Independence and Abolition: Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico

In the absence of destabilizing wars like the rest of Latin America, slavery expanded here in the 19th century.  Fear of Haiti loomed large a) because they had large black populations (Cuba, Brazil) and b) because they had many black, white, and enslaved Haitian refugees (Cuba, Puerto Rico). 

Between 1800 and 1850 Brazil received 1.7 million Africans (same number as entire 17th century).

Between 1800 and 1875 Cuba received 710,000 Africans.  Slaves will comprise one quarter of population on eve of independence wars. 

Afro-Latin organizations greatly increased in Cuba and Brazil, cabildos, mutual aid societies, Santeria (Yoruba), Candomble (Yoruba), capoiera (Angola), palenques, quilombos  Urban versus rural organizations.  Eg. stevedores.

African versus creole resistance.  (Eg. in 19C Cuba police couldn’t understand some rural fugitive seeking palenques (one of which was never defeated) while Creoles sought out royal officials.  Others fled to Haiti or Santo Domingo (where Haitian occupation forces abolished slavery in 1822).  Cubans used rancheadores (like rangers-- free blacks and mulattos) to track fugitive slaves. 

In Brazil quilombos also served as religious and medical centers for enslaved and free blacks.  “In 1830, availing themselves of the 1824 Constitution’s guarantees of religious toleration, three free African women founded the [Salvador, Bahia’s] first Candomble temple…which still exist to this day.” (Andrews 74)

Large numbers of slave rebellions in 19th C Cuba, PR, and Brazil. 

In Brazil some happened every other year, the agents of which eventually became the base of rebel forces.  But so much division between class, status, origin, etc that between Brazil's strong central government and no unified abolitionist front, no major challenge to system came until the late 19th century with more unified civil disobedience.  (For example only Bahia rebels even called for an end to slavery, and for only Creole born slaves).  “But by 1872 the national slave population was over 90 percent Brazilian born.” (Andrews 81)  Creole slaves “’had absorbed the rhetoric of egalitarianism and liberty’” (82) and used legal channels to enforce anti-slaving treaties with Great Britain.  Free Womb Law 1871, but political stability reduced opportunities to undermine institution.  1881 Electoral Reform reinforced landowner power (reduced electorate from over 1 mil to 150,00).  Thus cross class/cross race civil disobedience (work stoppages) and flight (by 1887 10,000 joined one quilombo).  1888 Golden Law formally abolished slavery but institution was already dead.

In Cuba the Ten Years War and Guerra Chiquita were fought by libertos from Eastern Cuba, but Spain kept trying to reenslave those who didn’t serve in active rebel combat.  Afro-Cuban General Antonio Maceo was a crucial national leader.  People of color (slave, free, mixed race) persisted and slavery ended formally in 1886.  Spain continued to have the upper hand (why? single front, western support).  Finally the 1895 War of Independence (which in 1898 became the Spanish-America War) resulted in independence for Puerto Rico and Cuba.