With the discovery of gold in the state of Minas Gerais in 1763, the colonial capital of Brazil was transferred from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro and was renamed the Capital do Vice — Reino do Brazil, or the vice kingdom of Brazil’s Capital. During this time, many of the slave revolts throughout the country had been successful and the escaped Africans (along with the indigenous and some white slaves) had begun to form autonomous jungle communities called ‘quilombos’. The most successful of these quilombos were: Campo Grande, formed circa 1750 Carlota, circa 1750 Palmares, circa 1770 Jabaquara 1880
The Republic of the Palmares (Quilombos dos Palmares) was the most famous of these slave communities and was hidden in the Belly Hills of Alagoas state (Serra da Barriga) in the North of Brazil. Despite strong opposition from the authorities, Palmares survived for almost a century and reached a population of around twenty thousand. The strength of this legendary quilombo has often been attributed to the black warrior Zumbi, who was said to have been the nephew of an African princess and one of Palmares greatest leaders. Using the rituals of Capoeira as inspiration, King Zumbi motivated his humiliated people to find a unity and fight for freedom. In 1869, the secret location of Palmares was revealed to the authorities by a turncoat slave and the quilombo was eventually destroyed. After its destruction, Capoeira warriors from this and other renegade quilombos united into self made armies and began to plunder cities of Brazil, particularly Rio de Janeiro.
Finally, on the 13th of May 1888, Portuguese Princess Isabel officially liberated all Africans from slavery in Brazil. After so called liberation, many capoeiristas became bodyguards for politicians (the real owners of power in the new republican of Brazil) Furthermore, a great majority of the newly freed Africans could not find employment and just “hung out” on the city streets, forming powerful Capoeira gangs called maltas. Capoeira’s reputation lead it’s teaching to be prohibited. Capoeira was not to be easily disposed of however and the game was revived in Bahia, when it was introduced into formal martial art academies in the 1930’s. It has even been said that Bahia was the only place in Brazil were Capoeira survived in its full cultural and artistic form.
The revival was lead by Mr Manoel Bimba dos Reis Machado, who started to teach a new style of play he had named: Luta Baiana Regional or the Bahian Regional Fight. In the 1940’s Master Bimba performed this new discipline in an official demonstration for the Brazilian authorities. Soon after, Capoeira was proclaimed by President Getulio Vargas as the authentic “National Martial Art Sport of Brazil”.