Motivated by an increase in the tobacco trade with the West African coast in the late eighteenth century, Brazilian merchants and slave traders shifted their base of operations away from their counterparts along the Mina Coast to the ports of Lagos, Badgary, and Porto Novo in the Bight of Benin.1 Soon afterward what became known as the Yoruba Wars began ensuring Brazilian ships with a seemingly limitless supply of captives bound for Salvador and points beyond. This final phase of the Atlantic slave trade, which officially ended in 1830 but remained a clandestine practice for years to come, resulted in a massive influx of Yoruba slaves. By virtue of being the last wave of mostly homogenous groupings of slaves to arrive in Salvador, they would leave one of the most visible and lasting cultural imprints on the growing Afro-Bahian community of Salvador, resulting in what Miguel Calmon called, “the brutal metamorphosis of Mangolas (Bantus) into Nagôs (Yoruba).”2 So dominant would their language and cultural customs become and so successful at assimilating others into their worldview would they be that by the middle of the nineteenth century, for many in Bahia, Yoruba culture became synonymous with African culture as a whole.
- Slave Trade
- Slave Labor
- West African Coast
- Atlantic Slave Trade
- Tobacco Trade
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
Pierre Verger, O Fumo da Bahia e o Trafico dos Escravos Do Golfo de Benin (Publicações do Centro de Estudos Afro-Orientais, No. 6, Salvador, 1966), p. 8.
Miguel Calmon in Luiz Vianna Filho, O Negro Na Bahia (Coleção Documento Brasileiro, Sao Paulo, 1946). The term “Nagô” was often used instead of Yoruba, a term not created until the nineteenth century. Most agree it comes from the word “Anagô,” used by Dahomean slave traders as a derisive term meaning “dirty” or “unkempt.” See
Luis Nicolau Pares, “The Nagôization Process in Bahian Candomble,” in Toyin Falola and Matt D. Childs (eds), The Yoruba Diaspora in the Atlantic World (Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2004).
See Andrew Apter, “The Historiography of Yoruba Myth and Ritual,” History in Africa 14 (1987), 1–25.
See P. C. Lloyd, The Political Development of Yoruba Kingdoms in the 18th and 19th Centuries (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 1971); and
Robert Smith, Kingdoms of the Yoruba (Methuen, London. 1969).
For more on the archeological evidence under discussion, see T. Shaw, Nigeria: Its Archeology and Early History (Thames and Hudson, London. 1978); T. Shaw and S. G. H. Daniels, “Excavations at Iwo Eleru,” West African Journal of Archeology 14 (1984);
F. Willet, “A Terra-Cotta Head from Old Oyo, Western Nigeria” MAN 59 (1959): 180–181;
F. Willet, “Investigations at Old Oyo, 1956–57: An Interim Report,” Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria 2.1 (1961): 59–77;
F. Willet, “A Survey of Recent Results in the Radiocarbon Chronology of Western and Northern Africa,” Journal of African History 12 (1971): 339–370;
D Calvorcoressi and M. David, “New Survey of Radiocarbon and Thermoluminescence Dates for West Africa,” Journal of African History 20 (1979): 1–20. For a use of the king list methodology based on oral traditions, see
Robin Law, The Oyo Empire C. 1600–1836: A West African Imperialism in the era of the Atlantic Slave Trade (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1977); and for an interesting use of linguistic evidence, see
R. P. Armstrong. The Affecting Presence: An Essay in Humanistic Anthropology (University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1971).
For more on the Yoruba concept of Olodumare, see E. Bolaji Idowu, Olodumare: God in Yoruba Belief (Wazobia, New York, 1994).
Several versions of this creation myth can be found in S. G. Crowther, A Vocabulary of the Yoruba Language (Seeleys, London, 1852);
S. Johnson, The History of the Yoruba (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1897/1921);
H. U. Beier, “Before Oduduwa,” Odu 3 (1957): 25–32;
M. Crowder, The Story of Nigeria (Faber and Faber, London 1962);
M. A. Fabunmi, Ife Shrines (University of Ife Press, Ile-Ife, 1969);
S. O. Biobaku (ed.), Sources of Yoruba History (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1973); and
E. A. Kenyo, Origin of the Progenitor of the Yoruba Race (Yoruba Historical Research, Lagos, 1951). Interestingly, Samuel Johnson in The History of the Yoruba recorded several oral histories claiming the origins of the Yoruba in Mecca (p. 3) while Kenyo recorded others claiming Yoruba origins in Arabia or Egypt (pp. 9–10).
Henry Drewal, John Pemberton III, and Rowland Abiodun, Yoruba: Nine Centuries of African Art and Thought (Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1989).
For more on the Yoruba concept of identity, see T. A. Awoniyi, “The New World Yoruba,” Nigeria 134–135 (1981): 104–107; Law, The Oyo Empire; and
J. D. Y. Peel, Ijeshas and Nigerians: The Incorporation of a Yoruba Kingdom, 1890s–1970s (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983).
Karin Barber, I Could Speak Until Tomorrow: Oriki, Women and the Past in a Yoruba Town (Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, 1991), p. 183.
Interestingly, a similar pattern had also developed in colonial and postcolonial Brazil whereby the power of a certain individual came to be measured by the number of people living on their land or who were in some way attached to them and to whom they would in theory give unquestioned loyalty. See Richard Graham, Patronage and Politics in Nineteenth Century Brazil (Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1990); and
Eul-Soo Pang, Bahia in the First Brazilian Republic: Coronelismo and Oligarchies, 1889–1934 (University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 1979).
Paul Lovejoy (ed.), The Ideology of Slavery in Africa (Sage, London, 1981, p. 1).
For examples of this debate, see J. D. Fage. “Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Context of West African History.” Journal of African History 10.3 (1969); Paul Lovejoy, “The Impact of the Atlantic Slave Trade on Africa: A Review of the Literature.” Journal of African History 30 (1989); and David Eltis and David Richardson (eds), Routes to Slavery: Direction, Ethnicity and Mortality in the Atlantic Slave Trade (Frank Cass, London, 1997).
Patrick Manning, Slavery, Colonialism and Economic Growth in Dahomey, 1640–1960 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1982); Law, The Oyo Empire and “The Atlantic Slave Trade in Yoruba Historiography,” in Toyin Falola, Yoruba Historiography (University of Wisconsin System, Madison, 1991), p. 123.
See Law, “The Oyo-Dahomey Wars, 1726–1823: A Military Analysis,” in Toyin Falola and Robin Law (eds), Warfare and Diplomacy in Pre-Colonial Nigeria (University of Wisconsin African Studies Program, Madison, 1992).
For more on Islam in Yorubaland, see Mervyn Hiskett, The Development of Islam in West Africca (Longman, London, 1948), Ch. 6; and
Mahdi Adamu, The Hausa Factor in West African History (Oxford University Press Nigeria, Ibadan, 1978).
A. D. H. Bivar, “The Wathiqat Ahl Al-Sudan: A Manifesto of the Fulani Jihad,” Journal of African History 11.2 (1961): 235–243.
Ibid. For more on the role of the Brazilian slave-trading community in the Dahomean coup that brought Ghezo to power and thus liberated them from Oyo domination, see Law. “The Evolution of the Brazilian Community in Ouidah,” in Mann and Bay, eds, Rethinking the African Diaspora: The Making of a Black Atlantic World in the Bight of Benin and Brazil (Frank Cass, London, 2001), p. 25.
Pierre Verger, Trade Relations between the Bight of Benin and Bahia from the 17th to 19th Century (Ibadan University Press, Ibadan, 1976).
J. Roland Matory, Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomble (Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 2005).
© 2014 Miguel C. Alonso
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Alonso, M.C. (2014). The Dispersal of the Yoruba People. In: The Development of Yoruba Candomble Communities in Salvador, Bahia, 1835–1986. Afro-Latin@ Diasporas. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137486431_3
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-50365-0
Online ISBN: 978-1-137-48643-1
eBook Packages: Palgrave Religion & Philosophy CollectionPhilosophy and Religion (R0)