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DECREPIT, ANEMIC AND TUBERCULOUS: AFRICAN PATIENTS IN THE SANTA CASA DE MISERICÓRDIA HOSPITAL (BAHIA, BRAZIL, 1867-1872)

Abstract

In this article, I consider the question of illnesses of Africans living in Salvador in the 1870s using the entry records of patients of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital, in Bahia, unpublished sources found in the archive of the institution. Although we imagine that many of these foreigners sought - for cultural and religious reasons - alternative cure methods rather than official medicine, often diseases did not improve, and it was frequently necessary to go to the hospital to deal with the terrible physical ailments that affected them. When considering this important moment in the life of Africans in Brazil - that of dealing with serious illness - the entry records are a privileged source. The intention is to consider, based on the initial sample, ways of analyzing the presence of Africans in the Santa Casa de Misericórdia of Bahia, to get closer to who they were and how they lived. The data indicates, in addition to their names, ages, condition, marital status, profession, colour and nationality, the problems with which the patients arrived, the exact date of check-in, the ward that they were taken to and the precise date of check-out, or if it was the case, of death. Additionally, I consider the medical conceptions of the 19th century regarding diseases of Africans, as well as the conditions of functioning of the institution itself, related to part of the vast bibliography about the theme of the health of slaves. The article concludes with the narrative of life of one African, speculating about the possibilities and directions that he could have taken throughout his life, which were common to the majority of Africans in Bahia then.

Keywords:
Africans; diseases; Salvador da Bahia

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