A great cultural attraction year round, the Museum of the Republic at Palácio do Catete in Rio de Janeiro is hosting, through February 2013, Canudos: Memória do Mundo ("Canudos: Memory of the World"), an exhibition of one of Brazil's most important historic photography files.
The War of Canudos (1896-1897), a series of four military expeditions, ended when over 5,000 government soldiers with heavy artillery completely destroyed the Belo Monte, or Canudos, settlement formed in the socially oppressed backlands of Bahia by spiritual leader Antônio Conselheiro and his followers. Over 25,000 Canudos inhabitants were massacred.
The temporary exhibition, a partnership with the Rio de Janeiro branch of the National Industrial Training Service (SENAI_RJ), consists of 69 photographs by Flávio de Barros which make up the Canudos Collection, part of the Museum of the Republic archives and recognized in 2009 by Unesco's Memory of the World program.
Flávio de Barros arrived in Canudos on Sep. 26, 1897, four days after Antônio Conselheiro had died, possibly from dysentery, according to historians. The photographer was accompanying the Canet Artillery Division. Two other collections of his Canudos images belong to the Geographical and Historical Institute of Bahia and to Casa de Cultura Euclides da Cunha, in São José do Rio Pardo (SP).
If you miss the exhibit, you can still access the Canudos archives and thousands of other Museum of the Republic documents by making an appointment.
War correspondent Euclides da Cunha wrote about the Canudos conflict in Os Sertões (published in 1902 and translated to English as Rebellion in the Backlands) -- a Brazilian literature classic which is available in its original Portuguese version on the Federal government's Public Domain website. You can download it here.
Photo courtesy of Ibram.