Northern Brazil or costal city’s serving as ports for the exporting of commodities produced on the
tropical, isolated areas of the jungle. The regions were sparsely populated and it was difficult to
a need to get cheap or free labor that would be capable of resisting the disease and who would be
easier to dominate than the locals who could run off and establish themselves elsewhere
relatively easily. The natural answer was to obtain slaves from the African continent. The slave
inland peoples so it was not difficult to obtain the stock and export them to the Americas.
Slaves in the mining regions were subject to harsh, isolated conditions. There were few
money and as a result could negotiate there freedom for a price. In 1732 1/3 of the African
population of Choco was free as a result. Less fortunate slaves who found the conditions
unbearable fled to even more isolated areas of the back country to survive on their own or in
hard and after working for the plantation the slaves had to work a spot of land for their own
levels with value attached to each one. The lowest level of the hierarchy was the “Bozal.”
These were slave born on the African continent with little or no acculturation with the Spaniards
and Portugese who enslaved them. They were of the least value as the least skilled and plenty
there were plenty more where they came from. Though they were not completely disposable
they were of the least consequence should they die or run off.
Next up the pecking order were the “Ladino.” These slaves had more time in country
and had developed skills useful to the plantation owner. They were often in working positions
of a bit higher value as well.
The top of the chain were the “Criollo.” These were slaves that were born in Latin
America. They were often times offspring of Spaniards or Portugese and as such had more ties
The Criollo held trusted positions in transportation, and were most often manumitted. Also
enjoying frequent manumission was the criollo involved in the processing of the crops.
were able to have a social life as the whites really did not care what they did with their own
time, they were the most likely to resist their conditions. This is done in a variety of ways which
will be discussed later.
There was a fairly healthy community life amongst plantation slaves. They spent time
to marry and raise families. The slave population was fully 80-90% of the overall population in
these regions as they did all the work and there were no towns in the area where whites and
Indians went for jobs.
Cities were a third environment that utilized slaves. These slaves, however, tended to be
made from the Criollo group. An exception was the slaves taken right off the ships by white
artisans who taught them to be smiths and coopers and the like. These trades were then passed
America in far fewer numbers than in the U.S. and as a result otherwise menial jobs held by
white lower classes there were held by free blacks and slaves working toward manumission.
City slaves enjoyed a good amount of freedom to associate and they took advantage of it
to form societies and groups that worked to systematically manumit slaves.
slave would resist or not. It was clear that all out revolt would not have any lasting affect.
Therefore resistance came in a more passive form. Slaves would pretend not to understand the
direction of their masters or they would sabotage equipment and crops. Suicide was another way
to freedom. When this method was employed the slave often killed their master and then turned
was now unable to replace him with another slave.
Flight was the most plausible form of resistance. Often plantation slaves would take off
and go to another plantation to visit for a number of days. The slave knew what the punishment
would be upon his return and was willing to endure it for the needed break. Sometimes they
had been visiting. More permanent forms of flight were undertaken by groups of slaves who
would organize and flee to the edges of the plantation and beyond to form renegade settlements.
The larger the group and the further from the plantation they fled, the more chance they had to
succeed. Criollo’s often fled alone to cities where they attempted to pass themselves off as free
men living by their wits in order to outsmart any who would suspect them as runaway’s.
In short, slaves who were the most recent arrivals to the new land endured the worst
conditions and were the least likely candidates for manumission and therefore most likely to
resist. The field workers and the gold miners were high risks for resistance. Ladino’s were less
likely to resist though conditions in the mines only slightly tempered there likelihood of flight.
Mulatto’s had it relatively easy in comparison to the Bozal’s and were less likely to resist as
in the mean time. Especially in the cities where they had family and social community. There
making them necessary as freemen even outside of slavery.
reproduction, mortality, productivity and resistance. For instance, a highly capitalized, fairly
new plantation would equate to harsher conditions for a slave as the owner tried to eak. out as
much profit from the plantation as possible. If economic times were bad then slaves were
pushed less as the profit increase was not available in depressed economies. At the same time it
might benefit an owner to divest of weaker workers and so manumission possibilities increased.
Slaves isolated from family life and culture working in miserable conditions were often flight
around to hire as cheap labor to search them out and return them. Mulatto and Criollo slaves
were higher on the socioeconomic ladder than the Bozal and were therefore less likely to resist
as they were a step away from freedom which meant they would not consider fleeing as good an
option as remaining in the social circle and family they had established.
Slavery under any conditions is not the optimum existence for human beings. It is a fact
period of slavery or of enslaving or both. African Cimarron communities even enslaved other
African fleeing the plantations. It is not rooted in race as much as it is rooted in human nature.
The preceding essay is just a synopsis of how it functioned for African’s in certain regions
during a space in history.