Combining modern scholarship with a wealth of documentary and archival evidence, this is an authoritative portrait of the lives of slaves and free persons of colour in colonial Brazil. The author charts the working conditions, domestic lives, preoccupations and aspirations of slaves and their fellow freed men. In a work which underlines the validity and importance of minority histories, he argues that the slaves and freedmen of colonial Brazil maintained and preserved their own cultural identity, taking decisions independently of the white ruling class. The result is not a history of extremes - black and white, slave and master - but instead an account of the ambiguities surrounding issues of race, freedom and the individual, which provides an insight not only in to the past and present of Brazil, but also into areas of racial and social identity. With an extensive preface outlining recent developments in the field, and a full and updated bibliography, this edition of aims to provide information for students and historians alike.