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Dandara of Brazil

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  • Dandara of Brazil

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    Dandara was the wife of Zumbi, one of the most notable African liberation fighters in Brazil during the period of enslavement.

    They were maroons and lived in the quilombo (maroon state) of Palmares. Dandara is remembered in OURstory as being a daring warrior, powerful and loyal woman.

    She knew how to hunt, fight capoeira style, wield weapons, and led the female regiment of the Palmares army. She was also a farmer and produced cassava flour for her people.

    Dandara looked after sick children and elders who were disabled due to mistreatment by their enslavers.
    She took part in every battle, all the fights; she was present in everything that was created, organized, experienced and suffered in Palmares.

    In addition to being a capable leader, Dandara was also very influential. She played a key role in the separation between Zumbi and Ganga Zumba (the first major leader of Palmares) when Ganga Zumba wanted to sign a peace treaty with the Dutch. Dandara opposed the terms of the peace treaty, which would have required formerly enslaved Africans to return into bondage, and encouraged Zumbi to separate from Ganga Zumba because of it.

    Palmares was able to resist attacks from Europeans for 50 years before it was finally destroyed. She spent her life fighting against the enslavement of her people and fighting for her people to exist free on their own terms.

    In 1694 when Palmares was finally captured she refused to be re-enslaved. Dandara and several other maroons threw themselves from the highest quarry, preferring DEATH to being re-enslaved by their enemies.