Teresa de Benguela

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Teresa de Benguela
Occupationquilombola leader
Spouse(s)José Piolho

Teresa de Benguela was a quilombola leader who lived in the state of Mato Grosso, in Brazil, during the 18th century. She was married to José Piolho, who headed the Quilombo do Piolho (or do Quariterê), between the Guaporé River (the boundary between Mato Grosso and Bolívia) and Cuiabá city. Following the death of José Piolho, Teresa became the queen of the quilombo, and, under her leadership, the black and indigenous community resisted slavery for two decades, surviving up to 1770, when the quilombo was destroyed by the military forces of Luiz Pinto de Souza Coutinho. The entire population (79 black people and 30 indigenous people) was killed or arrested.


Queen Teresa led the political, economical and administrative structure of the quilombo, maintaining a defense system with guns traded with white people or redeemed from the nearby villages. The stolen objects used against the black community that used to take refugee there were transformed into work instruments, because they knew how to work with forge. The Quilombo do Guariterê, besides the parliament and a queen counselor, developed cotton production and owned looms where they produced fabric that was commercialized outside the quilombos. They also used to sell food.[1]

Teresa de Benguela National Day[edit]

July 25 is instituted as the Teresa de Benguela National Day and the Black Woman day in Brazil by the 12 987 law.[2]


  1. ^ "Quem foi Tereza de Benguela". www.geledes.org.br. Geledes.org.br.
  2. ^ Lei 12.987 http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_Ato2011-2014/2014/Lei/L12987.htm