Prologue: Portugal, Small European, World’s Giant – (1066 – 1500)
At the end of the 11th century, the peoples of the Iberian Peninsula rebelled against the Arab presence. The alliance was necessary to regain control of their land. The provinces of Castile, Leon and later Navarre, Aragon and Galicia are born.
The province of Portugal is also unified under the influence of the Duke Henry of Burgundy, later Count of Portugal. His son will proclaim himself king of Portugal before obtaining the autonomy of the territory of his cousin Alfonso VII, king of Castile and Leon.
Unified Portugal develops at the south-western tip of Europe, naturally facing the sea. The ocean air mixed with exotic perfumes and the attraction of gain pushes the Portuguese to the African coast, seeking a new route to the Indies.
The squad of Pedro Alvarez Cabral leaves Portugal in 1500 with a double objective. Consolidate the trade route to the East Indies and sail further west into the Atlantic to take possession of the lands described by Vasco da Gama in his logbook.
Ato I: Portugal, um pé no Brasil (1500 – 1567)
On April 22, 1500, Pedro Alvarez Cabral, landed in a land that he called “Terra de Vera Cruz”. This western stop on the way to the Indies is an inhabited continent where many rich and millenarian civilizations live: Aztecs, Incas, Tupinambas. They will not resist the Europeans armed with horses, rifles and bacteria.
A commercial route is established for the exploration of the “Pau-Brasil”, whose sap is used in the dyeing of fabrics. The colonizing project will not see the light until 1530. Dom João III, king of Portugal, gives to his “fidalgos” some pieces of land in the virgin tropical colony.
Many captaincies are born. They belong to their “governors” who are committed to establish a religious house, a justice house, defending the territory and exploiting it commercially. Of the 13 capitals ceded by the king, São Vicente and Pernambuco thrive thanks to the trade of sugar cane. São Salvador da Bahia becomes the capital and seat of the colonial administration.
Doctors, pharmacists, peasants, nobles, soldiers, Jesuits, women, … land on the coast of Bahia. A little further south, there is also a bustling atmosphere. The knight of Villegaignon, converted to the Huguenots, arrives at the Guanabara Bay to establish France Antarctic.
These movements concern the Portuguese. The young Estácio de Sá and an escort are sent to the region. The goal is to found a city and drive out the invaders. São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro was founded on March 1, 1565, but the French resist. They will be expelled in 1567.
Acte II : Portugal, the Brazilian Conquest (1567 – 1692)
The foundations of the Empire are set, but survival is precarious and arduous. There is no trace of gold, while Spain easily extracts it from the Andean countries. The French found São Luis, in current Maranhão. Sugar cane is perfect for the northern conditions, but manpower is lacking.
Portugal is launching the conquest of Brazil.
The flag bearers of São Paulo venture away from the ocean in search of gold, without success. Portugal begins the triangular trade of various ethnic groups from Africa and solves the lack of labor. A military intervention puts an end to French pretensions.
A great setback is suffered when the Netherlands becomes, by games of geopolitical alliances, enemy of Portugal.
To gain control of the sugar trade, the Netherlands invades Pernambuco. The agreement is friendly and the city of Recife develops under the enlightened influence of the governor Mauricio de Nassau.
His departure quickly warms the spirits. Present army, slaves, Indians and settlers gather and throw the Dutch into the sea in 1654. In the following decades, trade is stabilized in the colony, where there are prodigious ethnic mixes for the foundation of Brazilian popular identity.
Finally! At the beginning of the seventeenth century, the adventurers of São Paulo discovered gold. This news starts the first Portuguese mass migratory movement to the colony.
Acte III : Brazil sends Metals to Portugal (1692 – 1763)
The late 17th century heralds turmoil. The discovery of gold in the rivers of the future state of Minas Gerais spreads like gunpowder.
The Portuguese leave the metropolis when local traders and slaves arrive to these vacant lands. Gold flows freely; Vila Rica, currently Ouro Preto, and Mariana are erected. The baroque adorns the churches, the reserves seem inexhaustible.
Historical capitals: Salvador and Rio de Janeiro are favored by the circulation of gold. The Amazon River replaces the commercial axis of the Eastern Indies dominated by the Portuguese. Brazilian nut, cinnamon, cloves, cacao and medicinal plants are marketed to Europe to meet the luxury needs of the population.
Geographical integration continues. The states of Goiás and Mato Grosso are created when, in 1750, a treaty Hispano-Portuguese defines the borders between the kingdoms.
The Portuguese crown claims the lion’s share and takes 20% of all the gold mined in the colony. Such confiscation feeds greed and revolts legions.
Eight hundred tons of gold were extracted from the Brazilian mines in the eighteenth century. Forty percent were sent directly to the English crown, the main creditor of the kingdom until 1765.
Acte IV : The Cologne Surpasses the Metropolis ( 1763 – 1822)
In 1763, Brazil became the viceroyalty of Portugal. The Marquis of Pombal, an Enlightenment politician, compromise to modernize the colony. He restructures the administrative apparatus, diversifies the agricultural production, expels the Jesuits and transfers the capital from Salvador da Bahia to Rio de Janeiro.
The second half of the century marks the decline of gold production. A big problem in a place where any industrial production is banned.
The late eighteenth century saw a handful of men mobilizing against the monarchy and demanding emancipation. These frustrated attempts end in blood, but the essential resists: the idea of independence is born.
In 1808, fleeing from the Napoleonic armies, the Prince Regent of Portugal, Dom João VI, and his court landed in Rio de Janeiro. He starts many reforms as soon as he arrives. They will allow the colony to emancipate itself from the yoke of Portugal.
The colonial pact is broken: the ports are open to trade; the Banco do Brasil, the Public Treasury and the Botanical Garden are created. A French artistic mission is invited to give the young kingdom an European splendor.
A long and enlightened reign to make up for lost time. Dom João leaves Brazil in 1821 to maintain the monarchy in Portugal. He bequeath to his son, Dom Pedro I, the care to continue his work and the need to proclaim independence.
Something he will do on September 7, 1822.
Acte V : The Imperial Brazil – 1822 – 1889
Dom Pedro I declared Brazil independent from Portugal on September 7, 1822; a task inevitably required. It is now necessary to provide the country with a constitution and the representative bodies necessary for an independent country.
While the other South American countries are independent and republican, the monarchical system continues in Brazil. In 1824, the Emperor promulgates the first constitution of Brazil. It distinguishes the three powers, but includes the moderating power of the Emperor.
In 1831, Dom Pedro I abdicates his Brazilian crown in favor of Portugal’s. This is followed by a period of regency because his son, the descendant of Orleans and Bragança family, is not old enough to take over the kingdom. He will be crowned emperor in 1840, at the age of 15.
Called magnanimous and popular figure, Do Pedro II actively participates in domestic politics. In 1864, he engages a bloody Triple Alliance against Paraguay. The Paraguayans still suffer the defeat in this war.
The industry is practically non-existent, Brazil is agro-dependent: coffee, rubber and sugar are the main resources of the economy. Slave labor remains indispensable for the land production.
This situation is contrary to the English policy, the country’s main trade partner, which forces the creation of a free workforce. After several laws limiting human beings traffick, the Princess Regent Isabel promulgates, on May 13, 1888, the Lei Aurea, abolishing slavery in Brazil.
The reign of Dom Pedro II ends on November 15, 1889 with the proclamation of the Republic of Brazil.
Acte VI : The Brazilian entry into the Republic- 1889 – 1964
The republic is proclaimed, the emperor exiled, slavery abolished. However, no strategy was drawn to integrate the freedmen into the new republic. They are relegated to marginal activities without access to education.
The first Brazilian presidents are military. In 1891, the first Republican Federal Constitution was established and, with the beginning of the civil governments, a governmental alternation between the coffee growers from São Paulo and the mining farmers of Minas Gerais began. It will last until 1930, and will work against the industrialization of the country.
During this period, hundreds of thousands of people emigrated to Brazil, especially from Italy, Germany and Japan, as a free labor force to work on the land.
Getúlio Vargas comes to power in 1930 in a coup. He will remain 15 years ahead of a populist and authoritarian government that will have the merit of forming a network if social and labor support for the population and begin the industrialization of Brazil.
The post-Vargas period is characterized by political openness, several parties are created in search of a balance between the centralization of powers and the autonomy of the provinces. The industrialization of the country continues.
The visionary Jucelino Kubitschek presents himself to the presidency. He arrives in 1956. His ambition: to develop the country 50 years in 5. A will in part achieved by the transfer of the federal capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília, centralizing territorially the Brazilian policy. The last founding stone of the Brazilian people.
The great popularity of Kubitschek is not enough. He will not be re-elected. The following years are of political problems. The intrigues and manipulations will lead to the military arrest of power in 1964.
A military dictatorship that will last 21 years.
Acte VII : From Dictatorship to BRICS- 1964 – 2012
In 1964, in a global geopolitical environment during the Cold War, the military fomented a coup against the institutions and assumed power in Brazil. A situation that will last 21 years.
This coup is sponsored by the United States, seduced by the anti-communist discourse of the Brazilian military. Brazil becomes their main ally in South America, which already suffers from the disease of financed dictatorships in several of its States-member. An ally who often disturbs Washington’s political maneuvering.
In order to maintain political stability, Generals rule with iron fist, striping political and individual liberties. A period when expression is difficult and free thinkers are exiled. On the other hand, government propaganda works wonderfully and the economy grows influenced by industrial politics and pharaonic infrastructure constructions.
In 1985, militarism collapsed and democracy returned to Brazil. The challenge is scary, the galloping of inflation and the wide social gap inherited from the dictatorship must be fought. The new regime starts badly! The first president-elect dies before taking over. The second elected government, in 1990, is ousted on corruption charges.
Political stability in the presidency begins only in 1995, with the election of Fernando Henrique Cardoso. His government will focus on the stabilization of the economy, inflation control and consolidation of the Real, currency created in the previous government and until today used in Brazil. He will be re-elected in 1998. The Labor Party candidate, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, becomes the supreme leader in 2003.
His government is committed to reduce poverty and unemployment, and imposing Brazil internationally as a “global player”. Success accumulates, oil is found. Lula enjoys an unprecedented popularity and he is re-elected president in 2006.
Brazil becomes a star in the world. A test! The World Cup and the Olympic Games will take place in these lands. Lula has such a high popularity that he elects his successor, Dilma Rousseff, who will have the responsibility to host the world for these two major sporting events … or not.
Acte VIII: From Model to the World to Symbol of Chaos – 2012 – 20..
Dilma Rousseff, the first woman president of Brazil, is committed to continue the path established by the previous president.
The tumultuous story is in the past. The political apparatus is stable. Natural resources abound. The domestic market is growing. Foreign capital is coming. Industrial, social and infrastructure investments are at their peak.
The government, the population and foreigners are surfing the wave that makes Brazil one of the most attractive countries of the moment.
With economic and social advances, the Labor Party remains in power. The right-wing does not have the strength to turn the game. History meets the present and the riots return to the political scene. In June 2013 is held the Confederations Cup, a test to the World Cup. Protests are called, and the population demands better health and education systems. The sport event is a success.
The winter of 2014 is the memento of the World Cup. Joy on the streets, Germany champion and presidential elections next. Dilma Rousseff is re-elected imposing e new defeat to the right-wing parties, but this time they will not accept it in silence. Media movements added to accusations of corruption bring the opportunity for a new coup. The vice president conspires, the elite fund, the United States supports. A white wealthy and middle class mass take the streets demanding the deposition of the recently elected president.
Parliamentary maneuvers allow a new democratic fall in 2016, and put Michel Temer in power. He becomes the world host for the Olympic Games.
His government attacks to labor and social rights, and strong accusations of corruption soon make him the most unpopular president in Brazilian history. He will complete the mandate of his predecessor until the end of 2018, year of new elections. Maybe not..