Macro-level study of the South Atlantic throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries demonstrating how Brazil’s emergence was built on the longest and most intense slave trade of the modern era. The seventeenth-century missionary and diplomat Father Antônio Vieira once observed that Brazil was nourished, animated, sustained, served, and conserved by the “sad blood” of the “black and unfortunate souls” imported from Angola. In The Trade in the Living, Luiz Felipe de Alencastro demonstrates how the African slave trade was an essential element in the South Atlantic and in the ongoing cohesion of Portuguese America, while at the same time the concrete interests of Brazilian colonists, dependent on Angolan slaves, were often violently asserted in Africa, to ensure men and commodities continued to move back and forth across the Atlantic. In exposing this intricate and complementary relationship between two non-European continents, de Alencastro has fashioned a new and challenging examination of colonial Brazil, one that moves beyond its relationship with Portugal to discover a darker, hidden history.
About the author
Luiz Felipe de Alencastro is Professor of Economic History at the Sao Paulo School of Economics, Director of the Center for South Atlantic Studies, and Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Paris, Sorbonne.
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