Economic History Association

Technology and Society: The Impact of Gold Mining on the Institution of Slavery in Portuguese America Author(s): A. J. R. Russell-Wood Reviewed work(s): Source: The Journal of Economic History, Vol. 37, No. 1, The Tasks of Economic History (Mar., 1977), pp. 59-83 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Economic History Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2119446 . Accessed: 28/01/2013 06:43
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Technology and Society: The Impactof Gold Mining on the Institutionof Slaveryin Portuguese America
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HE "golden age" of Brazil was heralded by substantiatedreports in the 1690s of placer gold deposits in the Rio das Velhas region of the future captaincy of Minas Gerais. In Mato Grosso, strikes in Cuiaba (1718) were followed by discoveries of alluvial gold in the River Guapore in 1734. By 1725, discoveries in Goia'salso augured well. Gold was found in Jacobina and Rio das Contas (Bahia) in the 1700s and in 1727 further strikes were made in Fanado and Araguahi. Although the initial exploratory impetus was not maintained, new sites were still being reported from as far afield as Cearat,Sergipe, and Goias at mid-century. All of these regions were subject to dramatic fluctuations in production. By 1732 the mines of Cuiabai"offered no more than a shadow of past riches." Goias enjoyed a longer life span, but by 1770 both captaincies faced irreversible collapses of the mining economy.1 In 1730 the provedor of the royal exchequer lamented the decline of placer mining in Bahia.2 Even Minas Gerais, which made up 74 percent of total colonial production, did not escape economic crises. In 1735 the governor of Brazil's richest captaincy was forced by economic adversity to reform the statutes fixing civil and ecclesiastical fees; in 1741 pharmaceutical prices were revised downwards because of the declining economic situation. The town council of Vila Rica referred to the "greatest poverty" occasioned by lack of discoveries
Journal of Economic History, Vol. XXXVII, No. 1 (March 1977). Copyright ? The Economic History Association. All rights reserved. This article is based on materials in the following Brazilian archives: National Archives, Rio de Janeiro (hereinafter abbreviated as ANRJ); Municipal Archives, Salvador (AMB); Public Archives of the State of Bahia, collection of Royal Orders (APB); Public Archives of the State of Minas Gerais, registers of the Municipal Council of Vila Rica do Ouro Preto (APMCMOP), registers of the Delegacia Fiscal (APMDF), and registers of the Secretaria do Governo (APMSG). The names of the following journals have been abbreviated: Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR); Revista do Arquivo Piblico Mineiro (RAPM). I would like to express my thanks to Philip Curtin, Robert Forster, and Ray Kea, who commented on earlier versions of this paper. The author accepts full responsibility for errors of content or interpretation. 1 Joao PandiACalogeras, As minas do Brasil e sua legislagao (Rio de Janeiro, 1904-5), I, 85, 222. 2 Pedro de Freitas Tavares Pinto's report of 17 June 1730, APB, Vol. 26, doe. 51. On the desertion of Bahian mining zones for the Diamond District, see APB, Vol. 24, doc. 26; Vol. 29, doc. 143. 59

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and the exhaustionof gold deposits.3 Indicationsof declining gold production, largely ignored by Dom Jodo V (1705-1750),became unmistakable during the reign of Dom Jose I (1750-1777).4 The economic, political, demographic,and social repercussionsof Brazilian gold production were felt throughout the Portuguesespeakingworld. The volume, commodities,and patternof trade and the prosperityof the south Atlanticeconomy in the eighteenth century were largelydeterminedby the changingdemandsof gold mining in PortugueseAmerica.Slave laborwas the hinge on which the Luso-Brazilian economy turned, and slaveryremainedthe one constant in a colony otherwise characterizedby social mobility. My purpose is to examine the impact of Braziliangold on slavery, an institutionwhich took a differentformin the miningareasthan it did in the plantationeconomies of the Braziliannortheast. Miningtechnologywas most rudimentary throughoutthe colonial period. In 1700 the king informedthe governorof Rio de Janeiroof the imminent arrival of four mining technocrats. But the crown refusedto send skilled minersfrom Hungaryor Saxonyfor fear that their knowledge of Brazilianmines might be put at the service of hostile powers and encourageinvasion.This policy was lamentedby Dom Pedro de Almeida, later count of Assumar(governorof Minas Gerais, 1717-1721),and by the Germanmining engineer von Eschwege in the earlynineteenth century.5Because of the lack of technical guidance,innovationwas virtuallylimited to the developmentof
3 Economic straits during the 1730s and 1740s were illustrated by such comments as "mizeravel estado destes povos, pella falta de extrapao de ouro" (1735 reforms, APMSG, Vol. 24, fols. 33-44v; \ol. 35, doc. 133) and, in reference to the pharmaceuticalregiment, "feyto em tempo que se achava nestas terras mais ouro que medicinas; e como no prezente ha tantas como faltas de cabedaes" (APMSG, Vol. 43, fols. 98v-99); Council to king, 5 July 1741, APB, Vol. 52, fols. 89-90v. In a letter of 1 March 1749 the Council of Vila Rica asked for royal patience in collecting the "fifths"in view of the "extrema mizeria e decadencia em que se acha este Pahis em rezao de naio haverem descubertos." APMCMOP, Vol. 54, fol. 177. 4 For estimates of colonial gold production, see Calogeras, As minas, I, 133-48; Roberto C. Simonsen, Hist6ria econ6mica do Brasil, 1500-1820, 4th ed. (Sao Paulo, 1962), pp. 283-84; Vitorino Magalhaes Godinho, "Le Portugal, les flottes du sucre et les flottes de l'or (16701770)," Annales, Economies-Soci6tes-Civilisations, 5 (Apr.-June 1950), especially 190-97; Charles R. Boxer, The Golden Age of Brazil, 1695-1750. Growing Pains of a Colonial Society (University of California Press, 1969) pp. 57-60, 157, 258-59, and appendices 2 and 3; Wilhelm L. von Eschwege, Pluto Brasiliensis (Berlin, 1833). 5 Calogeras, As minas, I, 112; Assumar to king, 12 December 1717, APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 208v-209. In 1729 Dom Joao V granted permission to mining experts Alexandre Pichon and Estevao Alier to go to Brazil for three years. APB, Vol. 26, docs. 77, 77a. Instructions (1733) to Martinho de Mendonpa de Pina e Proenga, on assuming acting governorship of Minas Gerais, urged him to encourage the development of machines to facilitate mining.-Colesam das noticias dos primeiros descobrimentos das Minas na America, que fez o Dr. Caetano da Costa Matoco, sendo Ouvidor Geral das do ouro preto de que tomou posse em FevrO de 1749, fols. 102-106; this fascinating document is in the Municipal Library of Sao Paulo.

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hydraulic machines to increase the availability of water for mining. Initially placer mines were the major source of gold. Speculators (faiscadores) panned water courses, using a wooden or metal bateia. Oscillation of the pan resulted in gold particles sinking because of their higher specific density, whereas siliceous material was washed over the shallow sides. Using the same technique were the more elaborate taboleiros working the whole river bed or grupiaras which concentrated on banks or adjacent hillsides. Openings into hillsides were known as catas. Gravel and quartz from such diggings were carried to the nearest water source for panning, or water was transported by wooden aqueducts to the cata where the gravel beds could be worked by hydraulic pressure. The resulting sludge passed through a series of sluice boxes, each of which retained gold particles, to a trough where slaves panned the residue. Such enterprises, known as lavras, called for substantial investment but offered the highest yield. Lode or vein mining using subterranean tunnels was also employed, although less frequently.6 By the very nature of the industry, gold production exerted on the miner and society a series of pressures unknown to the sugar planters of the northeast. Unlike a plantation, an auriferous region is a wasting asset; furthermore, higher immediate returns are more likely to be achieved with greater investment in machinery and labor. The higher fixed costs, however, force the miner to keep producing if he wants any profits. Even if these conditions are met, income is less certain for the miner than the planter. Drought or flooding can halt mining operations. Collapse of a shaft or an unexpected rock face result in loss of investment in time, labor, and machinery. Nor is there any guarantee that a given area actually holds rich enough gold deposits to justify mining. Historically, gold mining has been a high risk enterprise. These characteristics were present in eighteenth-century Minas Gerais. Risk notwithstanding, the lure of high profits resulted in a common tendency to overinvest and overextend financial resources. The effective working of mines demanded a higher ratio of skilled to unskilled labor than was needed on a plantation. Slave carpenters,
6 This account is based on Paul Ferrand, L'or a Minas Geraes (Bresil) (Belo Horizonte, 1913), I, 21-67; Calogeras, As minas, I, 111-32; Andre Joao Antonil, Cultura e opulencia do Brasil por suas drogas e .nas.. . , edited with a criticalcommentaryby Andr&eMansuy (Paris, 1968), Part III, chap. 14. Observations made by John Mawe, Travels in the Interior of Brazil, Particularly in the Gold and Diamond Districts (London, 1812) and Richard Burton, Explorations of the Highlands of the Brazil with a Full Account of the Gold and Diamond Mines (London, 1869) supplement von Eschwege's classic Pluto Brasiliensis. As early as 1719 at least one hydraulic machine was in operation. APMSG, Vol. 12, fol. 75; RAPM, 1 July-Sept. 1896), 420.

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masons, or smiths were as expensive as they were essential to the miner seeking high yields from lavras. The purchasing medium was the product-gold dust. Unlike the planter, however, who could in part offset higher costs by demanding more for his product, the miner was powerless to alter the price of gold: in his case the selling price was set by the crown. In Minas Gerais the universal practice was to buy slaves on credit, extending over three to four years, at monthly interest rates of as much as ten percent. Collateral took the form of gold dust. Even successful miners lived in debt to Rio de Janeiro merchants for the purchase of slaves. For the unsuccessful, salvation lay in flight to the sertdo.7 A measure in 1752 exempting miners from the legally enforced sale of slaves and tools essential to their livelihood to satisfy creditors' demands proved a palliative rather than a solution.8 One remedy lay in the greater financial resources and reserves, higher investment potential, and corresponding decrease in risk which collaborative efforts could have afforded. For reasons that are not entirely clear, however, this expedient was rarely practiced.9 Financial pressure on the miner was exacerbated by royal policies directed to the mining areas. The most oppressive concerned collection of the royal "fifth"(quinto) on all gold extracted. No less than 12 methods were employed, but all had in common the burden they placed on the miner. Collections based on the number of bateias in operation, or in the form of a capitation tax on slaves engaged in mining, were inflexible. Quotas had to be met, regardless of the success of a miner's speculation-without consideration, for instance,
7 APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 247, 271v-72; Vol. 11, fols. 50v-53, 271v-72. Protests by the council of Rio de Janeiro that leading buyers conducted all transactions within the customshouse and enjoyed a virtual monopoly on sales, resulting in higher prices, were rejected by royal advisers in the interests of the overall trade. APB, Vol. 49, fols. 100-5; Vol. 50, fols. 211-12. In a letter of 7 May 1751 to the king, the Council of Vila Rica provided an insight into prevailing values in the mining region: ". . . grande numero de escravos que sdo os bens das Minas sendo certo que muyta parte destes estao devendo os mesmos escravos que possuem, parecendo no exterior rico o que na realidade he pobre, e vivendo como pobres muytos que na realidade sao ricos. APMCMOP, Vol. 60, fols. 54v-59v. 8 An alvard (1721), described by the governor as "the most blessed law passed for the mining areas," ordered that all slaves to be sold to satisfy creditors should be valued and creditors obliged to accept them at a just price. APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 222v-24; Vol. 5, fols. 61v-62; Vol. 16, fols. 85v-86; Vol. 21, fol. 3; Vol. 23, fols. 96-97; Vol. 44, fols. 102v-3; Vol. 46, doc. 34; Vol. 63, doc. 37. Also APMCMOP, Vol. 7, fol. 15; Vol. 9, fols. 51v-52v. On the law of 19 February 1752, see APMSG, Vol. 35, doc. 178; Vol. 50, fols. 56v-57; APMCMOP, Vol. 9, fols. 50v-51v; Vol. 32, fols. 165v-66v; Vol. 63, fols. 34, 130-31; Vol. 69, fols. 115v-16. In his "Instruceao para o governo da capitania de Minas Gerais" (1780), crown judge Jose Joao Teixeira Coelho questioned the value of this exemption, PIAPM,8 (Jan.-June 1903), 506-8. 9 Some "mining societies" were established. APMSG, Vol. 44, fols. 103-4v. Collaboration between miners, urged by governor Dom Rodrigo Jose de Meneses (1780), paid off handsomely, RAPM, 2 (Apr.-June 1897), 313.

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of whether his slaves had run away, died, or fallen sick during the precedingyear. The establishmentof foundryhouses, to which gold dust was taken for smelting and the proceeds returnedto the miner afterremovalof the "fifth",altered the system of taxation; taxes now
varied in proportion to output, but now the miner faced a new problem. With the transition from a bateia or capitation system of taxation to one in which taxes were paid at the foundry houses, creditors began to demand payment in gold on which the "fifth"had been paid. Justification lay in the fact that debts had been incurred when an oitava of gold was valued at 1$500 reis in contrast to 1$200 reis under the new system. This policy in effect imposed a 20 percent surcharge on the miner. Miners also faced delays in processing and possible attack while travelling to foundry houses. Finally, the differential between the value of gold circulating in Minas Gerais and outside the mining regions increased the cost of imports.10 A gamut of fiscal and administrative policies placed further hardship on miners. The king realized that the tools and slaves essential to mining could constitute a source of revenue. The crown's refusal to permit industry in Brazil meant that pickaxes, iron, and gunpowder were imported. In addition to customs dues, such commodities were subject to dues on entering the mining areas. Fees calculated on weight or volume, rather than value, were especially heavy on those commodities needed by miners. Taxes on slaves exported from the northeast to the mines, gratuities to officials, fees (usually two oitavas of gold) payable at registers on access routes to Minas Gerais, and the heavy costs of transporting slaves from port cities to the interior, were also burdens on the miner.1 The price of a male slave on the sugar plantation of Sergipe do Conde in the first decade of the eighteenth century did not exceed 130$000 reis. In Salvador the average manumission price for a male slave peaked at about 200$000 reis in the years 1715-1719. In comparison, in 1711 in Minas Gerais a prime male slave fetched 300 oitavas. In the 1720s prices ranged between 200$000 reis and 300$000 reis, only to soar to 400$000 reis by 1735. In the long run such high prices reflected the miners' ability to pay these
10 On the "fifths," see Manoel S. Cardozo, "The Collection of the Fifths in Brazil, 16951709," HAHR, 20 (Aug. 1940), 359-79, and his Alguns subsidies para a hist6ria da cobranpa do quinto na Capitania de Minas Gerais ate 1735 (Lisbon, 1937). On hardshipsimposed by this tax, see RAPM, 2 (Apr.-June 1897), 287-309, 320-24; 10 (Jan.-June 1905), 78-82. Impact of fiscal change on miners is described in APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 247, 250; Vol. 35, doc. 133; APMCMOP, Vol. 9, fols. 13v-14; Vol. 60, fols. 54v-59v. 11 On revenues from import taxes, see Myriam Ellis, Contribuikdo ao estudo do abastecimento das areas mineradoras do Brasil no seculo XVIII (Rio de Janeiro, 1961).

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amountsforthe laborthey needed but, in the shortterm, these prices could spell ruin for many miners.12 The uncertaintyof the industry and the high costs of laboraffectedthe natureof the "peculiar institution" in Minas Gerais. Laborneeds peculiar to mining, together with the incentives afforded by gold, created in Minas Gerais in the first half of the eighteenth centurya society in which the ratioof whites to blacks,of slavesto freedmen,and of malesto femalesdifferedmarkedly fromthe coastal enclaves. In contrast to the northeastwhere an expanding plantationeconomy had resulted in a gradualincrease in the slave population, the exploitationof gold was characterizedby an immediate demand for a large number of slaves. Some 2,600 slaves annuallyentered MinasGeraisin the years 1698-1717,increasingto 3,500-4,000 for the period 1717-1723,and to 5,700-6,000 over the span 1723-1735.Thistradepeakedin the years1739-1741 with annual importsof 7,360 slaves, taperingoff to 5,900 in the early 1750sand to 4,500 by the end of thatdecade. In the 1760sand 1770sas the "golden age" drew to a close, importsaveraged4,000 slaves annually.How manyof the 341,000 slaves entering MinasGeraisbetween 1698 and 1770were employedin miningis unknown.Thereis no suchdoubtas to the impact of this sudden influx of slaves on the administration, society, and economy of the region.13 Demographicdata on the period prior to 1776 are scanty and should be considered merely as estimates. In 1698 there were no black slaves in Minas Gerais. In 1716-1717slaves declaredfor payment of the "fifths"totalled 27,909: these increased to 35,094 in 1717-1718, and to 34,939 in 1718-1719. A decrease to 31,500 in 1719-1720was attributedto miners leaving for new discoveries, reverse migrationto the coastpromptedby uncertaintyover proposed fiscal reforms,bureaucratic negligence, and the failureof mastersto register slaves. In 1723, 53,000 slaves capable of work were registered. This population remained stable until 1728. The following decade saw substantialincreases-96,541 in 1735 and 101,607 in 1738. Numbers declined to 96,010 in 1739 and to 88,286 a decade later.The firstcensus to distinguish between freedmenand slaveswas
12 Antonil, Cultura, Part I, bk. 3, ch. 9 (especially n.3) and Part III, ch. 7; Stuart B. Schwartz, "The Manumission of Slaves in Colonial Brazil: Bahia, 1684-1745," HAHR, 54 (Nov. 1974), 628-29; Gomes Freire de Andrada to king, 29 December 1735, APMSG, Vol. 47, fols. 17-18. 13 Estimates based on Mauricio Goulart, Escraviddo aficana no Brasil (Das origens a extintao do trafico) (Sdo Paulo, 1949), pp. 149-54, 164-66.

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made in 1786, by which time a more balanced economy based on agriculture had been established. A total of 174,135 slaves was recorded in the captaincy.14 A particular demographic feature of Minas Gerais was the intensive concentration of slaves in small areas. The towns of Vila Rica and Vila do Carmo and their immediate environs accounted for 50 percent and more of the total slave population of the captaincy.15 Within these municipalities the distribution of slaves was irregular. In 1719 some 3,500 slaves (46 percent of the overall slave population) were working the hillside rich in gold outside Vila Rica known as the Morro de Paschoal da Silva. In 1737 over 5,000 slaves were concentrated on the Morro de Santa Ana near Vila do Carmo.16 Large numbers of inadequately supervised slaves in close proximity to townships constituted a threat to the enforcement of law and order and were viewed as
14 On the 1720 decrease, see APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 244v-47v, 287v-88v. The 1723 figure is based on Council of Vila Rica to king, 22 December 1723, APMCMOP, Vol. 9, fols. 9v-10v. A "head count" in 1728, for a "voluntary" contribution to royal marriages, placed the slave population at 52,348. APMSG, Vol. 24, fols. 4-7; APMDF, Vol. 47, fols. 64v-66v. Figures for 1716-20 are based on capitation records (APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 275-76, 280-81, 287v-88v): allowance must be made for discrepancies in the counting of slaves belonging to clerics. Overall estimates are based on Goulart, Escraviduo, pp. 139-45. His figure for Sabara in 1723 (9,488) should be modified upwards and based on the 1720 capitation (8,031) instead of that for 1718 (which reads 5,771 and not 5,721). Ibid., p. 140, n. 28. See also APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 280-81; Vol. 13, fols. 25v-27, and APMDF, Vol. 44, fols. 13v-15. This brings his estimate of 50,000 more in line with the 53,000 reported above. Slave Concentrations 15 1716-17 1717-18 1718-19 1719-20 1728

Vila do Carmo Vila Rica Vila Real Sao Joao Sao Jose Vila Nova Principe Pitangui Clerics' slaves

6,834 6,271 4,905 3,051 3,848 3,000

10,974 7,110 5,712 2,282 1,393 4,347 2,096 283 897 35,094

10,937 9,812 7,708 7,653 5,771 4,902 2,216 1,868 1,324 1,184 4,478 4,051 2,090 1,671 415 359 (included in overall totals 34,939 31,500

17,376 11,521 7,014 3,448 5,419 4,791 1,934 845 above) 52,348

27,909

Sources: APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 275-76v, 280-81, 287v-88v; Vol. 24, fols. 4-7; APMDF, Vol. 47, fols. 64v-66v. In 1743 the two matriculas for the five intendencies recorded respectively: Vila Rica-21,643 and 21,746; Vila do Carmo-25,495 and 24,820; Sabara-22,148 and 22,740; Rio das Mortes15,380 and 15,340; Serro Frio-8,009 and 7,513; Sertao-895 (one matricula). Source: RAPM, 2 (July-Sept. 1897), 485. 16 APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 118-19, 130-33v; Vol. 44, fols. 151-56v.

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breedinggroundsforpossibleslave revolt.Thisfearwascompounded by a furthercharacteristic of the slavesin MinasGerais-great physical mobility as they accompaniedtheir mastersor pursued mining activities as faiscadores. Despite attempts at making such slaves to the authorities,there was alwaysa largefloatingpopuaccountable lation in Minas Gerais. There was also a substantialpopulationof free blacks and free mulattos. Manumissionsresulted from the ease with which slaves couldacquiregold dust to buy themselvesout of bondageor fromthe widespreadpracticeof white minerstakingslaves as concubinesand 17 In grantinga carta de alforriato the concubineand her offspring. the years 1735-1749,forros accountedfor less than 1.4 percent of persons of Africanorigin in the captaincy.By 1786forros made up 41.4 percent of such persons and 34 percent of the total population. This dramaticincrease may have been the result of humanitarian impulses. Researchhas yet to be done for Minas Gerais on slaves obtainingtheir freedomby purchase,but declining gold production placed many minersin the positionwhere returnsfrompanningdid not offset the cost of upkeep. Manumissionof slaves by purchase became financiallyexpedient to masters.18 Because much of the earlier demographicdata is based on fiscal records,moreinformation is availableon blacksand mulattosthanon white settlers. Perhapsin no other regionof colonialBrazilin the first half of the eighteenth century did persons of Africanorigin so outnumberwhites. The racialimbalanceof earlierdecades became less as the centuryprogressedand MinasGeraisbecame less accentuated of a "hardship" areafor colonization. to Brazilof families Immigration from Portugaland the Atlanticislandsincreased.The census of 1776 still recorded,however,thatpersonsof African descent madeup 77.9 percent of the adult populationof the captaincy(319,769).19 A final demographicfeature attributableto the labor needs of miningwas the predominantly male population.For the firstthirdof the eighteenthcentury,white migration was almostexclusivelymale. Those few fatherswho did have daughtersof marriageable age dis17 See the dire predictions of Assumar to the king, 28 November 1719, APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 238-39. 18 Goulart, Escraviddo, pp. 141-45, 158, 169; Edison Carneiro, Ladinos e crioulos (Estudos s6bre o negro no Brasil) (Rio de Janeiro, 1964), pp. 22-23. 19 On the demography of Minas Gerais, see Dauril Alden, "The Population of Brazil in the Late Eighteenth Century: A Preliminary Study," HAHR, 43 (May 1963), 180-83, 188. The 1776 census (published in RAPM, 2 [1897], 511 and Publica96es do Arquivo Nacional, 9 [1909], 73) recorded 70,664 whites and 249,105 blacks and mulattos.

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patched them to convents in Portugal or Madeira.20With the decline in mining, the establishment of a more balanced economy, and greater security for potential settlers, the white female population of the captaincy increased. By 1776 the sex ratio among the white population of 1,339 males to one thousand females does not distinguish Minas Gerais radically from the coastal enclaves. During the early part of the century, however, male predominance was characteristic of the black as well as the white populations. Miners' needs for male slaves may have accentuated the sexual imbalance of the Atlantic slave trade, generally accepted at two to one in favor of males, especially during the years of greatest mining production.2' In Salvador drastic increases in the price of male slaves, directly attributable to mining needs, were not matched by corresponding increases in the cost of female slaves. Records of slaves entering Minas Gerais suggest a numerical predominance of males. This is confirmed by the fiscal records. In 1719 on the heavily mined Morro of Vila Rica, 91 percent of the slave population was male. All but one of the 77 slaves of Captain Paulo Rodrigues Durdo, a miner in the parish of Inficionado, were male. Master of the Field Paschoal da Silva, a powerful personality in Vila Rica in 1719, possessed 48 slaves of whom only two or three were female.22 It appears that miners with limited capital bought males rather than females; the proportion of females was larger in the holdings of more prosperous miners. Only with the census of 1776 are figures available on the sexual composition of the population. This census did not distinguish between slaves and freedmen. In the overall population of people of African descent (249,105), 63.4 percent were male. Within the category of blacks (pretos) 117,171 or 70.2 percent were male. In contrast, among mulattos (pardos) there was a female majority: 41,317 females, 40,793 males. The 1786 census, the first indicating distinctions based on pigmentation, sex, and civil status, shows that 58.7 percent (16.4 percent pardos; 42.3 percent pretos) of the colored population (297,183) was male. Among total slaves (174,135), 66.8 percent were male. But, with the exception of the single category of black slaves
20 This was a frequent topic in gubernatorial correspondence. APMSG, Vol. 20, doc. 158; Vol. 23, fols. 6, 101, 109v-110; Vol. 32, fols. 86v-88, 105. 21 The 1776 census recorded 41,677 males and 28,987 females. Cf. Thales de Azevedo, Povoanento da Cidade do Salvador, 2nd. ed. (Sao Paulo, 1955), pp. 184-206; Philip D. Curtin, The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census (University of Wisconsin Press, 1969), pp. 19, 28, 46. 22 This percentage is based on figures-931 males, 97 females-for that part of the Morro in the district of Ant6nio Dias. APMDF, Vol. 39, fols. 49v-108v. Cf. Vol. 35, fol. 134 and Vol. 39, fol. 79v.

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(106,412 males; 47,347 females), there was a female majority among persons of African descent (free mulattos-38,808 males, 41,501 females; slave mulattos-9,879 males, 10,497 females; free blacks19,441 males, 23,298 females). Free female mulattos comprised the largest segment (22 percent) of the free population in the captaincy.23 Despite incomplete data, some general conclusions may be drawn concerning the demography of Minas Gerais. There was a dramatic increase in the slave population until the late 1730s, after which a decline in both imports and slave population corresponded approximately to the declining prosperity of the mining community. In the early decades the population of Minas Gerais was predominantly male. The shortage of white women, viewed as the prime cause for concubinage and social instability in the captaincy, appears to have been matched by a disproportionately small percentage of black females. This imbalance was redressed in the course of the century, and the dramatic increase in the free colored population after midcentury was noteworthy. More mulattos than blacks gained their freedom, and among mulattos, females predominated. The demography of Minas Gerais in the eighteenth century was determined by the discovery and exploitation of gold deposits, the special demands of the industry, and the uniqueness of gold dust as an instrument for social mobility. As a result, the composition of the slave population differed from that of the Brazilian littoral. The ethnic origins of slaves in Minas Gerais were almost as diverse as in the coastal enclaves, ranging from Amerindians, Chinese, and occasional Europeans, to a host of African "nations." In the mining area, however, there was a predominance of slaves from the Bight of Benin, the so-called Costa da Mina. "Minas"were held to be better workers, more resilient to disease, and stronger than Angolan slaves. Such qualities were in demand by planters and miners, but the latter had the edge because of their ability to afford higher prices and make payment in gold dust. In 1726 the viceroy reported that Angolan slaves were reputed to be unsuitable for anything but domestic labor.24 Miners' demands stimulated the slave trade from the Costa da Mina to the point that, during the first three decades of the
3 Population figures for 1786, 1805, 1808, and 1821 are published in RAPM, 4 (1899), 294-96. 2' Sabugosa to king, 23 February 1726, APB, Vol. 20, doc. 105a. This was a widely expressed characterisationof "Minas," see A. J. R. Russell-Wood, Fidalgos and Philanthropists. The Santa Casa da Miseric6rdia of Bahia, 1550-1755 (University of California Press, 1968), pp. 51, 68; APB, Vol. 14, doe. 49; APMSG, Vol. 5, fol. 108; Vol. 11, fols. 130-33v; Vol. 29, doe. 3; Antonil, Cultura, Part I, bk. 1, ch. 9.

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eighteenth century, imports of "Minas" exceeded Angolans.25 The records of slaves entering Minas Gerais confirm this general pattern, with most of the "Minas" going to the areas of greatest mining intensity. In 1718 in the parish of Guarapiranga there were 1,055 slaves, of whom 432 were "Minas"and only 245 Angolans. On part of the Morro of Vila Rica a total of 1,028 slaves was recorded in 1719: 598 "Minas" and 248 Angolans. Preferences could depend on an individual master's whims or needs, but until the 1730s active miners tended to favor "Minas."26 The resulting ethnic division was keenly enough felt to deprive slaves of commonality of purpose, even in the struggle for freedom. In 1725 Dom Jodo V noted that a slave uprising had failed largely because Angolans and "Minas" could not countenance a member of the rival "nation"as leader.27 The designations "Angola"and "Mina" illustrated the European practice of describing slaves either by ethnic or linguistic generalizations, or by detailing ports of origin, physical attributes, or acquired skills. Despite imprecision, by their very variety (some 50 terms) such designations underscored the cultural heterogeneity of the African slaves. The individuality of their heritage was consciously preserved in the New World.28 In 1719 Assumar observed that once slave women gained their cartas de alforria, they used their newly acquired freedom to set up shops which served as meeting places for blacks of their "nation." Some black brotherhoods, whether slave or free, limited membership to those of a common linguistic or ethnic background. Such ties were strengthened by the institution of compadrazgo. In the choice of "godfather" and "godmother" at baptisms and weddings, slaves preferred participants of the same "nation." Should such persons have gained distinction in Africa, or be of respected lineage, they were all the more in demand.29
25 Estimates in Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 205-10 and tables 62, 63. See also Pierre Verger, Bahia and the West Coast Trade (1549-1851) (Ibadan, 1964) and Flux et reflux de la traite des negres entre le Golfe de Benin et Bahia de Todos os Santos du XViie au XVIIIe s-ecle (Paris and the Hague, 1968). 26 APMDF, Vol. 22; Vol. 39, fols. 49v-108v; the term "Mina" is defined in Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, pp. 208-9. 27 APMSG, Vol. 5, fol. 108. 28 On ethnic origins, see APMDF, especially Vols. 19-39. For Bahia, see Carlos B. Ott, Forma~do e evolupdo ktnica da Cidade do Salvador (Salvador, 1955-1957), I, 53-75 and II, appendix 3; cf. Frederick P. Bowser, The African Slave in Colonial Peru, 1524-1650 (Stanford University Press, 1974), pp. 39-44. 29 APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 238-39; Vol. 11, fol. 184. On brotherhoods, see A. J. R. RussellWood, "Black and Mulatto Brotherhoods in Colonial Brazil: A Study in Collective Behavior," HAHR, 54 (Nov. 1974), especially 579-81.

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This evidence of African consciousness does not distinguish the mining areas from the Brazilian littoral. While much research remains to be done on cultural assimilation in the New World between blacks of different African origins, two circumstances suggest that such assimilation may have been less rapidly achieved in Minas Gerais than in the port cities or plantation societies of Brazil. Gold mining demanded slaves at the peak of physical strength, generally regarded as synonymous with adulthood. Children were not shipped from Angola in significant numbers in the eighteenth century. Spasmodic references suggest that children and infants comprised an even smaller proportion of slave imports from the Costa da Mina.30This predominantly adult export pattern was probably a response to mining needs, especially during the first decades of the century. Secondly, many slaves whose final destination was Minas Gerais were the linguistically and culturally distinctive victims of Asante expansion in this period. Many languages comprising the Kwa-Kru linguistic group (to which the "Minas"belonged) were unintelligible to persons from that same linguistic group; nor, as a major language group, were the Kwa-Kruintelligible to speakers of languages in the Benue-Cross and Bantu groups.31 Cultural and linguistic barriers to assimilation between blacks in Portuguese America were unusually strong in Minas Gerais, and were the product of the peculiar labor needs of gold mining. In 1719 Assumar observed that most slaves arrived in Minas Gerais already adults, and that they spoke a variety of languages and had the utmost difficulty in learning Portuguese. At the sale of a 20-year-old "escravo bugre" in 1736, it was noted that although he was a "Mina"not even other slaves could understand him.32 The slow assimilative process between blacks in the mining areas may account for a more pronounced tendency to marry along ethnic lines. Only tardily, it seems, did Portuguese gain widespread acceptance in Minas Gerais as a lingua franca. Only with the passage of time and the development of a more ethnically balanced slave population (with the decrease in "Mina" imports) was there greater assimilation between blacks in Minas Gerais in the course of the century.33
Herbert S. Klein, "The Portuguese Slave Trade from Angola in the Eighteenth Century," OF ECONOMIC HISTORY, 32 (Dec. 1972), 903-5. Slaves dispatched by the customshouse in Salvador from January 1736 to May 1737 numbered: Angolans-6,064 adults, 41 infants; "Minas"-4,528 adults, 3 infants. APB, Vol. 33, docs. 71a, 71b. 31 Daryll Forde, "The Cultural Map of West Africa: Successive Adaptations to Tropical Forests and Grasslands," Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences, Ser. 11, Vol. 15 (Apr. 1953), 208-10; Joseph H. Greenberg, The Languages of Africa (Bloomington, 1963), pp. 6-42. 32 APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 231v-32, 234v; APMDF, Vol. 19, fol. 58. 3 Percentage decrease of"Minas" by decades was as follows: 1711-20, 60.2 percent; 1721-30,
THE JOURNAL
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Whereas the slave family in the plantation society of colonial Brazil has received extensive treatment, the slave family in mining areas has been largely ignored. The predominantly narrative nature of sources precludes quantitative analysis. The following generalizations are limited to considerations of the slave family in so far as it may have been affected by mining. Most evident is the low incidence of marriage among slaves (or, for that matter, among the overall population). This is directly attributable to the demographic composition of Minas Gerais and to the economic pressures and opportunities of mining. In the first third of the century, there were hardly any white women and a shortage of black women. Inter-racial concubinage was the norm. One result of such miscegenation was a disproportionately large free mulatto sector in Minas Gerais. Crown measures failed to woo white miners from slave doxies. Assumar sardonically observed that covetousness and concupiscence were happy bedfellows and that such a role in no way decreased the value of a female slave. Concubinage afforded to the female slave greater security than would marriage to a slave. Moreover, her prospects of manumission were enhanced. Should a master fail to grant her freedom gratuitously, he could nevertheless serve as a protector against official harassment in her vending activities, gold panning, or even prostitution. For the concubine, no less than for the single female slave, gold could spell
freedom.35

Other factors further discouraged slave marriages in the mining areas. Cost and ecclesiastical red tape militated against the institution. The creation of an episcopal see at Mariana (1745) did not curb clerical rapacity. Exorbitant charges were levied for all services, regardless of the civil status of the participant. Slaves preferred to use their meager gleanings for Catholic burial rather than sanctified union; some deposited their gold dust in trust with a storekeeper for the purchase of freedom. Ecclesiastical requirements for proof that a slave was single and for other documentation often proved to be insuperable obstacles. Not until his visit to Vila Rica in 1753, did the first bishop of Marianagrant to slaves, natives of the parish of Antonio
54.1 percent; 1731-40, 34.2 percent; 1741-50, 29.7 percent; 1751-60, 27.1 percent; 1761-70, 23.5 percent. Source: Curtin, Atlantic Slave Trade, table 62. 34 Donald Ramos has written a pioneering study, based on the 1804 census in Vila Rica"Marriage and the Family in Colonial Vila Rica," HAHR, 55 (May, 1975), 200-25. 35 Russell-Wood, "Colonial Brazil," in David W. Cohen and Jack B. Greene, editors, Neither Slave nor Free. The Freedman of African Descent in the Slave Societies of the New World (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972), pp. 89-90, 94-96, 111-13; Assumar to king, 28 November 1719, APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 238-39. In 1747 the attorney of the Miseric6rdia referred to protected "escravas da sociedade" in blackmarket activities. APMCMOP, Vol. 54, fol. 3.

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Dias, the right to marry in the parish church or associated churches without first obtaining a special provisao. Publication of the banns, permission of the parish priest, and payment of the customary fees for these services were the only requirements.36 Human and economic factors also militated against slave marriages. There is evidence to suggest that masters discouraged marriages between slaves, and especially between slaves and freedmen. Whereas on plantations marriage had been viewed as a vehicle for stabilizing male slaves and contributing to an increase in slave holdings, mining dictated a different set of criteria. Spatial mobility was a characteristic of the industry and single male slaves were preferred. Slave procreation increased neither the capital holdings of the master nor his effective labor force because of the unsuitability of child labor in mining. Loss of productivity by the mother (albeit temporary) and increased costs of sustenance made slave births financially disadvantageous to the miner. Moreover, instability, insecurity, and mobility of mining communities discouraged the slaves no less than whites from forming lasting ties. A by-blow of this set of circumstances was a high incidence of children who were technically illegitimate, or were deserted by their mothers. Prostitution thrived in the mining townships and was encouraged by the owners and storekeepers who viewed it as an additional source of revenue. The upkeep of foundlings, be they white, black, or mulatto, imposed a heavy financial burden on town councils. Proposals for establishing a special tax for the creation of a foundling wheel in the 1790s were suspended, pending royal approval. Concern that such illegitimate children received no education prompted Dom JoAoV, in 1721, to propose that each municipality should appoint a master, whose salary would be paid by the fathers, to teach Latin, reading, writing, and counting. While promising compliance, the governor was pessimistic because "they are without exception the children of black women, and previous experience throughout Brazil has shown them to be incapable of benefiting from instruction."37 An early commentator on the "peculiar institution" was the acerbic, brilliant, and outspoken count of Assumar, who never tired of discoursing on the slackness of slavery in Minas Gerais. In 1719 the governor noted "the unusual liberty which blacks enjoy in this capAPMDF, Vol. 73, fols. 7v-llv; Ramos, "Marriage," pp. 212-13. Feu de Carvalho, "InstrucVaop6blica. Primeiras aulas e escolas de Minas Gerais, 17211860," RAPM, 24 (1933), 347-48; on foundlings, see APMCMOP, Vol. 12, fols. 42, 118-20, 144, 147v48; Vol. 61.
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taincy in comparison with the rest of America; there can be no doubt that the manner in which they live today can not be considered true slavery but may more appropriately be termed licentious liberty." In 1720 he forbad the traditional coronation of a king and a queen by blacks in Serro do Frio, observing that "such an act and ceremony was totally at variance with the meanness of their condition as slaves in which they must be kept." Assumar held that blacks had been brought from Africa to mine for gold and should be kept in "subjection without the slightest liberty." Any deviation constituted a threat to law and order, impaired the royal revenues, and was an affront to society.38 His comments may be taken as a point de depart for a study of slavery in the mining regions. Gold mining imposed severe physical demands on a slave. Panning demanded immersion up to the waist in icy streams, while the upper body was exposed to the heat of the sun. Slaves working in such conditions were highly susceptible to sun poisoning, with vomiting and fever chills, followed by acute dysentery, and kidney diseases. Pleurisy and pneumonia took longer to develop. Intermittent fevers and malaria were commonplace, the product of panning in stagnant water diverted from main streams or in river beds dried out after floods.39 In the early 1730s in the Carlos Marinho mines, the combination of heat, water, and "corrupted airs" caused 6,000 deaths among whites and blacks in a few months.40 Accidents and deaths caused by fall-ins, and pulmonary infections resulting from working in inadequately ventilated tunnels, were hazards faced by slaves in subterranean galleries.4' In such conditions, physical deterioration was rapid and the incidence of slave mortality high. Estimates as to a slave's useful working life in mining varied. In 1774 the councillors of Vila do Carmo placed it at ten years; a decade earlier acting governor Martinho de Mendonpa stated that the miners expected twelve years work from their slaves. Contemporaries agreed that overwork was the prime cause of such short working lives. Writing up the narrative of a journey through Minas Gerais in 1800, Dr. Jose Vieira Couto observed that a miner could expect 50 percent mortality among his slaves after ten years, and that the survivors were physically inadequate for heavy labor. Not only was the working life of the slave in
APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 170-71, 282v-84, 288v. von Eschwege, Pluto, Part III, ch. 5; "Memoria hist6rica da capitania de Minas Geraes" (anon.), RAPM, 2 July-Sept. 1897), 435. The basic medical treatise is Luis Gomes Ferreira's Erario Mineral (Lisbon, 1735)-see Boxer, Golden Age, pp. 184-87. 40 APMSG, Vol. 55, fols. 146v-48v. 41 Safety regulations of 1726 and 1728 were ineffectual. APMSG, Vol. 27, fols. 26, 45v-46.
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agriculturelonger, but procreationreplenished the slave holdings morefrequently.The councillorsof Vila do Carmonoted that miners workedslaves to the bone and were unableto affordreplacements.42 Such pressurescontributedto the high incidenceof disease among slaves. The captaincy was blessed with a healthyclimateand plentiful varietyof game, fish, fruits, and crops. By law, slaves were granted Sundaysand holy daysfor the cultivation of their own plots, but there is ampleevidence that mastersworkedtheir slavesin porterageor the cultivation of smallholdingson such days.43 Masters cut costs by failing to provide adequate sustenance. Sicknesswas caused by the sale of rotten porkto slaves afterwhites had refusedto buy it.44 The effectof maniocmealon slaveswas the subjectof a medicalenquiryin 1733. This resulted in a gubernatorial edict prohibitingthe sale of fuba, as it was popularlyknown, on two grounds:first, because it often containedchips from the milling stones; secondly, because no yeast had been added and it was uncooked, the fubd lay in the stomachin a congealedmass. Manioccould be lethal unless properly processed(soaking and shredding,followedby heating)to reduce the prussicacid content of the roots to safe amounts.When this was not done, slaves fell victim to lesions of the intestinal tract.45Masters resortedto two expedientsto cut feeding costs and providethe slave with the illusion, if not the reality, of greaterresistanceto hardship. Tobaccowas held to possess curativeproperties,and also to be a food substitute"becausethere is manya blackwho prefershis tobaccoto food;whereasfood is available only twice a day, a chew of tobaccocan be madeto lastthe whole day."46 Tobaccodid indeed possessstimulative properties,but the same could not be saidfor sugarcane brandy. The beliefs of the age in its magicalqualitieswere well expressedby governorDom RodrigoJose de Meneses in 1780:"cachaga. . . is a beverage of prime importancefor slaves, who spend the whole day immersedin water, and who, with the aid of cacha~acan resist the physicalduress, and live healthier and longer lives; experience has
42 Council of Carmo to King, 17 October 1744, RAPM, 2 (Apr.-June 1897), 289-92; Jose Vieira Couto, "Memoria sobre as minas da Capitania de Minas Geraes," RAPM, 10 (Jan.-June 1905), 78. The lowest estimate was seven years. Boxer, Golden Age, p. 174. 43 APMSG, Vol. 4, fol. 234v. " On food costs, see Antonil, Cultura, Part III, ch. 7; Goulart, Escravidao, pp. 134-36. Municipal edicts on hygiene were numerous-for example, APMCMOP, Vol. 6, fols. 42,47 and Vol. 54, fol. 177 inter alia. 45 APMCMOP, Vol. 6, fols. 183v-90v; Vol. 32, fol. 229v; Vol. 33, fols. 5-6, 63-64; Vol. 43, fol. 25v; Vol. 49, fols. 48, 56v-57. di ... por haver preto q' antes qr uzar do seu fumo q' do comer por ser este duas vezes no dia e aquelle continue . . .", APMSG, Vol. 59, fols. 60-61.

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shown that the master who fails to provide his slaves with cachava suffers a higher incidence of slave mortality, than the master who encourages and fortifies his slaves in this manner."47 Medical assistance was less readily available for slaves in Minas Gerais than in the coastal enclaves. Suspicion that friars were involved with contraband gold led the crown (1711) to prohibit their presence in the mining areas, unless duly authorized. Nor were religious orders permitted to establish monasteries in Minas Gerais. The mining regions were thus deprived of the social philanthropy and medical assistance to all sectors of the community, including slaves, provided by such orders in the coastal cities. Quack doctors reaped the benefit of a dearth of trained physicians in Minas Gerais. In 1735 the governor wrote that even the rich died unaided because the only medical assistance was provided by slave "barbers." Only in 1734 was a municipal surgeon appointed in Vila Rica. Both he and the municipal doctor were supposed to provide free medical services for the needy, but they failed to meet their obligations as regarded slaves.48 The establishment of a Santa Casa da Misericordia in 1738 contributed little to the availability of medical assistance in Vila Rica. Financial straits prevented this branch from providing the wideranging hospital and medical assistance for slaves made available by its counterpart in Salvador. Finally, the high prices of medicines, many of whose ingredients were imported, placed them beyond the means of many miners. In all cases the slave was the loser. On balance, slave productivity was not very high in gold mining. This resulted primarily from the nature of the industry, rather than from the tendency of slaves to run away, fall sick, or become intoxicated. Water was the key to mining. A variety of seasonal, technical, and legal factors could affect its availability. Maximum gold production and optimum use of slave labor was in the rainy season; provident miners conserved water for the drier months to keep slaves employed, albeit less productively. Drought or torrential rains paralyzed the industry. Excessive water turbulence made panning impossible, and destroyed dams, aqueducts and hydraulic machines essential to the lavras. Hardest hit were owners of lavras, who may have been tempted to overinvest to be eligible for the exemption from legally enforced sale of tools and slaves enjoyed by miners
RAPM, 2 (Apr.-June 1897), 317. Gomes Freire de Andrada to king, 30 August 1735, APMSG, Vol. 46, doc. 54. The Frenchman Ant6nio Labedrene was the first appointee. APMCMOP, Vol. 28, fols. 137-38; Vol. 33, fols. 53v-54v; Vol. 32, fol. 179; Vol. 107, fols. 257v-58v, 263v-65.
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possessing 30 or more slaves. Other technical factors also resulted in underutilization of slave labor. Greatest yield was on the hillsides, but the construction of lavras demanded heavy financial investment. Until this was available, slaves were usually employed in underproductive tasks such as digging gravel out of the hillsides and carrying it to the nearest water source, or laying out the gravel on the hillside to dry (when it would be possible to blow away the dust from the heavier gold), or simply panning where there was water and being content with diminished returns. Legal disputes over claims also frequently halted mining. Quarrels between guarda mores and crown judges over jurisdiction were rife and resulted in production on part of the Morros of Vila Rica and Sdo Jodo del Rei being brought to a standstill in 1731.49 Disputed mining concessions, contested water rights, and refusals to grant access to water could only be finally settled in the high court in Salvador. Settling of legacies was delayed by "provedors of the dead and absent" who froze the assets of an estate pending payment of all debts. Until such legal wrangles had been resolved, the slave force remained inactive and unproductive.50 In general, then, the inability of the miners to keep their slaves fully employed limited the productivity of the work force. The degree of freedom enjoyed by slaves in Minas Gerais was determined by different mining practices. On lavras slaves worked in a prescribed area, and were usually under the direct supervision of a factor. Every effort was taken to ensure that such slaves had little freedom of action and few opportunities to acquire gold dust. Should land be available, slave quarters (senzala) were built near to the lavra. Strict measures were taken to protect the heavy investment such slaves represented to the master and to improve slave productivity. In contrast, the slave faiscador enjoyed great physical freedom and had the means, opportunity, and motivation to buy his carta de alforria. One form of agreement between slave and master guaranteed delivery to the master every Saturday of a specified amount of gold dust and exempted him from responsibility for the upkeep of the slave. In return, the slave enjoyed freedom of action during the week
APMSG, Vol. 4, fol. 224v; Vol. 35, doe. 105. Abuses included the division of otherwise economically viable operations, and the piecemeal sale of slaves, equipment, and concessions for a fraction of their true value. APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 222v-24; APMCMOP, Vol. 7, fols. 59-61v; Vol. 9, fol. 1v; Vol. 37, fols. 48v-50; Vol. 65, fols. 271-72v; APB, Vol. 11, docs. 93, 94. Teixeira Coelho listed the division of mining properties as one cause of decline, "Instrucoao,- 508-11. A typical case involved Jorge Azere of Pitangui in 1737. Pending a court ruling, Azere petitioned for access to water denied him by Felippe de Lacontria, alleging that otherwise 50 to 60 slaves would be idle. APMSG, Vol. 59, fol. 27.
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and was free to cultivate his own plot of land on Sundays.51 Slave faiscadores roamed the mining areas in search of areas to pan and were a constant threat to law and order. Failing to find suitable streams, they sometimes resorted to excavating in the streets of the mining towns or digging out riverbanks, thereby endangering the foundations of bridges. Slave women also had considerable freedom, on the pretext of speculating for gold. Unscrupulous masters dispatched female slaves to pan for gold, but failed to give them even a pick. At week's end the master demanded her takings, fully aware that these had been gained by prostitution rather than panning. A variant was the legal agreement between master and a female slave that she would be coartada, namely that she was obliged to pay within a specified time an amount of gold mutually agreed upon by both parties, or continue in bondage. Such female slaves roamed the mining areas, culling gold dust from every possible source.52 Masters ran high risks in granting such freedom to their slaves: having squandered their takings on drink, food, or women, many fled, rather than face an irate miner. Not only did the slave in the mining areas have an unusual degree of physical freedom as afaisqueiro, but many may have possessed the technical knowledge to exploit gold mining for their personal advantage. The characterization of the average Portuguese migrant to Minas Gerais as a person who stopped in a port city only long enough to buy a horse contained more than an element of truth.53 For the most part, European migrants did not have any prior experience of gold mining. This was reflected in the absence of technical innovation in Minas Gerais and was especially serious insofar as the miners were unable to exploit the veins fully. In contrast, some "Mina" slaves had prior knowledge not only of gold mining, but of metallurgy. "Minas"was a broad designation used by the Portuguese for slaves acquired on the "Costa da Mina", a vaguely defined area which at its widest extent ranged from Cape Palmas to the Cameroons, embracing the Ivory, Gold, and Slave Coasts respectively. Although the Portuguese did purchase some slaves on the Gold Coast, where they paid 10 percent duty to the Dutch at ElMina on all imported trade goods, the bulk of their trade was on the Bight of Benin in the ports of Grand
APMSG, Vol. 44, fols. 106v-07. APMSG, Vol. 35, doe. 110; Vol. 50, fols. 80-82v, 90-96v; Schwartz, "Manumission," 627-28. 53 In a 1753 report the chancellor of the high court of Bahia noted that prior to the discovery of gold, migrants had been satisfied to settle as factors or bursars on plantations, or be employed as cowboys; the exploitation of gold had disrupted this pattern. APB, Vol. 50, fols. 305v, 311.
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Popo, Jaquim, Apa, and above all at Ouidah where they established a trading fort in 1721. "Minas" slaves originated from areas where knowledge of gold mining and metallurgy was highly developed. The economy of the great Akan states was built on gold, and gold dust was the internal currency. Shaft mining and alluvial washing were practiced and the Adansi and Denkyira peoples dug thousands of gold holes along the banks of the Ofin River and were experienced in exploiting high and low level gravel terraces. Jean Barbot, the French agent general who visited the Bight of Benin in the late seventeenth century, noted three aspects of especial relevance to this study: first, the richness of the gold deposits, especially in Denkyira; secondly, the high technical skill of the blacksmiths and goldsmiths; thirdly, the great dexterity shown in debasing gold by mixing the dust with silver, copper, or iron filings, a skill Barbot claimed had originally been taught to the Africans by the Portuguese. The Basari and Tombon districts, Mion-Sambu to Bimbilla, and Dagbon, the Muslim state north of the forest area, were major iron mining and smelting regions. During the first quarter of the eighteenth century, Asante expansion extended to the western areas of present-day Ghana and to the eastern part of the Ivory Coast. Other slaves were the victims of an expanding Oyo empire and originated from Yoruba-speakingregions. Ife had traditionally been the cradle of metallurgical skills, exemplified by its highest art form in the casting of bronze by the "lost wax" method. Within Benin City blacksmiths and bronze casters lived in special wards and enjoyed certain prerogatives. In the casting of both bronze and brass great technical control was achieved, showing a highly sophisticated knowledge of the proportions of the constituent metals and of iron, nickel, zinc and tin. Slaves taken on such expeditions were sold to the Dutch, English, and Portuguese.54 It was precisely such slaves, the "Minas," who were in demand by Brazilian miners and who predominated in Minas Gerais during the heyday of gold production. In Minas they were prominent as goldsmiths and blacksmiths, pursuing these vocations legally. Less legal was the mixing of tin and copper filings with gold dust, which
54 This account is based on Jean Barbot, Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea . . . (London, 1746), bk. III, chs. 4, 11, 17, 18, 20; E. L. R. Meyerowitz, The Sacred State of the Akan (London, 1951) pp. 198-205; R. S. Rattray, Ashanti (London, 1923), pp. 300-15; Philip J. C. Dark, An Introduction to Benin Art and Technology (Oxford, 1973). In 1816 the Dutch governor-general in ElMina observed that the slave trade had contributed to the drastic reduction in gold diggers. See Ivor Wilks, Asante in the Nineteenth Century. The Structure and Evolution of a Political Order (Cambridge University Press, 1975), pp. 679; cf. pp. 244-45, 434-36.

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they did with great skill, burnishing the final product so that only assaying could reveal the fraud. It was also alleged that slaves artificially altered the color of inferior black gold to make it appear more valuable.55 If Barbot was correct, debasing skill taught by the Portuguese to Africans to defraud English and Dutch rivals was to backfire on the Portuguese in Brazil. Debased gold was a constant headache for governors and provedors of the royal mints and smelting houses. In the history of African contributions to New World societies, the transfer of such technical skills (however reprehensible they seemed to the authorities) was a major legacy. By its nature gold dust is easily concealed. In Minas Gerais it was rarely necessary to resort to subterfuge because the prevailing medium of exchange was gold dust. Slaves were permitted to possess gold dust for their own needs and "so that they may with better will tolerate the excessive toil to which they are constantly subject."56 This set of circumstances, peculiar to the mining areas, resulted in more slaves enjoying their freedom in Minas Gerais than in the plantation societies of Brazil. Manumission and the role of the free black and mulatto has been described elsewhere. Suffice it to say here that the number of manumitted slaves appears to have increased from the 1740s. By 1786forros comprised 34 percent of the population of the captaincy. Less desirable from the miner's viewpoint was a large runaway slave population. Factors facilitating flight were: physical mobility inherent to mining; difficult terrain; inadequate human and financial resources for effective patrolling; ease of concealment, whether in the countryside in old mining holes or in the townships where irregular topography and houses with doors opening onto adjacent streets provided ideal bolt holes; difficulty of identifying a runaway from among a predominantly black population engaged in a variety of legal activities such as carrying wood, clearing scrub, or getting forage; and finally, the spasmodic pattern of settlement in a mining zone, which resulted in substantial tracts being virtually unpopulated. To these factors should be added the avarice of white store and tavern keepers who received payment in gold dust for aiding and harboring runaway slaves and for supplying quilombos (communities of runaway slaves) with foodstuffs, drink, mining tools, clothing, hides, and powder and shot.57
55 APMSG, Vol. 20, doc. 45; Vol. 77, does. 139, 140; APMCMOP, Vol. 56, fol. 37; Vol. 65, fols. 46v-52v; Vol. 81, fols. 213v-15; APB, Vol. 32, does. 102, 102a, 102b; Vol. 66, fols. 269-70. 56 APMCMOP, Vol. 9, fols. 25-26. 57 Conflicting interests of miners and storekeepers produced heated and divisive debate. APMCMOP, Vol. 6, fols. 31v-32v; Vol. 63, fols. 166v-69, 171v-76; Vol. 65, fols. 239v-45v.

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Throughout the colonial period in Minas Gerais, quilombos were a constant preoccupation. There were so many of them that no township or community could feel secure. Their size and permanency was unusual, even by Brazilian standards. The quilombo in Campo Grande, known as the quilombo of Ambrosio, numbered some six hundred blacks in 1746. In that year it had already been in existence for 20 years. In 1766 a report from Paracatui noted the presence of a quilombo since the first discoveries and colonization of that region in the early 1740s. Permanency was indicated by buildings, defenses, and crops of corn, beans, watermelons, and cotton. Ironically, it may well have been that the quilombos provided an ambience more conducive to stability and permanent relationships between slaves than did the hectic mining environment. Finally, organization and a social hierarchy was evidenced by the titles of king, queen, princes, and ranks borrowed from the militia companies.58 The presence of large groups of runaway slaves, the circumstance of a black majority, the geographic location of Minas Gerais far from potential military assistance, and the pressure of mining, combined to imbue life in Minas Gerais with insecurity, tension, and stress which verged on paranoia. This was especially marked during the earlier decades of the eighteenth century and revealed itself in two forms: omnipresent fear of slave revolt; and excessive local legislation. The threat posed by quilombos was real. Armed attacks on homesteads, rape, murder, and arson were frequent. More serious was the stranglehold they often achieved on the supply of foodstuffs by divert ing, destroying or ambushing incoming convoys. Their greatest im pact, however, was psychological. Urban disturbances, groupings of drunken slaves on the Morros, and isolated attacks on white travellers brought forth dire predictions of "revolts" from governors and citizens alike. In reality, only in 1719 and 1756 do there appear to have been planned uprisings which might have qualified as revolts, but in both cases they were aborted.59 Hyperbole characterized Assumar's assessment that the 1719 debacle was the greatest threat that Portuguese America had ever experienced. He was perceptive enough to note that the greatest danger lay not in the physical threat posed by slaves, but rather in the resulting panic among whites whose
58 APMSG, Vol. 15, fols. 109v-110; Vol. 60, fols. 110v-14v, 118v-19v; Vol. 84, fols. 109v-11. Definitions of a quilombo depended on numbers and permanency. APMSG, Vol. 2, fols. 108v-110; Vol. 59, fol. 102; APMCMOP, Vol. 43, fols. 83v-86v. For a survey, see Waldemar de Almeida Barbosa, Negros e quilombos em Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, 1972). 59 Both were planned for Maundy Thursday: 1719-APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 117v-127, 13033v, 170-71; 1756-APMCMOP, Vol. 65, fols. 236v-43.

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fear at the slightest shadow could escalate into total civil disorder: "a single spark could ignite a holocaust."60 Reaction by the white population, which was so regular as to constitute almost a ritual catharsis, took two forms: direct action and legislation. Feelings on the part of white colonists and governors that things were getting out of hand often resulted in flurries of activity, mobilization of militia companies, alerting of "bushwhacking captains," and attacks on quilombos. Such measures were more therapeutic than effective, as evidenced by attacks, each involving four hundred men, on quilombos in the Campo Grande in 1747 and again in 1759.61 Legislation imposed curfews on slaves, limited their physical mobility by "passports,"prohibited the carrying of sidearms and firearms by slaves, forbad congregation of blacks, restricted the choice of godparents to whites, and threatened harsh penalties for infringement of these regulations. Although, on the whole, punishments for slaves were not inconsistent with general colonial practice, the inhumane proposal that the Achilles tendon of runaways should be severed (mercifully not adopted) is indicative of the more drastic remedies proposed.62 Such legislation was no more effective than direct action had been, but it seems to have served the purpose of reassuring the white populace that their destiny lay in their own hands. Nevertheless, at no time did the white colonists of Minas Gerais lapse into complacency; reference to Palmares was enough to galvanize them into action. These circumstances bred a different relationship between a miner and his slaves than that prevailing in a plantation society and economy. Except on the lavras, the relationship between master and slave was likely to be more personal than on the plantations. Moreover, the dependence of a miner on his slave was so great that
60 APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 209v-10v, 214v-15, 218-19v, 238-39. One outcome of this fear was negrophobia embracing blacks and mulattos, slaves and freedmen. Typologies of slave resistance are discussed in George M. Frederickson and Christopher Lasch, "Resistance to Slavery," Civil War History, 13 (Dec. 1967), 315-29. Comparison of "plots" and areas with black majorities in the English colonies would be rewarding, vide Richard C. Wade, "The Vesey Plot: A Reconsideration," The Journal of Southern History, 30 (May 1964), 143-61; Peter H. Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina from 1670 through the Stono Rebellion (New York, 1974). I am indebted to Willie Lee Rose, Roger Ekirch, and Daniel Littlefield for much illuminating discussion on this theme. 61 APMSG, Vol. 50, fols. 43-44, 79, 82v-83; Vol. 84, fols. 108v-111; ANRJ, Codex 952, Vol. 33, fol. 390. 62 This measure had been suggested to Assumar by the French colonial precedent. APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 130-33v, 170-71. Royal approval for the creation of a judicial junta in 1731, with authority to pass sentence of death on blacks, mulattos, and carij6s, represented the extension to Minas Gerais of a privilege already granted to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Pernambuco. APMSG, Vol. 1, fols. 70v-78v; Vol. 2, fol. 125; RAPM, 2 (Jan.-June 1904), 347-48.

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by his behavior a slave could literally make or break his master. Municipal legislation placed full responsibilityon the master for misdemeanorsor criminal acts committed by slaves. Slaves were jailed pendingpaymentof fines in gold dust. Well awareof a master's some slavescommittedcrimes, allowingthemselvesto impecuniosity, be caught and auctioned off to meet the costs of a fine, in order to settle a grudge against a former master and ensure a change of owners. A variantwas the legal expedient of denunciation. Slaves earnedtheir freedomin returnfor denouncingmasterswho failed to pay the "fifths."Abuse by slaves resulted in the king waiving this practicein 1750.63Furthermore,many masterswere dependent on their slavesfor a technicalknowledgeof miningand a regularincome from the daily takings.It shouldalso be rememberedthat possession of a certainnumberof slaves could makea mastereligible for mining concessions and access to water rights, while exempting him from foreclosurefor debt. A result of this dependence, and the high financialinvestment representedby a slave, was that mastersin the mining areas were unusuallytolerant of slaves' misdemeanors.In 1721 Assumarnoted that "theseAmericans This regard regardtheir blacksas demigods."64 undermined effective law enforcement. Despite edicts prohibiting the carryingof arms by slaves, masterscommonlypermitted this.65 Runawayslaves were not brought to justice because masters made individual financial arrangementswith "bushwhackingcaptains," ratherthan meet jail costs and legal delays that would prevent the slave fromproducing.66 Almeidaobservedthat manyof the problems in MinasGeraiswere born of the excessivetrustplacedin their slaves by whites.67He noted that a masterwould even sufferphysicalabuse from a slave in silence, rather than lose his labor by legal action. Mastersregularlyprotectedtheir slavesfrom the bringingof charges which might result in impositionof the death penalty. This tolerance
63 APMSG, Vol. 1, fols. 181v-82v, 191v-92v; Vol. 5, fols. 180v-83; Vol. 10, fols. 74b, 79; Vol. 37, fols. 48-49v; APMCMOP, Vol. 33, fols. 26-27v; APB, Vol. 47, fols. 130-35. 64 . .", APMSG, Vol. 13, fol. .. . estes Americanos reputao os seus negros por semiDeoses.. 13. 6 APMSG, Vol. 4, fol. 204; Vol. 11, fols. 279-80, 282v-84; Vol. 27, fols. 14v-15; APMCMOP, Vol. 6, fols. 53v-54. 66 APMSG, Vol. 2, fols. 108v-10; Vol. 21, fol. 93; Vol. 50, fols. 80-82v. In 1783 the Council of Marianaprotested to the queen that fees for "bushwhacking captains" established in 1722 were now out of keeping with economic reality, the cost of redeeming a slave exceeding his value. APMSG, Vol. 19, docs. 99,119. 67 -. . . porq' he sem duvida q' nada desperta tanto a confianga dos negros como a q' delles fazem os homens brancos," APMSG, Vol. 11, fols. 130-33v.

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was especially marked in poorer miners, who could ill afford the loss From the foregoing it has been seen that gold, mining technology, and the society and economy of the gold bearing regions of Brazil had a major impact on all aspects of slavery, ranging from purchasing practices in West Africa to the relationship between master and slave in Brazil. Certainly, this impact was more complex and far-reaching than has usually been depicted. Slavery-one of the oldest and most constant of New World institutions-was not merely a plantation phenomenon, and we need to bear in mind that generalizations about slave life drawn from the plantation setting are unlikely to be true for different economies such as the one that existed in the gold mining regions of Brazil. A. J. R. RUSSELL-WOOD, The Johns Hopkins University
68 Assumar proposed that masters be reimbursed from a communal fund. APMSG, Vol. 4, fols. 214v-15; cf. Vol. 4, fols. 218-19v, 227v; Vol. 11, fols. 118-22v.

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