BRAZIL IS NUPE By Ndagi Abdullahi Amana Nupe

BRAZIL IS NUPE By Ndagi Abdullahi Amana Nupe

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Over 90% the population of Brazil today is of Nupe descent. More than half the population of Brazil was initially made up of Nupe slaves and their descendants who were shipped through the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to the Americas.

Many of the people recorded or documented as Nago, Takua, Aratako, Males, Minas, and even as Yoruba, Hausa, and so on and on, among the slave records of Slave Era Brazil were actually Nupe people and slaves. Even Koelle in his monumental Polyglotta made the mistake of mistaking many Nupe slaves repatriated to West Africa as belonging to other non-Nupe tribes.


But the truth remains that an overwhelming majority of the slaves and their descendants in Slave Era Brazil were full- blooded Nupencizhi. It was after the Bahia Slave Revolt of 1835, spearheaded by the Nupe ex-slave Sheikh Sanim Luis Ricardo da Silva, that the Brazil authorities adopted the active policy of mass deportation of Nupe slaves back to Africa and also a systematic reduction of the Black African population of Brazil that have led to the population of Blacks in Brazil today being 10%.

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In the beginning the population of Brazil was nearly 60 per cent Black African with an overwhelming section of this Black African population of Brazil being Nupe. In those days the population of Brazil was roughly 50% pure Nupe.

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After the Bahia Slave Rebellion popularly known as the Males Slave Rebellion which was organized, led and carried out by most Nupe Muslims, the Brazilian Government began to actively deport its Nupe population back to Africa not back to KinNupe but to several West African countries including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. In Nigeria these Nupe returnee ex-slaves were variously settled in Lagos, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Owerri and many other places.

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Thus we see a worldwide Nupe diaspora resulting from Brazil in those days of the latter half of the nineteenth century and the beginning decades of the twentieth century. In fact President Sylvanus Olympio, who was both the first Prime Minsiter and the first president of Togo, was a Nupe descendant of the Nupe ex-slave Francisco Olympio Sylvio from Brazil.

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Francisco Olympio Sylvio was repatriated from Brazil after the Bahia Slave Revolt of the Nupe people. This Francisco Olympio Sylvio became the grandfather of Sylvanus Olympio the first Prime Minster and first President of Togo. In the days before, and even immediately after, the Bahia Slave revolt an overwhelming section of the Brazilian population was Black African Negroid and Nupe in particular.

The point here is that the Nupe population forms the foundation of the Black population of Brazil right from the beginning. In fact when Tapa Oshodi, the Nupe Chief from Lagos, visited Brazil in 1846 all the Black people in Brazil in those days said that they are Nupe and that they would love to migrate en masse back to KinNupe.


So overwhelming was the Nupe population of slave era Brazil that Nupe became a Lingua Franca among not only the Black but even the White population of Brazil in former times. In fact Nupe was still spoken openly in Brazil as recent as the 1920s or the first decades of the twentieth century. To this very day the Black people of Brazil use the Nupe language in their religious liturgies even though they don’t understand the language anymore.

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And the Brazilians, both Black and White, are still proud of their Nupe ancestry to this very day. The Brazilians are still referring to themselves as a Nupe people to this very day. Today virtually everybody in Brazil – the Blacks, the mulattoes and the Whites – have overwhelming Nupe blood in them and Brazil today has the largest population of Nupe people anywhere in the world.

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The population of Nupe people and people of Nupe descent in Brazil is close to two hundred million in contrast to the thirty or so million population of Nupe people and their descent here in Nigeria. So, the Nupe population of Brazil is far more than the Nupe population of KinNupe. Brazil is the largest concentration and bastion of Nupe people in the world today.

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Everybody in Brazil today, the Black Africans, the Mulatto Pardos, and the Whites, all have Nupe bloodlines in them. Everybody in Brazil today has Nupe blood in them in varying degrees. The traditional culture of Brazil is also undergirded by this strong Nupe milieu to this very day.

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The Salvador Carnival, the largest carnival in the world, began as a Nupe carnival and is essentially Nupe to this vry day. Salvador, the capital of Bahia, was a Nupe settlement through and through until recent historical times. In fact the famous Male Rebellion or Bahia Slave Revolt by the Nupe people actually took place in the city of Salvador da Bahia.


The Capoeira martial dance of the Brazilians to this very day originated from the Kangi martial dance of the Nupes. Even the food and cuisine of Brazil remains to this day essentially a Nupe cuisine. In Brazil the Nupe delicacies of Akara, or deep-fried beans cake, Kpami or Okro soup, etc, etc, remain major cuisinary elements to this very day. The traditional religion of Brazil is also Nupe to this very day.

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The large population of Nupes in Slave Era Brazil led to the expansion of the traditional Nupe spiritualism and religion of Eba or Ebasan, known as Ifa among the Yorubas, among the general Brazilian population. This Nupe traditional spiritualism and religion have ramificated into various forms including Santeria, Lukumi, Abakwa, and have also syncretised with Roman Catholicism to produce Brazil and Latin America’s unique and peculiar form of Catholcism.

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As a matter of fact the Samba traditional religious dance that has become a national culture of Brazil today was originally formalized by Hila ısta de Almeida popularly known as Aunty Ciata who was a Nupe woman who was born in the Brazilian Nupe city of Salvador da Bahia in 1854. Using her public figure of a candy confectioner and seller of sweets and pastries and as a Samba dance teacher guise Aunty Ciata was able to successfully initiate many people into the secret Nupe spiritualism and religion of Ebasan at her house in Rio de Janiero.

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Aunty Ciata was so proud of her Nupe heritage she was always dressed in traditional Nupe dresses even though she was never ever able to visit KinNupe in Nigeria and lived all her life in Brazil. We should note the fact that this same Nupe population of Brazil was repartriated in large numbers to Lagos from the 1820s to the 1890s. In Lagos these Nupe people became known as the Aguda people and they can still be seen as a large, influential and indigenous section of the Lagos population to this very day. Actually the Aguda of Lagos also includes Nupe people from Cuba, the so-called Afro-Cubans.

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Author: Ndagi Abdullahi
Royal Title: Amana Nupe
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