This book excavates a deeper history of black political struggle in the Brazilian Amazon, beginning long before 1988. This year was when Article 68 of Brazil's new constitution provided a legal avenue for the descendants of maroons (i.e., runaway slaves) to obtain collective title to their lands. But black peasant communities, and particularly maroons and their descendants, have been making political claims and defending their rights to land and resources for centuries. In The People of the River, Oscar de la Torre traces these struggles back to the time of slavery, through the period of abolition, and into the twentieth century. In doing so, the author makes an important contribution to our understanding of how Afro-Amazonian communities preserved their autonomy over time.

A central insight of the book is that the natural landscapes of Amazonia helped make marronage and other kinds...

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