The Cabanagem was a social revolt that occurred in the then-province of Grão-Pará
The vice-kingdom of Grão-Pará was one of the two Portuguese vice-kingdoms in South America, corresponding to today's North Brazil. Its capital city was Belém do Pará....

, Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...


Among the causes for this revolt were the extreme poverty of the Paraense people and the political irrelevance to which the province was relegated after the independence of Brazil.

The name "Cabanagem" refers to the type of hut used by the poorest people living next to streams, principally mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s, freed slaves, and indigenous people. The elite agriculturists of Grão-Pará, while living much better, resented their lack of participation in the central government's decisionmaking, which was dominated by the provinces of the Southeast and Northeast.

It is estimated that from 30 to 40% of the population of Grão-Pará, estimated at 100,000 people, died. In 1833 the Province had 119,877 inhabitants, being 32,751 Amerindians and 29,977 black slaves
In Brazil, the term "preto" is one of the five categories used by the Brazilian Census, along with "branco" , "pardo" , "amarelo" and "indígena"...

. Mixed-race
Mixed-race Brazilian
Brazilian censuses do not use a "multiracial" category. Instead, the censuses use skin colour categories, with a Pardo one, that may include people of varied "mixed racial" ancestry, but probably also accounts for non-mixed acculturated Amerindians...

 people were 42,000. The White minority was 15,000, over half of them Portuguese. The revolt had a strong racial background. The Amerindian, Black and mixed majority, which lived under deep poverty, fought against the White minority that dominated the economy and culture, not only in Grão-Pará, but in the rest of Brazil as well.


During the independence, Grão-Pará mobilized itself to expel reactionary forces which tried to reintegrate Brazil into the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

. Until 1822 Grão-Pará had been a separate viceroyalty
A viceroy is a royal official who runs a country, colony, or province in the name of and as representative of the monarch. The term derives from the Latin prefix vice-, meaning "in the place of" and the French word roi, meaning king. A viceroy's province or larger territory is called a viceroyalty...

 from Brazil, reporting herself directly to Portugal; after Brazilian independence Grão-Pará decided to join Brazil. In the independence struggle, which dragged on for several years, the canon
Canon (priest)
A canon is a priest or minister who is a member of certain bodies of the Christian clergy subject to an ecclesiastical rule ....

 and journalist João Batista Gonçalves Campos, the Vinagre brothers and the farmer Félix Clemente Antônio Malcher stood out. Several lodges of fugitive slave
Fugitive slave
In the history of slavery in the United States, "fugitive slaves" were slaves who had escaped from their master to travel to a place where slavery was banned or illegal. Many went to northern territories including Pennsylvania and Massachusetts until the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 was passed...

s formed, and there were frequent military rebellions. Once the fight for independence ended and a provincial government named by Brazilian Emperor was installed, the local leaders were marginalized from power.

In July 1831 – a few months after the abdication of Emperor Pedro I of Brazil at Rio de Janeiro – a rebellion in the military garrison of Belém do Pará
Belém is a Brazilian city, the capital and largest city of state of Pará, in the country's north region. It is the entrance gate to the Amazon with a busy port, airport and bus/coach station...

 broke out, and Batista Campos was imprisoned as one of the implicated leaders. The indignation of the poor grew, and in 1833 already there was talk of converting Brazil into a federation. The provincial president, Bernardo Lobo de Souza, unleashed a repressive political wave, in an attempt to contain the separatists. The climax was reached in 1834, when Batista Campos published a letter from the Bishop of Pará, Romualdo de Sousa Coelho, criticizing various politicians from the province. For not having permission from the provincial government, Campos was persecuted, and sought refuge on the fazenda
Fazendas were coffee plantations that spread into the interior of Brazil between 1840 and 1896. They created major export commodities for Brazilian trade, but also led to intensification of slavery in Brazil.- Creation of fazendas :...

 of his friend Clemente Malcher. Meeting the Vinagre brothers (Manuel Vinagre, Francisco Pedro Vinagre, and Antônio Vinagre) and the India-rubber collector and journalist Eduardo Angelim they joined a contingent of rebels on Malcher's plantation. Before being attacked by government forces, they abandoned the plantation. Nevertheless, on November 3, troops managed to kill Manuel Vinagre and hold Malcher and other rebels. Batista Campos died on the last day of the year, apparently because of an infection caused by a cut he suffered while shaving.

The movement

On the night of January 6, 1835 the rebels attacked and conquered the city of Belém
Belém is a Brazilian city, the capital and largest city of state of Pará, in the country's north region. It is the entrance gate to the Amazon with a busy port, airport and bus/coach station...

, assassinating the president Sousa Lobo and the Army Commander, and acquiring a large quantity of munitions. On January 7, Clement Malcher was released and was chosen as president of the province, with Francisco Vinagre as the Army Commander. The government did not last long, because when Malcher, with the support of the upper class, attempted to keep the province united to the Brazilian empire, Francisco Vinagre, Eduardo Angelim, and the other rebels attempted to separate. The break happened when Malcher ordered Angelim taken. Troops on both sides entered the conflict, and the side of Francisco Vinagre was victorious. Clemente Malcher was assassinated, and his body was dragged through the streets of Belém.

Now in the presidency and the Army Command of the Province, Francisco Vinagre was not able to keep his supporters faithful. If it were not for the intervention of his brother Antônio, he would have yielded the government to imperial control, in the person of marshall Manuel Jorge Rodrigues in July 1835. Due to this weakness and the resurgence of a squadron commanded by the English admiral Taylor, the rebel forces were destroyed and retired toward the interior. Reorganizing their forces, they again attacked Belém on August 14. After nine days of battle, and suffering the death of Antônio Vinagre, they retook the capital.

Eduardo Angelim assumed the presidency. For ten months, the elite were alarmed by the rebel control over the province of Grão-Pará. The lack of a plan with concrete means to consolidate the rebel government again provoked a weakness in the ranks. In March 1836, the brigadier José de Sousa Soares Andréia was named president of the province. His first measure was to attack the capital again, which was carried out in April 1836, and as a result of which the rebel group decided to abandon the capital in favor of resistance from the interior.

Naval forces under the command of John Pascoe Grenfell
John Pascoe Grenfell
Admiral John Pascoe Grenfell was an officer in the Brazilian Navy who spent most of his service in South America campaigns, most notably under the leadership of Lord Cochrane and Commodore Norton. He was the nephew of British politician Pascoe Grenfell and grandfather to General Sir John Grenfell...

 blockaded Belém and, on May 10, Angelim fled from the capital, and was captured and detained. Meanwhile, contrary to what Soares Andréia imagined, the resistance did not end with the detention of Angelim. For three years, the rebels continued to resist from the interior of the province, but were gradually destroyed. The conflict finally ended when amnesty
Amnesty is a legislative or executive act by which a state restores those who may have been guilty of an offense against it to the positions of innocent people, without changing the laws defining the offense. It includes more than pardon, in as much as it obliterates all legal remembrance of the...

 was declared to the rebels, in 1839. In 1840 the last rebel group, under the leadership of Gonçalo Jorge de Magalhães, yielded.


It is estimated that during the five years of fighting in the revolt, the population of Pará was reduced from about 100,000 to 60,000.

In homage to the Cabano movement the Memorial da Cabanagem was erected in the entrance to the city of Belém.


  • Júlio José Chiavenato. Cabanagem, o povo no poder. São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1984.
  • Júlio José Chiavenato. As lutas do povo brasileiro. São Paulo: Moderna, 1988.
  • Dicionário das batalhas brasileiras By Hernâni Donato (1996)

This article is based on a translation of the corresponding article from the Portuguese Wikipedia.

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