WDolan Reflection on Schwartz and Anderson’s Essays

I learned how the Brazilian Slave Trade brought more slaves than any other country. Reading about maroon states was interesting, as I got to learn about how segregated the Slave trade made Brazil. The document by Anderson explained the role of the Zambi, and it’s meaning, how marriage and religious practices worked, and so much more. The document by Stuart B. Schwartz explained the history behind the resistance that took place in Bahia, and provides excellent insight into the strategies used by the fugitives. 


I question why there is no access to the untranslated Portuguese documents that refer to the Brazilian Slave Trade as mentioned in Anderson’s document. Isn’t it essential to look back on history and be transparent about the events that took place and the documents that behold information? On page 548 of Robert Nelson Anderson’s paper, it says that most of what we know about Palmares “comes from accounts of the Dutch and Portuguese campaigns against the quilombo…” Wouldn’t this information automatically be biased? And due to the mistranslations, does that also affect the credibility?


In general, seeing how the community in Palmares became diverse was creating a form of unity within the segregated country of Brazil. Learning about the bravery of the resistance fighters in Bahia was fascinating as it showed a spark in motivation that  encouraged the slaves to fight for their rights. Seeing how the “existence of a group of fugitives on the perimeters of the plantations challenged the continued captivity of other slaves” was satisfying, as it allowed the slaves to disrupt regular protocols and see an effect coming from it. The effect was obviously the treaty of peace between the escaped slaves and the “colonial regime”.


Overall, the Brazilian Slave Trade was an awful historical event that took place. Learning of the slaves bravery and the certain level of success from the resistance was rewarding, as it showed the slaves hard work had not amounted to absolutely nothing. However, this was not enough, as all individuals deserve equal rights and no one belongs to any other individual. We should reflect on these events and not only learn from them, but learn about how they shaped our world to be what it is today.  


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