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Retirante, a term used to identify the sertanejos fleeing from the droughts that periodically scourge the backlands (Sertão) of northeastern Brazil. It came into wide usage during the Great Drought of 1877–1880, during which hundreds of thousands of backlanders migrated in search of shelter and subsistence, most of them to the coastal areas of the region. Substantial numbers, however, wound up leaving the Northeast and never returned. A short-lived newspaper with that name advocated the cause of these displaced people. Os flagellados, literally the "Beaten Ones," is another term applied to drought refugees. Despite a succession of government measures against drought beginning in the early twentieth century, these migrations still occur during major regional droughts.

See alsoDrought Region (Brazil) .


Gileno Dé Carli, Séculos de secas (1984).

Gerald Michael Greenfield, "The Great Drought and Elite Discourse in Imperial Brazil," in Hispanic American Historical Review 72, no. 3 (1992): 375-400.

                            Gerald Michael Greenfield