Capoeira is an African-Brazilian martial art and dance. It’s roots are from Africa, but was developed in Brazil by African slaves. Slavery forced many different cultures of Africans to come together, from places such as Nigeria, Guinea, Ghana, Congo, and Angola, to name a few. One of the most popular beliefs is that Capoeira was developed by the slaves hiding the martial art in the dance. However, one must also recognize that many things in African culture were learned through music and dance, or at least accompanied by one of the two. Because of capoeira’s oral tradition, it is not easy to completely side with one main belief. However, there is also a dance called N’golo, that many also attribute to be one to the origins of Capoeira, (which comes from Angola).
Beginning in Brazil sometime in the 16th century, Capoeira has had a long history of struggle and fighting against oppression. Only in the 1930’s did Capoeira become legal to practice openly and today is the 2nd national sport in Brasil, not to mentions with millions of practitioners world wide. In many places that African slaves were taken, exists art forms that resemble capoeira (ex. Ladja in Martinique and Mani in Cuba). For a more extensive look into the history of this rich art form, Wikipedia actually has a pretty detaled description.