Dados is one of the most widely-read social sciences journals in Latin America. Created in 1966, it publishes innovative works, originating from academic research, by Brazilian and foreign authors. Edited by IESP-UERJ, it aims to reconcile scientific rigor and academic excellence with an emphasis on public debate based on the analysis of substantive issues of society and politics.
This essay suggests a scheme to approach the division into periods (and study) of the history of the free peasantry in the Brazilian Northeast, and seeks to construct a framework from the general lines of the formative and expropriation process of the poor planters from Pernambuco province during the nearly two centuries of predominance and total dominion of slave-based agriculture. It proposes that this process be regarded as a long-term movement, closely connected to both the ebbs and flows of demand from the world market and to the diverse - in time and space - capacities of the slave-based agrarian system to effectively meet this demand. It argues that, throughout the 18th century, there were peasant communities that were linked to the export market, via tobacco and manioc cultivation; and that these communities, which multiplied and expanded under the impact of the industrial revolution in the region through the English demand for cotton, were expropriated during the last decades of the 18th century and the early years of the 19th century, due also to impulses coming from the Political, technological, and social changes resulting from industrialization. The consequences of this expropriation are discussed, and the decomposition of peasant society in the eastern Northeast is designated as an essential element to explain the turbulence and popular agitation in the region which stimulated armed conflicts, traditionally viewed as exclusive matters for the élites during the critical constitution phase of the national State. The essay doses with a consideration of the 1850s as a time dominated by the suspension of the inter-Atlantic slave trade - in which an anti-peasant 'project' was forged within the national State, since the successive reforms proclaimed during these years aimed at demarcating - both in the coffee-growing regions in the South and the sugar cane zones in the Northeast - the juridical and ideological spaces needed for the formation of a labor force drawn from the peasant communities, which would allow the transition to à new social and productive system.Campesinato e Escravidão: Uma Proposta de Periodização para a História dos Cultivadores Pobres Livres no Nordeste Oriental do Brasil: c. 1700-1875