Lesson 208: Bahia: Brazil’s African Connection

African-Brazilians provide Brazil with internationally renowned cultural symbols: samba and carnival. The center of African-Brazilian culture is the city of Salvador in the state of Bahia. Its connection to Africa, physical and cultural, helps us understand the distinct cultural and culinary contributions from its vibrant repository of African influence and to recognize the heritage of slavery.

Learning Objective

Students will learn about Afro-Brazilian cultural and culinary contributions in Salvador.

Social Studies Standards

Culture B, C, D

Discussion Prompts

  • What are some of the reasons that Baia de Todos os Santos, All Saints Bay, was the best bay in the entire east coast of South America?
  • The discovery of All Saints Bay by the Europeans, Portuguese explorers, helped some people and harmed others. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Justify your response.
  • Elaborate on some of the ways the slaves used to comply with their masters’ rules while fulfilling their needs. What rules would you break and how would you conceal it?
  • Discuss how the Brazilians maintained the places and things that reflect their African roots. Which traditions would you keep and why?

Lesson Activities

  • Using a world map, estimate the distance and the length of the slave trade routes between the Angola (Africa), Portugal (Europe) and All Saints Bay (Brazil). Use the map to show and justify your findings.
  • Write an essay comparing the influence of slaves in your country and the one in Salvador and Cachoeira, the town created by the runaway slaves.
  • Create a visual representation of at least five things that called your attention about the African heritage in Brazil. Food, religion, symbols, and capoeira must be included in the work.
  • Today, Brazil has approximately, 213 million inhabitants while the United States (US) has approximately, 330 million inhabitants. Brazil imported twice as many slaves than the US. Make at least 4 inferences about the US and Brazil based on this numerical information.


  • acarajé
  • candomblé
  • capoeira
  • commodity
  • orixás
  • pelourinho
  • quilombolas
  • slotter
  • syncretism
  • terreiro