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Ganga Zumbi, according to African scholars, his name must have come from “Nganga Nzambi” an expression meaning “God’s priest” in Kikongo, a language spoken in the Kongo empire.

Ganga Zumba is remembered by historians as the hero and freedom fighter who was central to the history and modern-day struggle of the Brazilian Black Movement, having led an alliance of “independent settlements” called Quilombo dos Palmares.

An area located between the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco, in northeastern Brazil, Quilombo dos Palmares was founded by runway Brazilian African captives in the late 16th century as resistance to European colonizers and enslavers.

The area became one of the first places, in the Americas, where Black captives found freedom. For almost a hundred years, Black people in Quilombo fought against their oppressors, particularly the Portuguese who at that time attempted to colonize Brazil.


Zumba, as king of Quilombo in the 1670s, led these attacks against the oppressors, and despite repeated threats from the colonial authorities, Quilombo thrived as a fugitive captive set up a collective economy based upon subsistence agriculture, trade, and communal land ownership, according to accounts.

And all these were largely thanks to the leadership and intelligence of Zumba.

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