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
Brothers of the Peak: Prosopography of a Penal Community
Chapter 4 explores the identities of the penal colony’s inhabitants. It first conducts a statistical and a qualitative reading of convict matriculation records that offer a wealth of biographical detail. These records reveal their makers’ worldviews, and the ideological assumptions and political concerns that they brought to bear in enumerating, classifying, and ordering a convict population. A handful of army officers and civilian civil servants ran the colony. Around 100–200 army enlisted men provided the colony’s security forces. A small group of free vendors had permission to reside and conduct commerce on the island. There was also a number of...