Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Department

History

Abstract

In 1780, in Belem, Brazil, Joanna Baptista sold herself into slavery. This article probes Joanna’s motives and situates her actions not only in the milieu of slaveholding Brazil, but also in the more specific context of Portuguese Amazonia during the Directorate (1758–1798). Indians, especially former slaves and their descendants, faced forced resettlement and increased labor demands. Joanna’s case and contemporary petitions demonstrate how women of Indian and mixed descent, especially single women, widows and orphans, used legal means to defend their autonomy.

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