Punishment in Paradise: Race, Slavery, Human Rights, and a Nineteenth-Century Brazilian Penal Colony
Peter M. Beattie is Associate Professor of History at Michigan State University. He is the author of The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil 1864-1945, also published by Duke University Press, and he has served as coeditor of the Luso Brazilian Review for the areas of history and social science since 2004.
“The Key to the Americas”?
Chapter 2 traces the colony’s colonial origins and evolving role in the larger penal justice system after Brazilians won their independence in 1822 until its closure as a national penal colony in 1898. It examines the colony’s evolution in relation to mainland history. Pernambuco and the army are privileged because they played key roles in the island’s history and most convicts came from Pernambuco and other northeastern provinces. Key moments in the histories of categories of the intractable poor are highlighted to illustrate their interconnection and the phenomena of category drift. This grounds a larger argument that human rights reforms...