• Capoeira culture was born in Brazil; however, its origins come from Africa. Capoeira culture is considered to be an Afro-Brazilian martial art that originated in the slavery era. When moving to Brazil as an expatriate, discovering Capoeira's subtly concealing combat techniques becomes a must. It is especially true if you are going to the State of Salvador de Bahia.
• So what is Capoeira culture, and how did it become a popular Afro-Brazilian art?
II. History of Capoeira Culture.
• Like any form of dance or sport, Capoeira culture is an art tinged with stories. However, unlike other disciplines, Capoeira culture was born amid slavery and in the greatest secrecy.
• In the 16th century, the Portuguese colonizers, no longer finding enough labor to grow their farms, decided to import black slaves from Africa. They did not suspect that African slaves would be at the origin of one of the most remarkable Afro-Brazilian cultures today.
• At that time, African slaves were deported to the Brazilian coasts, and the majority of them were sent to farms in the state of Salvador de Bahia. To endure their complicated daily lives and nostalgia for their home country and loved ones, African slaves invented a new dance that they passed off as folk dance. Capoeira culture helped African slaves to bear the pressure from their masters and sometimes even mistreatment. For African slaves, this was the only way to get Capoeira culture accepted. At that time, the Portuguese colonizers prohibited anything related to African culture and even less to wrestling techniques. However, folk dancing was allowed, and African slaves took full advantage of it by giving birth to Capoeira culture.
• For a long time, the Portuguese colonizers did not suspect that behind this dance was, in fact, very well-studied combat techniques. Capoeira's combat techniques come from fight moves that the slaves learned during their military years in Africa. Capoeira is also composed of specific movements linked to African ritual ceremonies.
III. Capoeira development.
• During the slavery period, many African slaves managed to escape to live in hard-to-reach areas known as "Quilombo." These hard-to-reach areas were considered to be a place of initiation for young warriors. They were places where African slaves lived in freedom without fear of their masters catching them.
• During these times of living underground, African slaves continued to develop Capoeira culture, which they then considered to be their only weapon of defense. Similarly, many quilombos have emerged in Brazil; the most popular was Palmares quilombo, set up near the Barrigua Mountain. "Palmares quilombo" has existed for over a century and is the cradle of many "Zumbi dos Palmares Capoeiristas," a significant black Brazilian rebellion figure.
IV. Capoeira culture after slavery.
• After decades of suffering, African slaves finally obtained their freedom in 1888. However, despite their newly acquired freedom, Capoeira culture remained banned and considered dangerous as it was invented in a spirit of rebellion. Also, young thugs nicknamed "Capoeira Maltas" used Capoeira to sow terror in cities.
• Faced with these facts, Brazil officially banned Capoeira in 1890 and decreed that the Brazilian martial art was a crime. For nearly ten years, African slaves had to practice it secretly. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that Capoeira culture began to be recognized, little by little, as a discipline in its own right.
• Thanks to this legalization, Capoeiristas were able to come out of the shadows and practice their art without fear of sanctions. Unfortunately, with legalization, the craze for this dance gradually faded. However, it was revived by "Manuel dos reis Machado" alias "Mestre Bimba," who decided to open the first Capoeira school in 1932. His Capoeira academy is located in the city of Salvador de Bahia.
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