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oditous 03-31-2010 12:15 AM

Afrobrazilians from Ghana/Togo/Benin/Nigeria
Brazilian equivalent of american and carribean returnee slaves to sierra leone & liberia. Locally they are either known as agudas or tabom (Ghana). sometimes they're still called brazilians.

Afaik they only chose westafrican destinations and not angola. i wonder why. Maybe more economic opportunities in west africa perhaps more repressive colonial regime in angola? Or maybe only people with ancestry from westafrica returned to africa?



There are various communities of Afro-Brazilian descendants in West Africa, most of them spread through Ghana. Benin, Nigeria and Togo. Some studies estimate that in the 19th century approximately 10,000 former slaves decided to return to Africa

Up to now it is not very clear, if the Tabom really bought their freedom and decided to immediately come back or if they were at that time free workers in Brazil, but were deported after the Malê Revolt of 1835 in Bahia. A lot of Afro-Brazilians were deported back to Africa, especially Moslems who organised the Malê Revolt.

Afro-Brazilians in Ghana
In Ghana, the only representative group of people that decided to come back from Brazil is the Tabom People. They came back on a ship called SS Salisbury, offered by the British government. About seventy Afro-Brazilians of seven different families arrived in Accra, in the region of the old port in James Town in 1836, coming from Nigeria as visitors. The reception by the Mantse Nii Ankrah of the Otoblohum area was so warm that they decided to settle down in Accra. The leader of the Tabom group at the time of their arrival was a certain Nii Azumah Nelson. The eldest son of Azumah Nelson, Nii Alasha, was his successor and a very close friend to the Ga King Nii Tackie Tawiah. Together they helped in the development of the whole community in commerce and environmental sanitation. Also the people of Ada with names like Otu or otoo, Otuco, Otuko, Otukoor also known as korkor, Otumele also known as Ma Male, etc belong to this family

At the present moment the Tabom Mantse is Nii Azumah V, descendant of the Nelson’s. The Taboms are also known as the founders of the First Scissors House in 1854, the first tailoring shop in the country, which had amongst other activities, the task to provide the Ghanaian Army with uniforms. Proof of these skills is without any doubt Dan Morton, another Tabom and one of the most famous tailors nowadays in Accra.

The de Souza family can be found around Keta in the Volta Region which use to be part of the Trans Volta Togoland. Also at Osu, Kokomele and other parts of the Gt. Accra Region. Cape Coast is also another base. Almost all of them remained along the costal regions. However, it is very common to see a de Souza, a Quaye, a Wellington, a Benson, a Palmares, a Nelson, an Azumah, a Kotey (Kotei), an Olympio and other Afro-Brazilians in Ghana speaking perfect Ewe, Ga, Dangme or Fante. This is because most of the Afro-Brazilian people got married to Ewes, Ga-Adangbes and Fantis. Most of the de Souzas live in Germany, France, Spain, Belgium and England.

Because they were welcomed by the Ga people and received by their king as personal guests, the Tabons received lands in privileged locations, in places that are nowadays very well known estates, like Asylum Down, the area near to the central train station and around the Accra Breweries. In those areas, the mango trees planted by them bear silent witnesses to their presence. In the estate of North Ridge there is a street called “Tabon Street”, which is a reminder of the huge plantations that they formerly had there. Some of the Tabons live nowadays in James Town, where the first house built and used by them as they arrived in Ghana is located. It is called the “Brazil House” and can be found in a short street with the name “Brazil Lane”. Because of their agricultural skills, they started plantations of mango, cassava, beans and other vegetables. They brought also skills such as irrigation techniques, architecture, carpentry, blacksmithing, gold smithing, tailoring, amongst others, which certainly improved the quality of life of the whole community.

Apart from all these contributions, they also influenced the religious life of the community, helping in the definitive establishment of Islam and in the preservation of some syncretic religions, such as shango. Nowadays the Tabons are completely integrated in the Ghanaian society and are a part of the Otublohum Section of the Ga People.
Brazilian president Lula with Tabom leader Nii Azumah V

Azumah Nelson

Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson, not sure if she's really Tabom, but she does have the family name

This ghanaian girl has family connections to the Tabom and is currently doing research on them in brazil



The phenomenon of Afro-Brazilians returning to Africa began in the first half of the 18th century and lasted until the beginning of the 20th century. Studies have been written on the Afro-Brazilian communities in Benin and Nigeria, very little has been written on the communities of Togo and Ghana. This article is a preliminary exploration of the history of the Afro-Brazilian community in Togo, especially in Lomé, between 1882 and 1945. It focuses on the history of the Olympio family, one of the most prominent families of Togo. Beginning with the history of patriarch Francisco Olympio Silva, the founder of the family in Africa, and ending with his grandson's Sylvanus Epiphanio Kwami Olympio, emergence as a liberation leader after the Second World War, the article gives an overview of the level of economic and political influence that the Afro-Brazilian community wielded in the country during the period in question.

Francisco Olympio Silva, the founder of the Olympio family in Africa, reportedly was born in Salvador, Bahia on July 24, 1833. He was the son of a father of Portuguese origins and a mother of African and Amerindian extraction, according to family traditions. Indeed, historians have mentioned the Asiatic features of members of the Olympio family in Togo, as a sure confirmation of their Amerindian ancestry.
Two members of the Olympio family

Sylvanus Olympio, former president of Togo

Gilchrist Olympio, his son and also politcian


the socalled agudas are most well known and longest established because of presence since 18th C. in slave fort Ouidah, these afrobrazilians had tremendous economic and political influence in early modern benin. Some if it's still lingering because they're well represented in the elite families. They're probably also the most numerous of all afrobrazilians.

One of the most notorious Agudas

Francisco Felix de Sousa (1754 – 1849) was a slave trader from Brazil of Lagos (modern Nigeria) descent. He was an African-Brazilian[1] who has been called "the greatest Portuguese slave trader".[2] Marketing slaves in the Dahomey region, now known as the Republic of Benin, he was known for his extravagance and reputably had at least 80 children and 1000 women in his harem.[3] De Sousa continued to market slaves after the trade was abolished.[2] He was apparently so trusted by locals in Dahomey that he was awarded the status of "King" or "chief."[1] Although a devout Catholic, he practised the local Vodun cult and even had his own family Vodun cult.[1] He was buried in Dahomey.

De Sousa was a personal friend of Dahomeyan king Ghezo, who made de Sousa viceroy of Ouidah after he assisted the King in a 1818 coup which brought him to power.[4] According to Edna Bay, de Sousa was "deeply influential as an intermediary between European and African cultures".

These are his decendants, the socalled chacha's

Current Chacha Honoré Féliciano Juliao de Souza



Amaros in Lagos
Unlike the Saros who were principally from Sierra Leone, the Amaros, who were sometimes called Nago in Brazil (Nago, indicates Yoruba ethnicity) were liberated slaves from Brazil and Cuba. Returnees from Brazil and their current day descendants were and are more commonly called "Agudas". They went to the New World as slaves from different sub-ethnic and ethnic backgrounds but approached relationships among themselves as equals. They came back to Nigeria, principally to re-connect with their fatherland. In Lagos, they were given the watery terrains of Popo Aguda as their settlement. They were not brought up in the Anglican faith like the Sierra Leoneans but chose Catholicism, the dominant religion in Brazil. By the 1880s, the Agudas comprised about 9 % of the population of Lagos. It should be remembered that some of the Agudas were Muslims. Some of the Catholic Brazilians also worshipped African Orishas which they had also worshipped in Brazil.

The ex-slaves were notably technically skilled artisans and were known for the distinctive Brazilian architecture built in their settlements and later in the Lagos environs. During the time, modern European architecture was not only meant to be a nice abode but also a dominating advertisement to show Africans of a different style and culture.[8] However, in due time, the Brazilian style emerged as a viable alternative and modern style used by African contractors working on public and large private jobs such as the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos and the Mohammed Shitta Bey Mosque. The Brazilians introduced to Nigeria elaborate architectural designs, two story buildings and bungalows with stucco facades. The Brazilian returnees also popularized the use of Cassava as a food crop.[9] They had pioneered trade with Brazil in the mid nineteenth century. But by the 1880s, ruinous competitors and an economic downturn had forced many to abandon the export trade. Agriculture soon became an avenue to supplement shortfalls in economic activity. They also introduced introduced Cocoa Plantations together with Saro, J.P.L. Davies.

"Letters from Africa": The Diaspora of the Diaspora
This is an awesome project tracing back afrobrazilians in westafrica and reconnecting them with their relatives in brazil via postcards. Loads of background info.

This is the link to their photogallery, with pics from all 4 countries.





Magneto 03-31-2010 03:12 AM


Starbuck 08-28-2010 07:42 PM

There is one paper that is implying that the Agudas in Lagos may have felt "superiority based on their Iberian identity", but fails to actually say anything else about it in detail. That same paper discusses not only Brazilian but Cuban "returnees" to Lagos, stating one case, the Muñiz family of Matanzas, Cuba, where relatives on either side of the Atlantic maintained contact throughout the years. It was also stated that some Agudas then left Lagos and returned in both Brazil and Cuba, paraphrasing from another reference, while a segment of the others who stayed at first adhered to some level of endogamy before deciding to intermarry with the Yoruba (since the colonial administration of the time did not allow the Agudas social mobility) : the result of the latter, according to the paper, was a more solidified Yoruba identity, learning the language as well as the history. It makes me wonder a bit about this guy I had posted on the old forum for people to guess, and if he had a similar heritage ?

pinguin 08-28-2010 09:17 PM

It is hard to see the "Brazilian" part on them.

oditous 09-05-2010 08:58 PM


Originally Posted by Starbuck (Post 80472)
There is one paper that is implying that the Agudas in Lagos may have felt "superiority based on their Iberian identity", but fails to actually say anything else about it in detail.

That iberian identity must have been helpful to get in contact with the europeans. During that time of imperialism surely it must have been advantageous to be able to associate yourself with the powerful europeans. Not to mention the prestige it would have brought.

Even to this day many descendants of agudas are still to be found in the political/economic elites of the region. Especially in bénin.

General-Paul Emile de Souza, former president of benin in the seventies

Wife of current president, chantal boni (nee de souza)

Mgr Isidore de Souza, used to be archbishop of Benin and was born in Ouidah.

Rosine Soglo Vieyra, a leading political figure in Benin, also with roots in Ouidah and ultimately brazil.

Ignace de Souza, singer

oditous 09-05-2010 09:25 PM


Originally Posted by pinguin (Post 80498)
It is hard to see the "Brazilian" part on them.

That's because there's not a single "brazilian" look. however if you go to bahia i'm sure you'll find many people resembling them.

Here's clip by bahian band Ara Ketu about beninese kingdom of Dahomey
+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.

Either way, the brazilian part of them is not so much phenotypical or even genetical but rather cultural.
Carneval, catholicism, brazilian food (feijoada) and brazilian familynames are some of these brazilian cultural elements which still can be found in Nigeria/Togo/Benin/Ghana.

Starbuck 11-15-2010 06:25 AM

Agudás from Benin : "Brazilian Identity as a Bridge to Citizenship" ~ link (only partial preview, unfortunately, but includes several pages)

From Traditional Residential Architecture to the Vernacular : The Nigerian Experience ~ link



The African continent is extremely diverse in culture – despite its comparatively small geographical size. Correspondingly, its indigenous architecture is far from homogeneous, and even though, all over the continent there are outstanding examples of what may be termed international-style architecture, for that very reason, they are far from being representative of the people’s folk building culture.

Most of the literature available to a global reading public on the subject-matter, has been produced by non-Africans, and from frequently non-architectural perspectives; as such, they may not fully capture the socio-cultural/ socio-spatial import of African builtform. African architects are yet to convincingly define what constitutes architecture in their own contemporary local contexts, and showcase it.

The paper focuses on Nigeria’s residential building culture. It examines the influences of British colonial architectural practices and the Afro-Brazilian style (which they facilitated), on the traditional architecture of the south. It sets forth the transition to vernacular practices and the transformations engendered – particularly in the light of rural, semi-urban and highly-urbanized variants. It is submitted that what comes closest to a vernacular prototype, is a floor-plan comprising four rooms or more, directly opening out on to an exaggerated centrally-positioned corridor, with conveniences and utilities to the back of the house. Architectural embellishment, initially highly ornate in the original Afro-Brazilian stylistic prototype, has become extremely minimal. “Meaning”, both in its functional and symbolic contexts, is presented as being inherent in both the traditional and vernacular expressions of Nigerian architecture, north and south of the country. Of necessity, such meanings are also undergoing transformation, and are culturally-determined.

The paper queries the rationale behind expecting there to be an “African architecture” – as there are no other continental parallels. Rather, where stereotypes do exist, they are either culture-based, or pertain to a limited geographical location – not a continental sprawl. As such, the paper submits that African architecture should be appraised from the view-point of such pre-disposing phenomena as cultural background, or/ and socio-physical factors generating such – as is the case with the architecture of other regions of the world.

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