Death Is a Festival: Funeral Rites and Rebellion in by Jo?o Jos? Reis, H. Sabrina Gledhill

By Jo?o Jos? Reis, H. Sabrina Gledhill

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Further on, in Terreiro de Jesus, there was the magnificent Jesuit church and its neighbor, the medical school, which first opened its doors in the early 1830s. Other churches and their steeples also vied for a piece of the sky in that part of the city. But the Sé District was also residential. The families of wealthy plantation owners, merchants, civil servants, and clerics shared the streets with black slaves and freed people. Current and former slaves lived in basements, the lojas (shops) of the townhouses whose upper stories housed white and mulatto families.

At the end of the war, many prominent Portuguese merchants fled, leaving the export sector in disarray. The Portuguese already faced competition from British merchants but still setting of the cemiterada : 31 played a key role in Bahia’s farming and exporting economy. ‘‘Merchant’’ and ‘‘Portuguese’’ were synonymous, although some leading Brazilians engaged in that business as well. I have not been able to determine the precise impact of this Portuguese flight, but it appears to have been considerable, particularly because the exodus coincided with falling sugar prices and the native Brazilian planters’ postindependence decision to maintain the broad outlines of the Portuguese-dominated trading patterns established during colonial times.

In 1836, Salvador had about five thousand African freedmen and -women. Working in the streets, particularly the docks, made easier that di≈cult road to freedom. ∑ The parishes of Pilar and Conceição da Praia also contained residential townhouses, occupied primarily by the families of Portuguese merchants, their numerous slaves, and salesclerks. The 1855 census found the highest percentage of slaves among the residents of Pilar. Bahians called the Portuguese ‘‘Praístas,’’ alluding to the large number of these foreigners living in the Praia commercial district.

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