Present Day Brazil summary



Present Day Brazil summary


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Present Day Brazil summary

I.B. History of the Americas Notes
Chapter 1: Present Day Brazil

    1. Largest Cities – Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro (3rd and 9th largest in the world)
    2. Longest River – Amazon – second longest in the world
    3. Oldest City – Sao Vicente – founded in 1532 near the present port of Santos, as the first Portuguese city in Brazil
    4. World’s largest rain forest – over 2 million square miles - Amazonia
    5. Population – over 161 million – quadrupled since 1940. 
      1. 44% of the population is 18 years old or younger. 
      2. Average life expectancy of 65 years.
      3. 75% of Brazil’s population live in urban areas.
  2. GOVERNMENT – Federative Republic of Brazil
    1. 26 States, 1 federal district – Brasilia – the national capital.
    2. President – chief of state – executive branch – 4 year term.
    3. National Congress – bicameral; states and federal district have representatives
    4. Senate – 81 members; 3 each from each state; serve 8 year terms.
    5. Chamber of Deputies – at least 3 from each state – proportionate to population; serve 4 year terms.
    6. Judiciary – Highest Court – Supreme Federal Tribunal; 11 judges appointed by president and approved by the Senate.
      1. Other national level courts are Higher Tribunal of Justice, Labor, Military, and Electoral Courts. 
      2. Each state has its own court system. Each state elects a governor and members of a one-house legislature.
      3. Each state contains municipalities with elected mayors and municipal councils.
    7. Municipal Party System: Democratic Movement Party / Liberal Front Party / Social Democratic Party / Progressive Reform / and five other major parties.
    8. Voting Age: optional for 16-18 years.  Mandatory for 18 – 70 year olds who are literate. Optional for anyone over 70 or illiterate.
    1. Largest armed forces in Latin America (319,000).
    2. All Brazilian men are required to serve one year in the military.


    1. Brazil is rich in natural resources that have helped to make it a developing economic power.
    2. Mining – iron ore – largest deposits in the world (manganese, bauxite, limestone, gemstones)
    3. Manufacturing – crude steel, tires, motor vehicles (Volkswagon)
    4. Agriculture – 25% of the world’s coffee crop, sugar, cacao beans, tobacco, cotton, tropical fruits.
    5. Most of Brazil’s factories are in Sao Paulo state.  Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, and Rio Grande do Sul states are also industrial areas.  Volta Redonda, a steel plant near Rio, is the largest in Latin America. 
    1. 89% of Brazilians are Roman Catholic.  There are more Catholics in Brazil than in any other country in the world. 
    2. Catholics divided into two groups, Traditional, and those following the liberation theology that originated in the 1970s. 
    3. The Liberation Catholics value human efforts over divine aid, and make their goals center around freedom for the poor and oppressed.
    4. 6.6% Protestant – small, but growing denominations.
    5. Candomble – a religion that mixes African and folk beliefs with Catholic divinities. This religion centers in the northern area of Bahia.  When slaves were first imported and had symbols and imposing their own traditional African variations.
    6. The Yoruba of West Africa led this trend.
    7. Oxala, the god of fertility, became Jesus. Iemaja, the goddess of the sea and earth mother, became Mary. 
    8. Macumba and Umbanda are variations of these African/Christian traditions that often involve the use of other spiritual powers such as “white magic” as well.
    1. Captaincies – donatories given to friends of the crown.
    2. Degredados – criminals and outcasts exiled from Portugal to distant parts of the empire.
    3. Aldeias – villages for Indians built by Jesuits.
    4. Vaqueiros – cowboys in northern backcountry – sertao
    5. Gaucho – southern cowboys
    6. Miscegenation – mixing of the races.
    7. Renois – peninsulares – born in Portugal
    8. Mazombos – creoles – of Portuguese descent born in Brazil
    9. Obrigados – tenant farmers
    10. Engenhos – sugar mills
    11. Bandirantes – slave hunters
    12. Quilombo – villages or hide outs of escaped slaves
    1. Line of demarcation – Treaty of Tordesillas
    2. Pernambuco – North east state – heart of sugar growing
    3. Sao Paulo – City and state –mid south
    4. Rio de Janeiro – mid south city state.
    5. Recife – city on north east coast – built and controlled for a while by the Dutch – port city.
    6. Minas Gerais – gold district
    7. Diamantina – district where diamonds were discovered
    8. Bahia – first capital ; northest
    9. Palmares – slave quilombo
    1. Pedro Alvares Cabral – discovered Brazil in 1500
    2. Manuel da Nobrega / Jose de Anchieta – Jesuits who established schools / villages for Indians
    3. Piratininga – Sao Paulo grew up around it.
    4. Jose da Silva Xavier – TIRADENTES – martyr of revolutionary attempt of 1788-89
    5. Braganca royal family: Dom Joao VI; Pedro I; Pedro II
    1. 1494 – Treaty of Tordesillas
    2. 1500 – Cabral discovers Brazil
    3. 1530 – first colonists arrive
    4. 1549 – Jesuits arrive
    5. 1580-1640 – Spanish and Portuguese royal dynasties merge
    6. 1607-1695 – Palamares quilombo of fugitive slaves hold out
    7. 1330 – 1654 – Dutch invasion of Northeast Brazil
    8. 1695 – Discover of gold in Minas Gerais
    9. 1710-1711 War of the Mescates – planters of Pernambuco against Recife merchants.
    10. 1727 – coffee introduced into Brazil
    11. 1750  - Treaty of Madrid ends the Treaty of Tordesillas
    12. 1763 - capital moved to Rio de Janeiro
    13. 1788-89 – Tiradentes revolt
    14. 1794 / 1798 / 1801 / 1817 – smaller revolts against crown
    15. 1807 – French invade Portugal
    16. 1808 – transmigration; arrival of Braganca royal family
    17. 1810 – commercial treaty gives Britain control
    18. 1815 – Portugal elevated to a kingdom
    19. 1820 – Revolution in Portugal - reactionary attitude towards Brazil
    20. 1821 – Joao VI returns to Portugal – leaving Pedro behind
    21. 1822 – Dom Pedro refused to return to Portugal; September 7, 1822 – Cry of Ipiranga
    22. 1823 – Constitutional monarchy
    23. 1825 – 1828 – War with Argentina; Uraguay is created
    24. 1830 – Revolution in France – Pedro I abdicates in favor of 5 year old son Pedro II
    25. 1834 – Additional Act
    26. 1835 – Revolt of Rio Grande do Sul
    27. 1840 – Pedro ascends to the throne
    28. 1845 – Rio Grande do Sul revolt suppressed by Caixias
    29. 1848 – 1849 – revolt of Confederation of Equator
    30. 1850 – Queiroz – end of slave trade
    31. 1865 – 1870 – War with Paraguay
    32. 1871 – Law of Free Womb – Rio Branco Law – frees newborns
    33. 1885 – Saraiva – Cotegipe Law frees slaves at age 65
    34. 1888 – remaining slaves emancipated – Golden Law
    35. 1889 – military coup overthrows the Emperor and exiles Dom Pedro II
    36. 1891 – constitution adopted



Brazil has been a colony, a seat of royal monarchy, a republic, and dictatorship (private and military) and a democratic republic.  Throughout its history, Brazil has shared similarities with its Spanish neighbors in Latin America, but has never experienced the degree or severity of violent insurrections and civil wars.

The Age of Exploration began in 1419 when Prince Henry founded a school for navigators on Portugal’s southwest coast.  Hoping to get his hands on the Far East’s treasures, Henry sought trade opportunities and gold along Africa’s coast.  With the development of the caravel, an ocean-worthy ship that could make the return voyage, Portuguese merchants established trading posts along Africa’s west coast, where they developed a robust trade for enslaved Africans. In 1487, Bartholomew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope.  One year later, Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape and cut across the Indian Ocean to the southwestern coast of India, where he landed at Calicut.  In the years that followed, Portugal established trading posts in Goa, India, and the Mulaccas (Spice Islands), as well as on the coast of China. 

Due to its small population and limited treasury, Portugal did not attempt to establish permanent colonies.  Its empire consisted of trading posts situated on coastlines, not extensive inland explorations or domination of local inhabitants.  The Portuguese trade dominance was soon challenged by the British and the Dutch, and their empire would not last.


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Present Day Brazil summary