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Almanack

On-line version ISSN 2236-4633

Almanack  no.26 Guarulhos  2020  Epub Dec 18, 2020

https://doi.org/10.1590/2236-463326ed00819 

Dossier

ERASING THE NOTE THAT SAYS SLAVE: EFIGÊNIA DA SILVA, BAPTISM, COMPADRAZGO, NAMES, HEADS, CRIAS, SLAVE TRADE, SLAVERY AND FREEDOM (LUANDA, C. 1770-C. 1811)* 1

2 University of Pennsylvania - Philadelphia - Pennsylvania - EUA.

4 Rural Federal University of Rio de Janeiro - Seropédica - Rio de Janeiro - Brasil.


Abstract

Based on baptismal records from Luanda’s Parish of Nossa Senhora Conceição, this paper analyzes urban slavery in Angola’s main slave port in the late eighteenth century. Against the backdrop of the transatlantic slave trade, we argue that baptism and godparenting ties served as strategies for African women to evade deportation to Brazil through the slave trade. Baptism and the use of Christian names set Luanda’s enslaved population apart from enslaved Africans shipped abroad, who were neither baptized nor received Christian names because they were destined for the Atlantic slave trade. Naming patterns reveal a hierarchy within the system of slavery, as demonstrated by baptism and godparenting records, which (re)defined judicial and social statuses in Luanda and differentiated free people from freed and enslaved Africans. As this article demonstrates, Christianity, slavery and the Atlantic slave trade were intimately connected in Luanda.

Keywords: Baptism; godparenting; slavery; freedom; Luanda

Resumo:

Mediante registros de batismo da freguesia de Nossa Senhora da Conceição de fins do século XVIII, o artigo analisa aspectos da escravidão urbana em Luanda. Salienta que, em um contexto marcadamente impactado pelo tráfico atlântico de cativos, o batismo e o compadrio serviram aos pais, sobretudo às mães, como profilaxia política contra a deportação por meio do comércio de cativos. O simples fato de ser batizado e de receber nome cristão diferenciava os batizados e seus genitores das milhares de cabeças e crias que não recebiam nomes cristãos no ritual do batismo, posto que eram destinadas ao tráfico atlântico de cativos. Isto significa que a hierarquia escravista se manifestou explicitamente nas formas de nomeação cristãs. Assim, não obstante suas dimensões religiosas, católicas ou não, o batismo e o compadrio (re)definiam estatutos jurídico-sociais na cidade, diferenciavam livres de forros e escravos e podiam levar à alforria. Conclui-se que o cristianismo católico, a escravidão em Luanda e o comércio atlântico de cativos estavam umbilicalmente ligados.

Palavras-chave: Batismo; compadrio; escravidão; liberdade; Luanda

1. Introduction: Efigênia da Silva

On September 26, 1775, in Luanda, the greater slave exporting city of Modern Age, Priest Antônio Rodrigues da Costa from the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição (also referred to as Igreja da Sé in Portuguese, as Main Parish Churches were often called), baptized “Ricardo, illegitimate son to Efigênia da Silva, a mixed-race (parda) slave belonging to Captain Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso, and to an unknown father”. The child’s godparents were Assistant (Ajudante) Lopo de Souza de Castro and Dona Luiza Maria Bonine, who appointed Francisco Matozo de Andrade as her proxy. That would be just another baptismal record of a slave belonging to a powerful master had not Efigênia da Silva, many years later, appealed to ecclesiastical power in order to change her and her son’s judicial status. In a different sheet in the same baptismal record book, the African woman questioned the information presented in the record, according to which she was “a slave of Captain Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso”. In possession of a notarial deed dated January 15, 1774, which attested she was free, Efigênia asked that her son’s baptismal record was corrected so that it displayed her true status. In 1811, almost 40 years after Ricardo’s baptism, her petition was granted by Luandan authorities6.

The greenish unnumbered sheet in which Efigênia da Silva’s petition is written was pasted afterwards among the yellowish numbered sheets of the codex, near the original baptismal record. It was probably placed there on purpose with the intent of emphasizing the value of the baptismal records as an attestation of her social status in a world where civil birth certificates did not exist. Therefore, a baptismal record confirmed someone’s social status and, to our luck , made it possible to investigate hierarchies in a slave society as well as the expectations of men and women from Luanda regarding the sacrament of baptism, godparenting, slavery and freedom. The aim of this paper is to use Luandan baptismal records to understand the making of categories related to slavery and freedom in a city deeply affected by the Atlantic flux and reflux propelled by the trade of enslaved Africans to Brazil. In order to do so, we will combine tools from microhistory with those from quantitative history, including fragments of Efigênia da Silva’s trajectory7.

2. Canon law and social norms

Common to all members of slave societies that made up the Atlantic world such as Brazil, Angola and Congo, the creation and maintenance of baptismal records was governed by Constituições Primeiras do Arcebispado da Bahia, a compilation of canon laws in effect in Luanda8. Following the guidelines put forth by the Council of Trent in mid-sixteenth century, the Constituições were published in 1719 as a result of a colonial Diocesan Synod assembled in Bahia in 1707. The Constituições set norms for the making of each type of parish record (baptism, marriage and death). In the case of baptism, they established that their writing should follow a pattern “in order to avoid falsification”. Baptismal records should inform the date of the ceremony, the place where it occurred, the names of the priest, of the child who received the sacrament and of his or her parents, whether he or she had been anointed with the holy oils, the names, marital status and parish of residence of his or her godparents. At the end, the document should be signed by the priest who had written it in the baptismal record book9.

Besides setting guidelines for the writing of the baptismal records, the Constituições established that each parish should keep record books for baptisms, marriages and deaths. However, it did not determine that separate books be kept for enslaved and free persons. In Luanda, the baptisms of free, freed and enslaved people were registered in the same book, which was different from the common methods in Rio de Janeiro, for example10. The Constituições guidelines did not give directions regarding the mention of color categories (qualidades de cor)11, or the judicial condition of parents and godparents, requiring only their names and their marital status. Neither did the law demand the specification of titles such as Dona or of offices such as Captain Major, Assistant, etc. Hence, as they contained categories of social identification that were not required by canon orientation, the baptismal records express norms and values characteristic of a slave society because they were, indeed, social documents12.

However, baptismal records were, in the first place, religious documents, and the rules set by the Constituições considered that the sacrament of baptism had “wonderful effects” because it caused “all sins, the original sin as well as present ones”, to be forgiven. As the child was baptized, he or she was “adopted as a child of God and made heir to His glory and to the Kingdom of Heaven. Through baptism, the child professes the Catholic faith, and is committed to maintaining it […]13. From the Church’s perspective, through the act of baptism, godparents became spiritual parents to their godchildren and committed themselves to “teaching them the Christian doctrine and proper customs”14. Godparenting created a kinship tie between the birth parents and the godparents, relationship referred to as compadrio15 in Portuguese, which enacted certain family restrictions. Just as matrimony was forbidden between parents and their children or between siblings, so it was between godparents and godchildren or between godparents and comadres and compadres, that is, the godchildren’s birth parents16. It was perhaps considered a kind of religious incest.

In eighteenth century Luanda, a society deeply marked by the endurance of African religiosity, the sacrament of baptism did not necessarily mean an adhesion to or an imposition of Catholic principles. Nevertheless, Antonio Arantes draws attention to the importance of keeping in mind the religious character of godparenting because this institution is a reformulation of a religious conception of family and birth expressed in the holy scriptures and materialized through the rite of baptism. Even if godparenting was reshaped and used for practical ends “there is no good reason to suppose that its ‘utility’ was the raison d’être of the institution”17. Therefore, although in this paper we are mostly interested in the social contents of godparenting, we must not forget that we are dealing with sources produced by societies deeply marked by the philosophical and doctrinal principles of Christianity (specially Second Scholasticism)18. In Luanda, however, baptisms reflected a cultural melting pot that mixed religious practices of Mbundu origin with Occidental Christian religiosity, which rendered vitality to the city’s religious matrix.

It is, however, necessary to observe the meanings of baptism in its multiple contexts, since we are dealing with the major slave exporting town of Modern Age, especially in the eighteenth century. The baptism of infants rose controversy elsewhere. While the baptismal records mentioned above were being produced in Luanda, New England protestant pastors affirmed that infant baptism was a pillar of popery. They argued, among other things, that infants were not capable of understanding the word of God. The administration of baptism to infants was even seen as the devil’s work19. Diverting from the Catholic perspective that emphasized the wonderful effects of baptism and its role on salvation, Thomas Baldwin expressed the opinion that baptism was not “essential to salvation” 20. Being so, religiously, Luandan baptisms were part of the bigger picture of evangelization in the Catholic Iberian Monarchies21, contested by Protestantism. Baptism of infants and adult slaves, on one hand, and Catholic evangelization, on the other, went hand in hand because Catholic Christianity needed to save souls for its flock.

In addition, there were African perspectives about baptism in Luanda. It is possible that thousands of people who lived in the city surroundings had at least a slight knowledge about Catholic Christianity, since the Bible and the catechism were used to teach literacy in the Kingdom of Angola22. However, the way Christianity was interpreted and incorporated could be based on religious cosmogonies particular to peoples of the so called Central Atlantic Africa23. While seventeenth century New England protestants vociferated against infant baptism and the Catholic Church viewed infant and slave baptism as a means of amassing souls, in certain societies on the Western African coast, in mid-eighteenth century, “as soon as children are born, their mothers take them to one of those pagodes (temples) where the above mentioned negro [priest] is, and presents the children in their arms”. The priest conducts “many ceremonies with an ox-horn over the head of the newborn and, afterwards, […] hands” the children back to their mothers24. The event reveals that in certain societies some sort of ritual involving babies took place, even if it was not exactly Christian baptism. Similarly, in Luanda, Benguela and in the Kingdom of Angola fortresses (presídios) it was customary to baptize infants and slaves, no matter what kind of Catholicism was involved in the ritual, which also shocked even clergy at the top of Catholic hierarchy, who were aware of the absorption of African religions into the “Catholicism” of Atlantic Central Africa25.

The impression that ordinary people had at least a relative knowledge about Catholic baptism and godparenting, or at least about ritual initiation at an early age, is also suggested by the words of the “freed black man (preto forro)” Sabastião da Silva. Silva stated in a will dictated in Rio de Janeiro in 1792 that he was born in the “city of the Kingdom of Angola and baptized in the Parish of Nosso Senhor dos Vencidos”, “Bishopric of the same City”. According to the will, he ordered that his godson Paulo be paid seven silver coins (patacas) Silva owed him and was handed down “three jackets (véstias) of fabric that he wore and he asked me to keep for him” 26. Thus, the freed man baptized in Angola had received the sacrament of baptism before he left to the city of Rio de Janeiro, where he re-experienced Christian baptism, which may have acquired a different meaning as he became godfather to Paulo, with whom he had business. In short, the social and religious ties resulting from baptism and godparenting did not need to be, and often were not, separated.

Sebastião and Paulo received Christian names, just as did Efigênia da Silva, who had the same name as an object of black devotion, Saint Iphigenia, who was of great importance to black and mixed-race persons, enslaved and freed, in Portuguese America27. In Luanda, by the way, there was a chapel dedicated to Saint Iphigenia28. However, after being baptized in Angola, under which circumstances was Sesbastião deported to Rio de Janeiro, where he lived as a freed black man?

3. Cabeças, crias and the Atlantic slave trade

The context of Efigênia da Silva’s children’s baptism and of the dictation of Sebastião’s will was of extremely high demand for slaves in Brazil, especially in Rio de Janeiro. Between 1770 and 1786, at the Luandan Main Parish Church (Freguesia Sé), 1,587 children of enslaved mothers received Christian names at baptism. Their mothers also received Christian names, except for seven pagan mothers29. If we add to the number of children baptized at Luandan Main Parish Church another 1,140 children of enslaved mothers baptized at the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios between 1797 and 1799, the number of new Christians amounted to 2,727. Altogether, the new catechumens, however, did not represent 22.7% of the 11,993 cabeças and crias baptized without a Christian name in the Parish of Remédios30 (Box 1). The fact that many cabeças could be baptized in a single ceremony contributed to such disproportion:

On the 30th day of the month of September [1798] the Coadjutor Reverend Manoel Antonio da Fonseca baptized and anointed with the holy oils fourth-nine cabeças belonging to Colonel Anselmo da Fonseca Coutinho, which I ordered to record in this register which I signed. Vicar Colado Joao Pinto Machado.31 [In the margin it is written: Adults]

Source: AALNSR, 1797-1799, fl. 157.

Box 1 Baptisms of Christians, cabeças and crias (Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Luanda, 1797-1799) 

The type of register and the form of baptism of the cabeças belonging to Colonel Anselmo da Fonseca Coutinho, which were not prescribed by the Constituições Primeiras do Arcebispado da Bahia of 1719, were a Luandan invention to deal with the great number of slaves shipped to Brazil. In fact, in order to have a precise idea of the impact of the Atlantic slave trade in urban slavery and in the baptisms in Luanda, it is important to be aware that the number of captives exported to Brazil from the Port of Luanda was higher than the number of free and enslaved persons residing in the city (Box 2). There was also a constant circulation of Luandans back and forth to the presídios (inland colonization posts), of which the godfather of Efigênia da Silva’s child is a good example, as he had occupied military offices in Novo Rendondo Presídio. The domestic business of selling and buying people created a floating population in Luanda32. Therefore, captives slated for export represented most of the city’s population, nevertheless a floating population, comprised of cabeças. Before he left to Rio de Janeiro, Sebastião must have been baptized as a cabeça, just as were thousands and thousands of Africans who crossed the Atlantic.

Source: (a) CURTO, José C.; GERVASIS, Raymond R. The population history of Luanda during the late Atlantic slave trade, 1781-1844. African Economic History, Madison, n. 29, p. 1-59, 2001, p. 50, 58. (b) CURTO, José C. Álcool e escravos: o comércio luso-brasileiro do álcool em Mpinda, Luanda e Benguela durante o tráfico atlântico de escravos (c. 1480-1830) e o seu impacto nas sociedades da África Central Ocidental. Lisboa: Vulgata, 2002, p. 343. OBS: We calculated the percentage of the population with reference to the number of captives exported from the city of Luanda.

Box 2 Estimates of resident population and exported captives (Luanda, 1781, 1796-1799) 

At that time, the end of the eighteenth century, wars33 and judicialization34 caused the expansion of the perhaps geographical35 and surely politically superimposed36 slaving frontiers. Frequently, not even those who were considered vassals escaped illegal enslavement as understood by the Portuguese administration37, and even African peoples who lived near Luanda and Benguela, for example, resorted to Luso-African freedom courts, called Tribunais de Mucanos, in order to fight for their rights38. The need to defend one’s free status indicates the intensity of enslavement due to reasons that may seem “unimportant” to us, such as witchcraft practices, crimes of theft, etc. It became commonplace to punish with deportation via slave trade, which joined the ranks of deportees to the Americas (Box 3).

Source: CURTO, José C. A quantitative re-assessment of the legal Portuguese slave trade from Luanda, Angola, 1710-1830. African Economic History, Madison, n. 20, p. 1-25, 1992.

Box 3 Slaves exported from Luanda, 1710-1799 

As Box 3 demonstrates, the slave trade from the Port of Luanda intensified beginning in the 1740s. Although the volume of captives shipped from the city was not as high in the 1770s and 1780s, it was still quite high. In the year 1798 alone, the number of cabeças and crias baptized at the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios add up to 6,911 captives, which represents 65.5% of the number of captives shipped from Luanda in that same year (Box 2) and is higher than the sum of all the free and enslaved persons living in the city.

Precisely because of the enormous exports of captives it was very important to be baptized in Luanda with a Christian name and to have that name recorded in a baptismal record book. However, to be identified nominally as a Christian (from then on referred to as Christians) was not for everyone. In a similar way to what happened at the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, at the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios all Christian infants were the children of mothers and/or fathers who were also Christians. The Christian name set them apart from the cabeças and crias that would be exported in the Atlantic slave trade. Cabeça meant, in general, an adult liable to be trafficked and cria was a child infant who was traded. We should, however, note the contemporary conceptions of adult. The priest from the Main Parish Church (Freguesia da Sé) annotated that Catarina, who was baptized, was an “an adult of around 10 years of age”. In other registers, the baptized slave was described as “already an adult of around 10 years of age born in Mutemo a Quiguengo”, another one as “an adult of around eight years of age”. But all of them were older than an “adult that is already seven years of age”39. Thus, among the cabeças there could be adult captives that were younger than 10 years old. At the Parish of Nossa dos Remédios all cabeças were classified as “adults”.

In fact, the term cabeça, referring to adults, was part of the slave trade vocabulary. The same happened to the term cria. Both expressions designated those liable to be traded. As an example of the words used in the slave trade, we can allude to memoirs written at the end of the 1760s by the Marquis of Pombal, Portuguese Prime Minister, in order to justify the end of the contract and of the monopoly in the Luandan slave trade. The minister argued that “the contractors and the Jesuits”, expelled from Angola in 1759, were associated monopolists which oppressed “other traders”. They did so by “creating and introducing a new type of brokering of negroes comprised of exotic denominations such as peças da índia, moleques, crias em pê, crias de peito, etc. This way, the monopolists paid lower taxes for the captives they sold because their slaves “were always muleques (boys) while those “belonging to other traders” were listed under the denomination of “peças da Índia (adults), and were priced higher when they arrived to Brazilian ports due to weight of the taxes. In order to put an end to the abuse, the Portuguese Minister intended to abolish the “exotic denominations” by instituting a new vocabulary. He ordered that the term “peça da Índia” was no longer used and determined that a tribute of 8,700 Réis was paid for each “adult”, 4,350 réis for “each cria de pé (standing offspring) measuring less than four palmos”, and “nothing for the crias de peito (breastfeeding offspring)”. For the purpose of changing the idiom of the “negro commerce” the legislator also alleged that the Jesuits shouldn’t have priority embarking “seven-hundred cabeças every year at the Kingdom of Angola”40.

Although the minister had the intention of modifying the current words used in the slave trade, the terms cabeça and cria were not abandoned because force of habit maintained such expressions in the business of buying and selling people. Cabeças e crias, therefore, were part of the repertoire of the slave trade under the Portuguese Monarchy legislation, but they were also vocabulary shared by those involved in that business in Angola because those categories were naturally employed routinely in the trade, both by the “monopolists” and by those who opposed them. The priests at the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios still employed the words cabeças and crias in the baptism record book more than 20 years after Pombal’s government, which came to an end in 1777. But these same priests also gave Christian names to certain baptized individuals. Such ambivalence in the way the baptisms were conducted reveals important aspects of slavery and of the trade of people in Luanda.

There was a clear difference between the baptisms of Christians, on one hand, and those of cabeças e crias, on the other. The baptisms of Christians were personalized, informing the names of mothers, fathers, godfathers, godmothers, masters, proxies, adding titles of distinction (Dona, Captain, etc.). All the participants had names. In short, the baptisms of Christian children attested the recording of a sacrament and of kinship relations (fictive or not). In turn, the baptisms of cabeças and crias were collective, involving dozens, sometimes even hundreds of people without Christian names. The only names that were recorded were those of the slave owners/branders and of the priest who made the registration. There was neither a godfather nor a godmother, that is, there were no spiritual parents. Would faith, wonderful effects and a path to salvation be absent in such baptisms?

Cabeças and crias received the sacrament of baptism at the Parish before the merchants shipped them to Brazil. There may be many reasons for baptizing them, including the registration of property, the payment to priests41 and the Christian moral duty to save souls. Certainly, masters and people traders knew of the very high mortality during the Atlantic crossing42 and perhaps, from their perspective, the baptism of cabeças and crias would rescue the souls of those who passed away during the crossing. It was really a matter of rescue because “trafficking” was an absent word (we have not found it yet in the sources) to allude to the captive trade in the eighteenth century. Generally, the terms employed were “soul rescue”43 or “cargo”, the latter with a more commercial connotation.

Since cabeças and crias were terms used for captives destined to the Atlantic slave trade, it is possible that the Christian children of captive mothers who were nominally Christian were protected by their baptismal records against Atlantic deportation, due to the simple fact that they were given names and belonged to masters who lived in Luanda or in the Kingdom of Angola44. In other words, to be baptized in Luanda as the child of a slave meant, in addition to the religious aspect of the ceremony, a social prophylactic measure against the great and constant threat of deportation to Brazil represented by the dark trade in human beings. Crossing the Atlantic as a captive was the worst that could happen to people living in Central Atlantic Africa, and Luandan slaves were terrified of deportation45.

Since the forced crossing to the Americas was considered the worst thing that could happen, the dread it inspired increased the power imbalance in the master-slave relationship in favor of the former. A master even proposed that captives who refused to work in the arimos (farms) that provided supplies to the city of Luanda should be shipped to Brazil. Another master did not hesitate before shipping a slave that had already been baptized to Brazil as a means of punishing him46.

This last incident also reveals that baptism was not always an effective protection against deportation. However, Christian naming did offer an extra guarantee for their permanence in Luanda. At least, procreation and baptism increased the chances that a slave would live permanently in the city, creating relationships via godparenting there. Efigênia da Silva herself lived in Luanda for ten years as a slave, having her children baptized during that period. Likewise, Domingas Antonio, a “black slave” belonging to Dona Ana Micaela de Pugas Dantas, gave birth to three children between 1776 and 1780. It is likely that the mother and her children lived in Luanda, as well as their father, José João, characterized as a “black slave” belonging to José da Silva Rego in the first two registers, but as a “freed black man” in the last one47. Therefore, many slave fathers, mothers, children, godfathers and godmothers who appeared in the baptismal registers at the Parishes of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and Nossa Senhora dos Remédios were certainly not captives destined to the Atlantic rescue. They had names, were not cabeças and crias, lived in a city where they built social ties via godparenting.

Furthermore, baptism defined a social condition, including that of freed or free person. As a resident of the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, located in the administrative area in upper town, in contact with Luandan authorities and aware of existence cabeças and crias who were exported in the harbor areas in lower town, where the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios was located48, Efigênia da Silva may have known that in 1801 Angola Governor Miguel Antonio de Melo declared in a letter that “parish record books have the status of official public documents due to the certificates that can be extracted from them, which regulate and decide countless civil and ecclesiastical business”49. Coinciding with the Governor, Efigênia da Silva resorted to the parish books to fight for her freedom, even though her condition of a freed woman had been dully registered by a notary public.

4. The spring of all social movement

A few years after Ricardo’s baptism, but many years before the writing of the 1811 petition, Efigênia da Silva gave birth to three other children who were baptized as slaves in 1777, 1784 e 1785. For nearly 11 years she was considered a “mixed-race (parda) slave”, but all of Ricardo’s siblings were freed at the baptismal font. All the records were written by the same priest, Antônio Rodrigues da Costa, who gave some details about the motivations for the manumissions and about how they happened. Regarding Ricardo’s brother Vitor, made a Christian in 1777, the reverend assured that the “Captain master of the boy” had told him, “in the presence of the godfather and of the godmother’s proxy”, that he granted him “perpetual freedom and [asked that] I declared in this record how he gave him freedom, and that he should be freed from slavery as if he had been born from a free womb”. The freedom should be declared in the record, which was considered a valid document, making the master’s words public in the presence of the child’s godfather, the aforementioned Assistant (Ajudante) Lopo de Souza, and of Miguel Pires Emaus, who acted as a proxy for the godmother, Dona Luiza Vandune50. Both of them played central roles as witnesses of the manumission.

But in what other senses were baptism and godparenting perceived by slaves?

In the absence of a precise description of the importance of godparenting networks in Luanda, it is worth remembering the account of writer Manoel Antônio de Almeida, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, town that was closely connected to Luanda. According to Almeida, godparenting was “the real spring of all social movement” alongside with “endeavor”, word that he employed with the meaning of “dedication to personalized social relationships”51. Therefore, godparenting offered a framework to social relations in a society that had fragile state institutions - including ecclesiastical ones 52-, and that did not make a complete distinctions between religion, religiosity and affection in political, economic and social life. In societies of this kind, godparenting created, recreated and ritualized social relations, fact that was not overlooked by Efigênia da Silva. She (and perhaps the unknown father of her children) updated her social ties via godparenting with Dona Luiza Bonine in 1775 and in 1785, that amounted to more than ten years of endeavor. Assistant Lopo de Souza, in his turn, bonded ritually with Efigênia da Silva almost two years after Ricardo’s baptism, which took place in 1775. This compadre, who was the godfather to two of her children, held important military offices53. Two out of the three comadres who were godmothers to Efigênia’s children were donas54. One of them was Luiza Vandunem, who probably descended from a traditional Luandan family of the seventeenth century55.

Almost three decades ago, in a different historiographical context, John Thornton stated that a “complete story of the effects on women of the trade of enslaved Africans was beyond the information available in the [primary] sources”56. Nowadays one can, fortunately, understand the agency of women like Efigênia da Silva, dialoguing with many scholars who study Angola, including Selma Pantoja, Mariana Candido and Vanessa de Oliveira, whose work has explored multiple aspects of female participation in the coastal societies of Luanda and Benguela, in some cases making use of parish registers57.

It is certain that one of those many forms of female participation came into effect through baptisms that engendered godparenting bonds. Accordingly, in 1784 the aforementioned slave master Álvaro de Carvalho Matozo, who was at the time Captain of Grenadiers (capitão de granadeiros), granted the “child Maria”, a daughter of the mixed-race (parda) slave Efigênia da Silva, “perpetual freedom and manumission because her godparents paid him the ransom” of 38,400 Réis for her. In the occasion, “served” as godfather and godmother Libério Ferreira and Antônia Maria de Santana58. Again, compadre and comadre had a decisive part in the freeing of their godchildren, even if we do not know whether they paid for them.

Besides promoting access to freedom, Efigênia da Silva and the godparents of her children (her compadres and comadres) became interwoven in a network that had multiple parental and community meanings forged by godparenting. We do not know if Efigênia da Silva, being a slave, had her children baptized due to her master’s imposition or if she was motivated by any other reasons. Because knowledge about such aspects of baptism and godparenting in Luanda is still incipient, it is worth comparing the experiences of Luandan slaves, including those who were manumitted at the baptismal font, with the experiences of captives that lived in Brazil, a Catholic society, because of the strong connections between Brazil and Angola in Modern Age59. At the other shore of the Atlantic, slaves often were able to choose their children’s godparents60, but, if there was a conflict between two slave owners, godparenting relationships between their slaves were forbidden.61 By the way, masters rarely were godparents to their own slaves62, although the master’s children and other relatives frequently played that role63. Still, among captives, godparenting could strengthen ties between fellow slaves64, but could also create hierarchies among them65, or it could widen their social networks, incorporating freed and free persons66. In short, nothing was absolute in Atlantic godparenting.

However, even if nothing was absolute in godparenting, Efigênia da Silva was to some extent an exception among Luandan female captives, because very few slave mothers saw her children manumitted at baptism. To be precise, only 61 out of the 1,587 (3.8%) innocent souls baptized at the Main Parish Church (Freguesia da Sé) in Luanda between 1770 and 1786 were granted baptismal manumissions. That may be the reason why, in order to reaffirm her and Ricardo’s free status, Efigênia da Silva stated that she had been manumitted by a notarial deed. She was evidently referring to a charter of manumission, which was the most common document used to grant freedom in slave urban areas in the Americas67. Since Efigênia da Silva alluded to notarial manumissions, we may infer that this kind of document was also common in Luanda, although we have not located any document of that sort for the eighteenth century68. There may have been specific ways to achieve freedom in the city, where there was, at least since 1690, the position of “interpreter and inquirer of freedom suits”, also called, “adjunct interpreter and inquirer of the mocanos court and freedom suits of the slaves [or of the blacks] of this Kingdom”69.

At first glance, it does not seem to make sense to manumit the son a freed woman at the baptismal font. That is why doubts remain on the reasons why Efigênia da Silva and her children were registered as slaves in their baptismal records, since she possessed a notarial deed confirming her freedom drawn up before the baptism of her children. However, in the face of the threat of deportation to Brazil via Atlantic slave trade, which was real for Efigênia herself as well as for her children, it made a lot of sense to want these children to be freed at the baptismal font. In Ricardo’s case, however, we cannot eliminate the possibility that, in 1811, she lied about her freedom because he was the only one among her children who was not manumitted at baptism. Nevertheless, what is most important in that episode is that, whether Efigênia was lying or not, as she asked that the note that affirmed she was a slave was erased, she confirms that the religious document attested a civil condition. In addition, the baptismal document could even reaffirm or complement the notarial freedom. If that is the case, Efigênia considered the baptismal records to be more reliable as evidence of a judicial-social condition than the notary papers.

However, even though Efigênia da Silva’s request also alluded to Ricardo’s freedom, its focus ended up falling on herself. She resorted to the principle mater certa pater incertus, the same one that was valid in Brazil. Such principle supported her argument that because she was a freed woman, Ricardo would not in the least be a slave, nor would his siblings, who were born after him. Hence, the manumissions of the siblings at the baptismal font in the face of godparent-witnesses consolidated the free civil condition of all family members because the recording of the sacrament made that condition public and registered.

The great majority of the children born from slave mothers did not have access, however, to manumissions at the baptismal font.

In that sense, the manumissions of Efigênia da Silva’s children, because there were so few of their kind, are very similar to those found in other coastal or inland slave towns in the Atlantic world. For instance, in Porto Feliz, a town in the interior of the Captaincy/Province of São Paulo, amid 7,894 baptismal records of whites and free persons baptized between 1807 and 1860 there were only 29 manumissions at the font (0.36%). However, baptismal freedom was mentioned in only four (0.1%) out of the 3,889 slave baptismal records kept between 1831 and 1887. Therefore, there were altogether only 33 manumissions at the font (0.3%) out of 11,783 baptisms of innocents. Another 30 (0.3%) registers were “not in effect”, and observations were added to 15 registers explaining that they had been transferred to a different book, such as “it goes to the white and free persons book” or “it goes to the competent book” 70, demonstrating the mistakes that were perceived and written down in the baptismal record books71. The error in Ricardo’s baptismal record was called a “case of mistake” by Efigênia da Silva. However, adding the records with mistakes to the total figure of baptismal manumissions in Luanda would not significantly increase their percentage.

Exiguousness can also be observed in the Parish of São Salvador de Campos dos Goitacases, Captaincy/Province of Rio de Janeiro, where, between 1753 and 1831, baptismal manumissions represented merely 1.9% of the baptisms of slave and free innocents72. In the rural parishes of Inhaúma, between 1821 and 1825, and of Jacarepaguá, between 1800 and 1870, both in the city of Rio de Janeiro, manumissions at the font were meager: respectively 2.6% and 2.3% of the baptismal records73. In the town of São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, the baptismal manumissions annotated in the Main Parish Church of Nossa Senhora do Pilar corresponded to scanty 2.4% between 1751 and 185074. In the coastal town of Parati, in the Province of Rio de Janeiro, there were only 27 baptismal manumissions between 1811 and 182275.

In short, baptismal freedoms were as infrequent in the Atlantic world as they were in Luanda. It is likely that high infant and neonatal mortality rates discouraged relatives and masters from manumitting children at the baptismal font, a tendency that persisted until at least 180776. If we take such considerations into account, the baptismal manumissions of Efigênia da Silva’s children are normal exceptions77 because they follow the pattern common to that kind of access to freedom. Nonetheless, the small frequency of this type of manumission does not lead us to the conclusion, at first, that manumissions were “quantitatively negligible”78 in eighteenth century Luanda because at least 22% (or one out of five) of the mothers in the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição were freed women (see Box 5 below).

5. Names, surnames, slavery and freedom

There are yet other normal “exceptionalities” about Efigênia da Silva. She was identified with a name and a surname, a situation which was different from that of the great majority of slave mothers, who were registered with only one given name or, most often, with a double given name, such as Maria Antônio, Teresa Domingos, among others. When the female captives had double given names, the second name was most often a male one, as in “Isabel João”, “black slave” belonging to a Captain-Major (Captain Mor)79. This naming pattern emphasized meaningful social-judicial differences in Luanda baptismal records because 84.4% of captive mothers were known by a second masculine name, a proportion close to that of freed women with names of the same sort, 82.5% (Box 4).

Source: AALNSC, 1771-1786. Obs: We computed the names of the mothers, not the number of mothers. If a woman had two children baptized, for example, she was counted twice.

Box 4 Name types of the mothers of baptized children by judicial condition of the mother (Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Luanda, 1770-1786) 

When it comes to freedom, the situation was reverse, because very few free mothers (11.7%) were known by masculinized double names (Box 4). Free mothers were predominantly known by a name and a surname, as was the case of 73.7% of them. Thus, as far as naming goes, Efigênia da Silva had more in common with free women, because only 60 (4.0%) of the captives had surnames. Besides seeing her children freed at the baptismal font and receiving notarial manumission, she was probably aware that she was known by a “free person” name; and therefore, in her petition she made many years later, she requested that only the note that says “slave” be corrected, but not her name and surname.

Historians have studied naming practices80. For instance, José Curto observed there was a differentiation of names and judicial-social condition in Luanda between 1778 and 1807. Curto was one of the first researchers to access this subject for Angola, but he only accounted for single, full and double given names and did not remark the gender inflection of the second given name of slaves and freed women81. In his turn, John Thornton, who was also one of the pioneers in the studies about naming practices, stated that “slaves were known by a single name, but freedom was cause for [those who egressed captivity] taking a double name, like other free people”.82 However, in eighteenth century Luanda, captives, even the ones who had not been freed, already used a second name, at least in parish registers.

It is quite important to clarify that nobody was baptized with a surname. In baptismal registers, children received only one given name: João, Maria, Mariana, Ricardo, etc. This was also true for free and freed persons as well as for slaves in many places in Portuguese America83. In eighteenth century Angola, no one was baptized with a double name. Therefore, we must take into account that nominal identities were socially constructed during the course of people’s lives, obeying family, social, power aspects, etc.84 According to Russel-Wood, “to be able to choose one’s own surname” put “a considerable psychological and emotional burden on the person who made the choice” because such option opened “the curtains to [the person’s] inner self” In that sense, research about surname choosing practices has “potential to reveal values, priorities and desires” and “how a slave, freed or free born African or Afro-Brazilian viewed him or herself and by which identity he or she wished to be recognized by others”. Surname choosing practices take the historian to “that part of the individual that is not revealed by the codices and that may contain the key to the understanding of how a slave or colored freed person would like to be identified”85. We must add, however, that slavery imposed hierarchical value references to naming practices in Luanda, which can be perceived in the different kinds of names carried as marks of social differentiation, especially by free mothers. The “choice” for a certain kind of name took place in a slave society under the impacts of the slave trade and brought about power or submission.

Considering socially conditioned naming practices, it must not go unnoticed that Efigênia da Silva was registered with the same name and surname in the baptismal records of all her children between 1775 and 1785, but also in her petition of 1811. Due to the recurrence and longevity of the way she perceived herself and was recognized by others, she viewed herself as standing apart from the slave women who were masculinized by their second names. That is why she did not even ask that her nominal identity be corrected in the baptismal record, but only the “note that says slave”. Her name and surname, the second male name of slaves and freed persons and the surnames of free persons were social constructs revealed in the baptismal records, and that applies to mothers, fathers, godfathers, godmothers, masters, mistresses, slave men and women, freed men and women, proxies and even to the priests who wrote the parish records.

The different ways people were named show that personalized nominal identities that should be understood and recognized clearly by all tended to correspond to legal conditions. This further consolidated the legal-social hierarchy based on slavery because names and surnames enunciated a place in the hierarchy of the slave society. Slave men and women who had experienced captivity (or who were considered freed, which in certain cases was a kind of social condition86) did not carry names similar to those carried by free women, who did not have male names and who had surnames. That was important because baptismal record books revealed a lot about the judicial condition of free mothers. The utterance of someone’s name was enough to make his or her social position known. For that reason, in the baptismal records of the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição87, it was almost never stated that someone was free. In fact, the word “free” was rarely used; it was as if the judicial condition of freedom was implicit in the names and surnames of freed mothers. For instance, in 1773, a priest baptized Dona Páscoa Maria de Ornelas e Vasconcelos’ twins, and he did not need to affirm that the mother was free, as she even displayed the title of dona before her pompous name and surname.

In turn, slave and freed women not only had a double masculinized given name, but their identification was also composed of the register of the qualities “black” (preto) or “mixed-race” (pardo) and of the legal conditions “freed or “slave” (freed mixed-race woman, freed black woman, mixed-race slave, black slave); the condition and the quality were written before or after their double given names. Ana Paulo “black slave belonging to Dona Sofia da Conceição Matoso”88 is a good example of how double given names, color qualities, legal status and being someone else’s property were symbolically inscribed in captive women, and, except for belonging to another person, in freed women.

In short, naming set apart cabeças and crias from Christian captives and freed persons that resided in the city, and also enunciated freedom. For all that, in the baptismal records of her four children, Efigênia da Silva was nearly a contradiction, in the sense that she was a parda (mixed-race) slave with a free person’s surname, and for that reason she requested that note that says slave be corrected.

However, even though Efigênia da Silva personified a relative contradiction, she was not black. That made a difference because 940 captive mothers were identified with that color quality and only 33 (3.5%) were classified as “mixed-race” (parda), one was described as fusca (which means something like “blackish”) and qualities were not attributed to the remaining slave women. This denotes that slavery was associated with the color quality “black” in the baptismal registers. It is true that more freed women were defined as “black” (320) than as “mixed-race” (38). Nevertheless, the majority of the women classified as “mixed-race” were freed women. It is not a coincidence that, among the mixed-race freed mothers, 19 had surnames, and that four of them had double female given names. In other words, if a mother was a mixed-race freed woman, her name was likely to differ from the name of the majority of black slaves and even from the name of black freed women. Only 21 (6.5%) out of the 320 black freed women did not have masculinized double given names.

In that sense, mixed-race freed women and sometimes even mixed-race slaves bore more resemblance to free women in terms of nominal identity. However, mixed-race freed women were hierarchically below free women. Among 67 names of mothers who had the title of dona, all of them free women, 65 included surnames. The remaining two were double names, but with a female gender flexion instead of a masculine one in the second name. In fact, those two registers referred to the same woman, Ana Joaquina. She was married to Sergeant-Major (Sargento Mor) Engineer Luiz Cândido Pinheiro Cordeiro Furtado, with whom she had two children. One of them was godfathered in 1776 by João Monteiro de Moraes, Colonel of the Paid Regiment. The other one, baptized in 1774, was anointed with the holy oils at the “chapel of the Illustrious Excellency Mr. Dom Antonio de Lencastre, Governor and Captain General of this Kingdom”. Dona Ana Joaquina did not need surnames in order to have the right family connections, her name was Ana Maria Joaquina, sometimes known without the Maria, but always considered a Dona89.

Efigênia da Silva occupied an intermediate position between free women and black slaves and was, therefore, aware of the importance of her social identity and knew that a surname indicated a welcome distance from slavery. Efigênia’s son was simply Ricardo when he was registered in 1775, but in 1811 he was called Ricardo Guillo Andrade. It is not hard to imagine that the construction of the surname Andrade, which was very common in Luanda, and even of Guillo, distinguished his social position. In her petition, Efigênia probably referred to Ricardo’s full name, with the surname Andrade, on purpose. After careful observation, one may notice that the name of the proxy for Efigênia’s comadre, the one with whom she remained connected for 10 years, was Francisco Matozo de Andrade. It seems that the surname added to Ricardo’s personality might have come from there, but it may also have derived from his master’s name, Álvaro de Carvalho Matoso. We found at least one occasion in which this master was referred to as Andrade, Álvaro Carvalho de Matoso Andrade, but in all occasions he appeared holding a military office, being Captain, Captain of Grenadiers (Capitão de Granadeiros) or Assistant of Orders (Ajudante de Ordens)90. It is likely that freed people were allowed to carry the surnames of theirs masters, as happened in Brazil, for example, as a form of distinction and a strategy of social mobility.

In short, in baptismal records kept in a society with values shaped by slavery, (self)naming practices attest freedom or slavery, dependency ties, and power relations. The second masculine given names incorporated to female captive’s names throughout life may refer to the master’s family, to links with men, or to current cultural practices filled with socially shared hierarchical meanings, non-excluding hypothesis. Efigênia da Silva’s son was an Andrade, used the surname of a free person, perhaps inherited from his master and/or from a godparenting relational network recognized in the city of Luanda.

6. Free persons, slaves, legitimate children and freed women

Although we do not wish to make rigid oppositions between rural and urban realities, we do believe that the condition of slavery had peculiarities in urban environments, as have shown the analysis of authors such as João Reis and Mary Karash, among others91. There was a possibility, even remote, of transiting through slavery and freedom because manumission was a reality for many captives. It is curious that access to freedom did not necessarily involve embracing Christian values, despite having a baptismal name. In fact, as we mentioned before, Luanda was a city marked by a mixture of religious and cultural values where the African view was preponderant - in fact, the African view was manifest even in the local elites. Which were the parameters, then, set for freedom in Luanda?

Above all, a woman did not necessarily have to be married in order to be manumitted because there were wide limits for introjecting Christian moral values, since Christianity was filtered by Luandan captives, free persons and masters at their convenience. For the great majority of people who lived in Luanda, baptism did not considerably alter their family and parental lives, sexual practices and conception of motherhood. Besides being unmarried, Efigênia da Silva did not have her children’s father named in the baptismal records, just like the great majority of captive women in the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição. Like Efigênia da Silva, most captive mothers were not married due to the limits of the religious and cultural Christian imposition and to the economical obstacles posed to the celebration of Catholic matrimony in town92.

However, priests often annotated the names of illegitimate children’s fathers in baptismal records. Naming the fathers, thus, confirms the social recognition of paternity outside Catholic norm93 because the nomination of the fathers of illegitimate children was the most frequent way of attesting paternity (Box 5). Hence, instead of indicating that the father was unknown, the absence of the father’s name in the register could arise from the desire to avoid succession issues94, and, moreover, from the prevalence of African sexual practices. This second case can be illustrated by the example of Simão Mateus, a black slave from the Brotherhood of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, who was registered as the father of illegitimate children from four different captive mothers between 1775 and 178395. If a man had children with many different women, that evidences that the strength of local African sexual practices was such that the Catholic Church itself registered polygamous relationships in the baptismal records.

Source: AALNSC, 1760-1786. OBS: Captive, freed and free mothers made up respectively 70.5%, 22% e 7.5% of the total number of mothers.

Box 5 Legitimate and illegitimate status of baptized children by judicial condition of the mother Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, 1771-1786 

Therefore, regardless of their judicial condition, most mothers had the names of their children’s fathers annotated (60%), if we aggregate the records of legitimate children (whose parents were married) with those of illegitimate children with nominated fathers. This denotes that the social paternity of the children was not explicitly ignored. Most fathers were recognized, and the expression pai incógnito in baptism did not necessarily mean that the fathers were not known. They were simply the unnamed genitors of illegitimate children.

In short, Catholic sexual moral was restricted and selective in Luanda. It basically affected free people because there was a substantial difference between free women, on one hand, and slave and freed women, on the other (Box 5). The first ones were predominantly married. That happened in such a way that the name and surname that distinguished the judicial-social condition of freedom followed the embracing of sacramental marriage and the recognition of legitimate paternity. The rates of legitimacy varied with the judicial-social status of the mothers, increasing from captivity to freedom, but with only a small difference between slave and freed women96. Free women tended to get married more frequently than freed and slave women (Box 5). However, even among free women, marriage rates were not very high. If compared to naming practices, free women’s marriages did not differentiate them as much from slave and freed women than their own surnames, since 55.7% of free mothers were married, but 74.6% of them had surnames (Boxs 5 and 6).

Nevertheless, illegitimacy and the absence of the father’s name in the register alone did not denote a disadvantage for slaves in the sense that they were able to baptize their children, register them in parish record books and stablish godparenting (compadrio) ties. Efigênia da Silva, mother to illegitimate children, evoked baptism as an affirmation of her freedom and had her children manumitted through compadrio. She remained in town, in the company of her compadres and comadres, and the same can be said about other parents and godparents. Their sheer presence in the baptismal records as fathers, mothers, godfathers and godmothers, even if they were slaves, suggests that they had settled in Luanda, creating social ties. Florentino Manoel, a slave belonging to Captain Antonio de Beça Teixeira, had godfathered four captive children between 1777 and 178397. Other mothers, fathers and godparents experienced sBox lives in the city. One way or another, baptism was a spring that propelled captives towards establishing solid social bonds and obtaining benefits for their children who bore Christian names.

But Christian children from which men?

Slaves represented 47.3% of the fathers whose name appeared in the registers, followed by freed men (29.3%) and free men (23.4%). In other words, almost half of the fathers lived in bondage, and slightly less than one out of four was free. Thus, although motherhood was predominantly slave (70.4%), paternity was not. Free and freed fathers outnumbered slightly slave ones. In part, the presence of non-slave fathers probably was due to manumission, since in the baptismal records of the Main Parish Church (Igreja da Sé), among the fathers who had been named, there was one freed father for every 1.2 slave father, or one freed father for every 0.7 free father. Men were manumitted in significant numbers in Luanda.

Nonetheless, the same hierarchy typical of a slave society that we noticed among women can be observed in men naming practices. Even though there were 880 unknown fathers, which biases the analysis, free fathers had surnames registered more often (Box 6).

Source: AALNSC, 1760-1786.

Box 6 Types of names of baptized children’s fathers by judicial condition of the fathers Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, 1771-1786 

In spite of the explicit slave society hierarchy evidenced by social names and of the Atlantic slave trade, which carried much more men than women to the other side of the Ocean, to be a slave father in Luanda suggests permanence in the city and creation of effective social links, even if paternity was not based on Christian morality. Baltazar Domingos was the father of two illegitimate children generated by Antonia Manoel and baptized in 1778 and in 1785. All of them were slaves and belonged to Manoel Luiz, a maxiluanda freed black man98. Bento Miguel, a slave belonging to the Moreira Rangel family, had a daughter with Marta Domingos in 1780, a daughter with Domingas Francisca in 1782 and another one with Teresa Domingos in 1786. The first and the third mothers of Bento Miguel’s children belonged to the same master, while the second one did not, and the third time he fathered a child he was married. He may have been the unknown father of other women’s children, but the baptismal records for the Main Parish Church () are only available until 178699. It is certain, however, that he was part of a local community of enslaved people who had taken root in Luanda, alongside freed fathers.

As the case of Bento Miguel, who achieved freedom, demonstrates, baptismal records also offer insights about the frequency of manumissions in Luanda. One could probably transit to the position of freed person more often than we would imagine. That is the case of José João, the father of Domingas Antônio’s children. He ceased being a slave and was recognized as a freed man in a baptismal record. Efigênia da Silva herself evoked her freedom through a baptismal record. The proportion of freed people in Luanda seems to have been high, as the baptismal record book of Freguesia da Sé attests, there was one freed woman for every 3.2 captive women, and that there were three times more freed than free women. That proportion is similar to the one found in the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1799. The difference is that proportionally more free people lived in the American shore: there was one freed person (regardless of the gender) for every 2.3 free persons and one freed person for every 1.4 slaves100.

The presence of freed men and women can also be estimated based on the relationships they maintained with one another because most freed mothers had children with freed fathers (Box 7). Even though motherhood was predominantly slave in Luanda, almost half of the freed fathers had their children with freed women. Free women did not have children fathered by slave men baptized. There are only two registers in which free women had children fathered by freed men. Free men, in turn, had more children with captive women than with free partners, probably due to the scarcity of free women (Box 7).

(a) Percentage of fathers (b) Percentage of mothers The cases in which the combination of father and mother could not be determined were not included in the analysis. Source: AALNSC, 1760-1786.

Box 7 Judicial condition of fathers and mothers of baptized children, Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, 1771-1786 

It is possible that the existence of so many free and freed fathers concurred to the high proportion of freed women. That possibility surely does not exclude other reasons for so many manumissions in Luanda. Even if one argues that the term freed did not always mean effective manumission practices, but indicated a social status, the allusion to freed men and women in the baptismal records meant the recognition of a civil condition, as stated by the Governor and as requested by Efigênia da Silva. If words express social realities, the only certainty is that there were many freed persons in the Luanda baptisms.

7. Last words

Through the analysis of baptismal records of children from the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and of cabeças and crias from the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, this paper intended to access aspects of slavery in Luanda during the era of the Atlantic trade in enslaved persons to Brazil. The baptismal records played many roles in this picture. They were the foundation for the building of godparenting ties that, as in Brazil, provided the slave and freed community with stability. On the other hand, the naming of baptized children, oriented by practices that varied according to the legal status of fathers and mothers, contributed to strengthen hierarchies informed by slavery in the city. If baptizing children without a name or identifying fathers and mothers with double names reveal peculiarities that distinguish Luanda in the broader context of the Atlantic, the registers also indicate that urban slavery in that city had much in common with social and demographic dynamics of other slave cities in Brazil, such as the practice of manumitting slaves, the existence of a population of freed persons, and the association of the color quality “black” to slavery. One must not forget that the South Atlantic was characterized by the flux and reflux of free and captive people, as well as by legal and religious practices, and by ideas about the governance of slavery - here understood not only as the Atlantic trade in slaves, but also as slave work in its locally shared experiences101.

Therefore, it is possible that, influenced by the refluxes from Brazil to Angola, captives and masters who lived in Luanda and its surroundings operated with ideas of freedom and slavery similar to those experienced in Brazil, of which an example is the principle that slavery followed the womb, or even the freedom that Efigênia da Silva requested for her son. Moreover, it is not unreasonable to suppose that the idea of freedom in that African town was linked to the Iberian tradition of manumitting captives, very strong in Brazil, which had very close connections with Luanda, especially through Rio de Janeiro. Of Arabic origin, the word ahorria in Spanish, alforria in Portuguese, which recalls freedom, was incorporated to the Iberian-American slavery vocabulary102 used in Brazil, in Spanish America, as well as in Luanda. The expression alforriado was more current than the term manumitido, of Latin origin. In its short form, it was embodied in people when the priests mentioned, in a baptismal record, “So and So parda forra (mixed-race freed woman)”, or “So and So preto forro [black freed man)”, or simply forro (freed man) or forra (freed woman).

Coastal towns connected by the Atlantic through constant demographic, cultural, political movements engendered shared practices related to slavery, reproducing and naming experiences in slavery and freedom, just like the ones lived by the parda forra (mixed-race freed woman) Efigênia da Silva.

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1* This paper was translated into English by Carolina Perpétuo Corrêa. Literally heads and offspring, Portuguese terms used to refer to, respectively, adult slaves and slave children destined for sale via transatlantic slave trade. The meaning of both words will be further explored in the course of this paper.

6 AALNSC - Arquivo do Arcebispado de Luanda, Livro de Batismos da Freguesia de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, 1760-1786, unnumbered pages, near page 26.

7 On the “exceptional normal” see GINZBURG, Carlo. A micro-história e outros ensaios. Lisboa: Difel, 1991; LEVI, Giovanni. On microhistory. In: BURKE, Peter (ed.). New perspectives on historical writing. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press, 1991. p. 93-114.

8 On the diocese of Angola and Congo, suffragan to the Archbishopric of Bahia between 1672 and 1845 and on the clergy formed in Angola, see SANTOS, Maria Emília Madeira. África; Angola. In: AZEVEDO, Carlos Moreira de (dir.). Dicionário de história religiosa de Portugal. Lisboa: Círculo de Leitores, 2000, p. 21-25, 51-67. See also REGINALDO, Lucilene. Rosários dos pretos, “São Benedito de Quissama”: irmandades e devoções negras no mundo atlântico (Portugal e Angola, século XVIII). Studia Historica, História Moderna, Salamanca, v. 38, n. 1, p. 123-151, 2016; MARCUSSI, Alexandre Almeida. O dever catequético: a evangelização dos escravos em Luanda nos séculos XVII e XVIII. Revista 7 Mares, Niterói, n. 2, p. 64-79, 2013.

9 VIDE, Sebastião Monteiro da. Constituições primeiras do arcebispado da Bahia: Coimbra, Real Colégio das Artes e da Companhia de Jesus, 1720: Livro Primeiro, Títulos IX ao XX. Brasília, DF: Senado Federal, 2007. In fact, the Constituições Primeiras organized norms that were already put into practice since the seventeenth century. GUEDES, Roberto. Livros paroquiais de batismo, escravidão e qualidades de cor (Santíssimo Sacramento da Sé, Rio de Janeiro, Séculos XVII- XVIII). In: FRAGOSO, João; SAMPAIO, Antonio C. Jucá de; GUEDES, Roberto (org.). Arquivos paroquiais e história social na América lusa, séculos XVII e XVIII: métodos e técnicas de pesquisa na reinvenção de um corpus documental. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, 2014. p. 127-186.

10 In Brazil, the baptismal records were frequently, but not always, kept in separate books organized by judicial condition. There could be separate record books or not, and that depended on the time, the place, the demographic dimension, the idiosyncrasies of the clergy, etc. SOARES, Mariza de Carvalho. Devotos da cor: identidade étnica, religiosidade e escravidão no Rio de Janeiro, século XVIII. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2000; GUEDES, Roberto. Macaé em fontes paroquiais. In: AMANTINO, Márcia et al. (org.). Povoamento, catolicismo e escravidão na antiga Macaé: séculos XVII-XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2011. p. 121-147.

11 We have used the terms “color quality” (qualidade de cor), color/condition or quality because the latter is the most recurrent word in eighteenth century population counts or military maps for Luanda and the fortresses (presídios) of the Kingdom of Angola to refer to or to characterize white, black and mixed-race (mulato or pardo) persons. Cf. GUEDES, Roberto. Exóticas denominações: qualidades de cor no Reino de Angola (segunda metade do século XVIII). In: ALMEIDA, Suely et al. (org.). Cultura e sociabilidades no mundo atlântico. Recife: Universitária, 2012. p. 369-398; GUEDES, Roberto; PONTES, Caroline. Notícias do presídio de Caconda (1797): moradores, escravatura, tutores e órfãos. In: PAIVA, Eduardo França; SANTOS, Vanicleia Silva (org.). África e Brasil no mundo moderno. São Paulo: Belo Horizonte; Annablume: Editora UFMG, 2013. p. xx-yy; CARVALHO, Ariane; GUEDES, Roberto. Piedade, sobas e homens de cores honestas nas Notícias do Presídio de Massangano, 1797. In: SCOTT, Ana et al. (org.). Mobilidade social e formação de hierarquias: subsídios para a história da população. São Leopoldo: Editora Unisinos, 2014. p. 129-171. (Coleção Estudos Históricos Latino-Americanos, 3). When the term race is present in Lusophone documents produced in the Modern Age, it is often associated with religion, even if it also alluded to skin color: Moorish race, Jewish race, mulatto race, without race (Christian). Cf. PAIVA, Eduardo França. Dar nome ao novo: uma história lexical da Ibero-América, entre os séculos XVI e XVIII (as dinâmicas de mestiçagens e o mundo do trabalho). Belo Horizonte: Autêntica, 2015. In this paper, we deal with parish sources in which the terms race and quality are not mentioned, and that rarely make allusions to color. In these sources, the terms employed for color qualities are black (preto), mixed-race (pardo), followed or not by the judicial conditions of slave and freed person (forro or liberto). The term mulato in Portuguese, which is present in Luandan population maps, only appeared once in the baptismal records. AALNSC, 1760-1786, p. 93. In Brazil, the term pardo, when found in baptismal records, should not be considered a synonym to the Portuguese word mulato because the latter had a derogatory connotation and was rarely used by clergymen in parish records of baptism, marriage and death. VIANA, Larissa M. O idioma da mestiçagem: as irmandades de pardos na América portuguesa. Campinas: Editora da Unicamp, 2007. See also GUEDES, Roberto. Livros paroquiais… Op. Cit.; SOARES, Márcio de Sousa. As últimas moradas: memória e hierarquias sociais nos locais de sepultamentos de pardos na vila de São Salvador dos Campos dos Goitacazes, 1754-1835. In: IVO, Isnara; GUEDES, Roberto (org.). Memórias da escravidão em mundos ibero-americanos: séculos XVI-XXI. São Paulo: Alameda, 2019. p. 113-160.

12 GUDEMAN, Sthepen; SCHWARTZ, Stuart. Purgando o pecado original: compadrio e batismo de escravos na Bahia no século XVIII. In: REIS, João José (org.). Escravidão e invenção da liberdade. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1988. p. 33-59; FARIA, Sheila de Castro. A colônia em movimento: fortuna e família no cotidiano colonial. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1998, p. 304. FRANCO, Renato; CAMPOS, Adalgisa Arantes. Notas sobre os significados religiosos do batismo. Varia História, Belo Horizonte, n. 31, p. 21-40, 2004, p. 23.

13 VIDE, Sebastião Monteiro da. Constituições… Op. Cit., Livro Primeiro, Título X.

14 Idem, Título XVIII.

15 We have used godparenting as a translation of compadrio when suiBox. The Portuguese term compadrio does not have a literal correlate in English. It denotes the relationship between godparents and birthparents of a baptized child. The words comadre and compadre designate, respectively, a woman and a man who have been godmother and godfather to each other’s children.

16 Ibidem.

17 ARANTES, Antonio Augusto. Pais, padrinhos e Espírito Santo. In: CORRÊA, Mariza et al. (org.). Colcha de Retalhos: estudos sobre a família no Brasil. Campinas: Editora da Unicamp, 1994. p. xx-yy, p. 196.

18 Occidental religious justifications for slavery are a subject beyond the scope of this paper. On the subject, see, among others: COUTINHO, José Joaquim da Cunha de Azeredo. Obras econômicas. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1966; NEVES, Guilherme P. das. Pálidas e oblíquas Luzes: J. J. da C. de Azeredo Coutinho e a análise sobre a justiça do comércio do resgate dos escravos. In: Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva (org.). Brasil: colonização e escravidão. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 2000. p. 349-370. HESPANHA, António M. Luís de Molina e a escravização dos negros. Análise Social, Lisboa, v. 35, n. 157, p. 937-960, 2001; DAVIS, David Brion. O problema da escravidão na cultura ocidental. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2001. Specifically for Angola, see MARCUSSI, Alexandre Almeida. O dever catequético… Op. Cit.

19 “That infant baptism is a part and pillar of popery; that by which Antichrist has spread his baneful influence over many nations. I use the phrase infant-baptism here and throughout, because of the common use of it; otherwise the practice which now obtains, may with greater propriety be called infant-sprinkling”. GILL, John. Infant-baptism, a part and pillar of popery: being a vindication of a paragraph in a preface to a reply to Mr. Clarke’s defense of infant-baptism. To which is added, a postscript, containing a full and sufficient answer to six letters of Candidus, on the subjects and mode of baptism, &. London: G. Keith, J. Robinson, W. Lepard, 1766, p. 2.

20 We “do not consider it [baptism] essential to salvation, yet we do think essential to the regular visibility of a gospel church”. BALDWIN, Thomas. The baptism of believers only, and the particular communion of the Baptist churches explained and vindicated: in three parts. The first published originally in 1789; The second in 1794. The Third an appendix, containing additional observations and arguments, with strictures on sevaral late publications. London: Forgotten Books, 2018.

21 VAINFAS, Ronaldo. Ideologia e escravidão. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1986; OLIVEIRA, Anderson José Machado de. Santos Pretos… Op. Cit.; OLIVEIRA, Anderson José Machado de. Igreja e escravidão… Op. Cit.

22 SANTOS, Catarina Madeira; TAVARES, Ana Paula. Africae monumenta: a apropriação da escrita pelos africanos. Lisboa: IICT, 2002.

23 We refer to the incorporation of religious symbols and rituals from other religions from the perspective of African cosmogonies. CRAEMER, Willy de; VANSINA, Jan; FOX, Renee. Religious movements in Central Africa: a theoretical study. Comparative studies in society and history, Cambridge, v. 18, n. 4, p. 458-475, 1976; THORNTON, John. Religião e vida cerimonial no Congo e áreas umbundo. In: HEYWOOD, Linda (org.). Diáspora negra no Brasil. São Paulo: Contexto, 2008. p. xx-yy; THORNTON, John. A cultural history of the Atlantic world, 1250-1820. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012; THORNTON, John. Afro-christian syncretism in the Kingdom of Kongo. Journal of African History, Cambridge, v. 54, p. 53-100, 2013, p. 53-77, 81-100. For other aspects, see PARÉS, Luís Nicolau. O rei, o pai e a morte: a religião vodum na antiga costa dos escravos na África ocidental. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2016. Cf. ainda, HEYWOOD, Linda Njinga of Angola: Africa’s warrior queen. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2017; SOUZA, Marina de Mello e. Além do visível: poder, catolicismo e comércio no Congo e em Angola (séculos XVI e XVII). São Paulo: Edusp: Fapesp, 2018.

24 MELLO, José Caetano de. Naufragio carmelitano, ou relação do notavel successo que aconteceo aos padres missionarios carmelitas descalços na viagem, que faziaõ para o reyno de Angola no anno de 1749. Lisboa: Officina de Manoel Soares: 1750.

25 HORTA, José da Silva. Africanos e portugueses na documentação inquisitorial de Luanda e Mbanza Kongo. In: SANTOS, Maria Emilia Madeira. Actas do seminário Encontro de Povos e Culturas em Angola. Lisboa: CNCDP, 1997. p. 301-321. FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Slavery and the social and cultural landscapes of Luanda. In: CAÑIZARES-ESGUERRA, Jorge; CHILDS, Matt D.; SIDBURY, James (ed.). The black urban Atlantic in the age of the slave trade. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press, 2013. p. 197-202; FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Cross-cultural exchange in the Atlantic world: Angola and Brazil during the era of the slave trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. It is not necessary to allude to the Catholicism in the Kingdom of Congo since the beginning of Modern Era.

26 Arquivo da Cúria Metropolitana do Rio de Janeiro, Livro 2 da Sé, Testamentos e Óbitos, 1790-1797, p. 143.

27 SOARES, Mariza de Carvalho. Devotos da cor… Op. Cit.; OLIVEIRA, Anderson José Machado de. Santos pretos e catequese no Brasil colonial. Estudos de História, [s. l.], v. 9, n. 2, p. 215-234, 2002; OLIVEIRA, Anderson José Machado de. Igreja e escravidão africana no Brasil colonial. Especiaria, Florianópolis, v. 10, p. 356-388, 2009; OLIVEIRA, Anderson José Machado de. As irmandades religiosas na época pombalina: algumas considerações. In: FALCON, Francisco; RODRIGUES, Cláudia (org.). A “época pombalina” no mundo luso-brasileiro. Rio de Janeiro: Editora FGV, 2015. p. 347-380. For Luanda, specifically, see REGINALDO, Lucilene. Rosários dos Pretos… Op. Cit.

28 REGINALDO, Lucilene. Os rosários dos Angolas: irmandades de africanos e crioulos na Bahia setecentista. São Paulo: Alameda, 2011, p. 68.

29 AALNSC, 1771-1786.

30 We have resorted to baptisms of cabeças and crias from Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios because we have not found registers of the same kind at the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Conceição.

31 AALNSR - Arquivo da Arquidiocese de Luanda, Livro de Batismos da Freguesia de Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, 1797-1799, fl. 157.

32 On the transit from one presidio to another, including that of military men, see COUTO, Carlos. Os capitães-mores em Angola no século XVIII. Lisboa: Instituto de Investigação Científica de Angola, 1972; SANTOS, Catarina Madeira. Um governo “polido” para Angola: reconfigurar dispositivos de domínio (1750-1800). 2005. Tese (Doutorado em História) - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris 2005; CARVALHO, Ariane. Militares e militarização no Reino de Angola: patentes, guerra, comércio e vassalagem (segunda metade do século XVIII). 2014. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2014.

33 THORNTON, John K. The art of war in Angola, 1575-1680. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Cambridge, v. 30, n. 2, p. 370-378, 1988; THORNTON, John K. A África e os africanos na formação do mundo atlântico (1400-1800). Rio de Janeiro: Campus, 2003; CARVALHO, Ariane, Op. Cit.

34 FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Cross-cultural… Op. Cit.

35 MILLER, Joseph C. Way of death: merchant capitalism and the Angolan slave trade, 1730-1830. Madison: Wisconsin University Press, 1988, passim.

36 CANDIDO, Mariana P. Aguida Gonçalves da Silva, une dona à Benguela à la fin du XVIIIe siècle. Brésil(s): Cahiers du Brésil Contemporain, Paris, p. 33-35, 2012; CANDIDO, Mariana P. An African slaving port and the Atlantic world: Benguela and its hinterland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.

37 FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Cross-cultural… Op. Cit.

38 SANTOS, Catarina Madeira. Les mots e les normes juridiques de l`esclavage dans la colonie portugaise d’Angola aux XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles (les mucanos comme jugmentes de liberte). Brésil(s): Cahiers du Brésil Contemporain, Paris, p. 139-144, 2012.

39 AALNSC, 1771-1786, fls. 221, 248, 286, 286v.

40 AHU - Arquivo Histórico Ultramarino. Portugal, Lisboa, Avulsos Angola, Códice 555. See also GUEDES, Roberto. Exóticas denominações: qualidades de cor no Reino de Angola (segunda metade do século XVIII). In: ALMEIDA, Suely et al. (org.). Cultura e sociabilidades no mundo atlântico. Recife: Universitária, 2012. p. 369-398.

41 When the Portuguese tried to establish a fortress in Cabinda in 1783, the expedition commander said that “he ordered that the captives who were sent from there to Brazil should “be catechized and baptized as they are supposed to be”, as it was common practice “in that city”, Luanda. The slaves’ owners would pay for their baptisms, including the fees for the priests. AHU, Cx. 66 doc 92.

42 There was no impediment for baptizing crias and cabeças one more time in the Americas. In Brazil, the baptism of slaves registered their property, and, because cabeças and crias did not have names they would be baptized again by their new masters. The Constituições allowed conditional baptism, that is, if there was a doubt whether a person had received the sacrament, he or she could be baptized again, sub conditione.

43 The works of the last Grand Inquisitor (insquisidor mor) of the Kingdom of Portugal, published at the end of the eighteenth century, are a paradigmatic example of such approach: COUTINHO, José Joaquim da Cunha de Azeredo. Análise sobre a justiça do comércio do resgate dos escravos. In: COUTINHO, José Joaquim da Cunha de Azeredo. Obras econômicas. São Paulo: Companhia Editora Nacional, 1966. p. xx-yy; e de ROCHA, Manuel Ribeiro da. Etíope resgatado, empenhado, sustentado, corrigido, instruído. Rio de Janeiro, Vozes, 1982.

44 It is curious that, in Luanda, some captives relied in their masters even when they were opposing established authorities. In 1798. Teixeira, a man who held a Portuguese position [in the administration], “asked the slaves to stop the drumming”, but they not only refused aggressively but also promised retribution for previous punishment inflicted on them by Teixeira. According to the official, who was a black man, “they called me negro like them and said they would not obey me, since they were slaves of Francisco Inácio, and said they would flog me to take away my pride (xibanca)”. FERREIRA, Roquinaldo, Cross-Cultural, Op. Cit, pp. 199-200.

45 Idem, Chapter 4.

46 Ibidem.

47 AALNSC, 1760-1786, p. 156v, 207, 256.

48 On the distribution of the parishes and neighborhoods in the upper and lower parts of Luanda, see MOURÃO, Fernando Augusto Albuquerque. Configurações dos núcleos humanos de Luanda, do século XVI ao XIX. In: ACTAS DO SEMINÁRIO ENCONTRO DE POVOS E CULTURAS EM ANGOLA, 1995, Luanda. Atas […]. Lisboa: CNCDP, 1997, p. 111-225, passim; VENÂNCIO, José C. A economia de Luanda e hinterland no século XVIII: um estudo de sociologia histórica. Lisboa: Estampa, 1996, p. 31-44. PEPETELA. Luandando. Luanda: Elf Aquitaine Angola, 1990, p. 48-61.

49 CARTA do governador de Angola, de 25 agosto de 1801. Arquivo Histórico Nacional de Angola, cód. 8.

50 AALNSC, 1760-1786, p. 126.

51 ALMEIDA, Manuel Antonio de. Memória de um sargento de milícias. São Paulo: Ática, 1985, p. 9, 126.

52 For specific information on Luanda, see SANTOS, Maria Emília Madeira. África; Angola… Op. Cit. p. 21-25, 51-67. REGINALDO, Lucilene. Rosários dos Pretos… Op. Cit. p. 123-151; MARCUSSI, Alexandre Almeida. O dever catequético… Op. Cit.

53 This refers to the position of Assistant in the Paid Regiment [Ajudante do Regimento Pago]. Cf. PADAB - Projeto Digital Angola Brasil. Arquivo Histórico de Angola, Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, Códice 309-C-21. Cartas e Patentes, 14/02/1772-21/11/1772. 35 fls. Em 1794, Lopo de Sousa também ocupou os cargos de capitão de guarda de governador e capitão regente do presídio de Novo Redondo. PADAB, Códice 273-C-15-2, Portarias do governo com ordens e instruções. 7/10/1790-31/07/1797. Fora capitão-mor do distrito do Icolo por volta de 1783. Cf. AHU. Portugal, Lisboa, Avulsos Angola, cx. 67, doc. 31, 34.

54 On the importance of donas in slave cities in Portuguese America, in Angola and in Mozambique, see CAPELA, José. Donas, senhores e escravos. Porto: Afrontamento, 1995; OLIVEIRA, Maria Inês. O liberto: o seu mundo e os outros, Salvador: 1790-1890. Salvador: Corrupio, 1988; RAMOS, Donald. A mulher e a família em Vila Rica do Ouro Preto: 1754-1838. In: NADALIN, Sérgio Odilon et al. (org.) História e população: estudos sobre a América Latina. São Paulo: Abep, 1990. p. xx-yy; PANTOJA, Selma. A dimensão atlântica das quitandeiras. In: FURTADO, Júnia (org.). Diálogos oceânicos: Minas Gerais e as novas abordagens para uma história do Império Ultramarino Português. Belo Horizonte: UFMG, 2001. p. 45-67; FARIA, Sheila de Castro. Sinhás pretas, damas mercadoras: as pretas minas nas cidades do Rio de Janeiro e de São João del-Rey (1700-1850). 2004. Tese (Professora titular em História) - Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 2004; PAIVA, Eduardo França. Escravidão e universo cultural na colônia: Minas Gerais, 1716-1789. Belo Horizonte: Editora da UFMG, 2001; OLIVEIRA, Vanessa S. The Donas of Luanda, c. 1770-1867: from Atlantic slave trading to “legitimate” commerce. 2016. Dissertation (Doctor of Philosophy) - York University, Toronto, 2016, chapter 3.

55 On the Vandunem family, the historical-literary reference is still PEPETELA. A gloriosa família: o tempo dos flamengos. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1999. See also, on the city of Luanda, PEPETELA. Luandando… Op. Cit. On Pepetela’s historical literature, see DUTRA, Robson. Quem tem medo de história? Os romances de Pepetela e a cartografia de Angola. In: CAMPOS, Adriana; SILVA, Gilvan V. da (org.). Da África ao Brasil: itinerários históricos da cultura negra. Vitória: Flor e Cultura, 2007. p. 275-291.

56 THORNTON, John K. Sexual demography: the impact of the slave trade on family structure. In: ROBERTSON, Claire; KLEIN, Martin (ed.). Women and slavery in Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1983, p. 46.

57 PANTOJA, Selma. Laços de afeto e comércio de escravos: Angola no século XVIII. Cadernos de Pesquisa do CDHIS, Uberlândia, v. 23, n. 2, p. 375-389, 2010; CANDIDO, Mariana P. African women in ecclesiastical documents, Benguela, 1760-1860. Social Sciences and Missions, Leiden, v. 28, n. 3-4, p. 235-260, 2015; CANDIDO, Mariana P. Concubinage and slavery in Benguela, c. 1750-c. 1850. In: OJO, Olatunji; HUNT, Nadine (ed.). Slavery in Africa and the Caribbean: a history of slavement and identity since the 18th century. London: New York: I. B. Tauris, 2012. p. xx-yy; OLIVEIRA, Vanessa S. The Donas of Luanda… Op. Cit., capítulo 3.

58 AALNSC, 1760-1786, p. 168, 346. Antônio’s baptism is registered in an unnumbered page, but the date is July 7, 1785.

59 Cf. MILLER, Joseph C. Way of death… Op. Cit.; FLORENTINO, Manolo. Em costas negras: uma história do tráfico atlântico de escravos entre a África e o Rio de Janeiro (séculos XVIII e XIX). Rio de Janeiro: Arquivo Nacional, 1995; ALENCASTRO, Luís Felipe de. O trato dos viventes: formação do Brasil no Atlântico Sul. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2000; SILVA, Alberto da Costa e. Um rio chamado Atlântico: a África no Brasil e o Brasil na África. Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira: UFRJ, 2003; FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Cross-cultural… Op. Cit.

60 FARIA, Sheila de Castro. A colônia em movimento… Op. Cit.

61 VARGAS, Eliseu J. Escravidão no vale do café: vassouras, senhores e escravos em 1838. Curitiba: Appris, 2015.

62 Different perspectives on that subject can be found in GUDEMAN, Stephen; SCHWARTZ, Stuart. Purgando o pecado original… Op. Cit., p. 33-59; e GRAHAM, Sandra L. Caetana diz não: história de mulheres da sociedade escravista brasileira. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2005, p. 69-75.

63 BRÜGGER, Silvia Maria Jardim. Minas patriarcal: família e sociedade (São João Del Rei: séculos XVIII-XIX). São Paulo: Annablume, 2007; GUEDES, Roberto. Egressos do cativeiro: trabalho, família, aliança e mobilidade social (Porto Feliz, São Paulo, c. 1798-c. 1850). Rio de Janeiro: Mauad: Faperj, 2008, cap. 5; FRAGOSO, João. Capitão Manuel Pimenta Sampaio, senhor do engenho do Rio Grande, neto de conquistadores e compadre de João Soares, pardo: notas sobre uma hierarquia social costumeira: Rio de Janeiro, 1700-1760. In: FRAGOSO, João; GOUVÊA, Maria de Fátima (org.). Na trama das redes: política e negócio no império português, séculos XVI-XVIII. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2010. p. xx-yy; FRAGOSO, João. Elite das senzalas e nobreza principal da terra numa sociedade rural de Antigo Regime nos trópicos: Campo Grande (Rio de Janeiro), 1704-1740. In: FRAGOSO; João; GOUVÊA, Maria de Fátima (org.). O Brasil colonial, 1720-1821. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2014. v. 3, p. xx-yy.

64 MATTOSO, Kátia Mytilineou de Queirós. Ser escravo no Brasil. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1982; GÓES, José Roberto. O cativeiro imperfeito. 1993. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 1993.

65 SLENES, Robert. Senhores e subalternos no oeste paulista. In: ALENCASTRO, Luiz Felipe de (org.) História da vida privada no Brasil. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1997. v. 2, p. xx-yy.

66 RIOS, Ana Lugão. Família e transição. 1990. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 1990; GUEDES, Roberto. Na pia batismal: família e compadrio entre escravos na freguesia de São José do Rio de Janeiro (Primeira Metade do Século XIX). 2000. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 2000; FARINATTI, Luis Augusto. Os escravos do Marechal e seus compadres: hierarquia social, família e compadrio no Sul do Brasil (c. 1820-c. 1855). In: XAVIER, Regina Célia Lima (org.). Escravidão e liberdade: temas, problemas e perspectivas de análise. São Paulo: Alameda, 2012. p. 143-177; FARINATTI, Luis Augusto. Padrinhos preferenciais e hierarquia social na fronteira sul do Brasil (1816-1845). In: GUEDES, Roberto; FRAGOSO, João (org.). História social em registros paroquiais (Sul-Sudeste do Brasil, séculos XVIII e XIX). Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, 2016. p. 102-128; MATHEUS, Marcelo dos Santos. A produção da diferença: escravidão e desigualdade social ao Sul do império brasileiro (Bagé, 1820-1870). 2016. Tese (Doutorado em História Social) - Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2016, chapter 4.

67 MATTOSO, Kátia Mytilineou de Queirós. A propósito das cartas de alforria: Bahia (1779-1850). Anais de História, [s. l.], n. 4, p. 23-52, 1972; SCHWARTZ, Stuart. The manumission of slaves in colonial Brazil: Bahia, 1684-1745. Hispanic American Historical Review, Durham, v. 54, n. 4, p. 603-635, 1974; EISENBERG, Peter. Homens esquecidos: escravos e trabalhadores livres no Brasil (séculos XVIII e XIX). Campinas: Editora da Unicamp, 1989; DE LA FUENTE GARCÍA, Alejandro. Alforria de escravos em Havana, 1601-1610: primeiras conclusões. Estudos Econômicos, São Paulo, v. 20, n. 1, p. 139-159, 1990, p. 142; OLWELL, Robert. Becoming free: manumission and the genesis of a free black community in South Carolina, 1740-1790. Slave and Abolition, Abingdon-on-Thames, v. 17, n. 1, p. 1-19, 1996; FLORENTINO, Manolo. Alforrias e etnicidade no Rio de Janeiro oitocentista: notas de pesquisa. Topoi, Rio de Janeiro, v. 3, n. 5, p. 9-40, 2002; FLORENTINO, Manolo. Sobre minas, crioulos e liberdade costumeira no Rio de Janeiro, 1789-1871. In: FLORENTINO, Manolo (org.). Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII-XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2005. p. 331-366; SAMPAIO, Antonio Carlos Jucá. A produção da liberdade: padrões gerais das manumissões no Rio de Janeiro colonial, 1650-1750. In: FLORENTINO, Manolo (org.). Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII-XIX. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileiro, 2005, p. 287-329; FARIA, Sheila de Castro. Sinhás pretas… Op. Cit.; GÓES, José Roberto. Padrões de alforria no Rio de Janeiro, 1840-1871. In: CAMPOS, Adriana et al. (org.). Nas rotas do império. 2. ed. Vitória: Edufes; Lisboa: IICT, 2014. p. 477-526.

68 There are deeds of manumission for Luanda in the nineteenth century. See, FERREIRA, Roquinaldo. Slavery and the social… Op. Cit. p. 202, 317. In other locations in Brazil, generally remote rural areas, manumissions by will tended to be more frequent. MATTOSO, Kátia Mytilineou de Queirós. Testamentos de escravos libertos na Bahia no século XIX. Salvador: UFBA: Centro de Estudos Baianos, 1979; OLIVEIRA, Maria Inês Cortez. O liberto: o seu mundo e os outros, Salvador: 1790-1890. Salvador: Corrupio, 1988, passim; DAMÁSIO, Adauto. Alforrias e ações de liberdade em Campinas na primeira metade do século XIX. 1995. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Campinas, 1995, p. 9-13; PAIVA, Eduardo França, Op. Cit., passim; FARIA, Sheila de Castro. Mulheres forras: riqueza e estigma social. Tempo, Niterói, v. 5, p. 65-92, 2000; GUEDES, Roberto. Egressos do cativeiro… Op. Cit., chapter 4.

69 AHU, Angola, cx. 37, doc. 88.

70 GUEDES, Roberto. Egressos do cativeiro… Op. Cit., chapter 4.

71 In Luanda, at Freguesia da Sé, the baptisms of free and freed individuals and those of enslaved ones were not kept in separate record books. In Brazil, it is worth highlighting that, usually, “when passing from slave to freed person, one must not only obtain his or her freedom, but also pass from one book to another. A person may be described as a freed individual in the book for the slaves or in the book for the whites, which, besides recording freedom, opens the doors to ‘whitening”. SOARES, Mariza de Carvalho. Descobrindo a Guiné no Brasil colonial. Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, Rio de Janeiro, v. 161, n. 407, p. 84-85, 2000. Por isso, frequentemente os livros de livres também eram chamados de livros de brancos. Cf. GUEDES, Roberto Livros paroquiais… Op. Cit.

72 SOARES, Márcio de Sousa. A remissão do cativeiro: a dádiva da alforria e o governo dos escravos em Campos dos Goitacases, c. 1750-c. 1830. Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2009, p. 105.

73 LIMA, Lana Lage da Gama; VENÂNCIO, Renato Pinto. Alforria de crianças escravas no Rio de Janeiro do século XIX. Revista Resgate, Niterói, v. 2, n. 1, p. 26-39, 1991, p. 30.

74 SILVA, Cristiano Lima da. “Como se Livre Nascera”: alforria na pia batismal em São João del Rei (1750-1850). 2004. Dissertação (Mestrado em História) - Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói, 2004, p. 40.

75 KIERNAN, James Patrick. The manumission of slaves in colonial Brazil: Paraty, 1789-1822. Nova York: NYP, 1976, p. 195-197.

76 From 1778 to 1807, there were only 166 manumissions at the font annotated among 3,300 baptismal registers. CURTO, José C. As if from a free womb: baptismal manumissions in the Conceição Parish, Luanda, 1778-1807. Portuguese Studies Review, [s. l.], v. 10, n. 1, p. xx-yy, 2002, p. 36-37.

77 On the exceptional normal, see GINZBURG, Carlo. A micro-história… Op. Cit.

78 CURTO, José C. As if from a free womb… Op. Cit., p. 26.

79 AALNSC, 1760-1786, June 6, 1786. When the pages are unnumbered, the date is used as a reference.

80 On naming practices based on parish registers, see FLORENTINO, Manolo; GÓES, José R. A paz das senzalas: famílias escravas e tráfico atlântico: Rio de Janeiro, 1790-1850. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1997; GUEDES, Roberto. Na pia batismal… Op. Cit.; GUEDES, Roberto. Egressos do cativeiro, 2008; THORNTON, John, “Central African names and African-American naming patterns”. The William and Mary Quarterly, Williamsburg, v. 50, n. 4, p. 727-742, 1993, p. 737; CURTO, José P. As if from a free womb… Op. Cit.

81 CURTO, José P. As if from womb… Op. Cit., p. 441 e ss.

82 THORNTON, John K. Central African names… Op. Cit., p. 737; CURTO, José P. As if from a free womb… Op. Cit.

83 HAMEISTER, Martha D. Para dar calor à nova povoação: estudo sobre estratégias sociais e familiares a partir dos registros batismais da Vila do Rio Grande (1738-1763). 2006. Tese (Doutorado em História Social) -Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2006, capítulo “O segredo do pagé”.

84 Ibidem.

85 RUSSEL-WOOD, Antony J. R. Escravos e libertos no Brasil colonial. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2005, p. 344.

86 The word forro did not always mean that the person had previously been a slave. It could be a kind of social status, in the case of the people referred to as “pretos forros Maxiluanda”. GUEDES, Roberto; CARVALHO, Ariane. Muxiluandas: memória política, escravidão perpétua, alforria e parentesco (Luanda, século XVIII) [S. l.: s. n.], [2021]. No prelo.

87 That is different from what happened at the Parish of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Frequently, “preta livre” or “parda livre”, or simply “livre” are used to allude to freed women. At that parish, the word forra was nearly ever employed. On the other hand, silence also attested the condition of free born (ingênua) of the mothers, but not of freed women.

88 AALNSC, 1770-1786, SHT. 293v.

89 The físico-mor Doctor José Catela de Lemos, grandfather of the baptized children, was godfather twice, but we do not know if he was the maternal or paternal grandfather. AALNSC, 1770-1786, SHT. 55, 91v, 111, 141v, 180v, dated August, 8, 1785.

90 AALNSC, 1770-1786, unnumbered, dated June 11, 1786. The master’s surname Andrade appears in this baptismal record. The other references are: SHT. 125, 126, 136 v, 168, 294v, 305v, 337, 339 e 346, dated September 9, 1785, and September 25, 1785. When the page has not been numbered the date works as a reference for locating the record.

91 KARASCH, Mary. Slave life in Rio do Janeiro, 1808-1850. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987; REIS, João José. Rebelião escrava no Brasil: a história do Levante dos Malês em 1835. 2. ed. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2003; GUEDES, Roberto. Autonomia escrava e (des)governo senhorial na cidade do Rio de Janeiro da primeira metade do século XIX. In: FLORENTINO, Manolo (org.). Tráfico, cativeiro e liberdade: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII-XIX. Rio de Janeiro, Civilização Brasileira, 2005. p. 229-283. Para as múltiplas formas de escravidão na África, cf. entre tantos outros, MEILLASSOUX, Claude. Antropologia da escravidão: o ventre de ferro e dinheiro. Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 1995; STILWELL, Sean. Slavery and slaving in African history. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014; CAMPBELL, Gwyn (ed.). Structure of slavery in Indian Ocean, Africa, and Asia. Portland: Frank Cass, 2004. MEMEL-FÔTE, Harris. L’esclavage dans les sociétés lignagères de l’Afrique noire: exemple de la Côte d’Ivoire précoloniale, 1700-1920. 1988. Thèse (Doctorat d’État en Lettres et Sciences Humaines) -École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, 1988; SEBESTYÉN, Éva. Escravização, escravidão e fugas na vida e obra do viajante-explorador húngaro László Magyar: Angola, meados de século XIX). In: GUEDES, Roberto; DEMETRIO, Denise; SANTIROCHI, Italo (org.). Doze capítulos sobre escravizar gente e governar escravos: Brasil e Angola (século XVII-XIX). Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, 2017. p. 291-311.

92 The same situation has been observed among slave women in Benguela. CANDIDO, Mariana P. African women… Op. Cit.; CANDIDO, Mariana P. Concubinage and slavery… Op. Cit.

93 This recognition distinguishes eighteenth century Luanda from the seventeenth century parishes of Itaparica and Paripe, in Bahia, but makes it similar to Rio de Janeiro and Campos de Goytacazes until the first half of the eighteenth century. KRAUSE, Thiago. Compadrio e escravidão na Bahia Seiscentista. Afro-Ásia, Salvador, v. 50, p. 199-228, 2014, p. 206; FARIA, Sheila de Castro. A colônia em movimento… Op. Cit.; FRAGOSO, João. Apontamentos para uma metodologia em história social a partir de assentos paroquiais: Rio de Janeiro, séculos XVII-XVIII. In: FRAGOSO João; SAMPAIO, Antonio C. Jucá de; GUEDES, Roberto (org.). Arquivos paroquiais e história social na América lusa, séculos XVII e XVIII: métodos e técnicas de pesquisa na reinvenção de um corpus documental. Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, 2014. p. 19-126.

94 Parish records were often annexed to inheritance succession documentation, especially, but not only, in cases involving deceased Portuguese men in Luanda. Other examples can be found in Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo, Coleção Feitos Findos, África.

95 AALNSC, SHT. 111v, 161, 165v, 245, 313v.

96 In the eighteenth century, the same phenomenon can be observed in the towns of São João Del Rei and Sabará, in Minas Gerais, in Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere. FARIA, Sheila de Castro. A colônia em movimento… Op. Cit.; BRÜGGER, Silvia Maria Jardim, Op. Cit., chapter 2; FRAGOSO, João. Apontamentos… Op. Cit.; DANTAS, Mariana. Picturing families between black and white: mixed descent and social mobility in colonial Minas Gerais, Brazil. The Americas, Cambridge, v. 73, n. 4, p. 405-426, 2016. By the way, in a rural parish at Rio de Janeiro in the beginning of the nineteenth century, a visitator noted in a baptismal record book: “Being the baptized children legitimate, born from parents from this bishopric, as well as their grandparents, they will be mentioned in those records as if they were white. Jacutinga, October 30, 1811. The visitator Barbosa”. Arquivo da Cúria Diocesana de Nova Iguaçu, Livro de batismo de escravos da freguesia de Santo Antônio de Jacutinga (1807-1825), p. 49. We thank Moisés Peixoto Soares for indicating that source. In this case, white is the child from married parents born in the parish. Catholic morality and the origin of parents and grandparents set the parameters of social and religious whiteness. On this subject, see SOARES, Moisés Peixoto. “Como se fossem brancos”: comportamento social e moral religiosa de forros e descendentes de escravos (Iguaçu e Jacutinga, Rio de Janeiro, c. 1790-c. 1850). 2019. Tese (Doutorado em História Social) -Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, 2019, passim.

97 AALNSC, SHT. 179v, 201, 282, 328.

98 AALNSC, SHT. 194v, dated March 20, 1785.

99 AALNSC, SHT. 245, 289, dated January 23, 1786.

100 GUEDES, Roberto; SOARES, Márcio de Sousa. As alforrias entre o medo da morte e o caminho da salvação de portugueses e libertos: Rio de Janeiro, segunda metade do século XVIII. In: GUEDES, Roberto; RODRIGUES, Cláudia; WANDERLEY, Marcelo da Rocha (org.). Últimas vontades: testamento, sociedade e cultura na América ibérica (séculos XVII e XVIII). Rio de Janeiro: Mauad X, 2015. p. 80-124.

101 CASTELNAU-L’ESTOILE, Charlotte de. Páscoa et ses deux maris: une esclave entre Angola, Brésil et Portugal au XVIIe siècle. Paris: PUF, 2019.

102 AFONSO X, El Sábio. Partida IV. In: AFONSO X, El Sábio. Las siete partidas. Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1807. Disponível em: https://archive.org/details/lassietepartidas01castuoft. Acesso em: 9 out. 2019.

Received: September 24, 2019; Accepted: December 27, 2019

3

Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, specializing in African, Atlantic and Brazilian History. E-mail: rfer@sas.upenn.edu.

5

Professor of Post-Graduate Program of Social History at Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and Coordinator of Research’s Group Ancient Regime in the Tropics. E-mail: robertoguedesfereira@gmail.com.

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