Brazilians In Nigeria: Interesting facts about the returnee slaves

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A Brazilian house in Lagos. Date unknown

Lagos Brazilians were very much a part of the growth and development of Lagos.

In the 1830s, slaves in Brazil started coming back to Lagos.

This happened because they had regained their freedom and were tired of the racism in Brazil. Also, a heavy tax was placed on these freed slaves. Instead of living in such harsh conditions they decided to go back to their roots. These returnees also came from the island nation of Cuba.

Called 'Aguda'  or 'Maro', these Afro-Brazilians landed in Lagos for the first 1835 but it wasn't of their own accord. Many of them had been deported after a Yoruba and Hausa rebellion had happened in the city known as Salvador.

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After this happened, other former slaves took the hint and travelled back home to start a new life. Thirty years later, the Brazilian returnees made up of 9% of the Lagos population. By 1920, Afro-Brazilians stopped migrating to Lagos.

Many of the returnees settled in Lagos for commerce reasons and also because there were wars going on in the Yoruba hinterland. The Brazilians were received warmly by the locals.

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A place in the Eastern part of Lagos Popo Aguda was reserved for the returnees. These areas were soon known as the Brazilian Quarters and you can still find some of their homes till today.

 

Many of the Brazilians were Catholics although you could find some Muslims too. Others were idol worshipers.

Lagos Brazilians were gifted in areas of commerce. Men such as  Angelo Campos, Esan da Rocha and Joaquim Branco were titans of the trade during their era.

The legacy of these Lagos Brazilians can be found on Lagos Island. The homes of some of the returnees still stand today. The Fanti Carnival is a remnant of the Brazilian culture.

 

To highlight Brazilian influence in early Lagos, Pulse would interview the descendants of these men and women and show what still remains of the Afro-Brazilian culture.



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