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Palmares Republic in Brazil

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  • Ganga Zona (deceased)
    Ganga ZonaOrigem: Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre. ( Zona é o nome de um irmão de Ganga Zumba. Ele participou do acordo de paz entre o Quilombo de Palmares e o Reino Português, e mudou-se com Ganga Zum...
  • Ganga Zumba (deceased)
    Ganga ZumbaOrigem: Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre. ( Zumba, ou Grande Senhor, foi o primeiro líder do Quilombo dos Palmares, governando entre 1670 e 1678. Foi o antecessor de seu sobrinho Zumbi. Sobre...
  • Sabina (deceased)
  • Aqualtune, Princesa do Congo (deceased)
    Filha do rei do Congo, após ser aprisionada em batalha, na qual comandou 10 mil guerreiros, foi vendida como escrava e enviada ao Brasil. Desembarcou no Recife, onde seria adquirida como reprodutora e ...
  • Bernardo Vieira de Melo, I, Sr Eng Pindoba (1640 - d.)
    05 – Bernardo Vieira de Mello foi Cavaleiro Fidalgo, Capitão da Ordenança. C.c. Maria Camello, filha de Belchior Alves Carnello (Familiar do Santo Ofício, Capitão-mor e Alcaide-mor do Rio São Francisco...

Palmares, or Quilombo dos Palmares, was a fugitive community of escaped slaves and others in colonial Brazil that developed from 1605 until its suppression in 1694. It was located in what is today the Brazilian state of Alagoas. ( Zumbi and Palmares, Brazil ).

The largest of the quilombos was the Quilombo dos Palmares, located in today's Alagoas state, governed by semi-mythical leaders Ganga Zumba and his successor, Zumbi.

Zumbi (pronounced: 'zoombee') (1645 – November 20, 1695), also known as Zumbi dos Palmares, was the last of the leaders of the Quilombo dos Palmares, in the present-day state of Alagoas, Brazil. ( Zumbi ).

A quilombo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ki%CB%88l%C3%B5bu]; from the Kimbundu word kilombo) is a Brazilian hinterland settlement founded by people of African origin, Quilombolas, or Maroons. Most of the inhabitants of quilombos (called quilombolas) were escaped slaves and, in some cases, a minority of marginalised Portuguese, Brazilian aboriginals, Jews and Arabs, and/or other non-black, non-slave Brazilians who experienced oppression during colonization. However, the documentation on runaway slave communities typically uses the term mocambo to describe the settlements. "Mocambo" is an Ambundu word that means "hideout", and is typically much smaller than a quilombo. Quilombo was not used until the 1670s and then primarily in more southerly parts of Brazil. ( Wikipedia ).

Back in the old days, they had slave-holding conferences.

Most people don't believe it, but it was so. They sorted out their agreements and policies at the meetings/conferences.

They even waged war on the people that rose up to fight off the slave-holders, for example in the Palmares Republic in Brazil. Dutch armies were used along with 3-4 other European forces.


1605: Palmares, or Quilombo dos Palmares, was a fugitive community of escaped slaves and others in colonial Brazil that developed. Escaped black slaves of Brazil found the Quilombo dos Palmares, a confederacy ruled according to Central African customs.

In 1612, Pernambuco produced 14,000 tons of sugar.

1613: Smallpox outbreak in Brazil.

1616: Dutch explorer Willem Corneliszoon Schouten finds the route around Cape Horn, a faster way to reach the Western coast of South America

1617: Paraguay is separated from Argentina

1618: In Europe Spain fights against France, Holland and England in the "Thirty Years' War"

Formative period (1620–1653)

1621: Holland forms the Dutch West India Company to invade the Spanish and Portuguese colonies and takes control of Guyana (colonies of Demerara, Essequebo, and Berbice).

1621: The state of Maranhao is separated from Brazil with a governor in Sao Luis

1623: The Dutch seize Bahia from Portuguese Brazil with help from the Portuguese Jews and expand in the Northeast.

In the Summer of 1629, the Dutch coveted a newfound interest in obtaining Pernambuco, a Brazilian state (captaincy) famous for its sugarcane. The Dutch conquers Pernambuco from Portugal.

The Dutch fleet was led by Hendrick Corneliszoon Loncq; the WIC gained control of Olinda by February 16, 1630, and Recife (the capital of Pernambuco) and António Vaz by March 3. Matias de Albuquerque, the Portuguese governor, led a strong Portuguese resistance which hindered the Dutch from developing their forts on the lands which they had captured.

From 1630 to 1654, the Dutch set up more permanently in commercial Recife and aristocratic Olinda, and with the capture of Paraiba in 1635, the Dutch controlled a long stretch of the coast most accessible to Europe (Dutch Brazil), without, however, penetrating the interior. The large Dutch ships were unable to moor in the coastal inlets where lighter Portuguese shipping came and went. Ironically, the result of the Dutch capture of the sugar coast was a higher price of sugar in Amsterdam. During the Nieuw Holland episode, the colonists of the Dutch West India Company in Brazil were in a constant state of siege, in spite of the presence of the Count John Maurice of Nassau as governor (1637–1644) in Recife. Nassau invited scientific commissions to research the local flora and fauna, resulting in added knowledge of the territory. Moreover, he set up a city project for Recife and Olinda, which was partially accomplished. Remnants survive to this day.

From 1630 onward, the Dutch Republic came to control almost half of Brazil, with their capital in Recife. The Dutch West India Company (WIC) set up their headquarters in Recife. The governor, Johan Maurits, invited artists and scientists to the colony to help promote Brazil and increase immigration.

In 1630, Pernambuco, as well as many Portuguese possessions in Brazil, was occupied by the Dutch. The occupation was strongly resisted and the Dutch conquest was only partially successful. In the interim, thousands of the enslaved Africans had fled to Palmares, and soon the mocambos there had grown into two significant states. The Dutch, who allowed sugar production to remain in Portuguese hands, regarded suppression of Palmares important, but they were unsuccessful. Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, count of Nassau, was appointed as ruler of the Nieuw Holland (Dutch colonization enterprise in Brazil). Nassau's government built Maritania or Mauritsstad (Recife) on delta islands, which have similarities to Holland's topography. This moved the political focus from Olinda to Recife. Nassau's Dutch administration was noted for advancements in urbanism, culture, and science. The Dutch legacy is still recognizable in Pernambuco's people, accent and architecture.

By 1631, the Dutch left Olinda and tried to gain control of the Fort of Cabedello on Paraíba, the Rio Grande, Rio Formoso, and Cabo de Santo Agostinho. These attempts were also unsuccessful, however. Still in control of António Vaz and Recife, the Dutch later gained a foothold at Cabo Santo Agostinho. However, after the Portuguese regained Porto Calvo, the WIC gave control of Nieuw Holland to Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen due to the great advantage the Portuguese had over the Dutch by controlling Porto Calvo.

The Dutch attempted several times to conquer Palmares.

1631: The Dutch invasion in Pernambuco was extended to Alagoas. The escape of African slaves during the Dutch invasion created a serious labour shortage problem on the sugar plantations. Grouped in villages called quilombos, the Africans were only completely dominated at the end of the 17th century with the destruction of the most important quilombo, Palmares.

By 1634 the Dutch controlled the coastline from the Rio Grande do Norte to Pernambuco's Cabo de Santo Agostinho. They still maintained control of the seas as well.

By 1635 many Portuguese settlers were choosing Dutch-occupied land over Portuguese-controlled land. The Dutch offered freedom of worship and security of property. In 1635 the Dutch conquered three strongholds of the Portuguese: the towns of Porto Calvo, Arraial do Bom Jesus, and Fort Nazaré on Cabo de Santo Agostinho. These strongholds gave the Dutch increased sugar lands which led to an increase in profit.

1640: Portugal regains its independence and Brazil returns Portuguese.

In the 1640s, more than 24,000 tons of sugar were exported from Pernambuco to Amsterdam alone. While the sugar industry relied at first on the labor of indigenous peoples, especially the Tupis and Tapuyas, high mortality and economic growth led to the importation of African slaves from the late 17th century. Some of these slaves escaped the sugar-producing coastal regions and formed independent inland communities called mocambos, including Palmares.

1643: After Maurits was summoned back from Nieuw-Holland by the WIC board, the WIC lost control over the colony.

1645: Portuguese planters – under control when Maurits was gouvernor-general – organized a revolt against the Dutch. The Portuguese gained Várzea, Serinhaém, Pontal de Nazaré, the Fort of Porto Calvo, and Fort Maurits.

1645: The Dutch invaders were expelled, after intense fighting in Porto Calvo, leaving the economy totally disorganized.

On December 13, 1647, the Dutch left Itaparica.

On April 18, 1648, around forty five hundred Dutch soldiers and five artillery pieces marched south, coming from Recife. On their way south, they eliminated a small defensive outpost on the village of Barreta. The few survivors regrouped at the village of Arraial Novo do Bom Jesus, headquarters of the Pernambucana Resistance, where they reported the incident. Commanders of the resistance called for a march of 2,000 combatants towards the Guararapes ("Drums" in native language) Hills against an enemy better equipped and in superior numbers.

1648: End of the "Thirty Years' War" in Europe.

1649: The Portuguese won a significant victory at the Second Battle of Guararapes. The second and decisive battle in a conflict called Pernambucana Insurrection, between Dutch and Portuguese forces in 1649 at Jaboatão dos Guararapes in the state of Pernambuco, ending the Dutch occupation of Brazil. Though the Dutch West India Company fielded a larger, better equipped force, they suffered morale problems as most of their army was made up of mercenaries from Europe (primarily Germany) who felt no real passion for the war in Brazil, as opposed to the Natives and Portuguese settlers who considered Brazil to be their home and were fighting for a patriotic cause. The Dutch force was also unused to fighting in the dense jungle and humid conditions of the country, wearing thick, brightly coloured European clothing and heavy metal armour which inhibited their dexterity. Contemporary accounts describe Dutch troops at the battle as "pale and sickly". The Dutch army at Guararapes were armed with pikes, cannon and an assortment of bladed weapons. It is thought by historians that the use of short blades by the Dutch was an attempt to imitate previously successful Portuguese weaponry and tactics. The Portuguese force was made up of an assortment of natives, blacks and whites who knew, and had experience fighting in, the difficult Brazilian terrain. They would weaken Dutch troops with fusillades of musketfire from behind trees, and then charge with mêlée weapons.

On 26 January 1654, the Dutch surrendered and signed the capitulation, but only as a provisory pact. On January 28, 1654, the WIC lost control of Recife, leaving the Portuguese their colony of Brazil and putting an end to Nieuw Holland. The Reconquest of Recife was a military engagement between the Portuguese forces under Francisco Barreto and the Dutch forces of General Commander Walter Van Loo. After the Dutch defeats at Guararapes, their surviving men, as well as other garrisons of New Holland, joined in the area of Recife in order to make a last stand. However, after fierce fighting, the Portuguese victoriously entered the city and the remaining Dutch were ousted from Brazil. Portugal reconquered Recife and Olinda regained its status of political center. However, Recife remained the commercial /port city. If the Dutch were gone, however, the threat of the now unified quilombo of Palmares remained. The Brazilians expel the Dutch from Pernambuco.

  • The first Jews to settle in North America as a group are said to have landed in New Amsterdam (now New York) in 1654 after having sailed from the northern Brazilian town of Recife via Jamaica. In Jamaica ­ still a Spanish island they were kept under house arrest. They managed to escape and reach New Amsterdam where then Governor Peter Stuyvesant wanted them out. As a result of letters from Jews in Barbados and Holland, they were allowed to stay and they founded the Shearith Israel congregation, one of New York's first. It is slated to celebrate its 350th anniversary in 2004.

By May 1654, the Dutch demanded that the Dutch Republic was to be given New Holland back.

The Dutch were still active participants in the slave trade when they lost control of Brazil in 1654. Now they directed their attention to the colony of New Netherland. The colony already had black slaves; these had generally come by way of the Caribbean Islands.

The First Slave Auction at New Amsterdam in 1655. American illustrator Howard Pyle, illustrator of many historical and adventure stories for periodicals, created this depiction of a slave auction in New Amsterdam (later to be renamed New York). New Amsterdam, a town on the tip of Manhattan Island within the Dutch colony of New Netherland, saw a sudden influx of African slave labor in 1655. The Dutch had been involved with the African slave trade for some time, having seized Portugal's Elmina Castle along the West African coast about two decades earlier. Soon after gaining control of the slave factory they were shipping 2,500 slaves across the Atlantic each year. Many of these slaves were sent to Brazil, another territory the Dutch had seized from Portugal. But this control of Brazil was short-lived. In 1655, the first large shipment of slaves directly from Africa arrived at New Amsterdam.

On 6 August 1661, New Holland was formally ceded to Portugal through the Treaty of The Hague. Seven years after the surrender of Recife, a peace treaty was organized between the Dutch Republic and Portugal. The Treaty of The Hague (1661) was signed, and demanded that the Portuguese pay 4 million reis over the span of 16 years in order to help the Dutch recover from the loss of Brazil. After several years of open warfare, the Dutch formally withdrew; the Portuguese paid off a war debt in payments of salt. Few Dutch cultural and ethnic influences remain.

In 1664 the English seized New Netherland, including the town of New Amsterdam. They renamed the colony New York. At the time there were roughly 500 Dutch-speaking blacks in the colony.

1678: In spite of a treaty negotiated with its ruler Ganga Zumba, a war between Portugal and Palmares remained.

Zumbi who became ruler following the peace treaty and later repudiated it, fought the Portuguese government.

Six Portuguese expeditions tried to conquer Palmares between 1680 and 1686, but failed.

One estimate places the population of Palmares in the 1690s at around 20,000 inhabitants, although recent scholarship has questioned whether this figure is exaggerated. Stuart Schwartz places the number at roughly 11,000, noting that it was, regardless, "undoubtedly the largest fugitive community to have existed in Brazil".

1693: Gold is discovered in Minas Geraes, Brazil, causing a gold rush in the West, and the center of power shifts from the Northeast towards Rio de Janeiro.

1694: Palmares is suppressed. The governor of the captaincy of Pernambuco, Pedro Almeida, organized an army - soldiers brought from the south, under the leadership of the Bandeirante Domingos Jorge Velho and Bernardo Vieira de Melo, defeated a Palmarista force and Zumbi, putting an end to the republic. (It was located in what is today the Brazilian state of Alagoas).

1695: An army led by famed São Paulo-born Domingos Jorge Velho managed to destroy the great quilombo and kill Zumbi. The Portuguese exterminate the Quilombo dos Palmares.

1695: Gold is discovered in Minas Gerais, Brazil.

1697: Brazil: Gold is discovered. The discovery of gold was met with great enthusiasm by Portugal, which had an economy in disarray following years of wars against Spain and the Netherlands. A gold rush quickly ensued, with people from other parts of the colony and Portugal flooding the region in the first half of the 18th century. The large portion of the Brazilian inland where gold was extracted became known as the Minas Gerais (General Mines). Gold mining in this area became the main economic activity of colonial Brazil during the 18th century. In Portugal, the gold was mainly used to pay for industrialized goods (textiles, weapons) obtained from countries like England and, especially during the reign of King John V, to build magnificent Baroque monuments like the Convent of Mafra.

1729: Diamond deposits were also found around the village of Tijuco, now Diamantina.

Black Brazil Today

Of the many quilombos that once existed in Brazil, some have survived to this day as isolated rural communities.


Further reading