The Brazilian Amazon experienced, in the late 1830s, one of Brazil's largest peasant and urban-poor insurrections, known as the Cabanagem. Uniquely, rebels succeeded in controlling provincial government and town councils for more than a year. In this first book-length study in English, the rebellion is placed in the context of late colonial and early national society and economy. It compares the Cabanagem with contemporaneous Latin American peasant rebellions and challenges to centralized authority in Brazil. Using unpublished documentation, it reveals - contrary to other studies - that insurgents were not seeking revolutionary change or separation from the rest of Brazil. Rather, rebels wanted to promote their vision of a newly independent nation and an end to exploitation by a distant power. The Cabanagem is critical to understanding why the Amazon came to be perceived as a land without history.
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