Slave market at Rio de Janeiro - Jean-Baptiste Debret
Slave market at Rio de Janeiro

An online guide with a wealth of photos and illustrations giving a unique insight into the novel.

Links to the Illustrated Guide to Brazil can be found at the end of each section of the e-book enhancing the reader's enjoyment of a spellbinding saga "with the look and feel of an enchanted virgin forest, a totally new and original world for the reader-explorer to discover."

I searched for the story of Brazil for five years, a literary pathfinder in quest of the epic of the Brazilian people, a mighty trek of twenty thousand kilometers across the length and breadth of a vast country. See my travel journal in Brazil: The Making of a Novel.

[Images from from Wikipedia Commons, unless specified otherwise. Captions are from the text of Brazil. ]


Teatro Santa Isabel, Recife - Photo:Marcelo Lyra
At Recife on a Sunday afternoon in November 1884, a crowd filled the Teatro Santa Isabel and overflowed onto the Campo das Princesas in the city center. Those unable to get into the building surged toward its open windows hoping to catch a glimpse of Joaquim Aurélio Nabuco, lawyer and journalist, the man of the hour in Brazil.
Joaquim Aurélio Nabuco - Photo: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco / Portal Domínio Público
"Handsome Jack," his friends called him. He was over six feet tall. His dark, wavy hair was parted in the center, his moustache luxurious.
"Our opponents tell the world that because the womb of the slave is free, slavery is extinct in Brazil. That law is a sham. Consider the female slave born on September,ber 27, 1971, the day before the law came into effect. Her mother's womb was not free so she remains a slave, who at the age of forty, 1911, may bear a child. If this ingênuo's ("innocent's") owner refuses the indemnity, the ingênuo can be kept in provisional slavery until the age of 21 — 1932. Seventy years after Lincoln's proclamation, Brazil will have a generation languishing in the senzalas.
Casa Grande de Engenho/ São José da Coroa Grande /Pernambuco/Brasil
The Casa Grande dominated the landscape like a bulwark against change. Five generations of Cavalcantis had controlled the plantation from this grand old mansion.
17th century engenho, Pernambuco, Brazil - Frans Post
"I could love no place as much as the valley of my family," Fábio told Joaquim Nabuco. "For generations, the Cavalcantis of Santo Tomás have been on these lands. The great estate of our forefathers has been subdivided by inheritance, but even now, twenty thousand acres belong to the engenho, three-quarters of which have never been cultivated. For us, a blessing, for the future; for Brazil, a curse?"
Drought-stricken, starving Ceara - Herbert H. Smith
For eight months, Dr. Fábio Cavalcanti worked with other doctors at Fortaleza, Ceará, among the tens of thousands who fled the drought in the interior. The refugee camps were a hecatomb; 15,390 souls were carried out to trenches during one month alone. The seca was a calamity of nature, but the improvidence, filth, and abject poverty of the stricken people streaming to the coast — Fabio saw this as the work of man.
Indians visiting a Brazilian farm plantation in Minas Gerais, 1824. Painting by Johann Moritz Rugendas.
The most inviting aspect of Rosário was the luxuriance of its setting. Tamarind, manguiero, cashew, wild bananas flourished beside cultivated groves of coffee, orange, lemon. Ancient forest giants bearded with moss toward above gardens with roses, carnations, lavender.
1880 Brazilian cartoon shows slave owner trying to fend off emancipation with an umbrella. - Angelo Agostini
Henrique put his hand on Celso's shoulder" "I know it's difficult for you, Celso, a Cavalcanti of Santo Tomás, but think of the day this rotten institution ceases to exist in Brazil — the hour when men like your father are free, too. The chains of slavery bind them no less than those they hold in bondage."
Foz do rio Jaguaribe, na Ilha de Itamaracá - Anzio Silva
On the fourth night, confident of success now, Celso and Slipper George led the final dash to Itamaracá Island. At 3:00 A.M., they stood with all fifty slaves on the broad bank of a river separating the island from the mainland. The slaves were ferried to Itamaracá ten at a time on a jangada that had been left at this crossing point by members of the Termite Club.
"Oh, my boy, what a lovely thing you've done!"
"We brought fifty slaves, Agamemnon!"
"No, Celso — "
"Yes, Agamemnon. Fifty!"
"Not slaves, Celso. They are free!"

Pernambuco usina, a sugar mill
On September 11, 1886, the day for the inauguration of Usina Jacuribe, the procession entered the cavernous iron building and moved beside a long feeder tray to the massive Fives-Lille mill.
Padre José asked the Lord's blessing on this great piece of machinery and sprinkled holy water in its direction.
Fives-Lille mill on sugar plantation -
"In this golden moment, I raise my eyes to a new horizon," said Rodrigo Cavalcanti, Baron of Jacuribe."The engenhos have struggled against competition from many quarters—from the sugar-beet producers of Europe to the cane growers of the West Indies. The usina will be our salvation."
Pernambuco sugar plantation private chapel
Many years since the engenho had a resident priest, the small sanctuary was well maintained; its woodwork varnished, the walls immaculately white, and the altar gilded.
It seemed as if Celso had known all along his father was there.
"I came to give thanks to our Lord, Senhor Pai."
Fugitive slave notice - Brazil
In the first half of 1887, reports of desertions and mass rumors of mass runaways reached Sáo Paulo. The coffee harvest had been underway since April, and the Paulista planters were confident that this season's berries would reach their drying terraces.
Brazilian Italian emigrant manifesto
As Firmino Dantas and Aristedes strolled across the praça at Tiberica, they spoke of Italian immigration.
"There's no hope in Italy for the peasants," Aristedes said."When I toured the country, I saw the depth of poverty. God only knows, but the families who land at Santos can hope for a life better than they've every known."
Vida nova by Pedro Weingärtner, 1893
The locomotives steamed into town hauling eight coaches. The Italians were in the rear coaches, many at the open windows.
"Not one hundred," Aristedes said. "One hundred and seventeen. Two more than you bargained for - twins born duing the night."
Eugen Keller and his nanny in Pernambuco, Brazil. - Alberto Henschel
Babá Epifánia, a big, square-faced woman in her early fifties, had come to Brazil from the lands of the BaKongo in 1847, transported illegally after the abolition of the slave trade. Bought by Ulisses Tavares, Epifánia had served as wet nurse at Itatinga, suckling numerous da Silva infants, Aristedes and his sister, Carmen, among them. When the baron died, babá Epifánia had been among ten favorites slaves manumitted according to the term of Ulisses Taveres's will.
House of the first confederate family in Americana, Brazil - Norris family
Cadmus Rawlings had come to Brazil after the Civil War, along with several hundred families of Confederate exiles now scattered from the banks of the Tapajós to the coffee lands of São Paulo. Some emigres struggling in ramshackle dwellings in the Amazon jungle were demoralized but others were making a go of it in their new homeland, especially a group of farmers at Santa Barbara, who had achieved success growing a succulent watermelon, the "Georgia Rattlesnake."
Slaves harvesting coffee,  Vale do Paraiba, São Paulo, Brasil. 1883, Marc Ferraz
On October 24, 1887, 4,500 runaways now living in Jabaquará quilombo witnessed a unique procession. First came a company of thirty drummers, musicians with the berimbau and xaque-xaque, and a huge cart with the "Queen of Liberty" — babá Epifánia, reveling in her hour of glory.
The Brazilian Senate passing the bill that abolished slavery in the country, 1888.
On May 13, 1888, ten days after the opening of Parliament by Princess Isabel acting as regent for Dom Pedro, who was in Europe, an Act abolishing slavery in Brazil completed its passage through both houses
Ilha de Fiscal ball - Pedro II, emperor of Brazil
In the fair-tale setting on Ilha Fiscal, most nobles and Frock Coats, secure in the knowledge that the empire had survived previous outbreaks of republicanism and other manifestations of discontent, were confident that the monarchy would ride out this storm.
Rio de Janeiro - Marc Ferraz
Aristedes and Anna Pinto were staying at Clóvis Lima's house in the suburb of Flamengo. Colonel Clóvis was still with those loyal to the emperor, but Aristedes knew were it not for the the hesitancy of older men such as Clóvis and Marshal Deodora da Fonseca, the army would be in open rebellion.
The last picture of the imperial family in Brazil, 1889 - Otto Hees
The packet Alagoas carrying the Braganças to exile in Europe rode slowly past the island of Fernando do Noronha.
His Majesty stood on the deck, the breeze ruffling his white hair. "Saudade," he said, thinking aloud."Saudades do Brasil."... An expression of profound melancholy.
Antonio Conselheiro, Brazilian mystic
Antônio Conselheiro was from the town of Quixeramobim, in the province of Ceará, where he was born in 1828 as Antonio Vicente Mendes Maciel. By 1876, he was known as The Counselor and was attracting a wide following to his "Camp of the Good Jesus."
For sixteen years, he roamed the sertáo, passing through the caatinga from fazenda to fazenda, vila to vila. Finally, in 1893, The Counselor, sixty-five years old, found a permanent refuge: Canudos.
Canudos, Bahia, Brazil
A vast, uneven plain rose behind the Vasa-Barris. Near the river stood a massive unfinished church with two huge towers; to its right in an open area was a dilapidated chapel. Behind the church were several substantial buildings. Behind these, in barrios spreading across the Vasa-Barris, five thousand mud-walled homes, with a labyrinth of streets and alleys.
Canudos jagunço  - Flávio de Barros, 1897.
The outlaws numbered several hundred, but by late 1896, an estimated twenty thousand souls were gathered on the plain, the majority of them sertanejos whose most serious offense had been to turn their backs on the poderosos de sertão. All had heard the voice of Hope calling them to the New Jerusalem.
Village of Canudos, 1895
As Antônio Paciência entered his house, he heard a small voice: "Papai?"
"Yes, Juraci."
Juraci Cristiano was almost four an a half years old. "I heard the guns, Papai."
He ruffled his son's hair. "You were frightened?"
The child did not answer the question. "Papai killed the macacos?" he asked.
"We saw many fall."
Whitworth siege cannon - replica from
"God's Thunderer," a Whitworth 32-pounder brought to silence the voice of the false prophet...Thin-legged and scrawny, Teotônio shot forward at the heels of the leaders. The jagunço and three other men carried spluttering grenades, but they threw them too soon, and the missiles exploded in front of the Whitworth.
Canudos rebels attack on government artillery battery - Angelo Agostini
The fourth expedition came close to repeating the earlier disasters until the supply trains began to get through from Monte Santo. During August, three thousand reinforcements had arrived, coming to replace two thousand men wounded or exhausted from illness.
Ruins of Bom Jesus church in Canudos, 1897.- Flávio de Barros
Canudos came under daily bombardment as the siege lines advanced east and west of the plain in mid-September. The towers of the new church were leveled to the ground, the walls blasted apart, the guns moved here smashed. One hundred sixty-seven rebels died at the church, but others still went willingly to defend the huge pile of rubble where Antônio Paciência himself had labored to build the temple of New Jerusalem.
Brazilian journalist and author,  Euclides da Cunha.
"When I left Salvador, I thought I had a good idea of what to expect," Euclides da Cunha said. "The farther away from the coast, the more I felt that not only was I entering a foreign land; I was journeying into the past. If the sertanejo is pariah owing to his poverty and ignorance, it's because for three centuries we concerned ourselves with building up out civilization at the coast, abandoning a third, perhaps more, of our nation in these backlands.
"These criminals, as the major calls them, are mostly the descendants of the bandeirantes, the bedrock of our race..."
Brazilian wood carving
Placido himself did not know exactly how old he was, but he had been born in the time of King João of Portugal, His failing eyesight did not prevent "Woodcutter," as was known to all from working on an immense carving he called "Gabriel," an eight-feet high angel.
Surviving population of the War of Canudos, in Brazil, 1897, after a peasant rebellion was crushed by the en:Brazilian Army.
"They're sending us their women and children," an officer told Celso Cavalcanti.
Some children were naked; some women wore only a cloth around their privates, their breasts encrusted with dirt. Some walked silently; some wept; some begged water; some cried aloud that Conselheiro should see them and carry them to Heaven.
Candlelight requiem for Canudos
Three days later, the government soldiers stormed a trench, killing the last defenders, among them a mulatto and a venerable caboclo. They died side by side, these two fanatics who answered the call of Antônio Conselheiro.
One was Placido de Paulo, Woodcutter, who had come late to the fight in silent anger after he had seen great angel Gabriel go up in flames.
The other was Patent Anthony, who asked little of the great men on the earth and had got nothing: Antônio Paciência — Brasileiro!
The only photograph of Antonio Conselheiro, the mystic rebel and spiritual leader of the War of Canudos (1896-1897), fought in Bahia, Brazil. - Flávio de Barros
New Jerusalem was razed. In the interests of science, Antônio Conselheiro's body was dug up and the head cut off and dispatched to the Bahia, where it was to be probed for indications of madness.
Child of Brazil
"The races have intermingled here for four centuries. If I stand in the Praça de Sé at the Bahia, I see around me people of every shade: blacks; whites; mulattoes; morenos; caboclos. This is the reality of Brazil: a new race is evolving here in the tropics, not a pale imitation of the Europeans."
The Demoiselle, one of Dumont's heavier-than-air prototypes
"Alberto Santos Dumont has set all Brazil awhirl."
"It's unnatural. It's dangerous — "
"And it's grand!"
Brazilian national pride had soared in the weeks since Santos Dumont made the first recognized flight in Europe, covering 722 feet in his 50-horse-powered "aerodromo."

Pernambuco usina, sugar plantation
Long before they reached Usina Jacuribe, the air reeked of sugarcane.
"Well, my inventor of aerodromos, what do you think of this machine?"
Juraci looked at the hillocks of cane in the mill yard. "All this will be crushed?"
"Everything you see and many, many tons more."
"There will be a mountain of sugar!"


1º GAC P-47s carried the
Roberto Cavalcanti was fifteen when he first took off alone from a dirt strip outside Tiberica. In 1944, he volunteered for the Brazilian Air Force, joining four hundred men of the First Pursuit Group attached to the U.S. 350th Fighter Group.
 Hitler had predicted the Brazilians would be ready to take the field against him the day Brazil's snakes took to smoking pipes; consequently the Brazilian soldiers called themselves "the Smoking Cobras."
Brazilian forces reach Massarosa, Italy, September 1944
In Northern Italy, Roberto's squadron flew in support of a Brazilian land force of 25,000 men attached to Mark Clark's Fifth Army along the "Gothic Line."
Juscelino Kubitschek outtlines plans for Brasília
"Dreamers, all of them!" Amilcar declared."A city built on nothing, rising out of nothing..."
The day before at Anapolis, five hundred miles north of São Paulo, Dr. Juscelino Kubitschek had signed a proposal to build a new capital on the high central plateau.
"You're right, Pai, Brasília has long been a dream — "
"Another El Dorado."
"No, Pai — a new beacon for Brazil."
Brasília as hub of Brazil
Roberto picked up a saltcellar and dramatically placed it on front of him on the table. "Brasília!" he announced. He drew a line from it across the clothe with a fingernail. "Rio, six hundred miles southeast." Then he drew five more lions radiating from the salt cellar in different directions. "Roads to unite the country, to draw our people together, The new capital, he declared passionately would alter the colonial mentality, put an end to the inertia that kept Brazil clinging to lands near the coast.
Pilot Plan of  Brasília. Lucio B. Costa April 1958.
To Mariette, the outline of the capital resembled a mammoth airplane with swept-back wings; where they came together was the commercial district, and within their span, sweeping north and south, were one hundred superblocks of housing, each eight hundred feet squae; at the top of the "fuselage" was the Plaza of the three powers.
Pelé fighting for a ball against the Swedish goalkeeper Kalle Svensson during the 1958 World Cup final.
"Pelé! Pelé! Pelé!" Three young boys, two of whom were sons of Anacleto and MAria, played outside in the dirt, kicking a soccer ball. Futebol was an obsession with them, playing with as much gusto as if they were members of the national team that had captured this year's World Cup
Francisco Julião at Engenho Galilea  Photo :
Francisco Julião, a 43-year-old Recife lawyer was one of the few willing to represent the peasant and small farmer. The society called simply "the League," by its members, in the mouths of its opponents became the "Ligas Camponêsas," the Peasant Leagues, evoking memories of a failed attempt by Brazilian Communists to start a peasant movement.
Engenho Gaipio, Ipojuca
As Juraci looked back at the deserted house, he found himself thinking of the Casa Grande.
For centuries, the mansion had symbolized the conquest of l;ands, and the senzala and the shanty the conquest of man. Today, the Casa Grande and the home of Anacleto Pacheco, worlds apart and yet inseparable, were both empty and deserted. But God knew, the way of life they both represented hadn't changed.
Pau de arara - transport for construction workers from North-East Brazil to Brasília
"With the pau-de-arara." In the "parrot's perch," roosted in the back of a truck, a man could ride for a thousand miles and more to areas where there was work — and hope.
"To São Paulo?" Juraci asked.
"No, Dr. Juraci. Brasília! That's where the jobs are."
Amazon rain forest in wet season
In the rain forest during the wet season from October to April, the torrential downpours brought work to a standstill, and stranded road builders had to be supplied by parachute drops of food and medicine. Across the cerrado, a sea of mud also slowed down construction, but wherever work could continue it did, the struggle to clear the first the same as in ages past, inch by inch.
Amazon rain forest destruction
The trailblazers were followed by six-man gangs with machetes and saw, slashing through the undergrowth, cutting loose cablelike lianas, felling tree after tree, selecting the best wood for lumber and leaving the rest for the fires, the smoke from the conflagrations visible for miles behind.
Trans-Amazon Highway construction
Where the destruction was complete, bulldozers and Caterpillars lurched forward to shove aside charred timbers and uproot blackened stumps. Only then could the engineers and laborers begin preparing the roadbed for the gravel-surfaced highway that would link Brasília with the mouth of the Rio das Amazonas.
Initial contact with Xavante - Photo: Lamônica/Museu do Índio (1951)
"Xavante?" da Silva asked softly, from the edge of the canes.
With a slight motion of his arm, Salgado beckoned Roberto forward.
A lone Xavante stood on the opposite bank, motionless, his eyes turned toward them. A young warrior in the prime of manhood. His naked body was streaked with urucu dye. One hand held a long bow, the other a war club.
A young Cândido Rondon in the Amazon
Colonel Cândido Mariano Rondon, an army engineer and explorer, absolutely forbade the slaying of the tribes whose villages lay along the route of the telegraph line. "Die if necessary, but never kill," Rondon, himself half native, told his men.
Rondon began a lifelong battle against those who saw the survivors of the great native tribes as bestial and deserving extinction, especially is they occupied lands where these was rumor of gold and diamonds or where the forest could be destroyed to make way for cattle.
Madeira-Mamoré railroad abandoned locomotives in 1981
Six thousand men died during the five-year construction of the Madeira-Mamoré railroad. Izaias Salgado was there when a gold spike was driven home and the work completed. One year later, the rubber boom collapsed, exports from the Far East surpassing those of the Amazon Basin. Within a decade, the railroad was abandoned.
Orlando Leonardo e Cláudio Villas Bôas
"Within a year, a quarter will be dead," Bruno said. "We ask too much of them. We take a stone ax out of their hands, give them a shirt and trousers, and expect them to step into our word just like that. The Vilas Boases know what they're talking about when they say it takes fifty or sixty years for a tribe to adapt its way of life.
Aldeia Kamaiurá, Alto-Xingu - Noel Villas Bôas 1998
The Vilas Boas brothers had founded the Xingu Indian Reservation along the river of that name in Mato Grosso. The brothers contacted a dozen small tribes in an area of more than 10,000 square miles, living with them and gaining their respect — and beginning a struggle to have the region declared a federal reservation.
Inauguration of Brasília celebration of candangos
An endless parade was inching along the mall toward the Plaza of the Three Powers. Ten thousand men, led by a dozen bands...They were the men who had built Brasília: the candangos
Brasília at sunset. - Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz
That evening Amílcar da Silva stood alone at a window on the twentieth floor of one of the twin skyscrapers. Amílcar gazed out, not at the gleaming city below, but far off into the distance, to where the cerrado was darkening.
The Bandeirante, a Brazilian pathfinder
This vast sertão, not only over the next hill or across the next river, but deep within the soul. A call to Paradise or to Hell for our forefathers. Were they out there now, Amador Flôres da Silva and Benedito Bueno — all who had opened the way for this conquest? Were the old bandeirantes gazing back in awe at this city — this El Dorado they had sought for so long.


Canudos, site of the New Jersualem,  in 1981
For forty years, Canudos lay below Cocorobó barrage, nothing visible except a grassy island, where goats and sheep grazed, rowed over by a herdsman. The year 1996 brought one of the worst drought in memory. Week after week, the waters of Cocorobó fell, until the ruins of Canudos began to emerge under the red, hit sun.
Canudos ruins rise from the waters - Photo:
The year 1996 brought one of the worst drought in memory. Week after week, the waters of Cocorobó fell, until the ruins of Canudos began to emerge under the red, hit sun.
Canudos church after bombardment by Brazilian army
It was now recognized that the 20,000 who died were not a bandit rabble but landless peasants scourged by drought and abandoned by their government. Most were black people and mulattoes scorned by racist elites of the day, who favored a "whitening" of Brazil and weren't against exterminating a barbarian race in the backlands.
Padre Antonio "Tôninho" Paciência looked at the trench, where his forbear had perished. "A hundred years since the last shot was fired," he said. "And still the battle goes on."
Boia fria -
Most residents of Magdalena labor for a pittance as field workers; bóia fria, they're called, literally "cold meal," for they head off at five in the morning, eat a cold lunch beside the canes, and return around seven in the evening. By the time they get home, their supper of rice, beans and manioc is cold.
MST flag raised at protest - Valter Campanato/ABr
The sharecropper, Luiz Alves de Sá took out the MST flag and hoisted it to the top of the pole.
A cheer rose from all who lifted their eyes to the red banner floating against the sky.
Padre Tôninho bad them join in a prayer of thanks.
When the worship ended, Luiz Alves said what was on everyone's mind: "Nothing will get me off this land — my land."
Brazilian street child -
"The army of the streets is constantly on the lookout for recruits. It takes them at any age and moves them rapidly through the ranks. In no time at all, the kids are in the front lines, fighting for their lives," says Dona Mariette.
At the dawn of the twenty-first century, Mariette da Silva is in the vanguard of a new revolution. It required no force or visions of El Dorado but began with one man who changed the conscience of Brazil.
Herbert "Betinho" de Souza opened the nation's eyes to the misery around them when he launched Citizen Action Against Poverty and for Life.
"Betinho gave face to millions who were pariahs in their own land. No one expects poverty to end tomorrow. The rich are getting richer and the poor poorer than ever, but they are no longer faceless. When the weakest and littlest one gives up life for lack of food, we cannot say we didn't know," says Dona Marietta.
Rain-forest canoe with young traveler
Tajira beached the canoe and bounded across the plaza, shouting a greeting as he ran. The past years could have been an ordeal for an Old Devil, with his world turned upside down, but it was not so. Instead he knew only joy, and sometimes a tinge of regret that he had not had a son of his own.
"While this old devil has strength left, I want us to leave Kaimari and take the bus from Pimento Bueno. It will be a long. hard journey."
"Where are we going?
"To find your father's people."
Cathedral of Brasília. --  Magnus Apolinario de Andrade
They reached the futuristic capital built in 1,000 days in the late 1950s toward sunset. The Candangos are fiercely proud of the white marble palácios and towers riding on the savannah. — For a boy from the forest of Kaimari, visiting Brasília was like being on the moon or Mars even; everything was a wonder to him.
Pataxo Indian, Brazil -  José Cruz/ABr
Arací painted Tajira's face with lines of red urucu dye. Then she helped him put on a headdress crowned with the brilliant red and blue feathers of Macaw...
"We ask God to forgive the sins committed against the human rights and dignity of the Indians, the first inhabitants of this land, and the blacks who were brought to this country as slaves..."
Pataxo, Xavante, Nambikwara, Yananomi and Indians from all over Brazil listened solemnly by the sands of Coroa Vermelha, as descendants of the discoverers asked forgiveness for the sins and errors of five centuries.
There was no Tupiniquin to hear the apologia.


Cavalcanti family tree 1 - from
Cavalcanti family tree 2 - from
Da Silva fmaily tree 1 - from
Da Silva family tree 2 - from


Brazil - map from the epic novel by Errol Lincoln Uys
Brazil - map from the epic novel by Errol Lincoln Uys