NY FELLAS PRESENTS...WALLANCE PRODUCTIONS
A favela is the Brazilian equivalent of a shanty town, which are generally found on the edge of the city. They have electricity, but often not formally. Favelas are constructed from a variety of materials, ranging from bricks to garbage. Many favelas are very close and very cramped. They are plagued by sewage, crime and hygiene problems. Although many of the most infamous are located in Rio de Janeiro, there are favelas in almost every large Brazilian town. In Rio one in every four Cariocas (as the inhabitants are called) lives in a slum. . The city of Rio de Janeiro itself does not legally recognize the existence of favelas. The name originates from a species of plant with thorny leaves that grows in the semi-arid North-East region. Refugees and former soldiers involved in the Canudos Civil War (1895-1896) in Bahia would eventually settle on unreclaimed public land on a hill in Rio de Janeiro called Morro da Providência, because the government failed to provide any housing for them. The former soldiers named their new settlement Morro da Favela after the plant which had thrived at the site of a famous victory against the rebels.
Over the years, most of the poor population, comprised mainly of freed black slaves moved in, replacing the refugees as the major ethnic group there. However, long before the first settlement called "favela" came into being, poor blacks were pushed away from downtown into the far suburbs. Favelas were handy for them because they allowed them to be close to work, while keeping away from where they were not welcome.
A favela is fundamentally different from a slum or tenement, primarily in terms of its origin and location. While slum quarters in other Latin American countries generally form when poorer residents from the countryside come to larger cities in search of work, favelas are unique in that they were created as large populations became displaced. Favelas differ from ghettos such as those in the United States in that they are racially mixed even thought blacks make up the majority of the population. Although they were first mostly made up of most Afro-Brazilians they slowly began to consist of many European immigrants arriving in the 19th century. Another important distinction is that, in a typical favela, there is an anomalous form of social life that diverges from mainstream culture. Such a state of things was recognized as early as 1940.
Shanty towns are units of irregular self-constructed housing that are unlicensed and occupied illegally. They are usually on lands belonging to third parties, and are most often located on the urban periphery. Shanty town residences are built randomly, although ad hoc networks of stairways, sidewalks, and simple tracks allow passage through them. Most favelas are inaccessible by vehicle.
These areas of irregular and poor-quality housing are often crowded onto hillsides, and as a result, these areas suffer from frequent landslides during heavy rain. In recent decades, favelas have been troubled by drug-related crime and gang warfare. There are rumors that common social codes in favelas forbid residents from engaging in criminal activity inside their own favela. Favelas are often considered a disgrace and an eyesore for local people within Brazil.
Precarious houses in the favela of Complexo do Alemão in Rio de Janeiro.
It is generally agreed upon that the first favela was created in November 1897 when 20,000 veteran soldiers were brought to Rio de Janeiro and left with no place to live. Some of the older favelas were originally started as quilombos (independent towns for refugee African slaves) among the hilly terrain of the area surrounding Rio, which later grew as slaves were liberated in 1888 with no place to live.The favelas were formed prior to the dense occupation of cities and the domination of real estste interests.  The housing crisis of the 1940s forced the urban poor to erect hundreds of shantytowns in the suburbs did favelas replace tenements as the main type of residence for destitute Cariocas (residents of Rio). The explosive era of favela growth dates from 1940, when Getulio Vargas's industrialization drive pulled hundreds of thousands of migrants into the Federal District, until 1970, when shantytowns expanded beyond urban Rio and into the metropolian periphery.  Most of the current favelas began in the 1970s, as a construction boom in the richer neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro initiated a rural exodus of workers from poorer states in Brazil. Heavy flooding in the low-lying slum areas of Rio also forcibly removed a large population into favelas, which are mostly located on Rio's various hillsides. Since favelas have been created under different terms but with similar end results, the term favela has become generally interchangeable with any impoverished areas.[cit
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