The history of Brazil is reckoned from the discovery in 1500. See also South
America - history.
What does the flag of Brazil look like? Follow this link, then you will see
the image in PNG format and flag meaning description about this country.
On April 22, 1500, Portuguese Admiral Pedro Álvares
Cabral officially took possession of the land that was to become Brazil for the
King of Portugal. It has been a controversial question whether Brazil was
"discovered" by chance, or whether Pedro Álvares Cabral, who led a fleet en
route to India, chose a more westerly shipping route because the Portuguese knew
that the lands which, according to the Tordesilla Treaty from 1494 between
Portugal and Spain was to belong to Portugal, was in fact to be found.
|Heads of State
||M. Deodoro da Fonseca
||Prudente de Morais
||M. Campos Sales
||F. Rodrigues Alves
||Hermes da Fonseca
||E. Gaspar Dutra
||J. Café Filho
||Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira
||Janio da Silva Quadros
||P. Ranieri Mazzilli
||P. Ranieri Mazzilli
||H. Castello Branco
||A. de Costa e Silva
||João Baptista Figueiredo
||Fernando Collor de Mello
||Fernando Henrique Cardoso
||Luíz Inácio da Silva ("Lula")
The indigenous people of Brazil consisted of various Native American peoples
with approximately 1.5 million people around the year 1500 (about 230,000 in 1990).
AbbreviationFinder: Check three-letter abbreviation for each country in the world,
such as BRA which represents the official name of Brazil.
Hunters and gatherers inhabited the savannahs of the interior of the country,
while nomadic half-farmers in the tropical forests cultivated corn and manioc by
In particular, the tupital tribes along the coast gained importance for the
Portuguese colonization as a labor force and by their knowledge of the country.
- Songaah: See
song and lyrics about Brazil
A characteristic feature of Brazil's history has been a series of "economic
cycles" during which a single or a few export products have dominated for a long
period of time.
The first economic cycle (until about 1550) was created by the
Brazilian tree, whose felling became the Portuguese king's monopoly, and which
gave the country its name. In 1530, an actual Portuguese settlement began.
In 1532, the first city, São Vicente, was founded, and to promote
colonization, 15 hereditary counties (capitanias) were created, the
forerunners of the later Brazilian states.
Only the counties of São Vicente and Pernambuco came to function; therefore,
ruled from 1548 centralized under a governor-general or viceroy
with Salvador (Bahia) as the colony's capital, which from 1552 also became the
seat of Brazil's first diocese.
In 1549 the Jesuits arrived partly for missionary work among the Indians,
which often brought them into conflict with the colonists, partly for the
purpose of running the school system; however, all higher education should
continue to take place in Portugal.
After the Brazil tree, sugar became the main export product (2nd
economic cycle) along with tobacco and cotton. To replace Native American
labor, from 1532 slaves were imported from Africa; in total, approximately 3.5
million slaves introduced until 1850, when the slave trade formally ceased. The
relatively small number of women among the Portuguese colonists led to
From being a secondary piece in the Portuguese Empire, Brazil became its very
foundation and of crucial economic importance to the Portuguese crown by virtue
of monopolies and taxes, on the slave trade. France and the Netherlands
also tried to establish colonies in Brazil, but were driven out by the
Portuguese. The Dutch West India Company occupied 1624-1625 Bahia and
1630-1654 Pernambuco, the center of sugar production.
Sugar became crucial to Brazil's economic and social structure, characterized
by plantation farming with slave labor and monoculture; but the search for gold
came to define the borders of the country. From São Paulo in particular,
countless expeditions went further and further west for precious metals and
Native American slaves, among others. from the Jesuit mission stations in
Spanish Paraguay. This gave the Portuguese possessions in South America a scope
far beyond what was originally stipulated in the Treaty of Tordesilla.
In 1693, gold (in 1729 also diamonds) was finally found in such abundant
quantities that it replaced sugar as Brazil's most important product (3rd
economic cycle). Around the middle of the 18th century, the annual gold
export was approximately 15,000 tonnes, of which the Portuguese State received a fifth
in taxes. In 1760 the Jesuits were expelled, and in 1763 the colonial capital
was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro, the port of shipment of gold from
the province of Minas Gerais.
Budding opposition to the Portuguese government was expressed, in the
form of political conspiracies - especially in 1789 in Minas Gerais' capital
Vila Rica (today Ouro Preto) and in 1798 in the province of Bahia.
The French invasion of Portugal in 1807 had far-reaching consequences for
Brazil as well. The royal family and a large part of the state administration
were evacuated to Rio de Janeiro, which in 1808 became the seat of government
for the entire Portuguese empire. The Portuguese trade monopoly was abolished by
opening the ports of Brazil to "friendly nations", ie. for Britain, Portugal's
ally. The printing press, newspapers, banking, higher education institutions and
courts, etc. were introduced, and foreigners were given the right to own land,
which set in motion non-Portuguese immigration.
300 years of colonial isolation were over and were marked in 1815 by Brazil
becoming a separate kingdom, but in union with the motherland. A revolution in
Portugal in 1820 called the Portuguese king home. When the Portuguese Parliament
wanted Brazil to regain subordinate status, the Crown Prince Pedro, Brazil's
regent, declared independence on September 7, 1822, and was soon proclaimed
emperor as Pedro I.
The new state had approximately 5 mio. residents, about a third of whom were
slaves. The economic-social structures of the colonial era were preserved with
large estates that specialized in single or few export crops, but coffee
gradually became the all-dominating product in the period approximately 1850-1950 (4th
Unlike developments in the Spanish part of Latin America, Brazil's
independence process was largely peaceful, and territorial unity was
preserved. The Constitution of 1824 defined Brazil as a constitutional monarchy
with a division between four powers, the emperor - in addition to the executive
- also having the "moderating power", and with the right to vote for only a
Pedro I abdicated in 1831 due to political dissatisfaction and went to
Portugal. After some turbulent years of guardianship, his son, Pedro II, took
office in 1840, and a long period of political stability and economic progress
followed. In alliance with Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil was at war with
Paraguay 1865-1870 in South America's largest armed conflict. In 1888, slavery
was abolished without compensation to the slave owners.
In 1889, a bloodless military coup put an end to the empire that had lost its
political backing, and on November 15, Brazil became a republic. Brazil's
population was then approximately 14 million; 50 percent of export earnings came from
coffee, 20 percent from raw rubber.
The Constitution of 1891 introduced a federal state (Estados Unidos do
Brasil, United States of Brazil) with presidential rule and suffrage for
all men, but without a secret ballot, which was first introduced in 1934.
Ideologically, positivism played a prominent role in parts of the military,
symbolized in the motto of the new Republican regime: Ordem e Progresso (Order
and Progress), which was inscribed in the flag of the country.
In 1896-1897, an alleged monarchist uprising was fought in Canudos, Bahia. A
political alliance, called "coffee with milk", between the economic elites of
the two major states of São Paulo, characterized by coffee cultivation, and
Minas Gerais with cattle breeding, however, quickly ousted the military from
power and controlled Brazilian politics until 1930 with the permanent change of
president. between the two states, through systematic electoral fraud.
From 1906, the state bought up the excess production of coffee to secure the
export price. This became increasingly difficult during the 1920's; in 1929,
Brazil's coffee stocks were greater than the world's total annual consumption,
and the stock market crash in New York s.å. gave the coffee economy the final
The revolution of 1930, carried out by the military and younger politicians,
ended the "coffee with milk" period and brought Getúlio Vargas to power. Vargas
was President of Brazil on two occasions: 1930-1945 and 1951-1954. After serving
as interim president, Vargas was elected in 1934 under a new constitution
(which, among other things, gave women the right to vote), but exercised an
actual dictatorship through another new constitution, the authoritarian Estado
Novo (New State), from 1937 to 1945. From 1942, despite the regime's
character on the Allied side, Brazil participated in World War II.
In 1950, when the population had reached 50 million, Vargas was again
democratically elected president after the constitution of 1946, Brazil's
fifth. Politically isolated, Varga committed suicide in 1954 when the military
demanded his resignation. In the wake of the collapse of the coffee economy, a
far-reaching political and economic modernization process was launched under
Vargas to bring Brazil out of the semi-colonial status of one-sided commodity
Power was concentrated in the central state apparatus, and a nationalist
economic policy with protectionism and extensive state control aimed at building
a Brazilian basic industry such as Petrobrás, which in 1953 gained a
state monopoly on oil extraction and refining.
Under the slogan "50 years in 5", Juscelino Kubitschek (President 1956-1961)
continued the policy of industrialization with high economic growth and
borrowing abroad, and in record time, Brasília, the capital of 1960, was
built when Brazil reached 70 million. pop. Jânio Quadros, worked out by the
right wing to break Vargaslinjen and fight corruption, was elected president in
January 1961 with the largest number of votes, but came surprisingly left after
only seven months.
Vice President João Goulart, Vargas' ideological successor, stood for a
distinctly left-wing populist line and had to accept a prime ministerial regime
for a period of time in order to take over the presidency. Economic and
political conditions deteriorated rapidly. On March 31, 1964, the military
seized power in an uprising.
Brazil underwent a radical system change under military rule 1964-1985. On
the grounds of national security, a series of "institutional acts" and two new
constitutions were introduced in 1967 and 1969 with prior censorship, the death
penalty for certain political crimes, indirect elections to all important posts
and the right to issue secret decrees for the president, etc.
Only two political parties were allowed: a party for the government and a
party for the tolerated part of the opposition. In foreign policy, Brazil was
close to the United States, which had supported the military uprising. In 1968,
the country officially changed its name to República Federativa do Brasil (Brazilian
Federal Republic) and then had approximately 90 million residents, in 1980 approximately 120
The political circumstances enabled the military regime to accelerate
economic development by various drastic means. Industrial production increased
sharply, partly through extensive government investment, partly through
favorable conditions for attracting foreign capital (cheap raw materials, low
wages and favorable taxation), and it was increasingly targeted at export
markets. Infrastructure and energy production expanded rapidly, largely financed
by borrowing abroad, which led to the reprocessing of the world's largest
foreign debt of DKK 85 billion at the time. dollars in 1990.
In the period 1968-1973, the gross domestic product increased annually by
approximately 10 percent in "the Brazilian miracle". Urbanization increased, so that
almost 70 percent of the population in 1980 lived in the cities against
approximately 30 percent in 1940, and a middle class began to seriously
emerge. However, property and income were further concentrated, and an
improvement in the conditions of the majority of the population did not
materialize, also due to a sharp growth in the population.
The inability of military governments to solve economic and social problems
led from 1978 to a gradual "democratic opening" with political amnesty, the
abolition of dictatorship repression legislation and the reintroduction of the
In indirect presidential elections in 1985, the military led defeat to the
opposition, whose victorious candidate, Tancredo Neves (1910-1985), however,
died immediately before joining. Instead, Vice President José Sarney
became Brazil's first civilian president since 1964. In 1988, the Constituent
Assembly adopted a new democratic constitution (Brazil's Eighth) with
far-reaching civil rights, such as the right to strike.
In 1990, the first elected president in 30 years, Fernando Collor de Mello,
took office with a program for the modernization of Brazil, by
privatization and less protectionism against foreign competition, and against
misuse of public funds. Collor was replaced in 1992 by his vice
president, Itamar Franco, after being removed from office due to nepotism and
suspicion of complicity in widespread corruption, for which he was later
The anti-inflation plan under President Itamar Franco (1992-1995) was the
main reason why its architect, Finance Minister Fernando Henrique Cardoso, won
the election in 1994. Cardoso went to the polls to form an alliance with both
liberals and conservatives. Despite fragile coalitions, he was re-elected and
sat for eight years, albeit largely without pursuing the policies of his small,
Social Democratic party.
Among other things, he failed the promise of land to 300,000 families, which
contributed to the so-called Landless Movement carrying out many land
occupations and becoming increasingly militant. Cardoso's liberal policies meant
that the bourgeois bloc continued to feel threatened by the election of the
Labor Party's strong leader, Luíz Inácio da Silva, known as "Lula".
In 1999, Cardoso allowed the real to devalue once again; already in 2000
there was growth again, and in 2001 unemployment began to fall. In 1999, Cardoso
allowed the real to devalue. From 2001 there was again growth, but in 2002 the
country was severely affected by Argentina's crisis.
Brazil's economy came through the crisis, and since 2004, growth rates have
been good again. In its fourth attempt, the Labor Party's Lula finally succeeded
in winning the 2002 presidential election. due to a more center-seeking rhetoric
than before, but also with promises of e.g. land reforms.
He took office in 2003, and his government has maintained economic progress,
while promises of land reforms have not yet been fulfilled. The Labor Party was
hit by a corruption scandal in 2005, but Lula managed to retain much of its
popular popularity, and he was re-elected president in October 2006. In 2010, he
was replaced by the Labor Party's own candidate, Dilma Rousseff, becoming
Brazil's first female president..
Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo experienced violent and bloody clashes between
police and criminals in 2005 and 2006.