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date: 25 October 2020

Costa, Antônio Vieira da locked

(c. 1732–1796),
  • Mariana Dantas


liberto (freed person) gold miner, farmer, and field commander of the pardo (mixed-raced) militia of Sabará, in the Portuguese colonial captaincy of Minas Gerais. Brazi, was born in Passagem de Mariana in the mineral-rich interior of southeastern Brazil. His father, Jacinto Vieira da Costa (?–1760), was a wealthy Portuguese miner from Braga; his mother, Inácia, was a Yoruba-speaking West African slave. Antônio assumed control of the family estate after his father’s death in 1760, becoming himself a wealthy man. An officer in the local militia, Antônio rose to the highest rank of field commander in the early 1780s. Yet while his father had been field commander of the white militia, Antônio served in the pardo militia. An example of socioeconomic mobility among persons of mixed European and African descent in colonial Brazil, his story also illustrates how colonial institutions categorized and interacted with African descendants.

Costa was ...

A version of this article originally appeared in The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography.

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