Capoeira's history probably begins with the adoption of African slavery in Brazil. Since the 16th century, Portugal extensively adopted slaveryto man their colonies, coming mainly from West and Central Africa. Brazil, with its vast territory, was the major destination of African slaves, receiving 38.5% of all slaves sent by ships across theAtlantic Ocean.
Capoeira has a long and controversial history, since historical documentation in Brazil was very scarce in its colonial times. Evidences, studies and oral tradition leave little doubtabout its Brazilian roots, but it is impossible to precisely identify the exact Brazilian region or time it began to take form.
In the 16th century Portugal had one of the biggestcolonial empires of the world, but it lacked people to actually colonize it. In the Brazilian colony the Portuguese, like many European colonists, opted to use slavery to supply this shortage ofworkers. Colonists tried to enslave Brazilian natives in the beginning, but this quickly proved too difficult for many reasons, including the familiarity natives had with the land. The solution was importingslaves from Africa. 
In its first century the main economic activity in the colony was the production and processing of sugarcane. Portuguese colonists used to create large sugarcane farms calledengenhos, farms which extensively used enslaved workers. Slaves, living in inhumane and humiliating conditions, were forced to work hard and often suffered physical punishment for any smallmisbehaviour.  Even though slaves outnumbered the Portuguese colonists, the lack of weapons, the colonial law, the disagreement between slaves coming from different African cultures and their complete lackof knowledge about the land and its surroundings would usually discourage the idea of a rebellion.
In this environment Capoeira began to develop. More than a fighting style, it was created as a...