More than 30 percent of all slaves taken from Africa were sent to Brazil, a country with the largest population of blacks outside of the continent of Africa. Most of these slaves were first taken to and “broken” in Salvador da Bahia before being sent to work elsewhere in the country.
Today, Bahia is known as the “African Capital of Brazil,” thanks in part to its mainly black population. If you find yourself in Bahia, take a moment to visit a few historical sites that reflect the area’s rich history.
The Pelourinho District was home to the last slave market in Brazil. The word “pelourinho” is Portuguese for “whipping post” and speaks to the punishment slaves suffered in this square. A broken marble square marks the spot were African slaves were beaten and traded.
Bahia is home to over 350 churches. Because of the large number of Catholic churches here, it has earned the nickname “Black Rome.” Among these houses of worship is Rosário dos Pretos, translated as Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks. The structure was built during the 18th century by and for African slaves. Paintings inside show the Passion of Christ with all-black faces.
Brazilian poet Castro Alves was one of the first Brazilians to write about the struggle’s of the nation’s black population. Though not of Afro descent, Alves’ work in support of abolition was such a critical part of Bahia’s early history that a statue erected in his honor can be found near All Saint’s Bay in the lower city.
EXPERIENCE HISTORIC BAHIA WITH BLACK ATLAS’ NELSON GEORGE
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