Dandara de Palmeras was the wife of Zumbi dos Palmeras, the last king of Quilombo dos Palmeras an utopia of freed Afro-Brazilian slaves in modern-day state of Alagoas. Dandara although a woman in the highly patriarchal 17th century was very instrumental in the defending of the utopian community from Dutch and Portuguese colonist who saught to reclaim the freed slaves in the 1630s.
Dandara was not only a warrior but also multitasked efficiently in agriculture as she cultivated cassava, beans, sweet potatoes, bananas and sugarcane plantations. Alongside woodwork, ceramics and metallurgy helped the slave utopia to become self-sufficient.
Dandara also played a massive role in Zumbi’s emancipation from his uncle, Ganga-Zumba, when he signed a treaty with the Portuguese which endorsed slavery instead of ending it.
The Quilombo dos Palemeras finally crumbled after sixty-seven years of resistance against the Portuguese on February 6th, 1694, Dandara was captured. While being led away, she leapt from a quarry into the abyss to die a free woman.
Fun Facts: Dandara inspired “Dandara” the indie video game developed by Long Hat House .
Video credit: The Great Griot