Queen Teresa de Benguela (Crown Her Series)

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Crown 2 Gold Flower and Canary yellow diamonds

The heroic queen of Quilombo Quaritere origins are believed to be an African from Angola embarked at the port of Benguela. However some historians believes she was born in Brazil. She commanded in the Vale do Guapore region, in Vila Bela da Santissima Trinadade during the 18th century, in what is now known as the state of Mato Grosso, almost on the border of Bolivia. Queen Teresa was married to Jose Piolho, who headed the Quilombo do Piolho (or do Quaritere), between the Guapore River and Cuiaba city. Following his death, Teresa became the queen of the quilombo, and under her leadership, the black and indigenous community resisted slavery for two decades surviving up to 1770.

Queen Teresa led the political, administrative and economical structure of the quilombo, maintaining a defense system with guns redeemed from the nearby villages or traded with white society. Teresa herself headed up some of these trading missions. Stolen objects used against the black community that used to take refugees there were transformed into work instruments, because they knew how to work with forge. The quilombo do Guaritere, the parliament and a queen counselor, sold food, developed cotton production and owned looms where they produced fabric that was commercialized outside the quilombos. On appointed days of every week, deputies entered and Queen Teresa governed this quilombo as a Parliament. Teresa also applied harsh punishments.

There lived blacks who escaped forced labor in the gold mines and precious stones that were recently discovered in the area- another Brazilian gold rush, less remembered than that of the Mines. The population included Indians and Mestizos and reached 300 people. In it’s first decade, while the Portugese government was still unaware of it’s location, the traditional scheme was sufficient for the community to resist. The Amazon provided conditions for the existence of quilombo, even making it difficult to retaliate on the part of the slave system. The increase in mineral exploration in the region increases the flow of enslaved blacks and fugitives in the area. The Portugese siege intensifies.

The formula that worked until then, is no longer sufficient. Many flee to Spanish domains. For those who stay, serious changes. The quilombo was destroyed by the military forces of Luiz Pinto de Souza Countinho. The entire population was killed or arrested. July 25 is instituted as the Teresa de Benguela National Day and the Black Woman Day in Brazil.

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Queen Aesthetique Apparel

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Published by Kim Marie

Writer, photographer

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