Ganga Zumba

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Ganga Zumba was the first of the leaders of Quilombo dos Palmares, or Angola Janga, in the present-day state of Alagoas, Brazil. Zumba was a slave who escaped bondage on a sugar plantation and assumed his destiny as heir to the kingdom of Palmares and the title Ganga Zumba. Although some Portuguese documents give him the name Ganga Zumba, and this name is widely used today, the most important of the documents translates the name as "Great Lord," which is probably not correct. However, a letter written to him by the governor of Pernambuco in 1678 and now found in the Archives of the University of Coimbra, calls him "Ganazumba," which is a better translation of "Great Lord" (in Kimbundu) and thus was probably his name.

A quilombo or mocambo was a refuge of runaway slaves who were forcibly brought to Brazil mainly from Angola that escaped their bondage and fled into the interior of Brazil to the mountainous region of Pernambuco. As their numbers increased, they formed maroon settlements, called mocambos.

Gradually as many as ten separate mocambos had formed and ultimately coalesced into a confederation called the Quilombo of Palmares, or Angola Janga, under a king, Ganga Zumba or Ganazumba, who may have been elected by the leaders of the constituent mocambos. Ganga Zumba, who ruled the biggest of the villages, Cerro dos Macacos, presided the mocambo's chief council and was considered the King of Palmares. The nine other settlements were headed by...
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