Capture of a Runaway Slave, Brasil, 1826

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Image Reference

Alcide Dessalines d'Orbigny, Voyage pittoresque dans les deux Amériques (Paris, 1836), facing p. 206, fig. 4. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library)

Caption, “Capitào do Matto.” The Brazilian scholar, Gilberto Freyre, defines the capitào do matto as a “bush captain, one whose profession it was to recapture fugitive slaves” (The Masters and the Slaves [New York, 1956], p. 482). In this engraving (which is not described in the text) the Capitao is shown on horseback, armed with a rifle, leading a bound captured runaway. The author met such a person, described as half-Portuguese, half-mulatto, and describes his local authority (p. 196).