This article analyzes the legal forms of control of free workers in Brazil during the 1830s. This research explores the way of contracting international immigrants destined to build a road from Minas Gerais towards the capital of the Empire. The preparations of this work were established with direct intermediation of a private colonization company, specialized in the recruitment and immigration of foreign workers. With financial and political support from the Minas Gerais government, eight skilled settlers were engaged in the public works service, based on the coercive instruments provided for in the Lei de Locação de Serviços (Service Leasing Act) of 1837. The article emphasizes the interests and conflicts involved in the experience of free migrants regarding the uncertainty of the slave trade continuity in the 1830s.
Indentured labor; nineteenth; century; slavery; immigration; european settlers