment of the permanent European presence in 1627 were thwarted in 1649, 1675, and 1692. After the first instance, the Barbadian planter class developed a military infrastructure to address any future internal threat to its existence.

After 1750, most of the enslaved population was born locally, as Barbados became a net exporter of enslaved Africans. By 1800 those born in Barbados composed approximately 93 percent of the enslaved and, as they were relatively inured to European culture, many learned to read. Newspapers informed them about developments in the rest of the world, including the Haitian Revolution and the “Brigands” War (1794–1798 in the ...

Article

Carpata, Bastiaan  

Rose Mary Allen

also popularly known as Bazjan Karpata, was likely born on Curaçao. Together with Tula, Pedro Wacawa, and Louis Mercier, he led a slave revolt that greatly disrupted the everyday life of eighteenth-century Curaçaoan slave society. Because of the large number slaves who participated in the revolt (over 2,000), and because of its duration, it became significant as the largest slave revolt in the history of the Dutch-governed islands of the Caribbean.

The slave revolt started on 17 August 1795 under the leadership of Tula who called himself Rigaud in imitation of one the leaders of the Haitian slave revolt He and about fifty like minded slaves demanded their freedom from the slaveholder Caspar Lodewijk van Uytrecht owner of the Kenepa Knip plantation one of the largest plantations located in the western part of the island at that time They then left for the Santa Cruz plantation where under leadership ...

Article

Chagas, Cosme Bento das  

Matthias Röhrig Assunção

better known as Cosme, leader of enslaved rebels during the Balaiada Rebellion in the province of Maranhão, Brazil (1838–1841). Cosme was born into slavery in the town of Sobral, in Ceará Province, around 1800. Nothing is known about his life prior to 1830. He possibly already was a liberto (freedman) then, because one document refers to him as a capitão de campo (subordinate militia officer, a post no slave could hold) in the town of Itapecuru-Mirim in the plantation belt of Maranhão.

Cosme was arrested for homicide in 1830, and imprisoned in the provincial capital, São Luís. Having led an unsuccessful rebellion of prisoners in 1833, Cosme was transferred to a prison ship for security reasons. It is from here that he escaped in 1834, and he was only caught again in November 1838 in the subdistrict of Urubu His whereabouts during ...

Article

Chirino, José Leonardo  

Sandra Colón Mendinueta

leader of an important revolt of blacks and zambos (people of mixed Afro and Amerindian descent) in the mountains of Santa Ana de Coro in Venezuela, was born on 25 April 1754 in the town of Curimagua in the state of Falcón, Venezuela. He was the only son of a free indigenous woman named Cándida Rosa and an unnamed black slave in the service of the family of don Cristobal Chirino. Because his mother had been a free woman, José Leonardo was considered a free zambo He worked as a day laborer in the hacienda of José Tellería a wealthy merchant and attorney in Santa Ana de Coro the city popularly known as Coro and the capital of the municipality of Miranda in the state of Falcón in western Venezuela Chirino married a slave named María de los Dolores with whom he had three children María Bibiana Rafael María ...

Article

Chirinos, José Leonardo  

As the son of a free Native American woman, José Leonardo Chirinos was born free. His father was a black slave of the Chirinos family, a prominent Creole family in what was then the Spanish colony of Venezuela. Chirinos was a tenant farmer and sharecropper in Coro, in northwestern Venezuela. He married an enslaved woman who belonged to a landowner named Don José Tellería. Chirinos accompanied Tellería on trips to Haiti and Curaçao, thereby learning of events outside Venezuela. In Haiti, then a French colony, he overheard discussions among black Haitians of their desire for liberty and equality. Because Chirinos had married a slave, his children were automatically slaves, and this increased his dislike for the institution of slavery

Chirinos emerged as leader of a rebellion that erupted near Coro on May 10, 1795 The insurgents called for the liberation of all slaves in Venezuela and demanded ...

Article

Cinqué  

Dennis Wepman

slave mutineer, was born Sengbe (also spelled Singbe and Sengbeh) Pieh in the village of Mani, in the Mende territory of Sierra Leone, Africa, the son of a rice farmer. His mother died when he was young, and at about the age of twenty-five he lived with his father, his wife, and his three children. One day while working alone in his rice field, he was seized by four members of the Vai tribe, often employed by Europeans to capture slaves for the market. He was taken to Lomboko, an island at the mouth of the Gallinas River on the coast of Sierra Leone, where he was purchased by Pedro Blanco, a Spanish slave trader, for sale in Cuba. He remained in Lomboko for three months in chains before Blanco filled the ship that was to transport him to Havana.

Slavery was still legal in Cuba but the trans ...

Article

Cinque, Joseph  

Robert Fay

Although Sengbe—pronounced Sin’gway, and later Anglicized as Joseph Cinque—lived for approximately sixty-six years, he is best known for his role in a drama that lasted a little more than three years. Scholars believe that Cinque, who belonged to the Mende ethnic group, was a married man and father before his abduction. Cinque was born in Sierra Leone and at about the age of twenty-six, he was kidnapped by slave raiders and sold to Portuguese slave traders who took him to Havana, Cuba. There, he and other Africans were resold and put on the Amistad Shortly after leaving Havana harbor Cinque led a group of slaves who freed themselves and attacked the ship s crew killing all but two crewmembers The rebels kept these two alive and ordered them to sail back to Africa The crewmembers however tricked them and sailed north About two months later the ship landed ...

Article

Coffee  

Alice Knox Eaton

or Cuffee slave insurrectionist was the reported leader of the first major slave rebellion in the American colonies His name means son born on a Friday in the Akan language of Gold Coast Africans The Akan known in the era of the slave trade as Coromantees were reputed to resist enslavement with great bravery and ferocity In the early eighteenth century slavery had become an integral part of the economy of New York City with an active slave market and a regular influx of slave labor from Africa As the slave population grew treatment of slaves became increasingly brutal as British colonists attempted to make slave labor as productive in the North as it was in the South Unlike slaves on southern plantations however slaves in New York City lived in densely populated areas and had many more opportunities to meet with one another and plan organized resistance On the ...

Article

Cudjoe  

Alonford James Robinson

The life and death of the Jamaican maroon (fugitive slave), Cudjoe, has become a symbol of black resistance in Jamaica. Cudjoe's story as the eighteenth century leader of the Clarendon maroons has also been a contested part of Jamaican history. Early European descriptions painted a caricatured portrait of him, while black recollections portrayed him as a fearless soldier.

Cudjoe was among more than 500 African-born slaves in the Jamaican parish of St. Clarendon who escaped after a violent insurrection in 1690. Cudjoe emerged as leader of a loose confederation of runaway slaves who lived in the Clarendon hills. The Clarendon maroons, led by Cudjoe, organized themselves into small gangs that secretly wandered into white towns to steal food and weapons.

Even though the Clarendon maroons were disunited they became skilled soldiers and expert marksmen Under Cudjoe s leadership they defended their freedom in a series of small skirmishes ...

Article

Delgrès, Louis  

Richard Watts

Little is known of the early life of Louis Delgrès, whose name only recently appeared in Guadeloupean school books. By all accounts he was of mixed race, and though it is widely assumed that his father was white and his mother black, some sources claim the reverse. Delgrès arrived in Guadeloupe as a member of the Antilles Battalion in 1795 during a complicated period in the history of the French Caribbean islands. The revolutionary government in France had abolished slavery in the colonies on February 4, 1794. At the same time, the French were at war with the British over possession of several French islands, most notably Martinique, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. To further complicate matters for Guadeloupe's revolutionary administration, in whose army Delgrès served, after leading a successful slave revolution in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), François Dominique Toussaint Louverture was ...

Article

Deslandes (Deslondes), Charles  

Rhae Lynn Barnes

leader of the largest slave revolt in U.S. history, has largely evaded the scrutiny of historians. Most studies have suggested that he was a free man of color born in Saint-Domingue who was part of the large 1809 immigration to Louisiana from that colony. An as yet unpublished work by the scholar Gwendolyn Midlo Hall suggests however that Deslondes (sometimes spelled Deslandes) was a Louisiana-born slave.

Whatever his origins, it is clear that in 1811, Charles Deslondes was the leader of the revolt known as the German Coast Uprising or the Deslondes Uprising, which occurred along the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. On the evening of 8 January 1811 at the age of thirty one Deslondes led a band of rebels downriver on River Road They began in modern day Norco and continued through the parishes of St Charles and St John the Baptist ...