Chica Da Silva

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Chica da Silva was an Afro-Brazilian slave born Francisca da Silva de Oliveira in 18Th century Brazil to an African mother named Maria da Costa and a Portuguese overseer named Antônio Caetano e Sá. Chica was later sold to João Fernandes de Oliveira a rich Portuguese diamond mine operator, who freed her from slavery and famously became her life long partner. Chica da Silva became known as the slave who became queen because she went from a slave to an elitist which was unheard of during her time. Chica’s life story has fascinated historians and Brazilians alike for centuries with many myths regarding her life.
Due to the fact that Chica da Silva was born into slavery, but died a high class elite has led to many myths and adaptations about her
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Many enslaved men and women were treated very cruelly by the Portuguese men and it was almost impossible for enslaved men to become free in the same manner as enslaved woman were. Sometimes enslaved women would try and reproduce with white masters as a way of giving themselves or their children a better social status but this wasn’t always consensual. Most enslaved women were segregated against, abused, and raped by their masters, especially those of pure African ancestry. Mixed slaves such as Afro-Brazilians were treated a little better and more likely to achieve freedom as in Chica da Silva’s case. Free women were treated better than slaves in 18th century Brazil but were still segregated against. So some free women of color would try and better their lives by adapting to white society which included reproducing with white men, owning slaves, practicing Christianity, and joining social groups. But no free woman was able to adapt to white society like Chica da Silva did through her relationship with João…show more content…
After the death of Chica da Silva and João Fernandes their thirteen children went on to live their lives in paradoxical positions. Even though the children came from a rich background, were highly educated, and had grown up in a life of luxury, they were still segregated against based on their skin color. The children still had to prove that they were white enough to fit into this society. For example, Rita Quiteria one of Chica’s and João’s daughters, was arrested for the crime of concubinage even though she was living with her soon to be husband consensually. But due to the fact that Rita was of mixed race it was viewed as a crime to be living with a Portuguese second lieutenant without being married. After Rita was released from jail she married second lieutenant Bento Dias Chaves and had a daughter who became Rita’s sole heir.
Chica da Silva was not only an icon for many Afro-Brazilians, but for women of color as a whole. Chica was able to use social and matrimonial strategies in order to achieve freedom and control over her own life. Today, Chica da Silva’s life has been retold in movie adaptations such as Xica de Silva and books such as Chic da Silva, A Brazilian Slave of the Eighteenth
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