Rebouças, André (1838–1898)

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Rebouças, André (1838–1898)

André Rebouças (b. 13 January 1838; d. 9 May 1898), Brazilian abolitionist, engineer, teacher, and advocate of land reform. A mulatto, Rebouças was the son of Antônio Pereira Rebouças, a national deputy from Bahia. Educated at the military school in Rio de Janeiro as a mathematician and engineer, he became a close friend and adviser to many influential Brazilians, including Emperor Dom Pedro II. After travel and study in Europe in the early 1860s, he returned to Brazil in time to play an important role in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870) as an adviser and strategist. Later, having supervised major engineering projects, including the construction of railroads and docks in Rio de Janeiro, he became a teacher at the Polytechnical School, where he influenced many students. As an abolitionist in the 1880s he wrote articles, pamphlets, and manifestos; helped create immigrationist and antislavery organizations; advised fellow reformers; and donated his wealth to the cause. With slavery's collapse in 1888, Rebouças and other major abolitionists worked for additional reforms, including popular education and a program of land reform he called "rural democracy." Forced to leave Brazil during the military revolt of 1889, he accompanied the imperial family into exile. He spent the rest of his life in Europe, Africa, and on the island of Madeira, where he died mysteriously ten years to the day after the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies voted to end slavery. Rebouças was the author of many polemical articles, an informative diary, and Agricultura nacional (1883), an antislavery work calling for the democratization of Brazil's agriculture for the benefit of ex-slaves, immigrants, and the rural poor.

See alsoSlave Trade, Abolition of: Brazil; War of the Triple Alliance.


Inácio José Veríssimo, ed., André Rebouças através de sua auto-biografia (1939).

Robert Brent Toplin, The Abolition of Slavery in Brazil (1972).

Robert Edgar Conrad, The Destruction of Brazilian Slavery, 1850–1888, 2d ed., rev. (1992).

Additional Bibliography

Carvalho, Maria Alice Rezende de. O quinto século: André Rebouças e a construção do Brasil. Rio de Janeiro: Editora Revan, and IUPERJ, Univ. Candido Mendes, 1998.

Pessanha, Andréa Santos. Da abolição da escravatura á abolição da miséria: A vida e as idéias de André Rebouças. Rio de Janeiro: Quartet; and Belford Roxo: UNIABEU, 2005.

Santos, Sydney M. G. dos. André Rebouças e seu tempo. Petrópolis: Editora Vozes, 1985.

Spitzer, Leo. Lives In Between: Assimilation and Marginality in Austria, Brazil, West Africa, 1780–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

                            Robert Edgar Conrad