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BRAZIL - 19th Century History

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Lekha Ravichandran Class #2 10/18/09 BRAZIL: At the start of the 19th century, Europe was confronted with a series of problems. France, under Napoleon Bonaparte, and Britain were having issues with each other. Napoleon tried to blockade all trade with England with the Continental System. However, although Portugal remained neutral, it still continued to honor previous trade treaties it had established with Britain. In 1807, France and Spain signed the Treaty of Fontainebleau to divide Portugal between them. Soon after, Napoleon decided to invade Portugal, starting the Peninsular War. Queen Maria I of Portugal and her son, Prince Joao VI escaped to Brazil during this time. Although the war and Napoleon's control over Portugal ended in 1815 and Queen Maria passed away in 1816, Prince Joao VI decided to continue staying at Rio de Janeiro. He fell in love with the place and instituted himself as the country's ruler. In fact, once he became king, he declared Rio to be the capital of both Portugal and Brazil. ...read more.


After nine years of outlandish activities, Pedro I was forced to give up his title, leaving his five-year old son, Dom Pedro II, to take the throne. A period of turmoil followed since their ruler was just a young child. Between 1831 and 1840, Brazil was ruled by regencies, which caused much uproar and widespread rebellions around the nation. The people decided that something had to be done and came up with a solution. They decided to place Dom Pedro II back on throne to govern their country by passing a law declaring him as an adult - much before his 18th birthday. At only the age of 15, Dom Pedro II became the Emperor and Perpetual Defender of Brazil. He was involved in one of the most favorable and prosperous wars in the country's history. In 1865, Brazil joined with Argentina and Uruguay against Paraguay. Paraguay suffered severe damages and was left weakened by 1870. Although Brazil borders ten neighboring countries, this is the last war it has fought with any of them - making the history of Brazil remarkably peaceful. ...read more.


By 1889 coffee took over two-thirds of Brazil's exports. It took the place of sugar imports, which had seen a steady decrease sine 1820s. Toward the end of the 19th century the Brazilian economy was confronted with another economic boom due of abundance of rubber trees. America was in need of these trees to manufacture tires with the start of the automobile industry. The rubber price shot up, bringing huge wealth to the main cities of Brazil. In the final decade of the 19th century, Brazil opened its borders. Millions of immigrants, from all over the world, poured into Brazil to work on its coffee ranches and make new lives in its rapidly growing cities. Over the next century, immigrants continued to come into Brazil. It became a haven for Jewish refugees fleeing persecution, as well as Nazis trying to avoid being put on trial for war crimes. Many Arabs also immigrated to Brazil during this time. On November 15, 1894, Prudente de Morais became Brazil's first directly elected president. At this time Brazil was dominated by influential families from two states: Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo. These groups had complete political control and presidents were always elected from these states of milk and coffee. ...read more.

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