The Malê Revolt Expo
The Malê Revolt (also known as The Great Revolt) is perhaps the most significant slave rebellion in Brazil. On a Sunday during Ramadan in January 1835, in the city of Salvador da Bahia, a small group of black slaves and freedmen, inspired by Muslim teachers, rose up against the government. Muslims were called malê in Bahia at this time, from Yoruba imale that designated a Yoruba Muslim.
The uprising also took place on the feast day of Our Lady of Guidance, a celebration in the Bonfim’s church’s cycle of religious holidays. As a result, many worshippers would travel to Bonfim for the weekend to pray or celebrate. Authorities would also be present in order to keep the celebrations in line. Consequently, there would be less people and authorities in the city, making it easier for the rebels to occupy Salvador.
Brazilian slaves knew about the Haitian Revolution (1791−1804) and wore necklaces bearing the image of President Dessalines, who had declared Haitian independence.