Henrique Dias

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Portrait of Henrique Dias at the Museu do Estado de Pernambuco (Museum of the State of Pernambuco)

Henrique Dias (died 1662) was a soldier and militia leader born in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. He was born to freed slave parents. There is no consensus among historians whether he was born free or captive. He led freed slaves with distinction against Dutch forces, and played important roles in the First and Second Battles of Guararapes. For his courage and leadership in battle, the Portuguese king made him a knight of the Order of Christ.[1][2]

Colonial officials created militias composed of freeborn and recently manumitted blacks. These militias, which could be used to quell slave revolts, were referred to as "Henriques". Henriques were an example of cofradia or brotherhoods, usually having their own patron saint. In 1789, 752 crioulo and black freedmen served in seven Henriques regiments.[3]


  1. ^ MATTOS, Hebe Pretos and Pardos between the Cross and the Sword, 2006 Revista Europea de Estudios Latinoamericanos y del Caribe Online pdf.
  2. ^ MATTOS, Hebe Da Guerra Preta as hierarquias de cor no Atlântico Português Online pdf.
  3. ^ Hebe Mattos, "Black Troops and Hierarchies of Color in the Portuguese Atlantic World: The Case of Henrique Dias and his Black Regiment," Luso-Brazilian Review Volume 45, Number 1, 2008


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