Unit of dry measure equivalent to approx. 13.8 litres; also used as equivalent of planted land, theoretically equivalent to the amount of grain a given plot could yield.


Unit of weight, variable but usually equivalent to 32 lbs.

bairro rural:

Often translated as “rural neighborhood,” just as often shortened to bairro; may refer to tiny hamlet, substantive settlement, or rural district encompassing several properties, including large estates and their individual teams of resident workers.


Literally, flag; by extension, militia company; used in reference to some seventeenth-century expeditions to the wilderness at the time and more generally since then.


Invented eighteenth-century term for participants in so-called bandeiras.

bastardo (fem. bastarda):

Offspring of white father and Indian mother, considered closer to Indian population.


Unit of linear measure equivalent to 2.2 meters.


Ritual coparentage established through baptismal rite.


Literally “creole”; used most often in Brazil’s colonial and early national eras to describe a slave (African or Indian) born in captivity.


Used to refer to a slave (African or Indian) who had been “seasoned.”

lingua geral:

Tupi-Guarani lingua franca, developed largely by Jesuits, used in colonial-era relations with Tupian peoples.

mamaluco (fem. mamaluca; variation, mameluco, mameluca):

Offspring of white father and Indian mother, considered closer to white population.


Refers to person or persons of mixed ancestry.


Refers to person or persons of the settler society of the São Paulo region.


Plateau, tableland; in southeastern Brazil during colonial era, inland region of township of São Paulo and points north and west, excluding Paraíba River valley region to east.


Agricultural plot planted in subsistence crops, especially maize and manioc.

sertão (plural sertões):

Wilderness, backlands, distinct from povoado (area of established settlement).


Land grant, from Crown, proprietary governor, or representatives thereof; may refer to grant itself as well as land so bestowed.

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