Muckers' Rebellion

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Muckers' Rebellion

Muckers' Rebellion, millenarian uprising (1872–1874) organized by a second-generation German Protestant immigrant couple, Jacobina and João Jorge Maurer, in the community of Ferrabrás, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. João Maurer gained fame as a healer throughout the municipality, and Jacobina had gathered a following by interpreting biblical passages and entering a trance state at will. The rebellion's roots date to 1872, when the Maurers and their followers began preaching an end of the world and advising a separatist existence. This alienated other residents of Ferrabrás. By 1873, the Maurers and their growing sect were living as a commune at Ferrabrás, with Jacobina claiming to be the reincarnation of Christ. Tensions heightened when local inhabitants labeled them "os Muckers," a term synonymous with "fanatic" or "hypocrite," and many viewed their activities as a threat to the entire province. Jacobina was derided as "the Sainted Christ" and violent behavior (including murder) was attributed to the Muckers.

Believing that they could get no help from local or provincial authorities, the Muckers appealed directly to the emperor but received no reply. Desperate, they purchased arms to protect themselves, declaring that the end of the world was near and that God had chosen them to exterminate their enemies. After the burning of thirteen homes by the Muckers on June 25, 1874, the district chief of police responded on June 26 by attacking the Mucker premises. On August 2, after a major assault by National Guard troops, 120 members of the sect either were killed, surrendered, or escaped. Jacobina was among those killed. Her husband's whereabouts were never discovered.

The Muckers' rebellion was one of a series of movements in late-nineteenth-century Brazil, including Quebra-Quilos (1874–1875), the millenarian movements of Juazeiro (1899–present), Canudos (1893–1897), and the later Contestado Rebellion (1912–1916), which resulted from the shifting political climate of the Brazilian Empire, church-state conflicts, the modernization of transportation systems that brought in new immigrants and so increased the conflict between new and old settlers, and tensions among Catholic and Protestant immigrants.

See alsoMessianic Movements: Brazil .


Leopoldo Petry, O episódio do Ferrabráz (Os Mucker) (1966).

Moacyr Domingues, A nova face dos Muckers (1977).

Janaína Amado, Conflito social no Brasil: A revolta dos "Mucker," Rio Grande do Sul 1868–1898 (1978).

Additional Bibliography

Amado, Jana'na. A revolta dos Mucker: Rio Grande do Sul, 1868–1898. Sao Leopoldo, Brasil: Editora Unisinos, 2002.

Sant'Ana, Elma. Jacobina, a l'der dos Mucker. Porto Alegre: AGE, 2001.

Sant'Ana, Elma. Minha amada Maria: Cartas dos Mucker. Canoas: Editora da Ulbra, 2004.

                                 Nancy E. van Deusen