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.
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 so-called unattached residents. After the prohibition against women was relaxed, members of all these social categories brought their families and dependents with them, and there was no small number of children in the population.