The Undeniable Legend Of Dandara dos Palmares

Dandara dos Palmares, the warrior of the colonial period of Brazil, was the wife of Zumbi, the last of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares, the largest in the Americas, in the region of Pernambuco. As important as him, Dandara fought the seventeenth-century slave system and became an icon of black female leaders.

The fact is that, despite all the certainties and importance, no one knows for sure the origins of this woman — nor even entered into a context about its existence. There are no records of where she was born, in Brazil or the African continent. Only that she would have joined, as a child, the quilombo group. Contrary the trends of the time, Dandara proved that she was definitely not the "frail sex." In addition to domestic services, she planted, worked in the production of cassava flour, hunted and fought capoeira, and took up arms.

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She had, with Zumbi, three children: Motumbo Harmódio and Aristogíton. Thus, in addition to the fighting, she also contributed to the "maternal" and daily functions in the quilombo, helping the socioeconomic, political and family organization. With the Dutch invasion of the Quilombo, Ganga-Zumba, the first great leader of Quilombo dos Palmares, would have signed a peace treaty with the Pernambuco government.

The document attested to the freedom of "prisoners of war" and those born in Palmares. In exchange, the inhabitants of the quilombo would have to surrender the fugitive slaves. Dandara and Zumbi would have been against it, understanding that it was an agreement that didn’t, in fact, end with slavery.

In 1694, when the capital of Palmares was invaded by  the Bandeirantes, Dandara was arrested, on February 6, and committed suicide so she didn't have to return to the condition of slave. For some historians, the lack of official records is due to the history of a black woman who was against a sexist and racist society. Despite this, Dandara proved the struggle for the liberation of black people in Brazil. Even with all the uncertainties, Dandara dos Palmares is a reference in struggles of the black and feminist movement, and today, she still lives for freedom.