The People of the River : Nature and Identity in Black Amazonia, 1835-1945, Paperback / softback Book

The People of the River : Nature and Identity in Black Amazonia, 1835-1945 Paperback / softback


In this history of the black peasants of Amazonia, Oscar de la Torre focuses on the experience of African-descended people navigating the transition from slavery to freedom.

Drawing on social and environmental history, he connects the Amazonians intimately to their natural landscapes.

Relying on the natural world as a repository for traditions, discourses, and strategies that they retrieved especially in moments of conflict, Afro-Brazilians fought for autonomous communities and developed a vibrant ethnic identity that supported their struggles over labor, land, and citizenship.

Prior to abolition, enslaved and escaped blacks found in the tropical forest a source for tools, weapons, and trade-but it was also a cultural storehouse within which they shaped their stories and records of confrontations with slaveowners and state authorities.

After abolition, the black peasants' knowledge of local environments continued to be key to their aspirations, allowing them to maintain relationships with powerful patrons and to participate in the protest cycle that led Getulio Vargas to the presidency of Brazil in 1930.

In commonly referring to themselves by such names as ""sons of the river,"" black Amazonians melded their agro-ecological traditions with their emergent identity as political stakeholders.


  • Format: Paperback / softback
  • Pages: 240 pages
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: History of the Americas
  • ISBN: 9781469643243

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