Back to Africa, Amaros versus Americos a tale of two stories

Amaros – Positive asssimilation

 

The Amaros, who were sometimes called Nago in Brazil (Nago, indicates Yoruba ethnicity) were liberated slaves from Brazil and Cuba. Returnees from Brazil and Cuba and their current-day descendants were and are more commonly called “Agudas”. They went to the New World as slaves from different sub-ethnic and ethnic backgrounds but approached relationships among themselves as equals. They came back to Nigeria, principally to re-connect with their fatherland. In Lagos, they were given the watery terrains of Popo Aguda as their settlement. They were not brought up in the Anglican faith like the Sierra Leoneans but chose Catholicism, the dominant religion in Brazil and Cuba. By the 1880s, the Agudas comprised about 9% of the population of Lagos. It should be remembered that some of the Agudas were Muslims. Some of the Catholic Brazilians and Cubans also worshipped African Orishas which they had also worshipped in Brazil and Cuba. These Amaros gave Portuguese and Spanish names in Nigeria.

The Brazilian returnees were notably technically skilled artisans and were known for the distinctive Brazilian architecture built in their settlements and later in the Lagos environs. During the time, modern European architecture was not only meant to be a nice abode but also a dominating advertisement to show Africans of a different style and culture.[8] However, in due time, the Brazilian style emerged as a viable alternative and modern style used by African contractors working on public and large private jobs such as the Holy Cross Cathedral in Lagos and the Mohammed Shitta Bey Mosque. The Brazilians introduced to Nigeria elaborate architectural designs, two-story buildings and bungalows with stucco facades. The Brazilian returnees also popularized the use of Cassava as a food crop.[9] They had pioneered trade with Brazil in the mid nineteenth century. But by the 1880s, ruinous competitors and an economic downturn had forced many to abandon the export trade. Agriculture soon became an avenue to supplement shortfalls in economic activity. They also introduced Cocoa Plantations together with Saro, J.P.L. Davies

 

migrants from Brazil and Cuba.[1] Saros and Amaros also settled in other West African countries such as the Gold Coast (Ghana).  Latin American countries such as Brazil and Cuba. Liberated “returnee” Africans from Brazil were more commonly known as “Agudas”, from the word àgùdà in the Yoruba language. Most of the Latin American returnees or Amaros started migrating to Africa after slavery was abolished on the continent. Many of the returnees chose to return to Nigeria for cultural, missionary and economic reasons. Many (if not the greater majority) of them were originally descended from the Yoruba of western and central Nigeria.

The returnees mostly resided in the Lagos Colony, with substantial populations in Abeokuta and Ibadan. Some also settled in Calabar, Port Harcourt and other cities in the Niger Delta. Though, many were originally dedicated Anglophiles in Nigeria, they later adopted an indigenous and patriotic attitude on Nigerian affairs due to a rise in discrimination in the 1880s,[2] and were later known as cultural nationalists.

(The late Nigerian billionaire, was a descendent of Amaros)

Image result for Deinde Fernandez
Americo Liberians – From slaves to slave masters

“The love of liberty brought us here”, was the motto of some 13,000 persons who crossed the Atlantic to create new settlements on the Grain Coast of West Africa between 1817 and 1867 with the aid of the American Colonization Society.

The majority of African Americans who set sail for Africa were educated free blacks who owned property and hailed from Maryland and Virginia.warfare between the Americo-Liberians and the indigenous groups.

“The blacks from America who went to Liberia took with them the worst lessons of the ante-bellum South,” said Williams. “They treated the Africans they met there the way the slaveholders in the American South treated them.”

Still, they struggled. The farming techniques they learned in Pennsylvania and North Carolina were inappropriate in Liberia’s tropical climate. There was no “mother country” to provide financial support, and the colonists received very little support from the ACS, which was always in debt.

 

The early settlers practiced their Christian faith, sometimes in combination with traditional African religious beliefs. They spoke an African American Vernacular English, and few ventured into the interior or mingled with local African peoples. They developed an Americo-Liberian society, culture and political organization that was strongly influenced by their roots in the United States, particularly the country’s Southeast.

Today, the Americo-Liberian population numbers about 150,000. Americo-Liberians were credited for Liberia’s largest and longest economic expansion, especially William V. S. Tubman, who did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendants of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior.[3] Most of the powerful old Americo-Liberian families fled to the United States in the 1980s after President William Tolbert was assassinated in a military coup.

Making up about 5% of the Liberian population, Americo-Liberians dominated national politics from the founding of the colony until Samuel Doe led a military coup in 1980. There is debate about how Americo-Liberians held on to power for so long. Some attribute it to the fact that divisions were based on “light-skin vs. dark skin”, particularly because the first president was of mixed race, as were numerous immigrants, reflecting the nature of African-American society in the Upper South. Scholars have noted, however, that during the Americo-Liberian reign, the leaders had an array of skin colors and African-European admixture, meaning that theory is unlikely. It is more likely they built their power on their connections to the ACS, familiarity with American culture and economics, and ability to create a network of shared interests. Others believe their long reign was in part due to the Masonic Order of Liberia, a fraternal organization, as opposed to colorism. A marble Masonic Lodge was built in 1867 as one of Monrovia’s most impressive buildings. It was considered a bastion of Americo-Liberian power, and was strong enough to survive the civil war. After years of neglect after the war the Masonic order has repaired the lodge.[4]

The Americo-Liberian settlers were, from the beginning, essentially American rather than African in outlook and orientation. They retained preferences for western modes of dress, Southern plantation-style homes, American food, Christianity, the English language, and monogamous kinship practices. The settlers held land individually in contrast to the communal ownership of the African population and their political institutions were modeled on those of the United States with an elected president, a legislature made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives, and a supreme court. They seldom intermarried with indigenous Africans and tried to influence the interior inhabitants primarily through evangelization and trade.

But the nation as a whole struggled. Americo-Liberians, based mainly around Monrovia, denied the native tribes the right to vote under the new constitution and even used them as forced labor. It was the beginning of more than 100 years of totalitarian rule by the colonists.

According to Carl P. Burrowes, co-author of The Historical Dictionary of Liberia, an alliance between executive branch officials and local traditional rulers helped Americo-Liberians keep their grip on power. Local chiefs delivered bloc votes to urban leaders during elections.Reflecting the system of racial segregation in the United States, the Americo-Liberians created a cultural and racial caste system with themselves at the top and indigenous Liberians at the bottom.[13][14][15] They believed in a form of racial equality by which meant that all residents of Liberia had the potential of to become “civilized” through conversion to Christianity and western-style education

The graft culminated during the 1923 election when incumbent candidate D. B. King received 45,000 votes at a time when only 6,000 voters were legally registered. “[It] earn[ed] Liberia a dubious place in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s most rigged election,” Burrowes wrote via e-mail.

Over the years, the U.S. government took little interest in Liberia other than as a military and intelligence outpost. In 1926, the Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company opened its largest rubber factory in the world in Liberia. It quickly became the backbone of the Liberian economy, and as recently as the 1970s, Liberia’s per capita income was equal to Japan’s.

But ordinary Liberians grew increasingly angry at the corrupt rule of the Americo-Liberian “True Whig” party. In 1979, riots convulsed Monrovia when President William R. Tolbert Jr., whose family was the biggest importer of rice in Liberia, proposed an increase in the price of the commodity.

A year later, Tolbert was killed and 13 of his ministers shot on a beach during a coup led by Master Sergeant Samuel Doe that destroyed the old dominance of the Americo-Liberians and set in motion a cycle of violence

 

In 1980, a violent military coup was led by Samuel Doe. Doe’s tenure as leader of Liberia led to a period of civil wars, resulting in destruction of the country’s economy. In the early 21st century, Liberia has been reduced to one of the most impoverished nations in the world, in which most of the population lives below the international poverty line.

 The Tabom people
 The Tabom People or Agudas refers to the Afro-Brazilian community in South of Ghana. The Tabom People are an Afro-Brazilian community of former slavesreturnees. When they arrived in South Ghana and Accra and they could speak only Portuguese, so they greeted each other with “Como está?” (How are you?) to which the reply was “Tá bom”,[1] so the Ewe people, Ga-Adangbe people and Akan people in of South Ghana and Accra started to call them the Tabom People.

The Afro-Brazilian descendants and community in South Ghana dates back to one study from the 19th century that between an estimated 3,000 and 8,000 former slaves decided to return to Africa.[2]

Up to now it is not very clear, if the Tabom really bought their freedom and decided to immediately come back or if they were at that time free workers in Brazil, they came after the Malê Revolt of 1835 in Bahia. A lot of Afro-Brazilians when percecuted found their way back to Ghana, Togo, Bennin and Nigeria especially those who organised the Malê Revolt.[2] In Ghana it is common to find family names like de Souza, Silva, or Cardoso. Some of them have been very well known in Ghana.[2] The first Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, Raymundo de Souza Dantas, arrived in 1961.[

In Ghana, the representative group of people that decided to come back from Brazil is the Tabom People. They came back on a ship called SS Salisbury, offered by the British government. About seventy Afro-Brazilians of seven different families arrived in South Ghana and Accra, in the region of the old port in James Town in 1836.[2] The reception by the Mantse Nii Ankrah of the Otublohum area was so warm that they decided to settle down in Accra.[2] The leader of the Tabom group at the time of their arrival was a certain Nii Azumah Nelson.[2]The eldest son of Azumah Nelson, Nii Alasha, was his successor and a very close friend to the Ga King Nii Tackie Tawiah.[2] Together they helped in the development of the whole community in commerce.[2]

At the present moment the Tabom Mantse is Nii Azumah V, descendant of the Nelson’s. The Taboms are also known as the founders of the First Scissors House in 1854, the first tailoring shop in the country, which had amongst other activities, the task to provide the Ghanaian Army with uniforms.[2] Proof of these skills is without any doubt Dan Morton, another Tabom and one of the most famous tailors nowadays in Accra.[2]

In Ghana, the de Souza family can be found around Osu, Kokomele and other parts of the Greater Accra regionand South Ghana. Sekondi-Takoradi and Cape Coast are also other bases.[2] Almost all of them remained along the costal regions of South Ghana.[2] However, it is very common to see a De Souza, a Wellington, a Benson, a Palmares, a Nelson, an Azumah, Amorin, Da Costa, Santos, De Medeiros, Olympio and other Afro-Brazilians in Ghana speaking perfect Ga-Adangbe language, Ewe language and Akan language. [2] This is because most of the Afro-Brazilian people got married to Ewe andGa-Adangbes and Akans [2]

Because they were welcomed by the Ewe people, Ga-Adangbe people and Akan people and received by their kings as personal guests, the Taboms received lands in privileged locations, in places that are nowadays very well known estates, like Asylum Down, the area near to the central train station and around the Accra Brewery Company.[2] In those areas, the mango trees planted by them bear silent witnesses to their presence. In the estate of North Ridge there is a street called “Tabom Street”, which is a reminder of the huge plantations that they formerly had there.[2] Some of the Taboms live nowadays in James Town, where the first house built and used by them as they arrived in South Ghana is located.[2] It is called the “Brazil House” and can be found in a short street with the name “Brazil Lane”.[2] Because of their agricultural skills, they started plantations of mango, cassava, beans and other vegetables. They brought also skills such as irrigationtechniques, architecture, carpentry, blacksmithing, gold smithing, tailoring, amongst others, which certainly improved the quality of life of the whole community.[2]

Nowadays the Taboms are completely integrated in the Ghanaian society and are a part of the Ga-Adangbe People, Ewe People and Akan Peopl

Game Changers : Ghana-Based Digital Arts Company Brings African Folklore to Life Through Interactive Comics, Mobile Games

<iframe id="2c77404f98" name="2c77404f98" src="//mirrordigital-d.openx.net/w/1.0/afr?auid=538565249&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="728" height="90"><a href="//mirrordigital-d.openx.net/w/1.0/rc?cs=2c77404f98&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE" ><img src="//mirrordigital-d.openx.net/w/1.0/ai?auid=538565249&cs=2c77404f98&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE" border="0" alt=""></a></iframe><span id=”mce_marker” data-mce-type=”bookmark” data-mce-fragment=”1″></span>Say goodbye to Clark Kent and hello to a host of badass superheroes known as Africa’s Legends.

These aren’t just any superheroes, however. They’re a unique set of characters drawn from the rich African tradition of storytelling and African folklore.

For Ghana-based gaming studio Leti Arts, the mission is to present these stories on a worldwide stage, mainstreaming the continent’s rich culture through a series of digital comics and interactive games.

“Leti Arts reimagines African folklore and historic legends, interspersed with fictional characters, as elite superheroes fighting crime in present day Africa,” the company’s website states. We’re poised on delivering “world class entertainment to our consumers.”

Developing quality interactive media games for the world to enjoy is just one part of the Leti Arts empire. The company also works to create job opportunities for young talent in Africa while working to cement the continent as a viable contender in the world gaming industry. Their commitment to fostering local talent, industry growth, and providing internships/training is what has earned the company international success thus far.

With a new digital game in the works, Leti Arts is looking to take its folklore-inspired projects to new heights. Atlanta Black Star spoke with Leti Arts’ PR manager Abena Addai to learn more about the company’s history, mission and influence behind its digital arts concepts.

ABS: When and why was Leti Arts founded?

Addai: Leti Arts was founded in 2009, and we currently have two offices in Ghana and Kenya. Leti was founded on the grounds of preserving our heritage and culture. Contemporary Africa hasn’t kept up with modern forms and genres of storytelling. This has caused a disconnect between millennials, our history and culture, and the actual content they consume. Leti aims to remedy this by curating all these stories, including our history and folklore, and present them in a way that our current generation is used to. We do this by creating interactive digital comics and mobile games that present stories of historic African legends in the 21st century with compelling visuals. We believe that digitization is a better long-term bet for preserving our heritage for future generations.

ABS: Your digital comics and mobile games are unique in that they draw inspiration from African folklore. Why did you think it was important to feature African culture in your digital projects?

Addai: We want to present the African heritage in a way that will make millennials both in Africa and the Diaspora genuinely excited to engage and interact with. The current ways of telling our stories are boring and not innovative. They also tend to be extremely exaggerated or watered down. We want to bring these stories to the world in a simple, fun, entertaining and authentic way. Our comics and games tell the stories of all these great legends that many millennials might not have even heard of.

ABS: What are the names of some of the characters featured in your Africa’s Legends superhero series, and which historic African figures/folklore characters were they inspired by?

Addai: We have Shaka Zulu, who is a descendant of the great Shaka Zulu from South Africa. He is a policeman who finds out that he can command the ghost army of his ancestor to come to his aid when he is in trouble.

Pharaoh was inspired by the ancient Pharaohs from Egypt. Our Pharaoh is unnamed and has just been awakened by a cosmic event after being dead for 200 years. He brings the Africa’s Legends together while seeking the reason why he has been awakened from his slumber.

Sundi and The Wadaabi Assassin are based on the nomadic Wodaabe tribe that can be found in Niger. These characters are highly skilled in martial arts and don’t see eye to eye despite having been trained by the same master.

ABS: How many downloads have your digital comics and mobile games gotten so far?

Addai: So far we have had 70,000 downloads without any aggressive marketing. [The] majority of these downloads are from Africa, especially Egypt. The rest are from America, Canada and the U.K.

Shaka Zulu 1Shaka Zulu from Leti Arts digital gaming series Africa’s Legends. Image courtesy of Leti Arts.

ABS: What educational purpose(s) do your comics/mobile games serve regarding African life and culture?

Addai: Our oral traditions are dying out, which means that most of our stories and traditions which have been handed down from generation to generation will go with it. These are the stories we hope to capture in our comics. A kid wouldn’t have to read a whole lot of pages to learn about Shaka Zulu or Okomfo Anokye. These would all be accurately summarized in the comic. They would also have superheroes that they can relate to.

Apart from this, the Africa’s Legends franchise addresses some of the prevalent issues Africa faces. These include sanitation, corruption, jet fuel sniffing in children, child trafficking and a few others. We hope that by bringing these issues to light, Africans will rise up and work towards making our continent better.

ABS: In what ways does Leti Arts create job opportunities through gaming?

Addai: The business of developing Africa’s game industry will require business majors, intellectual property lawyers, entrepreneurs and institutions to teach and certify industry professionals. The potential for gaming to create jobs and improve lives in Africa is therefore extensive.

Already we have had success in empowering about 60 interns from tertiary institutions in Ghana. We have also mentored and encouraged 10 talented high school students to pursue degrees which allow them to follow their passion of developing games.

ABS: What does Leti Arts hope to accomplish over the next five years?

Addai: We want our superheroes to become household names worldwide. We want to have partnerships with African and global businesses to develop Africa’s Legends into a multi-faceted franchise that covers core comics, games, merchandise, feature films and animation (TV and TV series).

We also want to see increased downloads of our games and apps on the devices of young people in Africa and around the world.

Africa’s Legends True Ananse character. Image courtesy of Leti Arts.
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Superhero Ruddy Sans, the illegitimate child of President Mubacha and Donald. Image courtesy of Leti Arts.
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Africa’s Legends Pharaoh character, inspired by the ancient Pharaohs of Egypt. Image courtesy of Leti Arts.

 

Famous Afro-Hispanics

 

Vicente Guerrero (Mexico)- Líder general revolucionaria de la Guerra de Independencia de México que más tarde se desempeñó como Presidente de México

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Juan Gomez (Cuba) – líder revolucionario afrocubana en la Guerra de Independencia de Cuba contra España

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Juan Jose Nieto Gil – was the first Afro-Colombian to rise to politics in the history of Colombia becoming the first Afro-Colombian to become the executive officeholder of a first level administrative division of Colombia. was also this country’s first novelist, writing three largely forgotten works.

Daguerreotype of Juan José Nieto Gil

Carlos Antonio Mendoza – Was Panamanian politician who served as Second Vice President in the government of José Domingo de Obaldía and since death of First Vice PresidentJosé Agustín Arango in 1909 he was first in line to the presidency. In this capacity Mendoza was acting President of Panamafrom March 1, 1910 to October 1, 1910. He belonged to the Liberal Party.

Jorge Artel – Colombian –

Antonio Maceo- Was second-in-command of the Cuban Army of Independence.

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Fellow Cubans gave Maceo the sobriquet of the “Bronze Titan” (Spanish: El Titan de Bronce), which was a reference to his skin color, stature and status.[1] Spaniards referred to Maceo as the “Greater Lion” (El Leon mayor). Maceo was one of the most noteworthy guerrilla leaders in 19th century Latin America, comparable toJosé Antonio Páez of Venezuela in military acumen.

 

Juan Almeida –

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was a Cuban politician and one of the original commanders of the insurgent forces in the Cuban Revolution. After the rebels took power in 1959, he was a prominent figure in the Communist Party of Cuba. At the time of his death, he was a Vice-President of the Cuban Council of Stateand was its third ranking member. He received several decorations, and national and international awards, including the title of “Hero of the Republic of Cuba” and the Order of Máximo Gómez.

Jose Francisco Pena Gomez

Gregorio Luperon –  best known for being a Dominican military and state leader who was the main leader in the restoration of the Dominican Republic after the Spanish annexation in 1863. He also Served as president.

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Juan Esteban Lazo Hernández –  Cuban politician who has been the President of the National Assembly of People’s Power, Cuba’s parliament, since 2013. Previously he was Vice-President of the Cuban Council of State. He is a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.[1]

Ulises Heaureaux-Was president of the Dominican Republic from 1 September 1882 to 1 September 1884, from 6 January to 27 February 1887 and again from 30 April 1889 until his assassination, maintaining power between his term

 

Celia Cruz (Cuba) – Was a Cuban singer of Latin music. The most popular Latin artist of the 20th century, she earned twenty-three gold albums and was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts. She was renowned internationally as the “Queen of Salsa”, “La Guarachera de Cuba”, as well as The Queen of Latin Music.[1][2]

She spent much of her career working in the United States and several Latin American countries. Leila Cobo ofBillboard Magazine once said “Cruz is indisputably the best known and most influential female figure in the history ofCuban and Latin music

Arturo Schomberg ( Puerto Rico) – Was a Puerto Ricanhistorian, writer, and activist in the United States who researched and raised awareness of the great contributions that Afro-Latin Americans and Afro-Americans have made to society. He was an important intellectual figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Over the years, he collected literature, art, slave narratives, and other materials of African history, which was purchased to become the basis of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, named in his honor, at theNew York Public Library (NYPL) branch in Harlem.

Benkho Bioho – Bioho led a successful slave revolt in the 17th Century in San Basilio de Palenque in Colombia. Making it the first free black town in the Americas, which maintained its African cultural tradition.

 

Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez-

Was the first Cuban and the first black person in space; he was proclaimed at the time as the first black cosmonaut.[1][2] As a member of the crew of Soyuz 38, he became the firstCuban citizen and the first person from a country in the Western Hemisphere other than the United States to travel intoEarth orbit.

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Wilfredo Lam (Cuba) – Was a Cuban artist who sought to portray and revive the enduring Afro-Cuban spirit and culture. Inspired by and in contact with some of the most renowned artists of the 20th century, Lam melded his influences and created a unique style, which was ultimately characterized by the prominence of hybrid figures. Though he was predominantly a painter, he also worked with sculpture, ceramics and printmaking in his later life.

Christina Milian (Cuba)

Nicolas Guillen (Cuba) – Was a Cuban poet, journalist, political activist, and writer. He is best remembered as the national poet of Cuba

 

Diego Luis Cordoba-Colombia  – Fue un abogado y político colombiano, fundador del Departamento de Chocó.

Laz Alonzo (Cuban)- Actor

Don Omar  (Puerto Rico)

 

Rosie Perez (Puerto Rico)

Juelz Santana (Dominican Republic)

Vannessa Mendoza ( Colombia)

Zoe Saldana (Dominican Republic)

Arlenis Sosa ( Dominican Republic)

Raul Cuero – Inventador Colombiano

Susanna Baca – Cantanta Peruana

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Yanga – a menudo simplemente Yanga o Nyanga fue un líder de la rebelión auxiliar en México durante el período temprano del régimen colonial español.

Gina Torres ( Cuban)

Lala Anthony (Puerto Rican)

Dascha Polanco – Dominican

Cecillia Tait ( Peru)

Ilia Calderon – (Colombia)

Diana Mina – Miss Colombia

Indhira Rosa Serrano Redondo – Colombia     Actress

Rudy Duthil (Cuban and Dominican)

Paula Zapata –

 

is a Colombian engineer and professor. She served as the8th Minister of Culture of Colombia, and was the third person to hold that office in the administration of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez. Moreno was the first Afro-Colombian woman, as well as the youngest person, to hold a cabinet-levelministry in Colombia.

Piedad Cordoba –

Luis Gilberto Murillo – (Colombia)

Argelia Laya (Venezuela) –

Carolina Indriago – Miss Venezuela

Is a Venezuelan show hostess and a pageant titleholder. She was born in Valencia, Venezuela on August 22, 1980. She is the first woman of noticeably African heritage to win the Miss Venezuela title.

Morella Munoz – Famous Mezzo Soprana

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Gledys Ibarra – Actress

 

Maria Isabell Urrutia – Colombia

 

Blackest Major cities in South America

  1. Quibdo, Colombia  95%   126,000

2. Buenaventura, Colombia   362,000   85% Black

2. Salvador, Brazil 80%   2,993,000

 

3. Cartegena, Colombia 70%   895,000

 

4. Sao Luis, Brazil 70%?  958,000

5. Maceio, Brazil 60%?  932,000

6. Recife, Brazil 58%  1,538,000

7. Brasilia, Brazil 56%  2,481,000

8. Natal, Brazil 54%  803,00

9. Belo Horizonte, Brazil 52%   2,500,000

 

10. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 48 %