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The mocambos (from mocambo, literally Huts) were village-sized communities mainly of runaway slaves in colonial Brazil, during the Portuguese rule.

A mocambo differed from a quilombo in size - a quilombo, like the Quilombo dos Palmares, might embrace many distinct mocambos. The terms were not always used consistently, however.


The most common form of slave resistance in colonial Brasil was flight, and a characteristic problem of the Brazilian slave regime was the continual and widespread existence of fugitive communities called mocambos, ladeiras, magotes, or quilombos. The three major areas of colonial Brazil where the fugitive communities stayed were: the plantation zone of Bahia, the mining district of Minas Gerais, and the inaccessible frontier of Alagoas, site of Palmares, the largest fugitive community.[1]

Bahia:A plantation world

Runaway communities flourished in almost all areas of Bahia, whose geography aided escape, and the result was a great number of fugitives and mocambos. In plantation zones, slaves often made up over 60 percent of the inhabitants. They lived in bad conditions in terms of food and housing and they had to deal with particularly cruel or sadistic masters. The region of Bahia in which appeared a great quantity of mocambos was the southern towns of Cairù, Camamù and Ilhéus. In these towns there was the most part of the production of manioc, the basic subsistence crop of Brazil. A second and still unstudied method of slave control and capture in Brazil was the calculated use of Indians as slave catchers and as a counterforce to mocambos and possible slave resorts.[2]


  1. "Stuart B. Schwartz''Slaves, peasants, and rebels: reconsidering Brazilian slavery'". University of Illinois Press, 1996. Retrieved 2010-02-21.
  2. Stuart B. Schwartz',Slaves, peasants, and rebels: reconsidering Brazilian slavery, University of Illinois Press, 1996, p. 110.


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