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Naijatreks | Candido da Fonseca Galvao, the Yoruba Prince of Brazil

Candido da Fonseca Galvao, the Yoruba Prince of Brazil

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Candido da Fonseca Galvao ( Sheets , 1845 – 1890 )  was a military officer in Brazil.

 Candido da Fonseca Galvao was probably a son or grandson of Yoruba King Abiodun of Oyo Empire in the area now known as South West, Nigeria. He was recognized as a foreign sovereign by the Brazilian monarchy, and was known as Dom Oba II d’Africa, or simply Dom Oba.

He exemplified the type of free men of African descent who lived in and contributed to Brazil. A royal prince with bloodline from Yoruba land; on a quest for adventure.

He voluntarily enlisted to fight in the War of Paraguay and due to his great bravery and outstanding martial skills he was awarded an honorary officer of the Brazilian army.

Dom Oba-exp

 After the war, he settled in Rio de Janeiro, becoming a legendary figure of folkloric proportions. He was revered and adored as a royal prince by the millions of African Brazilians of his time. He was an inspiration, a leader and a father figure for those very African Brazilians in their struggle to live with dignity, to establish fairness in a prejudiced Brazil.

Dom Oba was a personal friend of the Emperor D. Pedro II whom he regularly visited in his court each year, and where he was received with all full honours due to a sovereign dignitary.


dom oba potrait

– The prince’s ‘official portrait’ above shows a set of western and Yoruba symbols, which represent a type of family crest or stamp of authority, which he occasionally had published in the press or reproduced on his most solemn manuscripts such as the letter he wrote to the emperor in 1882 to officially communicate the birth of his son, Abiodun da Fonseca Galvao.

In the centre is the prince in his military uniform; around him, symmetrically arranged in pairs, western insignia (the dove of the Holy Spirit, the royal crown) and Yoruba ones (the fetishes of Ogun and Oxossi). The prince believes that the Holy Spirit is Ossun (Oxum), Ogum  was ‘Saint George’ and ‘Ochoce’ (Oxossi) was Saint Sabastian (the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).


dom oba2

dom oba painitng

  – “Back in those days, an umbrella is often regarded as part of the regalia of the Alafin of Oyo; a privilege which only began to be contested during the long period of invasions and social instability which followed the break-up of the Oyo empire.

Dom Oba was also a committed abolitionist and began a campaign to combat racism. He was a monarchist in his political outlook. Thus, with the fall of the Empire in 1889 he fell out of favour with the republicans because of his monarchist sentiments. He died soon after in July 1890.



1. Rasta Livewire

2. Prince of the people: the life and times of a Brazilian free man of colour.  Escrito por Eduardo da Silva

Read more about amazing historical accounts of the Yoruba people from Beautiful Yorubaland

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This article was written by Folarin Kolawole

Founder of Naijatreks, Nigerian-born Folarin Kolawole is a geologist, travel writer and researcher. When not at work, he travels the length and breadth of Nigeria, exploring, taking photos and writing about her numerous hidden tourist potentials.   'Naijatreks' is a product name registered under the Ntreks brand, which is also duly registered by Nigeria's Federal Corporate Affairs Commission. The contents on this blog are re-usable. However, it must be ensured that it is linked back to this blog, and correctly attributed to Naijatreks or the author. Please do not edit, rewrite or commercialize the original works on this blog without direct and written permission from the Founder (Folarin Kolawole). For inquiries and advert placement on the blog, kindly contact us at or

4 comments:' NgoziNovember 27, 2011 at 1:36 amReply

Another nice one from Nigerians who did great things in foreign lands…please tell us about those from Igbo land too oh' Mazie NjokuNovember 29, 2011 at 6:32 amReply

Nigerians rock every where in the world! such a great history but little fame in Nigeria…i think our museums can do better.' Olumoye AdewaleJanuary 7, 2012 at 5:25 pmReply

The Yoruba race is vast indeed!

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