Women in colonial Rio de Janeiro

Welcome to my page! Here, you will find information about the daily lives of women in colonial Rio de Janeiro.  Research up until now has shown that life in colonial Rio was extremely patriarchal. Women were part of of one of the most marginalized groups of society and lived according to the rules set by the men around them. I’ve divided up my research to focus on elite and slave women. Further, research is divided in to the following categories:

  • The role of the Church in influencing gender stereotypes
  • The role of society in promulgating these gender stereotypes. While addressing the role of society, I’ve looked at two sub aspects to help me better understand the topic:
  1. The role of families and men
  2. The role of visual culture (fashion) in demarcating social classes.

So which group was more marginalized? Elite or slave women? Look in the conclusion section to find out!

Early evening refreshment in Rio de Janeiro by Jean Baptiste Debret

To conduct my research, I consulted several primary and secondary sources. Paintings such as the one above, titled ‘Early Evening Refreshment’ by Jean Baptiste Debret proved valuable in learning about society and fashion in colonial Rio. I also consulted various documents written by travelers and missionaries who visited Rio during the time. For secondary sources, I looked towards various books and journal articles written by Latin American historians. You can find a list of my sources in the ‘References’ Section!

Check out new posts to find out more about women in colonial Rio de Janeiro!

 Header and background image both by Jean Baptiste Debret