Glossary

alqueire:

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.

arroba:

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.

bandeira:

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.

bandeirante:

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.

braça:

Unit of linear measure equivalent to 2.2 meters.

compadrio:

Ritual coparentage established through baptismal rite.

crioulo:

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

ladino:

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.

mestiço:

Refers to person or persons of mixed ancestry.

Paulista:

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

planalto:

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.

roça:

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

sertão (plural sertões):

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

sesmaria:

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

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