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By Jo?o Jos? Reis, H. Sabrina Gledhill

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Additional info for Death Is a Festival: Funeral Rites and Rebellion in Nineteenth-Century Brazil

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The sugar sector’s decreased profits took work away from many artisans, blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, and slaves-for-hire who worked as porters in the streets. The public sector, which employed a good part of the free urban workforce, was weakened by the empire’s financial troubles. Many people lost their jobs at the navy arsenal and other military installations and in the civil service. In November 1830, artisans working at the mint were fired from what they had considered lifelong positions. Early the following year, they petitioned the imperial government ‘‘because they felt their rights had been infringed on’’ and they believed that ‘‘not only the country’s laws but even the general and universal law established among all nations’’ had been violated.

Prior estimated that the population in 1813 numbered nearly 80,000 ‘‘souls,’’ of which only 18,000 were whites and mulattos. Maximilian, who visited Bahia just four years later, calculated that the capital had 100,000 residents. The following year, Spix and Martius registered 115,000 inhabitants (more than the population of Rio de Janeiro), possibly because the Germans saw people moving about in a smaller area in addition to the huge fluctuating population of sailors, business travelers, and new slaves that inhabited the waterfront.

They wove a vast web of conspiracy that extended as far as the Recôncavo during the months leading up to the 25 January revolt. On that day, the government was tipped o√, forcing the rebels to launch the uprising earlier than planned. Nevertheless, they fought for hours in several parts of the city, confronting civilian militiamen and soldiers. The conspirators were finally beaten by a cavalry troop while fleeing the city for the plantation districts. Nearly six hundred Africans took part in the rebellion, and more than seventy died during or after the fighting as a result of their wounds.

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