Junia Ferreira Furtado Professor in Early Modern History Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil
For most of the 18th century, the area of Diamond District in the Brazilian Captaincy of Minas Gerais experienced periods of social ascension among a significant number of former slaves and their descendants. Many of them were mulattos who were able to incorporate themselves in administrative positions as well as integrate within the religious customs. This paper will analyze this process using the case study of the mulatto Cipriano Pires Sardinha, son of a black slave woman – Francisca Pires – and a white Portuguese doctor – Manuel Pires Sardinha. After becoming a priest, Cipriano went to Portugal where he established a relationship with the Royal Academy of Science. He was then sent on a mission by the Prince dom João (future King dom João VI), to study and convert the king and the kingdom of Dahomey, in Africa to Catholicism. His career allows us to discuss the intersection of race and religion in the Luso-Brazilian Empire and to understand the complex relationships established between these individuals and the African cultural heritage of their ancestors.
Cost: Free and Open to the Public