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

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

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In any case, between 1775 and 1807, the city grew at least 31 percent. The number of Africans and Afro-Bahians, including slaves and freedmen and -women, rose 39 percent, jumping from 64 percent of the total population to 72 percent. ’’∞π Even incomplete data are lacking on the growth of Salvador’s population between 1807 and 1836, the year of the Cemiterada. Estimates have been made, but they are certainly exaggerated. Prior estimated that the population in 1813 numbered nearly 80,000 ‘‘souls,’’ of which only 18,000 were whites and mulattos.

The rebellion lasted several days but was put down by the weapons of the well-organized plantation owners, commanded by the viscount of Pirajá, later a central figure in the Cemiterada. Unlike other rebels, this group had a political program that proposed Bahia’s independence as a federal state, social reforms, and measures to end the Portuguese monopoly on trade and to fight corruption in the justice system and the sugar barons’ privileges. The same rebels revised and expanded that program in 1833 while imprisoned, when they organized another uprising.

This festival was characterized by talcum powder and water fights, sometimes using dirty water or even baser fluids. The mixture was shot from enormous syringes and beeswax projectiles innocently called oranges. Although those revels were banned, merrymakers always found ways to break the law and enjoy themselves during Entrudo. The city’s only theater, the São João, was designed to provide ‘‘well-directed entertainment . . for young people,’’ according to the count of Ponte. When 22 : setting of the cemiterada they visited the theater in 1818, Spix and Martius noted the program: light comedies, French and Spanish dramas, and Italian operettas.

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