In the summer of 1839, a man puts a telescope to his eye and inspects the Brazilian coastal town of Laguna. He is a foreign guerrilla leader whose recent success has brought the surrender of the imperial fleet. The liberator is on board its captured flagship, a seven-gun topsail schooner called the Itaparica, now at anchor in the lagoon from which the town gets its name. The telescope offers a view of a hilly quarter known as the Barra, containing a few simple but picturesque buildings. Outside one of them sits a woman. At the sight of her, the man, as he later put it, ‘forthwith gave orders for the boat to be got out, as I wished to go ashore’.Anita Riberas was 18, of mixed Portuguese and Indian descent, with dark hair, large breasts, ‘a virile carriage and determined face’.