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Association de capoeira PALMARES de Paris.

Capoeira in official reports 1789-1891

"Jogo de capoeira": forbidden negro pastime; in other places "capoeira": ruffian -- capoeira appears in police reports, in criminal trials, in ministerial reports and in parliamentary discussion all along the 19th century, but althrough these biased views tell us upon the capoeiras, they will not let us learn much from them.

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Capoeira appears in police reports, in criminal trials, in ministerial reports and in parliamentary discussion all along the 19th century, but althrough these biased views tell us upon the capoeiras, they will not let us learn much from them.

First mention of "capoeira" : 1789.

An article by Nireu Cavalcanti reveals documentary evidence of capoeira.

Capoeira negroes divide the government in 1821.

Coming soon. See French version.

Diverging Points de View in 1853.

Writer Charles Expilly published his Le Brésil tel qu'il est (Brazil as it is) after a failed attempt to settle in Rio de Janeiro as an industrialist. He stresses, against immigrationist propaganda, the unpleasant sides of Brazilian life for European settlers, but he does not see any harm in capoeira, contrary to the Chief of Police of Rio de Janeiro at the same time.

An inquiry what the difference reveals about both points of view and capoeira.

Coming soon. See French/Portuguese draft version for original text.

Capoeira from police reports to Penal Code, 1870-1891

Through the 19th century, in their reports Police Chiefs claim greater legal powers, argueing that judicial control makes them inefficient. The government was prone to pass liberal reforms and let the police perform their duties out of legal grounds.

Only after the Paraguayan War, in 1871, does a Police Chief take capoeiras as a symbol of disorder and calls for a specific law against them. Resistance on behalf of Parliament, and the difficulty in defining an elusive capoeira in order to make it a crime led to postpone and abandon the project, along the last years of the 19th century. New Police Chiefs would occasionally pick up the subject, and prop capoeiragem as a major urban problem for a city which indeed exhibited high criminal rates, but the many other problems of the time and the probable political support of the status quo would make them drop the subject. A law project made its way into parliament in 1887, but it was not until after the Republican dictature had illegally deported hundreds of capoeiras that the law passed, in 1891. The articles in the Criminal Code prohibited only the act of capoeiragem in public places, but the police continued to persecute it illegally in all places.

Coming soon. See French version.


Back to chronology of documents about capoeira.

Retour à chronologie des documents historiques sur la capoeira.


Lucia Palmares & Pol Briand
3, rue de la Palestine 75019 Paris
Tel. : (33) 1 4239 6436
Email : polbrian@wanadoo.fr

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