Preto Félix is regarded as one of the few black men who participated in the leadership of the Cabanagem, uprising that took place in the former province of Grão-Pará. Counting on the strong presence of indigenous peoples and their descendants, as well as enslaved and freed black men and women, the Cabanagem began in January of 1835 and practically lasted until 1840. In this context, the then president of the province was assassinated and a new government was set up. In the region of Acará, in the Guajará basin, Preto Félix commanded more than 400 rebels, most of whom were captive refugees. Many of the reports were, in fact, exaggerated, but it is known that, in a few months, the movement of the Cabanagem rebels reached regions bordering the province of Maranhão, as well as parts of the Amazonas and the borders of Peru and Venezuela.