Reino das Províncias Unidas do Brasil (Portuguese)
Kingdom of the United Provinces of Brazil
Timeline: Parallel Brazil

OTL equivalent: Brazil
Brasilban Brazil coato
Flag of Brazil Coat of Arms of Brazil
Map of Brazil (Parallel Brazil)
Mainland Brazil

Motto: Genti Pluris Originis
(Latin: People of Many Origins)
Gigas Dormiens Nunquam Excitare
(Latin: Never Wake a Sleeping Giant)

Anthem "Pátria Amada"
(Portuguese: Beloved Homeland)
Hino Nacional
Capital Brasília
Largest city Rio de Janeiro
Other cities Salvador, Guayaquil, New Florence, Natal, São Paulo, Saint Louis, New Lisbon Starling, Arcanis, Zenith, Cádiz, Vehina, Josanso, etc
  - Official:
  - Other languages Tupi, Guarani, Mannuwa, Quechua, Mangarevan, Tahitian, Marquesan, Rapa Nui, Jejuan Korean, Soqotri, etc.
Ethnic group White - 52.71%
Mixed - 29.10%
Black - 12.07%
Asian - 4.09%
Amerindian - 1.43%
Polynesian - 0.5%
Type of government Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  Government National Congress
  • Senate (Upper House)
  • Magisterium (Lower House)
Monarch: Marco II of Bragança
  Royal House: House of Bragança
Chancellor: Maia Grimaldi de Castro
Area 10,495,761.78 km² (2nd)
Population -
  - estimate
  - 2020 census 209,469,323 (6th)
  - Density 19.96/km² (166th)
Established 1815
Independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves
  Autonomy 1548 (as Viceroyalty of Brazil)
1815 (as Kingdom of Brazil)
  Declared September 7th, 1821
  Recognized August 29, 1823
Currency Brazilian cruzeiro (₢) (BRC)
GDP (PPP) 2019
  - Total $17.41 trillion (3rd)
  - Per capita $83,120 (6th)
GDP (nominal) 2019
  - Total $16.23 trillion (3rd)
  - Per capita $77,482 (5th)
Gini 30.1
HDI 0.940 (third)
very high
Drives on the Right
Date formats dd/mm/yyyy
Internet TLD .br
Calling code +55

Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil), officially the Kingdom of the United Provinces of Brazil (Portuguese: Reino das Províncias Unidas do Brasil), also known just as Kingdom of Brazil, is a transcontinental sovereign nation, the largest country in the Americas and second in the world in land area and sixth by population. It is also the world's biggest monarchy by number of subjects. It is the only mostly Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas (though Canada is partially Lusophone as well), as well as one of the world's most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations. That ethnic diversity and great equality between the different ethnic groups is remarkable. Brazil is the most ethnically egalitarian among the developed countries in economic, social, and political terms.

Geographically, Brazil is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and by the enclave of Cadiz and the Pacific to the west, as well as to the Baltic Sea by the enclave of Zenith, the Indian Ocean by Socotra, and the East China Sea by Jeju. It is bordered to the north by Venezuela and Colombia; west by Peru and Bolivia; south and north of Patagonia by Argentina; southwest by Paraguay; north of New Scandinavia by Chile; south of Zenith by Germany; and by Spain through Cadiz.

Several archipelagos form its territory, such as the Atol das Rocas, the archipelagos of São Pedro and São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade and Martim Vaz, Galapagos, Marquesas, Mangareva, the eastern portion of the Tuamotus Archipelago, Svalbard, and Socotra.

Its constitution, formulated in 1824, makes Brazil a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The Brazilian monarchy is different from other monarchies for its institutions of republican and federalist influence. It consists of 49 sub-national federated entities known as Federal Units or Provinces (42 Provinces, 2 Insular Provinces, 2 Autonomous Cities, 2 Insular Territories, and one Federal District), all of them with similar autonomy and full citizenship and Brazilian nationality, as well as several overseas dependencies. It provides a bicameral legislature (the Senate and the Magisterium).

The territory that forms Brazil, for the most part, was found by Europeans in 1500, during the Portuguese expedition led by Pedro Alvares Cabral. The region, which until then was inhabited by Amerindians divided into thousands of languages ​​and ethnic groups, became a colony of the Portuguese Empire. Though Brazil had high autonomy, and was more like a vassal state than an actual colony, the colonial bond was broken only in 1808 with the transfer of the Portuguese royal family to Rio de Janeiro due to the Napoleonic Invasion of Portugal. In 1815, Brazil was elevated to the condition of kingdom, united to Portugal under King John VI of Bragança. Political independence, proclaimed by prince and general Pedro de Alcantara (the soon to be third Brazilian monarch) and the Magisterium, took place in 1821. After independence, Brazil has expanded in South America through military conflicts against its Hispanic neighbors. Some of its current provinces and territory were once independent countries, such as the provinces of Uruguay and Ecuador, and the provinces of Patagonia and New Scandinavia (territory formerly controlled by the Free Cities). The Brazilian expansion also extended to other continents, continuing the Brazilian colonial expansion started already in the 1570s by the Overseas Trading Company (Portuguese: Companhia de Comércio do Ultramar, or just, COU), allowing Brazil to build a remarkable colonial empire. In a period of about 30 years after the independence, Brazil was gradually accepted by the international community as one of the great powers, as the so-called Prestigious Wars occurred. The Cisplatine War (1823-25) and the Great Latin-American War (1829-35) confirmed Brazil as a military power and the hegemonic nation in the Americas until the rise of the United States in the early 20th century. The latter War of the Portuguese Succession (1842-44) and Anglo-Brazilian War (1848-53) reasserted Brazil as a great power and one of the most influential nations in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Currently, Brazil maintains great economic and diplomatic influence. It can be seen on most continents in the language and culture of its former colonies. At its height, in the early 20th century, the Brazilian Empire was the fourth largest empire in history by land area with about 15.9 million square kilometers, 10.69% of the world's landmass. However, most of the old Brazilian colonies have become independent during the 20th century, with its last recognizably colonial holding, Weihai, being transferred to China in 2000.

Brazil is a developed nation, with the third-largest economy by nominal GDP (second among the American countries) and the fifth-highest nominal GDP per capita (first among the American countries). It is also the world's second-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer, besides being the only member of the G8 from the Southern Hemisphere. The nation has a modern and extensive military force, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles, though Brazil has not participated in any great conflict since the decolonization period. Brazil has a very high standard of living (the world's third-highest HDI and first among the American countries), with the fifth-highest life expectancy in the world (according to estimates by the UN and WHO) and the eighth-lowest infant mortality rate. Brazil was one of the earliest nations to start its Industrial Revolution and a Great Power since the beginning of its history as an independent state. It remains a world power with great influence in the political, economic, military, cultural, and technological fields. It is acknowledged possessing nuclear arsenal, being the second nation to achieve it in 1947, and has the third-highest military spending in the world. Technologically advanced and industrialized, Brazil is a prosperous multiracial country and has excellent results in many international comparisons of national performance such as transparency of government, economic competitiveness, human development, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, public education, economic freedom, and the protection of civil and political rights. Brazilian cities also routinely rank among the highest in the world in terms of livability, cultural offerings, and quality of life.

Despite Weihai's transfer of sovereignty, the last Western-controlled land in Chinese territory, to the People's Republic of China in 2000 being said to have ended to the Brazilian colonial empire, the fourth longest-lived colonial empire in history, some say that the empire still exists, even if smaller, in the form of the Brazilian Overseas Sovereign Bases, like Akrotiri and Dhekelia in Cyprus, and Overseas Dependencies, like Svalbard.

Brazil is considered a great example of "green nation" among the great economies, responsible for much of the development and deployment of new clean technologies, with unparalleled levels of sustainability. Over the decades of 1980, 1990, 2000, and 2010, Brazil has developed and implemented revolutionary technology in many fields, such as aerospace, environmental, and energy production.

The Brazilian people can boast of a long tradition of excellence in the arts, as well as a known spirit of technological innovation, having significant achievements as the first airplane and the first war submarine. Brazil's standard of education, one of the best in the world, is considered one of the causes of its high technological production. Brazil has one of the most advanced aerospace and military sectors in the world, being rival to Russia and the United States in innovation.

Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations (UN) and is one of six permanent members of the UN Security Council, a member of G7, G8, G20, the Mercosur, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the Union of Latin American Nations (ULAN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Council of Europe[1], the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Eurocontrol, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Union of Luso-Brazilic Nations (ULBRAN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (HELCOM), the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS), and others. Brazil also has observer or associate status with the Pacific Islands Forum.

Also, through bilateral agreements between Brazil and the European Union, two of Brazil's provinces, Cadiz and Zenith, have a high level of integration with the European Single Market since 2005. Since 1980, Brazil is an associate member of the European Space Agency (ESA) and has allowed the ESA and many European national space programs to use the Kourou Space Centre, in Eastern Guyana, strengthening the ties between Radea and the ESA, as well as between Brazil and Europe.


The etymological roots of the term "Brazil" are difficult to rebuild. The philologist Adelino José da Silva Azevedo postulated that it is a word of Celtic origin (a legend that tells about a "land of delights" called HyBrazil), but also warned that the earliest origins of the term could be found in the language of the ancient Phoenicians. In colonial times, chroniclers of the importance of João de Barros, Friar Vicente do Salvador and Pero de Magalhaes Gandavo showed consistent explanations about the origin of the name "Brazil". According to them, the name is derived from "Brazilwood", the name given to a type of wood used in fabric dyeing. At the time of discovery, it was common to explorers carefully keep the secret of all that they found or conquered in order to exploit it advantageously, but it was quick to spread in Europe that it was discovered certain "Brazil island" in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, where there was Brazilwood (ember colored wood). The tree name, in turn, derives from the Latin terms brasa (ember), and the suffix il (a short version of ilium or iculum). Before the popularization of the current appointment, the new lands were designated: Monte Pascoal (when the Portuguese first sighted land), Island of Vera Cruz, Land of Santa Cruz, and New Lusitania. Cabralia and Brazilia Regina are also popular names used in songs, poetry, and patriotic nation's personifications.

Brazil's official name, Kingdom of the United Provinces of Brazil, was chosen from a number of suggestions, including Kingdom of the Federated Provinces of Brazil, Kindom of the United States of Brazil, and United Kingdom of Brazil. The chosen name aimed to emphasize that Brazil would be a kingdom formed by several equal and autonomous units, in fact, a federation of internally republican semi-autonomous entities, united under the Crown.

The natural inhabitants of Brazil are called Brazilians. As with the Roman names of many European countries, Brazilia was and is often used as an alternative name for Brazil, especially in formal or literary and poetic contexts. Brazilic or Brazilico mean of Brazil or Brazilian, from Brazilia, the Latin name for Brazil.

There are also other officially recognized designations that refer to the cultural heritage of the current Brazilian people, such as Pindorama, or "Land of Palm Trees" in Guaraní, and Al'tera, or "Refuge of the Ancients" in Mannuwa, the Manowan language.


Pre-colonial Age (Pre-Columbian times - 1500)

Background of European Colonization


The world divided by the Treaty of Tordesillas.

When discovered by the Portuguese in 1500, it is estimated that the territory of Brazil (the Brazilian territory of just after the independence), was inhabited by about one million indigenous people, from north to south, plus about one million Manowans.

The Amerindian population was divided into large Indigenous nations composed of various ethnic groups among which stand out the great Tupi-Guarani, Macro-Je, Arawak, and Manowan groups. The Tupi were subdivided into the Guaraní, Tupiniquins and Tupinambas, among countless others smaller groups. The Tupi spread of the current Southern Rio Grande to current Northern Rio Grande. According to Luís da Câmara Cascudo, the Tupi were "the first Indigenous race that had contact with the Portuguese colonizer." The Tupi's influence occurred in food, language, agricultural processes, hunting and fishing, in superstitions, customs and folklore of the current Brazilians. About the Manowans, they were a commercial kingdom developed and advanced that inhabited the Southwestern Amazon between 700 BC and 1632 AD.

On the European side, the discovery of Brazil was preceded by several treaties between Portugal and Spain, establishing limits and dividing the world already discovered and the world still to be discovered. Among those agreements signed distance of the allocated land, the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) was the most important for defining the portions of the globe that would belong to Portugal in the period in which Brazil was a Portuguese colony. In the current territory of Brazil, the line crossed from north to south, the present-day city of Belém, Pará, to the current Laguna, Santa Catarina.

The Manowan Kingdom

For centuries the origins of the Manowan civilization were shrouded in mystery. Manowan, the name given to the people as well as the kingdom, was an Amazonian pre-Columbian kingdom that would see its rise and fall over a period of about 2,300 years between approximately 700 BC and 1630 AD.

The Manowans were more advanced than any other American civilization in various aspects. They had a developed naval knowledge, phonetic alphabet and iron weapons. Their mathematics, Base 10 like ours, knew the number zero. Their language, Mannuwa, was mysteriously unlike anything in any American language families. While the origins of their civilization and its development are now known, the origins of the people and the ethnic Manowans themselves are still one of the greatest mysteries of history.

Between 800 and 850 BC, the Manowan people arose in history by unifying their 14 tribes under a confederation in order to protect themselves from the hostile peoples of Amazon. In 700 BC, however, an unexpected phenomenon changed the course of the Manowan development. A small Phoenician fleet, five ships, lost in the Atlantic and carried by the winds, appeared at the mouth of the Amazon River. Exploring the interior of the continent further, the dying Phoenicians were found by the Manowans near the tribe of the leader Eliandor, the Unifier.

South america satellite image

The Manowan Kingdom and the Manowan Protectorate at their maximum extension.

Seeing the Phoenicians as beings coming from the gods, the Manowans took care of their needs and hosted them. By living with the natives for years, the sailors taught some techniques from the Old World to them. Hiram, a wise Phoenician who lived and was welcomed among the sailors, wrote throughout his life Hiram's Diaries, in which he narrates their maritime epic, the discovery and relationship with the Manowans. The diaries, written in Phoenician, were hidden in the Palace of Niss until their discovery in 1933, throwing light on the mystery of the Manowan civilization. After more than ten years among the Manowans, the Phoenician sailors sailed back to the Old World. Their fate is still a mystery to this day.

By 550 BC, the Manowans had already assimilated the Phoenician-given knowledge and established their kingdom; they had developed agriculture and trade, their own phonetic alphabet, and their cities were grandiose. The Manowan king, had large administrative powers, controlling agriculture and food distribution, and lived in the capital, Eliandor. With internal development, the ports of Niss and Degoun (or Daegun) became springboards for Manowan trade.

The Manowan Kingdom's territory itself did not expand since its foundation, and the population was controlled by cruel, but effective measures. With the emergence of great empires in the Andes, such as the Tiwanaco-Huari, the Manowan created a protective network of independent kingdoms which would be known as the Manowan Protectorate. Among the most important civilizations in Manowan protection there were the Moche, Chimu and the Chachapoyas.

Replica of a Tho'kra, the biggest type of Manowan ship. The tho'kra were used in the trade between the several Manowan factories in the Americas coast.

The kingdoms under the Protectorate remained independent, but paid tributes to the Manowan king and had the right to protection by Manowan troops. The Manowan greatest military work was be the Andean Line, a set of more than 40 fortresses that manned much of Manowan troops and protected the kingdom from Andean incursions.

For many centuries, Manowan was a rich kingdom. Its ships traveled from Florida and Mexico to southeastern Brazil, were a web of fortified commercial points (like the Portuguese factories) flooded with trade goods. Its trade routes connected the rich Andean and Mesoamerican regions. In the early 15th century, however, the War of the Three Thrones, a conflict between three royal lines for the throne that divided the kingdom into three different states, devastated the Manowan for 53 years. After the war, the new king, Lennor II, executed the rebel commercial and mercantile elite and isolated the nation. The last kingdoms under the protectorate were to be conquered and one of the Manowans' largest sources of income was cut. During and after those episodes, the Manowans found the rising Incas as their biggest rivals. The protected kingdoms were conquered, and the Incas just could not break into Manowan itself, as the way to the kingdom through the jungle was kept hidden from outsiders for centuries. After hundreds of skirmishes, some say Manowan was fated to the Inca conquest. However, with the arrival of the Spaniards and the end of the Inca Empire, the Manowans were saved from this fate. 

The world known singer and actress Lara Nissi is one of the most famous persons of Manowan descent. Her natural white-silver hair, true purple eyes and bronze color skin are distinctive of Manowan ancestry.

A poor kingdom at the time, Manowan did not caught the attention of Spanish. With the founding Manaus in 1524, the Luso-Brazilians made contact with the decadent Manowan civilization. Despite the peaceful relations, exchanges of knowledge, Manowan immigration into Luso-Brazilian villages, and even the assimilation of customs and European techniques, the Manowan were exterminated in the War of Supremacy of 1632. The Manowan cities were occupied, and Niss and Daegun became again important ports in the western Amazon under the Portuguese. Eliandor was rebuilt, but the buildings of the Manowan capital were preserved in the King Endor's Park, and recognized as the World Heritage Site.

Present-day Manowan is a province of Brazil and its capital is Eliandor. As for the Manowan people, remnants of their culture are still visible in Manowan-European descendants in the Amazonic region. Eliandor, founded in 600 BC, is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Americas.

The Brazilian Medicis

During the early colonial period, Brazil's history can be confused with the Brazilian Medicis' history, a branch of the Florentine dynasty that flourished in the New World after the coming of Giuliano di Medici to Brazil.

One of the most important figures of the early Brazilian history, Giuliano di Medici was born in Florence, from one of the wealthiest families in Europe. Known for their business as bankers, the Medicis amassed power and wealth, but Giuliano, had the interest to create his own business empire. In 1478, then 24 years old, he gathered all his possessions, wealth and heritage and went to Portugal, settling in Lisbon, where he met the love of his life.


Maria Rita Castro Gomes. Oil on canvas in New Florentine style by Giuliano of Medici.

Maria Rita Castro Gomes was a wealthy 23 years old widow and one of the richest persons in Portugal. She came from an aristocratic family and married the gold and ivory trader Afonso Henrique Castro Gomes when she was 16, but he died when she was 19, letting her to  assume her deceased husband's businesses. Soon, she tripled his fortune. Her beauty and wealth attracted many suitors, all of them rejected. When administering her dead husband businesses, she ceased to trade only gold and ivory Ceuta and expanded to salt form the south of Portugal, and sugar from Madeira; she invested in textile production in Flanders and bought extensive vineyards in France, in addition to financing the Crown and the Portuguese maritime expansion. Giuliano met her in 1479, shortly after arriving at Lisbon. It is said that they "fell in love at first sight" and soon became lovers, marrying after four months. Giuliano invested his fortune to create a banking house in Lisbon and with his wife's contacts, founded the branches of the new bank in various cities in Europe. In 1490 their first son, Sebastian, was born.

In 1502, Giuliano and Maria Rita already had a large and rich bank, very influential in southern Europe, with branches in major European cities and headquartered in Lisbon. The Bank Medici and Castro (not old Italian Medici Bank) took advantage of the decline of traditional banking families in Italy, filling the vacuum left by them. The company gave him not only wealth but also influence on the politics of the European countries, especially Portugal and Spain. He was a close friend of the Portuguese king and the royal family and had great influence on the Portuguese politics, besides being one of the largest financiers of the Crown.

Colonial Age (1500 - 1821)

Exploratory Expeditions

Desembarque de Pedro Álvares Cabral em Porto Seguro em 1500 by Oscar Pereira da Silva (1865–1939)

Discovery of Brazil and the landing of Pedro Alvares Cabral in Porto Seguro.

During the voyage of Pedro Alvares Cabral's fleet to India, which had left Lisbon on March 9th, 1500, the winds carried the two caravels and 13 ships to an unknown land. They landed on April 22 where now stands the town of Porto Seguro and they took possession of the land for King Manuel I.

In 1501, a large exploratory expedition, the first reconnaissance fleet, with three ships, found as an exploitable resource Brazil wood only, a reddish and valuable wood used in European dyeing and good for carpentry. However, the expedition did a survey of the coast anyways. Led by Gaspar de Lemos, the journey began on May 10th, 1501, and ended with the return to Lisbon on September 7th, 1502, after crossing the coast and naming the major land forms. In 1501, on November 1st, the Bay of All Saints was discovered, in the current province of Bahia, a place that would later be chosen by King John III to house the headquarters of the colonial administration. Another findings the same month were the Camamu Bay, where would be founded the city of New Florence, and the mouth of the Cachoeira River, also called Ilhéus Bay, where would be founded the city of Ilhéus, city which the province of Ilhéus was named after.

The expedition of Giuliano di Medici in 1502, established the village of New Florence, Brazil's oldest European-established settlement. In 1503 there was another expedition, now led by Gonçalo Coelho, establishing settlements as the villages of São Vicente, São Paulo and Belém (known in English as Bethlehem of Brazil). The expedition was organized on the basis of a contract between the king, a group of merchants from Lisbon and the Bank of Medici and Castro for extracting Brazil wood. It carried Americo Vespucci and six ships. He left Lisbon in May, passing by in Fernando de Noronha in August, where the flagship sank, dispersing the armada. Vespucci may have gone to Bahia and spent six months at Cabo Frio, where he explored 40 leagues inland. There, he may have left 24 men with provisions for six months. Coelho, it seems, have stayed in the region where it would be founded the city of Rio de Janeiro, possibly for two or three years.

On that occasion, Vespucci, on service for Portugal, returned to the largest natural harbor of the Brazilian coast, the Bay of All Saints.

Settling Period (1500-1548)

In 1501 Giuliano di Medici received from the king the right to "build a town, anywhere in the new land". Next year, he founded with his wife the settlement of Madonna di Nuova Firenze (Portuguese: Nossa Senhora de Nova Florença, English: Our Lady of New Florence), the first European-established city in Mainland Brazil, on the banks of the Camamu Bay. Ten years later the city had more than 5000 inhabitants, all employed in agriculture, trade and crafts. The city became a small center of shipbuilding and attracted settlers from across Europe. In 1531, Medici founded the Medici College, now Medici University, first higher education center of the American continent. In 1534, New Florence became the headquarters of the new Medici Banking Company (just called Medici Bank after 1552), which included all of the Brazilian Medicis' banks and business in the world, paving the way so New Florence could become a powerful and influential city. At that time, the Brazilian branch of the Medici family was one of the richest families in the Western world.

The Medici Bank helped to finance the Spanish expeditions to the Aztec and Inca empires achieving high profits, besides having business with many governments. the Medicis also built in New Florence a large palace where they kept rare artifacts, the present-day Pan-American History Museum, and hold a large collection of Aztec and Incas artifacts, thanks to Sebastian and Gabriel de Medici, who personally participated in the Spanish expeditions at the Aztec and Inca empires respectively. In 1560, the city's growth required the transposition of the Igrapiúna and Orojo Rivers, reducing the flood in the lower parts of the city.

Society and Economy
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Detail of Terra Brasilis map, from 1519, with Brazilwood represented along the coast of the Atlantic Forest.

One of the most profitable activities in the period was the extraction of Brazilwood. To explore the wood, the Crown adopted the policy of offering to the private sector in towns and cities of the colony and the metropolis concessions of Brazil wood under certain conditions: dealers should send their ships to discover 300 leagues of land, install strongholds in the land discovered and keep them for three years; than to bring the wood to the kingdom, they would pay nothing the first year, the second they would pay a sixth and the third they would pay one-fifth. The ships docked on the coast, a few dozen of sailors disembarked and recruited Indians to work in cutting and loading of logs in exchange for small goods such as clothes, necklaces and mirrors (practice called "barter"). Each ship carried an average of five thousand logs of 1.5 meters in length and 30 kg. People migrated to Brazil in droves, and enriched with that trade. Soon most of Flanders and England fabric was dyed with Brazil wood. In addition, the feathers of tropical birds, fur and medicinal roots extracted in the colony roamed Europe.

Seeing that Brazilwood was a lucrative product, English and French privateers started to use force to control that trade and to capture Indians.

Thus the Luso-Brazilians (Portuguese and other Europeans living in Brazil and the Brazilian-born people), who had enriched with that activity, began to invest in other activities such as manufacturing and trade. The land structure of the colony was diverse with family farming in small and medium properties side by side with large plantations, large-scale farm that specializes in cash crops. Across the Brazilian colonial economy, shipbuilding and manufactures have grown, as well as the agriculture of cassava (to produce flour), corn, and native fruits and vegetables. Shipbuilding led to the growth of trade with other regions. That phenomenon occurred throughout eastern Brazil, from Ceará to Paraná.

Portugal, even if knowing that the coast was visited by corsairs and foreign adventurers, as well as having bigger concerns in the East Indies, little cared about the economic growth and freedom that prevailed in its colony. However, it still decided to send military expeditions to defend the land from the French and the English. They were called Bodyguard Expeditions, of which the most recognized was the two commanded by Christopher Jacques, from 1516-1519 and 1526-1528. His expeditions were basically of military nature, with the mission to imprison the French ships that, without paying taxes to the Crown, withdrew large amounts of Brazil wood. The initiative had few practical results, considering the immense stretch of coastline and, as a solution, Jacques suggested the Crown to initiate a more intensive settlement in the land of Brazil.

The colony was predominantly rural, but had a decent urban life, an economy in diversification and a middle class of small and medium owners, traders and professionals. During that period, in addition to New Florence, other major cities were founded such as Heraclion, Salvador and Belém. Some towns were founded in the Spanish side of the Tordesillas line as well, such as Afrodisia, Manaus and Curitiba. But all this had only been possible because until 1530 the Portuguese authorities had all of their attention on the East, making Brazil a land free of the metropolitan authority.

Life in the villages was simple. In the town center core there was always the City Hall, where the people gathered to discuss politics and where the elected mayor worked; the School, where the children were educated, being financed by the taxes collected and generous people's donations; and the Church, where Catholics gathered. In the cities the trade was intensive, the streets, wider than in European cities were almost always paved. The cities were connected by paved roads. Plenty of space allowed spacious and organized cities with wide streets and squares.

The rhea was the first native animal domesticated by the settlers in Brazil. It provided meat, eggs, leather and rhea oil.

The colonial subsistence at the time was based mainly on cassava, corn, tropical fruits that the settlers soon learned to cultivate, the farming of chicken and rhea, a large native bird easily tamed, and the fishing of various seafood. The most consumed beverages were rum, cachaça and fruit liqueurs. Wind and water mills were built to grind cassava and corn. Corn bread and tapioca flatbread were consumed by everyone, rich or poor. Soon, cattle was brought from Europe, which began to be farmed in the Sertão (semi arid geographical region of Northeastern Brazil, or Portuguese-Brazilian word to designate the drier inner regions, similar to the Australian concept of Outback). Leather and meat became valuable trade goods. The population began to consume milk and cheese.

Culture and Population

Several aspects of the colony, already in its infancy, did distance it culturally from Portugal. The first factor was that, without supervision, settlers came from all parts of Europe. The different flora and fauna, the climate, the contact with the natives, etc., all helped to distance the customs of the Brazilian colonists from the metropolitan Portuguese. In Brazil, the warm climate and abundance of water favored a habit of taking many showers a day, what led to a distinctive sense of hygiene, cities have become cleaner, water sanitation systems were set up and sanitation and personal hygiene became synonymous with well-being and civility. Because of the different environment and also the weather, the settlers realized they should change their eating habits, and soon they learned how to cultivate the native products and farm rheas; wheat bread was replaced by corn bread or tapioca flatbread; the contact with Indigenous peoples made the developing Brazilian Portuguese full of indigenous loanwords. Moreover, there were many attempts to catechize the Indians, and many Europeans had children with natives. The contact with European settlers from other countries made that non-Portuguese words were taken by the Brazilian Portuguese. The influences of many Jewish and, later, Protestant settlers allowed Brazilians to develop a more favorable view to profit, literacy, trade and domestic production; a "bourgeois mentality", as historians say. In addition, it created a great willingness to wage labor. Indian slavery, and then African, only occurred in the plantation. In urban areas and even in small and medium-sized farms slavery was seen as dishonorable and inhumane. Still, many Brazilians made a fortune peddling African slaves to other regions of the continent and the world.

During the 16th and 17th centuries, Portugal and other European countries suffered several hunger cycles and bad harvests. It is estimated that, in 1495, Portugal had two million inhabitants; in 1527 there were only 1.5 million; in 1580, one million. From this one million people who "disappeared" from the kingdom of Portugal in these 85 years, about 300,000 died in famines, and 700,000 emigrated to Brazil in search of land to cultivate and better living conditions. The same would occur in other European countries. By 1530 Brazil had approximately 600,000 inhabitants (not counting Indians).

Also in that period three of the four cities that would become known as the Tetrapolis were founded: New Florence in 1502, Heraclion in 1525, and Aphrodisia in 1542. Veraluna, the last of the Tetrapolis, would be founded in 1562.

Magisterial Period (1548-1702)

Magistério 2 (2)

Flag (and Coat of Arms) of the Viceroyalty of Brazil. Although it was a colony de jure, Brazil had enough political autonomy to be compared to a protectorate or, in some aspects, an independent nation.

From the 1530s, with the loss of its monopoly on the East Indian trade and with foreign incursions into its colonies, Portugal decided to take possession of its South American land definitely. Until then Brazil was populated by people from all over Europe and a large Jewish community, Brazilians had a lot of economic freedom and traded with whom they wanted.

Portugal designed that should make Brazil profitable to the Crown and was based in big slave based sugar plantations and the restriction of freedoms. But Angelo de Medici, then leader of the Brazilian Medicis, who with his contacts discovered the project, called in 1533 the Congress of Olinda, bringing together representatives from all of Brazil. At the Congress, they prepared a document, with appeals from all classes in Brazil. The document became known as Holy Charter of Rights and defended the interests of the colonial inhabitants. In Lisbon, Angelo and his retinue used his influence and intimacy with the king to persuade him to sign the document saying that otherwise, the settlers could revolt, being aided by Portugal's enemies, such as Spain or France. Trying to reconcile the interests of Brazilians with the colonization model that Portugal wanted to impose, the Charter set out the rights and duties of the Brazilians. The Charter was negotiated with the king, who put in it some articles that would preserve Portugal's interests and, as well, accepted some of the Brazilian demands:

  • In the colony, all Christians and Jews would be free to exercise their religion, which unobtrusively included Protestants who would soon become an issue in Europe, and the colony would be a neutral zone between these religions;
  • The Brazilian inhabitants would be free to exercise any economic activities without restrictions from the Crown;
  • Trade with other countries would be free, but since only Portuguese and Brazilian ships could dock in colonial ports freely (actually, in the long run, it was favorable to the Brazilians, who were forced to control all of their trade, exportation and importation, without depending on middlemen);
  • Sugar and Brazilwood would be exported only to the metropolis and by metropolitan ships only;
  • The slave trade to the colony could only be done by the Portuguese, although Brazilians could sell to other regions of the world;
  • All the gold, silver and diamonds discovered in the colony would be subject to the Crown laws;
  • All non-Portuguese settlers installed in the colony would have the right to stay in Brazil, in addition, Europeans of any nationality could be established in the colony by just swearing allegiance to Portugal on arrival;
  • Cities and towns would be governed by mayors elected by its people in a secret ballot and the Crown would not be allowed to interfere into city governments directly;
  • Part of the taxes (a fourth, known as the Crown's Fourth) collected in the colony would belong to the Crown, the rest of it would be kept in the colony for the construction and maintenance of infrastructure and government;
  • There would be freedom of expression and of the press (as Brazil was hit early by the spread of printing press);
  • A central government based in the legislature known as the Magisterium, would be created as the main government to the whole colony, but the captaincies would retain certain autonomy, and the Magisterium could legislate about all issues under the Charter;
  • At least half of the positions of power in the colonial government would be occupied by native Brazilians from 1620 on; Brazilians would be entitled to representation in the Cortes of Lisbon from 1620 and would be allowed trade in all of the Portuguese Empire (expanded to the Spanish Empire during the Iberian Union, 1580-1640);
  • Education would be secular and under the authority of the Magisterium, in accordance with the religious neutrality of Brazil, but there could be the teaching theology and other subjects linked to the Church;
  • There would be created a Colonial Self-Defense Force (which became known as the Defense Forces), a group of army and navy recruited in the colony that would be under the authority of the Magisterium, in order to protect the colony from the enemies of Portugal;
  • The document should be honored by all that were to reign over Portugal.

The Holy Charter, signed and ratified by King John III in 1538, regulated the colony's condition in relation to the metropolis and allowed the maintaining of the growth of New Florence and the Medici. The Portuguese monarchs, although wanting, never attempted to reduce that condition because they knew that this would mean revolt. But more freedom generated more trade, which generated more tax revenue and made many Portuguese monarchs and leaders think that trying to destroy this freedom would just endanger a rich and regular source of wealth for a domination that could not yield the same profits. For Portugal, all this freedom allowed the Brazilians to show their true potential and fill the royal coffers. On the other hand, Brazil had a continuous economic growth since its discovery and until its independence. Differently from other European colonies, Brazil had no mean to become independent until 1819. As said by the historian Carlos Bogarin Villar: "a good marriage does not end in divorce." The enforcement of the Charter, however, would still take ten years to be made.

Started in 1548 with the installation of the sugar enterprise and the foundation of the Magisterium, the Magisterial Period begins creating the society that would lead to the question posed in the 20th century by the British historian William J. McLeod: "Was Brazil an exploitation or a settler colony?". Historians say it was both, a mixture, a colony that had great economic and social freedom, typical of settler colonies, and knew how to use this freedom without, however, fail to give the metropolis the expected profits of an exploitation colony. Brazil was a unique case in history. The Holy Charter of Rights was what kept its freedom, no king in Portugal, from any dynasties, dared to question it until 1808. It kept secured and formalized property rights and representative government disengaged from the Church, freedom of thought and enterprise, and freedom of knowledge and scientific development also disengaged from the Church. Most historians agree that the Charter was one of the most important elements in the political and economic development of Brazil.

The Charter gave contribution to what is known as Brazilian Law, a legal system that was settled in the colonial period and had influenced the current Civil Law system in Brazil and Paraguay, as so in Madagascar, Singapore, The United Arab Emirates and other Brazilian ex-colonies. The Charter had also influenced the Enlightenment ideals in Europe and, more indirectly, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.

Colonial Administration

Until 1548 the colonial administration was very fragmented, each city or town was governed by a prefect and a board of councilors elected by the people, but with the promulgation of a central government, things changed.

The government installed in the colony was called a Viceroyalty, a self-governing colony divided into several captaincies (later, provinces) with broad powers of self-government, but connected to the central government. The captaincies were first based on the Captaincies system that involved the division of land, donated to the Donatory Captains that were to be responsible for its control and development, and for paying the settlement expenses. They were donated to people who possessed financial means to colonize, which were mainly "members of the state bureaucracy" and "military and browsers linked to the conquest of India", but as few of these showed interest, these lands were donated to rich people already resident in the colony. Brazilian land was two-month trip from Portugal, the news of the new lands were not very encouraging: in the trip, the fear of "monsters" that inhabit the ocean (in European superstition) and storms were frequent; in the new lands, massive and impenetrable forests, man-eating people and no mineral wealth yet discovered, due to these reasons many Portuguese nobles who received captaincies did not come to the colony, which led the Crown to donate their land in Brazil to residents in the colony as the Greek-Portuguese Caio Angelidis

The capitaincies were hereditary, until the Magisterium's Mourão Act of 1631, which changed the capitaincies' administration to elected governors.


The Captaincies.

There were created in this division 15 longitudinal strips of different widths ranging from landforms on the coast to the meridian of Tordesillas, being offered to 12 grantees including Giuliano de Medici in Ilhéus, Afonso Duarte in Pernambuco, Antonio Henriques de Sousa in São Vicente and Caio Angelidis in Santa Sofia. After the Mourão Act, their governments became as miniatures of the Viceroyalty. Some donatory families, such as the Medicis of Ilheus and the Angelidis of Santa Sofia, became very influential in their captaincies policy to the point of controlling the construction of cities, tax collection and distribution of land, and maintained such influence when the captaincies became provinces. Among the donatory families were also the first Brazilian noblemen, as the first hereditary noblility titles of Brazil were granted by the king, such as the titles of Duke of Ilheus, 1512, Count of Heraclion, 1543, and Baron of Laguna, 1567. But unlike in Europe, in Brazil, the noblemen had no right to a state pension. Most of the noble houses of Brazil were formed by wealthy merchants, large landowners and businessmen. With the rise of Brazil as a united kingdom to Portugal in 1815, Brazilian nobles, until then officially considered part of the Portuguese nobility, though looked down by the Portuguese nobles, became officially nobles of the Kingdom of Brazil.

Of the 16 original captaincies, 13 prospered, mainly financed by the capital of the Medici Bank, including: Ilhéus with trade and industry; Pernambuco with the sugar and trade; São Vicente as the granary of the colony; producing rice, potato, beans, cassava, onions, peas, potatoes, honey, dried fruit and sorghum to sell to other regions and farming donkeys, horses and oxen; and Santa Sofia, as the largest supplier of construction materials.

The settlements west of the Tordesillas line, such as Manaus, Aphrodisia and others, were governed separatly from the captaincies as autonomous cities under the Magisterial government. These settlements were ignored by the Spanish, who were concerned with richer areas, until the end of the 17th century.

Salvador, 1650. It was the capital of Brazil until 1763.

In 1536, the donatory of the Captaincy of the Bay of All Saints (Portuguese: Baía de Todos os Santos), Francisco Pereira Coutinho, came to Brazil and founded the city of Salvador. In 1548 King John III unified the captaincies under the long-awaited Viceroyalty. In this system, the colony became a Viceroyalty, ruled by a Viceroy appointed by the Crown. The power was also exercised by the Intendents of which, from 1620, two-thirds had to be born in the colony. They were appointed by the viceroy, but must be accepted by the Magisterium. There were many Intendancies (similar to modern day ministries or departments of state), including the Intendecies of Commerce, Defense, Exploration, Transportation and Infrastructure, Taxation, Education, Colonization and also of Mining.

The Magisterium was a early form of parliament, developing throughout the Brazilian history. Chaired by magistrates (Portuguese: magistrados) elected by the people, it had the function of overseeing the viceroy, create laws and government measures, and had the power of veto over the actions of the viceroy and the intendants. The first viceroy was Tomé de Souza, who came to Salvador to make it the capital of Brazil. Tomé de Souza ruled until death and was responsible for the political unification of colonial Brazil.

In the mid-16th century, the lack of agreement between the viceroy and the Magisterium caused a political crisis that was resolved only by the Concordia Accord in 1571. The viceroy should nominate a member of the Magisterium to rule alongside himself, this member, called first called First-Magistrate, then Lord-Magistrate and, finally, Chancellor-Magistrate would be the bridge between the Viceregal Office and the Magisterium. Over time, it become precedent that the viceroy choose the person most likely to command the confidence of the Magisterium. By the mid- to late-17th century, the chancellor-magistrate's power had grew beyond the viceroy, who became no more than a figurehead in the Brazilian politics. Historians compare the relationship between the viceroy and the chancellor-magistrate in colonial Brazil to that of a head of state and a head of government in present-day parliamentary governments.

The Viceroyalty existed in Brazil until 1815 when King John VI, already in Brazil, raised Brazil to the status of kingdom, united to Portugal under a personal union. During its existence, the Viceroyalty acted as an semi-independent government, as a protectorate, not burdening the Portuguese state machine and still paying dividends. Scholars confirm that Brazil was perhaps the most free and independent European colony in the Americas. One of the first policies of the Magisterium, was to unificate the colony's monetary system. It stablished the Brazilian Monetary Authority in 1551, a public institution which were responsible to manage the state's currency, money supply, and interest rates. It was the first central bank created, reorganized into the the current Bank of Brazil (the Brazilian central bank) in 1810, and it is the model on which most modern central banks have been based. In 1555, it started to coin the new Brazilian official curency, the cruzeiro, which has been used in Brazil until present-day, being one of the oldest currencies still in use.

Another of the first Magisterial actions was to create a document that should set the government rules. In 1560 the Charter of Constitution and Structure of the Viceroyalty of Brazil was enacted. The charter became the highest law in colonial Brazil until 1815, setting the structure of the government, the rights and duties of the Brazilian residents, as well as the extensions and limits of the government power. The charter was the precursor of the modern constitutions having influenced the constitutionalists of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

The first settlers in Brazil were Catholics and Jews that aimed to rebuild their lives in the new lands. From the mid-16th century, waves of Protestants also came to Brazil fleeing persecution, including a large contingent of French Huguenots and also Calvinists, Presbyterians, Puritans, and Lutherans. In addition to these, in the region of the province of Santa Sofia there was a great migration of Greek, Russian, French and Italians. The Cathedral of St George in Heraclion, built in 1651, in a unique architectural style that became known as Heraclian style, is the largest Orthodox temple in the Americas. During the Magisterial Period the Brazilian population grew extremelly fast. Between 1500 and 1700, it is estimated that 750,000 Portuguese left their country to build a new life in Brazil. Added to these, over two million Europeans of other nationalities. European immigration to Brazil was very broad. Portuguese, Spanish, English, Scottish, Germans, Italians and Scandinavians spread their populated areas throughout the colony. Other people emigrated to more restricted areas, such as Russians and Greeks in Santa Sofia and Espírito Santo, Irish in São Paulo, and Polish and Hungarians in Rio de Janeiro, Paraná and Santa Catarina. Brazil's population were, in 1550, of about 650,000; in 1650, 2.7 million; in 1700, 4.5 million.

The colony's economy would became incredibly diverse between 1548 and 1701. Textile, metallurgical, naval, weapons, and processing manufactures grew incredibly. The sugar production yields great profits to the metropolis, Brazilian traders are all over the world, its banks are full of money, especially the Medici Bank. Brazil has become one of the major arms suppliers to the metropolis, and the large plantations buy African slaves from the Portuguese. Hundreds of thousands of slaves were brought to Brazil between 1530 and 1700.


The Palace of the Ipês, headquarters of the COU. New Florence, 1669.

Great financier of the Spanish Crown, the Medici Bank becomes very rich with waves of gold and silver it receives from Spain as payment for their loans and financing. This situation, the Spanish economic policy, gave birth to the joke of the time: "Gold is born in America, dies in Spain and is buried in Genoa and New Florence." Neverthless, New Florence had business in all the world, increased trade and large surplus in its transactions, ie, not dependent on Spain, such as Genoa, other large financer of Spain, was.

In 1570, Angelo of Medici founded the Overseas Trading Company (Portuguese: Companhia de Comércio do Ultramar, or just COU). Considered by many the first multinational company in history, the COU expanded during the late-16th and the 17th century to become the biggest company in the world. A de facto independent government headed in New Florence, the COU built a remarkable colonial and commercial empire, a powerful fleet, and influence to negotiate to the other Great Powers as an equal. It was responsible for the first Brazilan colonial wave, being among its colonies: the Free Cities, Madagascar, Terra Nova and Labrador and others. It did influence the diplomacy and the war in Europe and was de facto an independent and powerful imperial state.

The Iberian Union (1580-1640)
Philip II by Alonso Sánchez Coello

Philip II of Spain, I of Portugal.

With the death of the young King Sebastian in battle, this known as The Alcazarquivir Disaster, the Portuguese throne was empty, and the young king had left no descendants.

Philip II of Spain was eventually recognized as king of Portugal, being the closest relative, in 1581.

However, the idea of ​​loss of independence led to a revolution under the leadership of the Prior of Crato, who had come to be proclaimed king a year earlier, in 1580, having fought to the end, coming to rule until 1583 with his court in Terceira Island in the Azores.

Crato was eventually defeated, especially because of the support from the traditional nobility, the bourgeoisie and the Brazilians to Philip II. To get support, Philip undertook, to maintain and respect the forums, customs and privileges of the Portuguese. The same happened to the occupants of all offices of central and local administration, as well as the troops of the garrisons and fleets of Guinea and India. They were all prosecutors of towns and cities in Portugal, except the Azores, faithful to the Prior of Crato, which resisted in Terceira. The Brazilians also had their rights listed in the Charter of Rights guaranteed by Philip II, in return for their recognition of him as king. It was the beginning of a personal union aplied without major changes until about 1620, despite the English interventions of 1589 in the Azores.

During the so-called Iberian Union, Philp's Dynasty formed one of the largest empires in history, comprising territories in almost all parts of the world.

With the Union, the Brazilians gained many benefits, they won the asiento (monopoly) on the slave trade to Spanish America, and the right to trade with all Spanish dominions over the world, which expanded ​​the Brazilian commercial networks. During the union, the Tordesillas line became useless, allowing expeditions such as the Bandeiras and the Monções, which expanded increasingly to the West looking for precious metals. That expansion also expanded the borders of Brazil and the area under the Magisterium administration to close as what they are today.

Joao IV proclaimed king-modificated

Proclamation of John IV as King of Portugal, which officially ended the Iberian Union and marked the rise of the House of Bragança.

Several exploratory expeditions to the interior were organized under direct orders of the Crown or the Paulista (people from the Capitaincy of São Paulo) gold hunters. These expeditions lasted for years and were intended primarily to find precious stones and valuable metals such as gold and silver, as well as to "clean" the newfound areas of Indigenous tribes. They were famous pioneers, among others, Fernao Dias Paes Leme, Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (Anhanguera), Raposo Tavares, Domingos Jorge Velho, Borba Gato and Antonio Azevedo. Despite the political and economic importance of the Bandeiras to the Brazilian history, these expeditions were largely responsible for the extermination of indigenous peoples in Southern and Midwestern Brazil.

The Iberian Union ended in 1640 when the Portuguese Restoration led the Duke of Bragança with financial and military aid from the COU, to take the throne. The reason for the restoration was the crisis caused by the wars of Spain, against Portugal's former allies, like England and the Netherlands, which led them to attack its most distant domains. In exchange for the Brazilian help, the Duke swore that his dynasty would respect the Charter of Rights and increased the privileges of the COU. But even with the victory, in 1640 there was only a smal remnant of the once great Portuguese Empire: Brazil, Angola, Moçambique, Guinea Bissau, some islands in Africa, some trading posts in India, and Macau and Timor in Asia.

The Flemish Wars (1630-1654)
210px-QT - Johann Moritz 1937

John Maurice of Nassau, governor of the Dutch Brazil between 1637 and 1642.

Before the Iberian Union, Portugal and the Netherlands were great allies, the Dutch funded the sugar enterprise in Brazil. The sugar sent to Portugal was sold to the Dutch, who refined it and laid it out for sale in all Europe. But the Netherlands was in a bloody war of independence against Spain, and Portugal was merged into the last. The Spanish king saw the ban on Portuguese trade with the Netherlands as a way to weak the Dutch. On the other hand, the Dutch realized that they would only have the sugar trade back if they conquered its producing areas. They instructed the newly established West India Company (WIC) to conquer the Portuguese territories in South America and West Africa. Despite failing in an attempt to occupy Salvador (capital of the colony) and New Florence, the Dutch defeated the Defense Forces and conquered the coast of Pernambuco, a less protected area and the largest sugar producer, in 1630. During the so-called Flemish Wars (then the Brazilians called all Dutch people Flemish), also called the Dutch Invasions, the invaders conquered a large coastal area that covered from Alagoas to northern Maranhão and established their capital in Recife (a small village neighboring the then capital of Pernambuco, Olinda). Thanks to governor John Maurice of Nassau, the Dutch government was well regarded by the Pernambucans. He built a large infrastructure, urbanized and beautified the new capital, Recife, kept the civil rights of Brazilian citizens, besides being great patron of the arts. During the Dutch government, the WIC conquered Angola for the supply of slaves to the plantations.

Nassau, known inP Europe as "the Brazilian", became extremelly amazed with Brazil. Because of that, he was well seen by the pernambucans and, extrapolating the WIC's interests to the region, he founded a "little Holland" in Brazil, bringing to the region many of Dutch developments and political estructures. He decided to turn Recife a modern capital like any other on the Netherlands and equal, if not better, to New Florence and Salvador, a project he called Mauritsstad. Nassau founded the Maurician University, parks, bridges, cannals, palaces, theaters, gardens and astronomical observatories. In 1642, Nassau was sent back to Europe and a new and oppressive government was installed, bringing the remnant of the Dutch supporters to the Portuguese side.

Victor Meirelles - 'Battle of Guararapes', 1879, oil on canvas, Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro 2

Battle of Guararapes, the last battle of the Dutch Invasions in Brazil.

The war between Portugal and the Netherlands extended even after Portugal's independence from Spain, in 1640. Without strength to regain their colony, Portugal was about to give it up. But in 1654, in the so-called Last Flemish War, the Dutch were expelled from Brazil and Angola by the Defence Forces and Brazilian militias and the belligerents signed peace. By the Treaty of The Hague, the Netherlands was indemnified in eight million florins, and received the Malabar, Portugal received its colonies back with the promise that the Dutch would give up of them. As for the remaining supporters of the Dutch in Brazil, they were expelled from the colony. It is known that the larger community to migrate from Recife was of a Jewish community who fled to North America, specifically New York, and many of their descendants actively participated in the American history.

Society and Science

During the Magisterial Period, freedom and economic prosperity allowed a breakthrough of science and philosophy. In 1569, the Bahian Alvaro Correia Torres, published one of the masterpieces of world scientific press. The work: Analisis Naturalis Brasiliae had 12 volumes with all the knowledge acquired so far about the Brazilian fauna and flora and their applications.

The same year, the New Florentine Manuel de Nobrega discovered a new metal, manganese, and created with it an alloy that made a more resistant, shiny and malleable steel. The New Florentine steel, forged with a rather innovative technique at the time, became the most expensive steel and a luxurious product. By the end of the century, swords, guns, and cannons of made of New Florentine steel were exported all over the world, generating sizeable profits to Brazilian traders, and boosting the metallurgical industry in Brazil. Although it was the subject of detailed analysis by the Europeans and the Chinese, the secret of its composition was only discovered in the 19th century, one hundred year after manganese was discovered in Europe. Other Brazilian products were also discovered at that time. The ollancelus (Latin: olam, pot, and caelum, sky. Sky-colored pot) was a form of pottery invented in Heraclion. It was adorned with relief sculptures, usually in sky blue color (hence the name). It became so valued as Chinese porcelain in Europe. It was also valued in China, where the elites spent considerable sums of silver to buy it. Also at this time the fine propeline fabrics (made from Sertão flax) become valued in Europe, encouraging further its cultivation and manufacturing.

Already in this period the press became widely present in colonial life. The first printing press was brought from Europe by Giuliano di Medici in 1502. By 1580, there were at least 990 printer in the colony and more than 75 daily papers and periodicals.

Stimulated by the combination of freedom and the presence of foreign immigrants, Brazil had a cultural flowering period marked by the foundation of reading societies, discussion groups, bookstores, periodicals and scientific societies. Publishing and books, magazines and newspapers obtained supplies an expanded the market, thanks to the increasing of literacy rate. By the end of the 17th century, the rate of literacy in Brazil (as defined at the time as the "abillity of reading and writing") was of men was 62% for men, 53% for women.

As soon as 1557, the Magisterium had established a widespread compulsory education program, focusing mainly on reading, writing and basic calculations. The Schooling Act of 1557 commanded every municipality with more than 100 families to establish a school for everyone paid for by the citizens. The Magisterium confirmed this with the Education Act of 1564 and created a local land-based tax to provide the required funding. The 1564 law also required every town having more than 50 families to hire a teacher, and confirmed the requirement of every town of more than 100 families to establish a school. The Brazilian zeal for learning was reflected in the early and rapid rise of educational institutions; e.g., the Heraclion Science Academy was founded as early as 1609, and the University of Cabralia, in 1614. The program's reach, however, could not go beyond the towns and neighboring rural areas. In more isolated areas, more isolated from the cities, education was achieved mostly without formal schooling, libraries, or printed book. Parents were riquired by law to teach their children how to write and read. Informal tuition by religious leaders and peasant teachers were also very common on more isolated areas. The Protestant and Jewish population, giving the need to read their religious texts, were the most literate, with even the most isolated households achieving literacy through the teachings of older generations. On the other hand, while free-born Blacks and free Mixed race people had the same education as Whites and teaching slaves to read was not illegal, by 1700, slaves had a literacy rate as low as 21%. The literacy rate was also high among the Indigenous peoples who lived in the Jesuit and other religious missions.

These changes paved the way for the entry of Enlightenment in the colony, and its flowering in between the late 17th century and through the 18th century.


Besides the sugar produced in large slave-based plantations, Brazilian agriculture was very diversified. The main agricultural products were cassava, maize and potato. In addition to these three main staples, there were tomatoes, lettuce, arugula, cucumber and carrots, tropical fruits such as mango, orange, tangerine, açaí, cupuaçu, coconut, banana, watermelon, passion fruit, lemon, and more regional fruits, and grapes and dates in the valley of the São Francisco river. In the South, especially near Laguna and in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina mountains, European and Asian fruits such as strawberry, raspberry, pear, apple, grape, peach, plum, and others were grown. For industry,Sertão flax and vineyards were cultivated in the valley of São Francisco, cotton in Maranhao, and jute, tobacco and cocoa in Bahia.

Livestock activity was based on cattle, rhea, sheep and horses, and buffalo exceptionally in Marajó Island. The regions of the São Francisco river and southern Brazil became major farmers of cattle and caravans (called tropeiros) traveled throughout the colony selling leather and jerked beef, and shipping products among inland regions.

There was in the colony a prosperous extractive activity. From the Amazon region, the so-called Sertão drugs, Western spices like cinnamon stick, cloves, guaraná, indigo, vanilla, pepper, and ginger became valuable productis. From the mid-16th century, the natives from the Jesuit missions in the Amazon were responsible for the extraction of the spices and its shipping to the villages on the banks of the Amazon river, where they were transported to Bethlehem (Belém do Pará). There, they were processed and exported to Europe. Also in the South, from the 17th century, the Jesuits expanded their missions. At the same time, the infusion of yerba mate, a plant native of the region, became appreciated by the ruling classes of the Ottoman Empire, the Arab kingdoms and Scandinavian countries such as Sweden and Denmark.

Soon the Jesuits started to have the same role in relation to the yerba mate, as they had with the Sertão drugs, carrying them to Porto Alegre and Florianopolis, where it was processed and exported. These activities enabled the Society of Jesus to accumulate some wealth, and beautify their missions.

Also date from this period, 1650-1700, the first engineering works that would be known as Water Web, a set of navigation and irrigation canals and lakes constructed in the semi arid Sertão from mainly from the São Francisco and Parnaíba rivers and water channeled from the Amazon basin, irrigating the dry, but fertile, land of the Northeastern Sertão. A miracle of engineering, some canals cutting through sierras. The canals pumped water from the lower regions to the higher Sertão using advanced systems of mills and water level adjustment. This also enabled the development of an important waterway transport network in the major canals along the colonial period, connecting the region's economy.

The Water Web finished its last canal in 1833, but by then many lands had already been covered by the canal. The Web alloed the development of the Sertanian Agripole, now one of the most productive Brazilian agricultural regions. The Web's canals started narrow, but they were quite expanded throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The Web was also the inspiration for the network of irrigation canals built in Patagonia by the Free Cities in the 17th and 18th century and expanded by the Brazilian government in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Since the beginning of the colonization, one of the main rights guaranteed by the Holy Charter of Rights was the right of property. In the period beteewn 1530 and 1730, most of the European immigrants in Brazil colonized the fields. Based on small and medium-sized properties, these would have ownership of occupied land according to the Productive Occupation Act of 1561. The Act was created by the Magisterium in order to ensure the occupation of the colony and thus the recognition of Portuguese sovereignty by other nations, and to facilitate the obtaining of land and discourage the rampant expansion of the cities. It established that the occupants of the land would have its legal possession after a certain period of productive occupation. The settlers, who worked the land with their families and produced a wide variety of products, should provide the colony's market the surplus of thier production. The Agriculture School was created to teach the arriving settlers to cultivate and use native products such as cassava, maize, potato, etc. Roads were built to link the countryside to the cities and allow the exchange of goods between them, and the passage of colonial troops. During the Magisterial Period, the exchanges between farms and cities, or just between farms were frequent. The large contact between country and city allowed new techniques to be employed in productive land.

Slavery, the Quilombola Movement and the Protestants in Brazil

Typical house of a sugar plantation owner from the 17th century.

Beyond the dynamic economy that prevailed in the colony, there was a "different economy" that was intended to satisfy the Portuguese interests, the cultivation of sugarcane and cocoa. Simultaneously with the settlement of immigrants on the fields, Portuguese imigrated to Brazil under the seal of the Crown. While immigrants had small and medium farms, the Portuguese honored by the king, the conquerors and explorers, gained sesmarias from the Crown, large portions of land (plantations) to large-scale production of commercially valuable products. The sugar mill (manufacture of the sugar production cycle called engenho in Brazil) was the main part of the Portuguese mercantilism, organized into large plantations. These were characterized by extensive land, abundant slave labor, complex techniques and low productivity.

To support the production of sugarcane, the Portuguese started in the mid-16th century to import Africans as slaves. They were people who were caught between tribes of Africa (sometimes with the connivance of local chiefs from rival tribes) and who crossed the Atlantic on slave ships, in terrible conditions of cleanliness and health. When they arrived in America, these people were marketed as a commodity and forced to work on plantations and their owners' homes. In the farms, they lived imprisoned in rustic sheds called senzalas, and their children were also enslaved, perpetuating the situation for the following generations. Until the mid-16th century, the Portuguese had the monopoly of the slave trade. After that, French, Dutch and English merchants have also entered the business, weakening the Portuguese participation. Nevertheless, the Portuguese had the monopoly of slave trade to Brazil.

Typical senzala, rustic collective houses were slaves lived.

Entering the 17th century, the Brazilian sugar was a luxurious product imported to the ports of Lisbon, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Hamburg. Production, much higher than the Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, supplied almost all of Europe.

In the mid-17th century, the sugar produced in the Netherlands Antilles started to compete strongly in Europe with the Brazilian sugar. The Dutch had perfected the technique with the experience gained in Brazil after the Dutch invasions, and counted with a developed scheme of transport and distribution of sugar in Europe. Portugal was forced to turn to England and sign several treaties that would affect the economy of the colony. In 1661, England pledged to defend Portugal and its colonies in exchange for two million crusados and the possessions of Tangier and Mumbai. In 1703, Portugal has undertaken to import wool cloths of English manufacturing, and England, in return, to buy Portuguese wines. Date of time the very famous Treaty of Methuen, or Treaty of Fabric and Wine. At the time, it met the interests of the dominant groups, but later resulted in the stoppage of industrialization in Portugal, channeling to England (Great Britain since 1707) the gold that had just been discovered in Brazil.


Engenho, a Brazilian sugar mill.

The gradual decline of the sugar plantations in the 18th century further sapped the drain of the power maintained by the plantation owners. Other crops such as cocoa, tobacco and especially cotton, now represented an increasing share of production. Cotton fed the colonial textile manufactures and was also exported to England. These changes have been consolidated in the mid-18th century.

The issue of slavery in Brazil was very particular. Millions of slaves were transported to the New World between 1530 and 1860, but in Brazil interracial relations had a much higher level than any other European colony. In 1825, people with African descent or origin accounted for 43% of the population. Interracial relationships are common and many Brazilians are mixed. The slaves in Brazil had an easier time achieving freedom than in North America, which also facilitated a greater volume of importation of slaves. And different from North America, in Brazil there was true legislation to protect the captives. However, slavery in Brazil was still extremely brutal and inhuman. Of the European colonies in the New World, Brazil was one which imported the largest amount of slaves.

In 1642, the Magisterium created a series of laws on slave labor, the Slaving Regulation Acts. Since, according to a magistrate of the time, slaves were "at the same time goods and men", they had "duties as goods, but rights as men." The presence of slaves was banned in cities, except in predetermined trading areas and shipping routes, so that there were no impacts "to public order and decency"; slaves would be entitled to purchase his or her freedom at triple the price at which he or she was purchased; the slave could not be killed by his master, it would be considered murder; no more than 40 lashes were allowed as a punishment; Some municipalities enected laws that obligated slave owners to teach slaves how to read and write so they could "feed their souls of the revealed Word of Our Lord and save their lives." Although in the present-days they may be deemed as offensive and racist, the Acts were almost subversive at the time.

Navio negreiro - Rugendas

Africans in a slave ship.

Many of these laws, called "sponge cake for gorillas" by the plantation owners, were imposed by the commercial and manufacturing elites that dominated the Magisterium between 1590 and 1710. Their interest in consumers for their products (cheap, but yet paid, laborers who could consume), led them to facilitate the process of liberation from slavery, turning the slave into a consumer and paid worker. This constant flow of freed slaves also benefited the Portuguese slaves traders, who supplied the high demand of new captives, and on turn supported the Magisterium's policy. As for the plantation owners (called sertanos by people of the cities and owners of small and medium properties), the situation forced them to allocate large funds to buy new slaves constantly, disrupting any economic supremacy that rural elites wished to have over the urban ones.

This situation did not come without consequences. The Revolt of the Engenhos (1652) and the War of the Sertanos (1661) were conflicts between rural elites with their militias (called jagunços) and the colonial government. At the first, the plantation owners were defeated and forced to dismantle their militias; in the latter, the Magisterium promised freedom to slaves who fought against the insurgents. After the War of Sertanos, the last great revolt of the rural elite in Brazil, slaves loyal to the Magisterium were freed, the Magisterium heavily fined the insurgents, buying part of their land in exchange for financial aid.

Slaves dancing. Much of Brazilian culture came from the slaved Africans. As the melting pot it is, it is said that Brazil "has its body in America, its head in Europe, and its soul in Africa."

Although similar revolts have occurred at the time, the aforementioned episodes marked the end of the influence of rural elites in Brazilian politics until the Coffee Cycle.

On the issue of slavery in Brazil, this would still be much discussed. Frederico Domenico (1654-1731) was one of the biggest abolitionist philosophers. Author of the famous Children of Men, which defended the slaves, analised the social and economic effects of slavery and discussed the ethics of the institution; his work was widely accepted in the cities and among medium and small owners. On the other hand, an important slaver of the time would be Antonio Monteiro de Melo (1637-1712), author of Pyramid of Races, where he defended the theory of a racial pyramid, in which some races were superior to the others and the ones below should be dominated and support the upper one.

African culture had also influenced Brazilian culture in a great extent. As miscegenation was neither encouraged nor discouraged, as occurred in North America, mixed families were common among the lower and middle classes and concubinage among the plantation owners. The color prejudice, although very present and visible, was not as intense as elsewhere and there was no "one drop rule". Some members of the Magisterium had black or mixed wives, and others were black or mixed themselves. The Brazilian title of "Melting pot Nation", was not given for nothing.


Statue of Zumbi, in Palmares, AL. It is written: Zumbi of Palmares. The Black leader of all races.

However, the slavery was still a brutal institution in Brazil and many slaves tried to revolt or run to quilombos, isolated communities that tried to emulate the nations of the slaves' old land, Africa. Refuges to runaway slaves, the quilombos were important centers of African cultural reaffirmation in Brazil. Generally they had governments that mirrored the traditional African societies. Not just Black people, but all types of "undesirables" migrated to the quilombos.

The biggest quilombo in Brazilian history was Palmares, a true state established in the Brazilian Northeast. Surviving from hunting, fishing, gathering, trade and crafts, Palmares remained standing during part of the 18th century and even after raids of the Defense Force. The so-called War against Palmares was the biggest conflict between the quilombo and the Magisterium, between 1693 and 1695, and ended the movement, with the death of its leader Zumbi. Although relatively short lived as a state, as a long revolt movement, Palmares and the Quilombola Movement led the Magisterium to strengthen legislation and supervision relating to slavery. The movement, the violence of Slave Revolt of New Manchester in 1687, and its repression even more violent by the plantation owners, made several Brazilians start to discuss the validity of the slavery and its ethical value.

One of the main aspects of the slavery in Brazil, differing from the other American nations, was the presence of a strong social opposition to it. In Brazil, anti-slavery and anti-racist sentiments started to grow, surprisingly, after the arrival of the first Protestants in Brazil.

Protestantism came to Brazil early, in the 1520s and 1530s, brought by Lutherans from Germany and Scandinavia. The Holy Charter of Rights provided freedom of religion to all Christians and Jews. That was an important factor of the Charter and was inserted to guarantee the rights of the Orthodox Christians of Santa Sofia and the Jews throughout the colony, who had great economic power. With the Reformation in Europe in and the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, that specific article of the Charter became a concerning issue. As said by the magistrate Marcelo Dumont de Melo, in 1619:

"The Charter is clear: All Christians and Jews are free to have their beliefs, to build temples and to proselytize. We already have non-Catholic Christian communities in our land [the Orthodox Christians from Santa Sofia], a respectful and honorable people. I propose the same to these new denominations [Protestants] that are coming from Europe. If not for the sake of our laws and of freedom, then for the sake of peace."

That way, the Magisterium passed the Dumont de Melo Act, that recognized the Protestant denominations as Christians under the Holy Charter and prohibited all conflicts between different Christian denominations, contributing to the sense of religious plurality and secularity of the state that became so intrinsicaly Brazilian.

"As faith is the free work of the Holy Ghost, it cannot be forced on a person. Therefore, strict separation of church and state has to be kept and no group under the Bible shall be persecuted or treated as different to the Law and the State regarding his or her belief, or lack of it"

Brazil became a refuge to Protestants from Europe. Huguenots, Lutherans, Calvinists, Presbyterians, all of them came to Brazil in great amount.

During the early 17th century, Protestant denominations grew in Brazil, and some were even born in the colony, such as the Church of Brazil (Lutheran), the Angelist Church and the Church of the New World. Within the Lutheran Church in the New World, founded in 1589, the leaders Marcus Mauro and Josias Coelho successfully persuaded their fellow members to free their slaves, divest from the slave trade, and create unified policies against slavery. By the end of the 18th century, the church was one of the largest in Brazil, and its leaders' anti-slavery and anti-racist speeches in all the Ecumenical Congresses influenced much of the Brazilian population.

Their influence made possible laws like Slaving Rugulation Acts. By the mid-17th century, slavery was prohibited in the cities and any non-plantation land, and institutional racism was prohibited in all levels of government. In 1755, free Blacks were allowed to vote and had all the same political rights as Whites.

Of course, racism wasn't erradicated. However, the view of the immorality of slavery became widespread in Brazil, mainly in the cities and the small- and medium-sized rural properties. Even slavery was still maintained in the plantations, as these were responsible by providing the metropolis with its main export products, such as sugar.

Japanese Diaspora, the First Japanese Wave to Brazil

Overseas Japanese have existed since the 15th century. However, after the Portuguese first made contact with Japan in 1543, a large scale of slave trade developed in which Portuguese purchased Japanese as slaves in Japan and sold them to various locations overseas, including Portugal itself, throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. Many documents mention the large slave trade along with protests against the enslavement of Japanese. Japanese slaves are believed to be the first of their nation to end up in Europe, and the Portuguese purchased large amounts of Japanese slave girls to bring to Portugal for sexual purposes, as noted by the church in 1555. King Sebastian feared that it was having a negative effect on Catholic proselytization since the slave trade in Japan was growing to massive proportions, so he commanded that it be banned in 1571. In 1595 a law was passed by Portugal banning the selling and buying of Chinese and Japanese slaves.

From the 15th through the early 17th century, Japanese seafarers traveled to China and Southeast Asian countries, in some cases establishing early Japantowns. This activity ended in the 1640s, when the Tokugawa Shogunate imposed maritime restrictions which forbade the Japanese from leaving the country, and from returning if they were already abroad. This policy would not be lifted for over two hundred years.

Before that, Christianity spread throughout Japan, creating social tension and riots like the Shimabara Rebellion. Under Hideyoshi and the succeeding Tokugawa shogunate, Catholic Christianity was repressed and adherents were persecuted. During these times, many Christians were killed in Japan, some by crucifixion; most famously, the 26 martyrs of Japan were tortured and crucified on crosses outside Nagasaki to discourage Christianity in 1597. Following a brief respite as Tokugawa Ieyasu rose to power and pursued trade with the Portuguese powers, there were further persecutions and martyrdoms in 1613, 1630 and 1632.

Because of that, Portugal secretly gave asylum to thousands of Japanese Christians in Brazil between 1542 and 1640. The Magisterial government maintained detailed records of Japanese immigration and it's known that about 170,000 Japanese emmigrated to Brazil during that period. People of all classes, from nobles to peasants, they brought with them their customs, architecture, techniques and even clothing. The Japanese settlers integrated with the already multicultural Brazilian society. The city of Nishijima, Espírito Santo's biggest city, was founded by the Japanese, being known as "the Most Japanese of the Western Cities". The Japanese built churches using their native techniques and architecture, they integrated into the politics in the colony, but maintained their Japanese names with pride, though a large number of people with Japanese surnames (descendants from Japanese immigrants) are unrecognizable after centuries of miscigenation. Two of the Brazilian noble houses, the Okazaki (岡崎家) and the Nagatani (長谷家), are descendants from Japanese nobles converted to Christianity.

Differently from the Second Japanese Wave (1885-1935), which brought Shinto to Brazil, the First Wave was made of Christian converts only.

Mining Period (1702-1808)

At the end of the 17th century gold was duscovered in the rivers of some land belonging to the capitaincy of São Paulo, land that would later be the province of Minas Gerais. At the end of the 1720s, Diamond and other precious gems were discovered to. During the 18th century, precious metal was found too in the regions where now stand the provinces of Goyáz and Northern Mato Grosso. The Crown charged, as a tribute, a fifth of all ore mined, a tribute that became known as "the fifth". Deviations and gold trafficking, however, were frequent. To restrain them, the Crown, who had authority over the mining legislation advocated by the Holy Charter of Rights, introduced a whole bureaucracy and control mechanisms. When the sum of taxes paid would not reach an established minimum quota, the settlers should hand jewelry and personal property to complete the stipulated amount (episodes called derramas).

Mariana, the most populous city of Minas Gerais at the time, 1798.

The period, also known as the Gold Cycle, allowed the internal market to further expand, as there was demand for all kinds of products to the population of Minas Gerais. It was necessary to bring there slaves and tools, the herds of cattle to feed the true crowd that flocked there. In general, the population of the mining regions only concerned with mining, having no concern to food production. Therefore, other regions occupied this space in the production, moving the domestic economy. The North and Northeast mainly supplied slaves, cattle, wine and propeline and cotton fabrics. The South also provided livestock for food and animal transport, as well as dried fruits, wine and liquors. The caravans coming from South were instrumental in the development of the mining economy; they carried gold from the mines to the Southeastern ports such as Rio de Janeiro, and took the goods from the region to the mines, traveling through the various roads built by the colonial government. The Southeast was very important for several reasons: because it provided the most diverse food and manufactured goods to the region of the mines and because it was in this area that various landings and stops for drovers arrived, which giving birth to cities like, Campanha, Pouso Alegre, Passos and Bicas.

The population of Minas Gerais quickly became the largest in Brazil. Of the two million Portuguese living in Portugal at the time, about 500,000 migrated to Brazil, and more than 600,000 Europeans of other nationalities among English, Scottish, French, Italian, German, Danish and Swedish. The Brazilian population jumped to more than 7.6 million in 1770.

At this time, a big portion of the population of Minas Gerais, approximately 48% was made up of Blacks and Mixed-race people. The white population was formed largely by people from the north of Portugal and Azores and Madeira, Europeans of other nationalities, and Brazilians from other parts of Brazil. They were very important in colonial trade, especially in the villages around Vila Rica (present-day Ouro Preto) and Mariana.

In mining regions it was formed a complex urban network connected by a large number of roads. Cities like Vila Boa (Goyáz), Cuiabá, São João del Rey, Florianopolis, Sabará, Mariana, Diamantina, Campo Grande and Vila Rica (Ouro Preto), have become major urban centers. In Minas Gerais, there was a predominant artistic and architectural style that became known as "Mineiro Baroque", of which the greatest exponent was the artist Aleijadinho.


Ouro Preto, MG. Formerly known as Vila Rica (Portuguese: Rich Town), the city was one of the cultural and economic centers of Brazil during the Mining Period.

The living conditions of slaves in the mining region were particularly difficult. They worked all day standing, with curved back and legs under water, or in tunnels dug in the hills, where it was common to occur landslides and deaths.

The gold cycle promoted the internalization phenomenon of the population in the South and Central regions of Brazil that until then had never been as populated as in the Northeast. The cycle also changed of colonial economic core from Northeast to Southeast. The industry, of which 70% were located in the Northeast, and trade started to develop greatly in the region and, at the beginning of the 19th century, the Southeast was the great industrial center of Brazil and the Americas. Gold and diamonds brought urbanization into the Brazil, the mining areas, then under the control of the Province of São Paulo, were dismembered and became the provinces of Minas Gerais, Goyáz and Mato Grosso. Also Paraná and Santa Catarina shortly after.

Even with all this wealth, with the luxury of the upper classes and the large and ostentatious public works, Portugal remained with a poor economy. This was due to its trade policy and agreements like the Treaty of Methuen, signed with Britain in 1703. According to this treaty, Portugal would buy the English fabrics and sell to England wine. Although advantageous to the wine producing elites, the treaty was very disadvantageous to Portugal and, along with its wasteful royalty, which had no worries about the future, it led to destruction of the Portuguese manufacturing. The great Brazilian gold flow that after extracted, just passed through Portugal, poured into the British coffers.

The Pombaline Reformation
484px-O marques de pombal, conde de Oeiras

The Marquis of Pombal.

Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis de Pombal, was a Portuguese politician and highest representative of the enlightened absolutism in Portugal. He won the confidence of king Joseph I by rebuilding Lisbon after the earthquake of 1755, bbecoming his Prime Minister. He has undertaken many reforms in order to modernize the stagnant Portuguese economy. An ambitious program of reforms sought to increase domestic production in relation to foreign competition, develop the colonial trade and encourage the development of manufacturing. Under this policy he did not hesitate to impose monopolies crushing internal competition. Thus, in 1753 it was founded the Company of Commerce of Portuguese Asia (of short duration) and, in 1756, the Company for Agriculture of the Upper Douro Vineyards, to which the Minister has granted tax exemption on trade and exports, thus establishing the first wine production demarcated region in the world, placing the famous pombaline landmarks in the region's boundaries.

He expelled the Jesuits from the metropolis and colonies, confiscating their property on the grounds that the Society of Jesus acted as an autonomous power within the Portuguese State. He also decreased the power of the Church, subordinating the Inquisition to the State.


Expulsion of the Jesuits

Education in Portugal until then had been dominated almost exclusively by the Society of Jesus and other congregations. In 1759, with the Pombaline reform the Jesuits were expelled from all Portuguese territory and education has become State duty. In Brazil, however, this measure had little effect on education, as it was already developed and governed by the Magisterium.

Pombal introduced, likewise, important changes in the Portuguese state apparatus. The creation of the first compilations of civil law, which thus replaced the canon law, represented the first step toward the affirmation of Pombal as a statesman and the state as superior entity and autonomous with the rest of society, including to the Catholic Church itself. In fact, the Portuguese state ruled several times at odds with the Holy See, cutting diplomatic relations until the death of José I and later ascension to the throne of Queen Maria I.

In Brazil, major changes occurred in the political and administrative level. In 1763, the headquarters of the colony was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro, whose growth signaled the displacement of the colony's economic core from the Northeast to the South-Central region. The change is due to the fact that Rio de Janeiro was the port through which the gold of Minas Gerais was drained, to better supervise the mining activity and facilitate the control of the Southern border, that grew to the border with Uruguay. Pombal also relinquished the capitaincies from any remainning authority of the donatory capitains and converted them into provinces.

Rio 1720

Rio de Janeiro, 1763

Pombal sought to give greater cultural uniformity to the colony, prohibiting the use of Nheengatu (a mixture of native languages ​​with Portuguese, spoken by some Paulistas) and making the use of the Portuguese language. Some scholars of history say was with this measure that Brazil diverted from the course to become a bilingual country.

In the Amazon region, some large plantations used Indigenous people as slaves. However, unlike the plantation-owners, the Jesuits obtained the voluntary cooperation of the natives. So while the missions prospered, the villages of settlers faced numerous difficulties. The expulsion of the Jesuits led to the breakdown of the Sertão drugs collecting economy, causing a long period of economic stagnation in several regions of the Amazon The situation started to improve only in the early 19th century with the measures of King John VI to increase the Amazonian economy, but it was the Rubber Boom that would bring prosperity to the region for the first time in more than one hundred years.

Territorial Expansion

The Treaty of Utretch (1713), was an agreement that ended the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), in which the interests of almost all the major European powers were involved. On one side there were France and Spain, on the other the Grand Alliance, formed by Great Britain, the Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, the COU and the House of Savoy.

This treaty was very important to the history of Brazil, as it recognized Portugal's possession over the lands colonized in the Western side of the Tordesillas line, expanding the territory of Brazil. Also it gave COU some strategic ports in India, the right to freely explore the amber deposits in Mexico and Hispaniola, and sovereignty over the then Spanish citie of Cadiz.

The Enlightment in Brazil

Dinis Duval.

One of the centers of the Age of Enlightenment, though not as important as France, Britain and the United States, Brazil gave rise to many thinkers and ideas that influenced the thinking of the time. In Brazil, the philosophers of the Enlightenment were known as Iluministas and were marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy. The major figures of the Enlightenment in Brazil were Dinin Duval, Afonso Fera, Tomás Castello, Luiz de Nantes and Sofia Valjean. These and other Brazilian philosophers visited Europe repeatedly and contributed actively to the scientific and political debates there and brought the newest ideas back to Brazil.

Dinis Duval (1692-1757) is considered the first Brazilian Enlightenment thinker. From Heraclion, he was the author of major works such as HyBrazilis and Hispaniola which analyzed the processes of colonization in each colonies. He advocated the incorporation of the Iberian colonies as integral parts of their metropolis, and not mere sources of products. Duval contributed to the fields of law, politics, history and rationalism.

César Montalban (1719-1803) created the modern concept of constitutional monarchy and defended the exercise of citizenship by the people. He attended the signing of the American Declaration of Independence. His major work is The World of Men which discloses his Declaration of Natural Rights, which would be republished and made ​​official in Napoleonic France as the Universal Human Rights.

Luiz de Nantes.

Tomás Castello (1762-1847) was considered one of the greatest scientists of the Brazilian Enlightenment. Castello contributed to the fields of chemistry, mathematics, physics, and medicine. He was also a great jurist and, when appointed as Intendant of Law and Order in 1767, was responsible for the compilation of the period's laws and doctrine.

Another major line of thought emerged in Brazil by Luis de Nantes (1723-1796), in his exaltation of Brazilian natural beauty, he disclosed his ecological science. More an art than a science until the 20th century, Ecology aimed the seize the land and resources and spread the "natural love." Parks, ecological reserves, interest in the study of natural substances, Ecology encompassed those aspects of science and art. Already in 1860, the ecological ideas were widespread in national politics. The development of the natural sciences occured on a large scale, the arts exalted nature as the romantic hero of that time, and planners aimed to increasingly transfer the beauties of the countryside to the cities. The ecologist view of Nantes influenced the naturalists of the late 19th and 20th century.

In 1737, the philosopher Carlota Medeiros wrote The Women Manifesto where she defends her ideals of gender equality and women's real potential, using several famous examples in history. Although a heresy for the agrarian elites, the book was well accepted by the urban population, shaping the Brazilian mentality towards women. Her influence on the 19th century's French sufragettes and her ideas immortalized Medeiros worldwide as the "Mother of Gender Equality." Her ideas, alongside the economical emancipation of thousands of women during the Mining Period, influenced the mindset of the Brazilian society. In 1769, women were given the same political and property rights as men, being allowed to vote and run for public offices. In 1772, Januária Vilela was the first woman to be elected to the Magisterium. She would later, in 1789, become the first women to hold the Chancellory.

The Mineira and Bahian Conjurations


By the end of the 18th century, the dissatisfaction of the society of Minas Gerais in relation to the Metropolis was getting worse, the heavy taxes suffocated the population, and when the gold quota was not reached, the derrama occurred, the seizure of people's property to reach the quota. This angered the population, mainly because gold deposits were depleted and Portugal did not lower the quota. That situation would make Minas Gerais the first region of Brazil to claim for independence.

In late 1788, members of the elite of Minas Gerais gathered to promote a movement against the Crown. The American Revolution and the Enlightenment ideals widespread in Europe and Brazil served as a stimulus to the citizens dissatisfied with the colonial government. Relying on the general dissatisfaction of the Mineiros and with the support of the military, the revolt was scheduled for February 1789. The lieutenant Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes (Portuguese: tooth puller, since he was dentist), was in charge of arresting the governor of Minas Gerais and start the uprising.


Bahian Conjuration, Salvador, BA.

The plans, however, were denounced by a traitor. 34 conspirators were arrested, of which ten were sentenced to death, but only Tiradentes was executed on April 21, 1792, his body was quartered and exposed in Villa Rica. Today, he is a national hero and martyr in the fight against Portugal. The capital of Minas Gerais was transferred from Villa Rica to Mariana soon after.

Another revolt in the period was the Bahian Conjuration, which occurred in 1798, also known as Conspiracy of the Tailors, for having several tailors among the organizers. Unlike the Mineiro conspirators, however, most of the Bahian conspirators were from the lower classes. Little they had to do, because the Bahian government arrested more than 20 conspirators who, with the exception of members of the elite who were spared, were hanged, imprisoned and banished.

The End of Mining

After the mining cycle, the economy returned to its original state. A minority among the miners had enriched with their activities and, seeing the depletion of deposits, started to invest in financial, trading and manufacturing activities; powerful banks emerged, as well as industrial establishments. The abundant deposits of iron and saltpeter in the region allowed a great development of the weapons and metallurgical industries. Agriculture in small and medium farms expanded and slavery decreased.

In the Northeast, even during mining, cotton farming in medium properties florished. In Maranhão, the largest producer, large industries of cotton fabrics emerged. The cotton produced was sold to other regions and thus to Great Britain, that was also entering its Industrial Revolution. But in the early 19th century, the competition of American cotton made Brazilian cotton lose ground in the international market, allowing the entire production to be consumed domestically in the textile industries of the Northeast and Southeast.


Brazilian textile industry during the early 19th century.

The industrialization process in Brazil started early. This process was favored by several factors, including: the dominance of a liberal economic policy, leading to the development of trade and industry; the accumulation of capital by the Brazilian bourgeoisie, which allowed investment in factories and mines and the purchasing of industrial machinery; the abundance of raw materials; the wide Brazilian commercial network, which allowed products from distant regions of the world to be acquired, such as silk; low taxation and an organized infrastructure, with paved roads, bridges and waterways; and the fact that cost of living in Brazil was lower than in Europe, allowing factory owners to hire workers at lower wages. Other factors were more subtle, such as the open environment conducive to innovation, which allowed the Brazilians to create new techniques and assimilate foreign ones, mainly from Great Britain, taking as an example the English invention of the steam engine that was assimilated to Brazilian factories only ten years after being in Great Britain. It would take only three years for the Brazilians to copy Watt's steam engine, still in 1775. The Brazilians had the advantage to grow their own cotton, but as disadvantage their low production of coal, and of poor quality, in Santa Catarina. Occupying that vacuum, the African Coal Company and others would became rich by mining and bringing coal from Angola and Madagascar to Brazil. The first true Brazilian industrial cotton weaving, equipped with steam engines, began its activity in 1778 in Saint Louis, Maranhão.

Industrialization has profoundly altered the worker's living conditions, initially triggering an intense displacement of the rural population to the cities, in addition to former slaves, creating enormous conurbations. The population of Rio de Janeiro went from 200,000 in 1790 to over two million in 1890, for example. At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the workers lived in terrible conditions of life and work. The environment of the factories was unhealthy, as well as the slums where many workers lived. The working hours amounted to 80 hours a week, and wages ranged around three times the subsistence level. For women and children subjected to the same number of hours and the same working conditions, wages were even lower.

Up to 1800, Brazilian industrial networks were concentrated mainly in a few cities in the Northeast and Southeast, with Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Curitiba, New Florence, Saint Louis and São João del Rey as main production centers. Since then, the industrial activity would expand to other regions and the interior, reaching cities such as Niteroi, Victoria and Porto Alegre.

Courtier Period (1808-1821)


The Arrival of the Portuguese Court at Rio de Janeiro. 1808.

In 1808 there was an unprecedented event in world's history: the transfer of an European metropolitan government to its colony. For 14 years Rio de Janeiro was the capital of the Portuguese Empire, changing the direction of the political, cultural and economic evolution of Brazil.

In the early 19th century, Portugal was an undeveloped and decadent nation, the country was trying to maintain its independence and its vast colonial empire in the midst of the Napoleonic Wars that pitted France and Great Britain. The French pressed the Portuguese crown, then under Maria I, who was mentally unstable and governed only nominally through his son and Prince Regent (future king) John VI, to adhere to the Continental System imposed by Napoleon, closing its ports to the British. But Great Britain was an old ally of Portugal and demanded its loyalty.

Any choice Portugal could make was a death sentence, the perspective was losing its territory against the powerful French army, or its colonies against the great British Royal Navy. Foreseeing its country invaded or losing its colonies, John VI choose to save the empire, allying the British. Napoleon fulfilled the threat to invade Portugal. Thus, between November 25th and 27th, the Prince Regent John VI and his court fled, taking with then about ten thousand people of the court and foreign delegates, the books of the Royal Library and all the Royal Treasury. They embarked on 36 Portuguese ships bound for Brazil. Under the protection of the COU's fleet, after a brief stay in Salvador, John VI arrived in Rio de Janeiro on March 7th, 1808.

Mateus Palace

Viceregal Palace, residence of the Viceroy of Brazil between 1763 and 1808 and residence of the Portuguese Royal Family between 1808 and 1811


It is said that both the city and the Guanabara Bay surprised the Prince Regent and his retinue for their beauty, and when he stepped on Rio de Janeiro, he would have said, "I have among my domains the earthly paradise that my ancestors sought so eagerly to find.

Another aspect that impressed the noble was the large presence of Black and Mixed people, who at the time formed a third of the city's population, and how Whites had no such aversion for them as the arriving Europeans had.

The Prince Regent immediately settled in the Viceroyal Palace which, even if very pompous, was considered as inappropriate for the nobility. He also tried to expropriate the best town houses to be given to the nobles who were with him.

Also in 1808, John VI accepted the offer of the wealthy banker Elias Antonio Lopes to donate a property on the outskirts of the city to the Crown, the Quinta da Boa Vista, a beautiful mansion surrounded by gardens. John VI then took several loans with the city's rich men and started the remodeling the property into the new residence of the royalty, the Royal Palace of Boa Vista, to which he moved with his court in 1811.


Royal Palace of Boa Vista.

Historians agree that many physical and socioeconomic aspects of the Brazilians surprised the nobles of Portugal: two-fifths of the population were explicitly formed by Black or Mixed people; Brazilians were more robust, healthy, vigorous and on average 6 cm taller than their European counterparts; They were 50% richer and paid only a half of the taxes; there were more than two hundred newspapers and periodicals circulating in the country; the colony had an advanced tax system, an efficient infrastructure and the general population was much more literate.

Changes in Brazil
250px-Maria I, Queen of Portugal - Giuseppe Troni, atribuído (Turim, 1739-Lisboa, 1810) - Google Cultural Institute

Maria I, the Mad, Queen of Portugal.

At that time Brazil had more than 11,5 million inhabitants. However, Rio de Janeiro, even though it was a city with 250,000 inhabitants, the largest city in the American continent with a well-developed infrastructure and a cosmopolitan lifestyle, was not prepared to house, with all the luxury required, the more than 15,000 nobles of the pompous Portuguese court that arrived. This led John VI to create several new institutions, typical to the capital of an European court, that would help in the government of the Portuguese empire, as well as to build entire new and beautiful neighborhoods in the city to house the nobles.

As seat of the Court it was unacceptable that Brazilian ports remain closed to foreigners. It was therefore inevitable the opening of ports to other nations, as also required by Great Britain. In May, 1808, John VI decreed the opening of the ports to friendly nations, namely Great Britain. This measure has benefited the British and Brazilians, for international trade became totally free, but displeased the Portuguese, who saw their interests left side.

Pressured by local elites, John VI established the protectionist import taxes for foreign industrial products. In addition, Portugal had to pay a 16% tax and Britain 36%. This upset the British, who in a few years have seen that even with these privileges, they could not compete with industrialized products from Brazil, which has entered its industrial revolution, at least not in its own territory. Until 1821, John VI was pressed on one side by Great Britain, who wanted more privileges, and the other side by local elites, who did not want their businesses destroyed by the British competition; his strategy was stalling the British. But there was something the British and Brazilian bourgeoisie agreed, slavery could not continue. Since the expansion of Enlightment in Brazil, the Brazilian population could not to just ignore slavery in the plantations anymore. Pressured, John VI abolished all the slave trade and slavery in 1810, but also decreased the taxation of other economic activities, leading the rich slaver to invest their capital in other activities.

250px-Retrato de D. Joao VI - Gregorius, Albertus Jacob Frans 2

John VI of Portugal. Due to his mother's illness, he was de facto sovereign of Portugal between 1799 and 1816, when he as crowned king.

To administer the empire from Brazil, the Crown needed to deploy some state agencies, such as the higher courts and ultramarine offices. After establishing the monarchy's headquarters in the colonial capital, the Prince Regent replaced the colonial administrative gear for a new state apparatus. It was called by the historians the Metropolitan Reversal, the colony became the metropolis.

Rio de Janeiro now had structures typical of an imperial capital. Several exploratory, scientific and artistic missions came from Europe in order to discover and evaluate the Brazilian wealth.

John VI also changed the Monetary Authority of Brazil, the body responsible for coinage in the colony under the authority of the Magisterium and which coinaged the cruzeiro, into the Banco do Brazil, known in English as Bank of Brazil, a public bank responsible for coinage and management of the economic policy acting as the Brazilian central bank. The Magisterium had its legislative powers substantially diminished, becoming a mere royal advisory body, what caused dissatisfaction throughout Brazil.

Military Campaigns of John VI

Upon arriving in Brazil in 1808, after the withdrawal from Lisbon, one of the first decisions of the Prince Regent was to send letters to all European leaders informing them that Portugal was still at war with the French Empire. As Brazil had a common border with French Guyana, which isolated from its metropolis and without the support of the French fleet, the option of attacking Guyana was natural. The objectives of the First Invasion of Guyana were twofold: on one hand, Portugal reaffirmed its warfare against the Napoleonic France, from the diplomatic point of view. On the other hand, it also allowed an adjustment of boundaries between Brazil and French Guyana, changing the borders agreed by the Treaty of Utrecht. In 1812, John VI undertook the Second Invasion of Guyana, finally conquering the colony and anexing it to Brazil as the Province of Eastern Guyana.

The Napoleonic defeat of 1814, made the reinstated French monarchy in the person of King Louis XVIII rush to claim the ownership of Guyana from the Portuguese government. John VI resisted and the question had to be taken to the Congress of Vienna in 1815, when the territory was ceded to Portugal.

Another military conquest during the Courtier Period, even before the full occupation the French Guyana, was the conquest of the Eastern Bank.

Because of its strategic position at the margins of the La Plata estuary, it was cause of bloody disputes between Portugal and Spain for centuries. With the Napoleonic Wars, John VI saw a unique opportunity to achieve that ancestral ambition. First, Portugal was at war with France, which Spain was an ally; second, Spain helped France to invade Portugal; third, busy with the war in Europe, Spain would not help its colony; and fourth, since 1811 the colony was devastated due to internal conflicts.

In 1812 the Luso-Brazilian troops led by Prince Pedro de Alcantara, great military genius despite being only 13 years old, invaded the Eastern Bank. The region was anexed to Brazil as the Cisplatine Province.

The United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves
Flag United Kingdom Portugal Brazil Algarves

Flag of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves.

As it turns out, the acts of John VI in Brazil were untying completely the knots that bound the fates of Portugal and Brazil and started a slow process of independence. In 1814, Napoleon was defeated, but nothing happened in Portugal. In fact, his defeat led to a very peculiar situation. Despite the release of Portugal from French subjugation, the Court preferred to stay in Brazil, creating the unnusual (and humiliating) situation of Portugal being governed by its own colony. That fed a hatred against absolutism that would be released violently in 1819.

Meanwhile, a meeting took place between representatives of the winning nations against Napoleon, including Portugal and even the COU. The countries that led the Congress of Vienna were those who were more directly involved in the war against France: Great Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia. The Congress tried to restore the Ancien Régime and re-establish the prior borders and the European balance of power prior the French Revolution. Flipping the idea of ​​Legitimacy Principle, each country should again be governed by its respective dynasty, and France had to pay a heavy war indemnity.

The major European powers took advantage of this meeting to expand their domains, punishing France and the countries that allied with it.

The Congress, which determined the return of the legitimate kings to their thrones, determined the return of John VI to Portugal, as the Portuguese royalty should rule its kingdom. The loophole found by John VI was making Brazil a kingdom. Through its representative in Congress, he raised Brazil the status of kingdom, united to Portugal.

Portuguese empire 1800

The Portuguese-Brazilian Empire. Portuguese rule over its African colonies was, de facto, limited to the coastal areas.

Thus, in 1815 Brazil ceased to be a colony and became a kingdom, but united to Portugal under the same crown. The act allowed the Court to stay legitimately in Brazil, and gave birth to a new state, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves, also known as Portugal-Brazil or the Portuguese-Brazilian Empire. Some historians determine 1815 as the date of independence, although Brazil was united to its former colonial power, it was in practice a separate country with an independent and recognized government.

With much effort, John VI was able to convince the representatives of the European powers in Congress that the French Guyana and the Eastern Bank, conquered from France and Spain respectively during the Napoleonic Wars, should be handed over to the Portuguese-Brazilian Crown as compensation for France's and Spain's invasion of the Portuguese territory. The COU also regained its possession over the Spanish city of Cadiz, that was occupied by Spain during the war in 1810.

During the Congress Holy Alliance was formed, which included Russia, Austria and Prussia and aimed to stifle liberal revolutions throughout Europe and intervene in the Americas to prevent the independence of the many European colonies. Their ambitions, however, were barred by Great Britain and the United States.

Pedro I 1816

Crown Prince Pedro of Portugal and Brazil. A military genius, he was responsible for the conquest of French Guyana and the Eastern Bank when he was just 14-15. Under his administration, the newly founded Brazilian Army and Navy, created on the old Defense Forces, became the most powerful military in the American continent and comparable to the European military forces.

As a kingdom united to Portugal, so a country in every way even if united under the same crown, Brazil suffered more administrative changes. The Defense Forces were transformed into the new Royal Army and Navy of Brazil, these under the authority and administrative power of Prince Pedro de Alcantara, at the time a military genius of only 17 years.

His first act was to create a secret organization of inteligence disguised as his personal guard. Known as the Prince's Guard (ancestor to the current Ibis), the organization was very important in the events that led to the independence of Brazil. As for the army, the Prince reformulated its structure, with the focus on training and discipline. He has partnered with the Brazilian universities for research and intensive development of military technology. He made the weapons industries of Minas Gerai and the naval industries of Ilhéus, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro main suppliers of weapons and ships, and encouraged them to obtain and develop technology for the production of more efficient products. He transformed the Academy of Defense Forces, founded in 1571 in Pontal, São Francisco, and the oldest military academy of the Americas, into the First Military Academy of Brazil, also known as the Pontal Military Academy. He also founded in Resende, Rio de Janeiro the Second Military Academy of Brazil, also known as the Guará Military Academy, and the First Naval Academy, in Rio de Janeiro.

The Prince redesigned the uniforms and introduced innovative training. Already in 1820, the Brazilian Armed Forces had a strong and disciplined structure, efficient supply of weapon and ships, strong leadership, innovative intelligence and an efficient logistics system. They were, according to some historians, comparable to their European counterparts. It is also known that the new Brazilian military were blindly loyal to Pedro de Alcantara and he was, according to the British ambassador, "... the Caesar of his army; a new Napoleon, perhaps as dangerous as the first."

The Brazilian military might was heavily expanded during the 13 years of D. João VI's rule in Brazil. The Prince regent, king since 1816, had the ambition to conquer new territory at the expense of the Spanish colonies. Ultimately, D. João aspired to expand Brazil's frontier until it covered the entire South American continent. By the time of his journey back to Portugal, however, the king had not accomplished many of his expansionist ambitions, although it is said that he "loved Brazil so much that he expected his son to make of her a great kingdom, with or without Portugal."

LIberal Revolution of 1819

In Portugal, the situation was unsustainable, the Court did not want to return to Lisbon and adopted policies that seemed to further undermine the kingdom and the Portuguese people. The political vacuum and the economic crisis inflamed the Portuguese tempers.

Thus, on January 12, 1819, exploded in Porto a movement inspired on the liberal ideas. But nevertheless carried an obvious contradiction: fighting for a constitutional monarchy and the freedom of trade, but at the same time preached the recolonization of Brazil allow Portugal to get out of the crisis.

The revolt spread and gained the support of the Portuguese. A provisional constitution was drafted, inspired by the Spanish Constitution of Puerto Real of 1812, and demanding the return of the king.

The movement had repercussions in Brazil and there were elections for the Brazilian representatives to the Constituent Assembly.

Return of the Portuguese Court to Lisbon
465px-Portuguese Cortes 1822

The Constituent Courts of Portugal. 1821

In 1820, forced by the Cortes, John VI returned to Portugal carring an extensive retinue of 3,000 people.

Before leaving, the king left his son and heir, Pedro de Alcântara, in charge as Prince Regent. Pedro, who accompanied the political winds in Europe since the Congress of Vienna, then organized meets with important political figures to discuss the matter. It is said that, before departing Brazil, John VI said to his son:

The departure of John VI ended much of the connection between Brazil and the Portuguese Empire. Many Brazilians had animosities with the Portuguese. The prince, though born in Portugal, was raised in Brazil and was openly in favor of greater autonomy of the Kingdom of Brazil. He restored the political power and autonomy of the Magisterium, as the legislature of the Brazilian kingdom.

With the king's return to Europe, the Constituent Assembly (known as The Cortes) was obstinate into reducing Brazil to a colonial condition and subjugating the country with numerous restrictions, ignoring the Brazilian representatives. The presence of Pedro de Alcântara in Brazil was an obstacle to the plans of the Cortes. In May 1821, the Cortes have failed in an attempt to call back the Prince Regent, who decided to stay. Pedro sent back to Lisbon the Portuguese squad sent to fetch him, which infuriated the Cortes. Meanwhile, he demanded that the Magisterium decide the question of emancipation.

Modern Age (1821 - Present days)

The Independence

The Brazilian and the African Campigns
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Provinces under Portuguese occupation, and the Cisplatine, during the War of Independence.

On June 7th, 1821, because of the demands of the population, Pedro de Alcântara announced that he would stay in Brazil and any orders of Portugal would only be accepted in Brazil with his consent and the Magisterium's. So, the Prince was hailed by locals as "Perpetual Defender of the Brazilians" and, preparing for the sanctions of the Cortes, he met the leaders of the Army and Navy, which were mostly formed by native Brazilians trained after 1808 or members of the former Defense Forces. Historians agree that, being the most populous territory of the Portuguese Empire, most of the Portuguese troops in Brazil were also formed by Brazilians, of which almost all deserted to the Brazilian side after the outbreak of war. On September 5th, 1821, the Prince received a letter from the Cortes intimating him to return to Portugal, even by force. Obstinate on staying and defending the homeland, the Prince, then in São Paulo, received a letter from the Magisterium, which informed that they decided for the independdence of the Kingdom of Brazil. After that, the Prince immediately called out to his traveling companions the historic Ipiranga Cry: "The People have decided! Independence or Death!". Shortly after he puts his signature, the last one, at the Charter of Dissolution, sent by the Magisterium. Upon returning to Rio de Janeiro, he is acclaimed by the Magisterium and by the people of Rio de Janeiro as Constitutional King.

Only the provinces of Grand-Pará, Maranhão and Pernambuco, occupied by troops from Portugal, possessed significant Portuguese contingent. With a well-organized army; the support of a strong navy; weapons and naval industries; and the support of the majority of the population, Brazil launched its troops to expel the Portuguese troops from each province, one by one. Troops were also sent to the Cisplatine to prevent them to separate from Brazil.

Maria Quiteria is one of the biggest heroes of the Brazilian Indenpendence. From Bahia, she enlisted in the army, disguised as a man, to fight for the Independence. Her disguise was uncovered in 1822, but she remained a soldier. Quiteria was the first Brazilian female soldier and rose to high ranks, becoming General in 1836 after her role in the Great Latin American War. She became so famous during the Independence that the Constitution, of 1824, had an article which permited women to serve in the military with all rights and duties as men because of her and she was decorated with the Order of the Southern Cross. Quiteria is also considered one of the patrons of the Royal Brazilian Army, within the Patron Trinity: Antonio Marquês, Maria Quiteria and Luciano Mattos.
260px-Domenico Failutti - Maria Quitéria

Maria Quiteria, one of the heroes of the Brazilian Indenpendence.

A turning point of the war was the Battle of New Florence, between March 5th and 8th, 1823, when a Portuguese fleet tried to occupy the city, responsible for the construction of most of the Brazilian fleet. Its walls withstood three days of bombardment by land and by sea before the arrival of Brazilian troops who defeated the invaders.

Even after the final expulsion of Portuguese troops from Brazil in mid-1822, Portugal refused to recognize Brazil's independence, even with the British mediation. Tired of waiting, the Magisterium decided for a new plan, invasion.

While the liberation of Brazil and the Invasion of Portugal occured, Brazilian troopes occupied the main Portuguese settlements in Africa.

The Invasion of Portugal and the Treaty of Queluz

During the Brazilian War of Independence, Brazil did the unthinkable. Known by the Portuguese as the First Brazilian Intervention in Portugal, the Brazilian Invasion ousted the Portuguese nation of the little pride it had left.

On November 4th, 1822, 32 ships of the Brazilian fleet sighted the banks of the Tagus in Lisbon, the city was put under siege and the deputies of the Cortes were detained. Using a kind of blitzrieg strategy, soon the whole Portuguese coast was occupied.

The Brazilian troops were extremelly well trained, a British diplomat in Lisbon during the invasion described the Brazilian troops as "automata created by some insane and vengeful deity [...] their infantry and gunners had so perfect sight that it seemed the bullets followed the poor Lusitans through the air [ ...] Some called them barbarians, but I consider them formidable and respectful warriors! They guided us [foreign politicians and officials] respectfully to the [ocupied] palace and left to deal their differences with the Portuguese without involving us."

Differently from other ex-colonies like the United States or Haiti, Brazil had many advantages in relation to its metropolis. While Portugal was a country devastated by Napoleon's invasion, economically broken, militarly crippled, Brazil was, on the other hand, prosperous and industrializing, with a powerful and well structured army and navy. Portugal's only ally, Great Britain, was too undecided to take any action.

In early 1823, after the consolidation of the occupation, Portugal was demanded to sign and ratify the Treaty of Queluz, whereby Portugal recognized Brazilian independence, sold the colonies of Angola and Moçambique to Brazil and leased a strip of land on the island of Madeira for 40 years for the future Brazilian naval base of Guaracy (albeit with new treaties the base lasts until present-day). The treaty also stipulated that the provinces of Eastern Guyana and Cisplatine would continue as part of Brazil.

The news of the war went to Europe, it was the first time that a colony invaded its metropolis. In 1823, Brazil was a recognized independent country.

The Newly Independent Brazil


Brazil's territory shortly after independence.

Unlike all other American nations, Brazil did not come out independence in an economic crisis. The American republics ended their wars for independence with a devastated economy and internal conflicts that were fragmenting the former Spanish America in many rival and fragile countries. Interestingly, even during the war the Brazilian economy grew, mainly weapon, shipbuilding, food, clothing, and metallurgical industries. Independence also ceased the tax relationship with the metropolis. Since the Holy Charter of Rights, 25% of all taxes collected in Brazil were sent to Portugal. The independence allowed the new government to enlarge its budget using this surplus to carry out new policies to stimulate the economy, strengthen and expand the military, structure the administration and defence of the new colonies, and carry out major infrastructure projects. In his many speeches, the king Pedro I emphasized the importance of building a national force because "if there are big nations born from dust like the powerful Prussia of [Frederick] the Great surrounded by powerful enemies, why not Brazil, born in rich soil and surrounded by weak opponents?"

By becoming independent from Portugal in 1821, the Brazilian nation as a whole was almost entirely in favor of the monarchical form of government. The reasons for that political choice are diverse. There was a real fear from many social groups of the possibility of Brazil suffering the same fate of the Spanish ex-colonies, namely: social, economic and political chaos, territorial dismemberment, coups d'état, dictatorships and caudillos. It was necessary a political organization that would allow the Brazilian people not only to enjoy freedom, but also guarantee stability to the country. Only with a neutral entity, completely independent of parties, groups or opposing ideologies, it would be possible to achieve this end. Another reason for choosing the monarchical form was the need to ensure respect from the powers of the time, all of them European monarchies. The possibility, very real at the time, of European countries seeking to dominate the young nation strengthened the desire to prevent the adoption of the republican form at all costs and thus avoid any territorial dismemberment in small, weak republics and in constant rivalry with each other. Watching what was happening in the Hispanic countries and also in Portugal, easy preys of European greed, mainly British, Brazilians saw that the maintenance of the monarchy with a monarch of European origin would act as a source of deterrence and allow Brazil to ensure the predominance of its interests. And finally, the last reason was nothing less than the charisma of Prince Pedro de Alcântara. The Brazilian people had accompanied his growth from childhood, loved him, and considered him their legitimate king.

Unified the Brazil, it was necessary to obtain recognition from other countries. That would allow to military alliances and trade.

The first nation to recognize Brazil as an independent nation was the United States, followed by France, Austria (which was governed by the family of Queen Leopoldina, the Habsburgs), the Holy See and Prussia; also by the Russian Empire and Spain. Great Britain, then the most powerful European nation, recognized the independence allongside with Portugal.

The Constituent Assembly

In 1824 the National Constituent Assembly was in session, in order to draft a constitution for the country. That charter, known as Real Constituição do Brasil (Portuguese: Royal Constitution of Brazil) was signed in 1824 and it is, nowadays, the third oldest vigent constitution, after the USA's (1787) and Norway's (1814).

Members who were in the Constituent Assembly were mostly moderate liberals, gathering "what was best and most representative in Brazil". They were sent from all Brazil and were composed by the Magisteium members, figures of the juridical area, thinkers and philosophers. There were clearly four discernible factions: the "Bonifácios", which were led by José Bonifacio and defended the existence of a strong monarchy, unitary, but constitutional, to avoid the political dismemberment of the country, and intended to economically develop the country free of foreign loans. The "Absolutists" who advocated an absolute and centralized monarchy. The "Federalists" who preached a purely figurative and decentralized monarchy, if possible federal, together with the maintenance of slavery, and fought vehemently the Bonifacios' projects. And lastly, the "Republicans", who wanted a federal republic similar to the United States. Ideologically, the king identified himself with the Bonifácios and, ironically, the Republicans for their social and economic projects, and in relation to politics, he had no interest on being an absolute monarch, but also much lesson serving as "a figurative symbol in the government." But despite the Bonifácios being majority, concessions had to be made ​​and the king achived to join some interests, especially among Bonifácios and Republican. In the same year it was promulgated the Constitution, which was very innovative for the time. The government would be a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy. At the national level, the executive power would be exercised by the king, the chancellor and the ministers; the bicameral legislature, by the Senate and the Magisterium; the judiciary power, by the courts. The Constitution rejected many monarchic ideals and institutions, and added many republican ideals. The new nation's name was decided to be Reino das Províncias Unidas do Brasil (Portuguese: Kingdom of the United Provinces of Brazil), as a reminder of Brazil as a federal nation.

The suffrage would be secret, direct, universal and voluntary, for Whites, Blacks, "civilized" (i.e. assimilated) Indigenous peoples and even women (Brazil was almost a century ahead the other nations on women's suffrage). There would be freedom of speech and religion, and separation of Church and state.

The succession would be ruled by absolute primogeniture, were the oldest children of the monarch would be his heir. Brazil was the first modern monarchy to have absolute primogeniture succession and the only one until the 1980s.

There were in the charter "the best possibilities of liberal state walking in the West." The historian Elizabeth Biancchi says, an unusual charter was provided, under which Brazil "safeguarded the basic rights of her citizens in a better way than any other nation in the West." According to John Burgandy, "Pedro I and his constituents had the good sense to choose the best system for the tropical nation, which emancipated in South America, without copying the already consolidated United States, or the Hispanic nations shreded by endless conflict, relaying brief democratic periods and caudillos dictatorships."

The Brazilian Constitution was the most liberal of the time, including women and Blacks as citizens, and preaching universal suffrage without requirement of minimum income. Individual guarantees, freedom and human dignity were inserted in the Articles of Higher Law.

There would be a strong central power, but the provinces would have autonomy in matters related to local administration and the governors and deputies would be elected; the provinces were federated states under the Crown, small republics within the Brazilian realm. The city of Rio de Janeiro became capital and Federal District separated from the Province of Rio de Janeiro, with its capital in Niterói.

After it independece, Brazil entered in many wars and conflicts throughout its history. Some of the most important ones are known as the Prestigious Wars, so-called because they gave to Brazil prestige, territory and international recognition, rising Brazil to the status of regional and, later, world power. They are the Cisplatine War (1823-1825), the Great Latin American War (1829-1835), the War of the Portuguese Succession (1842-1844) and the Anglo-Brazilian War (1848-1853).

The Cisplatine War (1823-1825)
800px-Juan Manuel Blanes - El Juramento de los Treinta y Tres Orientales

The Thirty-Three Orientals.

In 1813 John VI had conquered the Spanish Eastern Band, which he named Cisplatine Province. The region have been for centuries the set of a bloody fighting between Portugal and Spain, but with the independence of the colonies, the conflict moved to the Kingdom of Brazil and the Republic of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata (present-day Argentina).

The war sparked when an anti-Brazilian revolt occurred in 1822 in the Cisplatine, led by the group known as Thirty-Three Orientals and supported militarily by the United Provinces who wanted to recover that territory. Seeing this as an affront to their sovereignty, Brazil declares war on the Unite Provinces.

Since the beginning of the war, the conflict was already seen as won by the Brazilians. Brazil had a diversified and strong economy, producing both commodities and industrialized products; It had an immense coastline and well distributed ports; large and well distributed warfare and naval industries and a population of 15 million; as well as a well organized and powerful navy and army. The United Provinces exported almost exclusively jerked beef and leather; they had much of their production exported exclusively through the port of Buenos Aires, easily blockadeble; they imported much of their weaponry and their population was only about 600,000; they had few troops but powerful militias maintained by the caudillos.

800px-Juncal MuratureJose 1865

Battle of Juncal.

The geopolitical situation was favorable to Brazil, closer to its consumer markets in Europe, North America and Africa, and capable of hinder or even stop the transit trade between the United Provinces and Europe.

The first act of Brazil was blockade the estuary of the La Plata River. Knowing that it dominated the coastal cities of Cisplatine Province and that the rebels were mainly on the countryside, Brazil sent troops from Southern Rio Grande to push them to the coast and attack them on two fronts. With the rebel province recaptured, Brazilian troops attacked the United Provinces in the land between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.

Meanwhile, Great Britain and France, who felt disadvantaged in their trade with the blockade of the La Plata River, recquired Brazil to give up it claims, but Brazil rejected the ultimatum. This generated discontent between Brazil and the European powers.

Meanwhile, the United Provinces attacked the Free Cities, hoping to use their reserves of arms and supplies, as the Buenos Aires port was blocked, to prolong their resistance against the Brazilians.

800px-PuntaColares MuratureJose 1865

Battle of Punta Colares.

After many battles, Brazilian troops finally besiege Buenos Aires, fighting for two months. In 1825 the United Provinces surrended and two months later they to sign the Treaty of Rosario, by which: the United Provinces recognize Brazil's sovereignty over Cisplatine; sell the regions known as the Platinean Mesopotamia to Brazil; recognize Brazilian sovereignty over the land below Parallel S46º, the Free Cities' regions; reduce import taxes to Brazilian products and give to Brazil the most favoured nation status.

This treaty was criticized by European and American countries, who saw it as a blatant act of imperialism. It marks the beginning of the Brazilian imperialist expansion in the Americas. But Great Britain and France, who did not want a strong country controlling the La Plata Basin, pushed Brazil to give up its sovereignty over the Cisplatine, creating the new Eastern Republic of Uruguay, although they could not make Brazil give up the other treaty's concessions. This intervention generated a widespread general hatred of the population against France and, mostly, GreatBritain.

Internal Organization

The Belgian Revolution at home and the Java War in the Dutch East Indies brought the Netherlands to the brink of bankruptcy. In 1831, still during the Great Latin American War, Brazil bought the Dutch Guyana from the Netherlands.

Great Latin American War (1829-1835)
Great Works and Reforms
War of the Portuguese Succession (1842-1844)
Begining of Economic and Imperialist Expansion
The Anglo-Brazilian War (1848-1853)

Brazil as a Great Power

Uruguayan Reintegralism and the Intervention in Argentina
The Paraguayan Question and the "Bigger Brother" Policy
American-Brazilian Relations and the Erosion of Brazilian Hegemony in the Americas
James Monroe White House portrait 1819

The US President James Monroe formulator of the Monroe Doctrine.

As the first nation to emerge from colonial rule, the United States of America exerted great influence on the libertarian ideals of the Latin American colonies, including Brazil. The Mineira and Bahian Conjurations, as well as other independence movements, had the United States as a model.

With the Brazilian Independence in 1821, the United States recognized Brazil as an independent nation in 1824, shortly after the speech of the US President James Monroe in the Congress which would be known as the Monroe Doctrine ("America for Americans"). The doctrine reaffirmed the American position against European colonialism, inspired by the isolationist policy of George Washington, that "Europe had a set of elementary interests unrelated to our or only very remotely," and developed Thomas Jefferson's thought, that "America [maybe as the continent or maybe as the United States itself] has a hemisphere to herself."

At the time, the Monroe Doctrine represented a serious warning not only to the Holy Alliance, but also to Great Britain itself, although its immediate effect on the defense of the new American nations were purely moral, as the economic interests and political and military capacity of the United States would not reach beyond the Caribbean region until after the American Civil War (1861-1865). Anyway, the formulation of the Doctrine helped Great Britain to thwart European recolonization plans and allowed the United States continued to expand its borders towards the West, decimating the Native American tribes that inhabited the region. This expansion in the Americas had the assumption of the Manifest Destiny, and marked the beginning of the American expansionist policy on the continent.

Brazil had extensive trade relations with the United States and the former 13 Colonies since the colonial period. Even the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States itself has recognized elements based on the Holy Charter of Rights. Brazilians had great esteem among Americans and vice versa, and the Brazilian independence was quoted by President Monroe as "the liberation of our twin-nation from south." Also, the invasion of Portugal was treated by the American press as the "Great Turn" and Brazil swas een as an obvious ally in the continental protection against European assaults.

Relations started to embitter with the Cisplatine War and the Constitution of 1824. The United States did not expect Brazil to maintain itself as a monarchical nation, neither to put an European-born prince (even if raised in Brazil) as its king, and condemned Brazil's conquest of part of the Argentine territory.

The first diplomatic incident between the two nations was the Long Island Affair, when the government of the Free Cities seized two American ships, the Long Island and the Achilles, which were fishing illegally in Freecitian waters near Uswaya. The American government sent two warships to the region, but they were greeted by a Brazilian fleet, which revealed the recent annexation of the Free Cities by Brazil, expelling the American ships. Outraged, the United States demanded reparations for the confiscated cargo and the return of their crew, but Brazil only returned the crew, refusing to "pay for an illegal cargo". The conflict was resolved in 1828, when the Brazilian ambassador to the United States, Mauro Martins, offered to pay for the cargo as an act of good faith, but to set the inflexible position of Brazil against any illegal activity in its waters.

The Great Latin American War (1829-1835) ended any sympathy between Brazil and the United States. The war revealed the Brazilian military might and its ability to carry out military campaigns throughout Latin America against almost all Latin American nations. A "vile act of treason against her continental brothers" according to the US President Andrew Jackson, Brazil has become to American eyes nothing more than "another European power starving for the riches of the New World." In 1836, the United States cut relations with Brazil.


Princess Maria Amelia, sister of King Pedro II. Known as the "Blossom Princess" for her beauty, she had many pretenders from all European royal houses.

By the same token, the Latin American Cession and the Peace of Guatemala were seen as a humiliating way to enforce the Brazilian hegemony over the continent. The United States was invited to watch the negotiations as neutral party, just like the hosting party, the (now defunt) Federal Republic of Central America, but the American representatives never made it. The United States hoped a strong presence in the negotiations would soften Brazil's demands to the Latin American nation. However, the negotiations went forward without the American representatives. By the signing of the peace traty, Brazil had acquired brand new territory. However, the installation of a large fleet and naval base on the island of Cozumel the most alarming news to the Americans, who had many commercial and strategic interests in the Caribbean region.

On the other hand, the end of the war led Brazil to maintain a great influence over the Latin American nations, but focus more on its overseas business. The end of the Overseas Trading Company (COU) legated to Brazil a colonial empire that needed full attention, as well as the COU's incomparable intelligence network. Political prestige among the European powers became indispensable to the maintenance of the Brazilian overseas possessions.

The War of the Portuguese Succession (1842-1844) brought this so sought prestige, but in the United States it was painted by the press as a "shameful attitude of intervention in European affairs". For Americans, the Brazilian interest in Europe was seen as dishonorable to the American continent. But despite this, the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), in which the United States annexed 60% of Mexican territory, ended the Brazilian silence. Brazil finally turned to the United States, condemning its actions and its "arrogant hypocrisy" and starting what historians call "American-Brazilian Press War"
440px-Emperador Maximiliano I de Mexico

Emperor Maximilian of Mexico, cousin of King Pedro II of the United Provinces of Brazil.

Finally, the Anglo-Brazilian War (1848-1853) revealed the true extension of the Brazilian military and naval reach. At the time, Brazil had an army larger than all the other American nations combined and the second largest navy in the world. The clashes between Brazilian and British forces in India, Africa, and especially in the Caribbean, surprised the entire American continent. No one believed that Brazil could win (and it did not), but no one expected the Brazilians to manage the war so well and to manage to bring the British to the negotiation table. The world stopped to see Brazil and Great Britain drop their arms, exchange territory and make peace as if they had never been at war. Neither side left demoralized, but Brazil came out as first-class world power, equal to Great Britain or France. The Caribbean fell completely under the Brazilian influence and the United States, which had bigger problems to solve at home, could do nothing.

The Uruguayan Reintegration in 1857 could affect even more the Brazilian-American relationship, but the Panic of 1857 caught the attention of the US government. With the outbreak of the American Civil War, dividing the country between the Union and the Confederates, the Union feared that Brazil, more than Great Britain or France, could recognize the independence of the Confederates and intervene in their favor. Surprisingly, Brazil expressed repudiation to the Confederates' slavery policy and declared support to the Union.

During the conflict, Napoleon III, the French emperor, tried to impose a new government on Mexico by putting Maximilian of Austria in the new Mexican imperial throne. Expecting a full support of Brazil (Maximilian was King Pedro II's cousin and formerly engaged to his sister, Princess Maria Amelia), France was intended to counterbalance the American republican influence on the continent, since Brazil did not care to export its monarchical model, as well as expand French influence in America.

"The dream of the Archduke Maximilian, the Mexican emperor, included Pedro II and a powerful alliance with Brazil. But it have never even come close to performing. In just three years, it collapsed and turned into tragedy. (... ) Four years before, Maximilian had personally met Pedro II on a trip to South America. He was received by the royal family in Heraclion, the most beautiful city in the world according to him, and then headed off to the province of Espirito Santo to meet the king. Fond of botany and zoology, he took the trip to explore the tropical environment. It is said he took specimens of birds, insects and plants for his private collection. But then the good life was over. At the head of the Mexican Empire, pressed from every side, Maximilian was quick to write to his Brazilian cousin. The letters alternated formal comments with touching personal messages. They reveal the strategies used by the Mexican emperor to approach to Brazil. Calling his Brazilian cousin 'brother,' Maximilian spares no praise for the government that, he said, 'awakens the envy of the New World', and evokes possible affinities between their empires: 'I think the similarities that prevail between our two countries and all my desire is to follow the path laid by Your Majesty to get good results.' In an effort to create economic and diplomatic ties with Brazil, Maximilian awarded Pedro II with the necklace of the Mexican Eagle, from the Order of the Great Crosses. This award had only been granted before to the rulers of Austria and Russia. In return, the Brazilian king honored Empress Carlota with the insignia of the Order of the Southern Cross. The Brazilian press, however, largely ignored the diplomatic gesture. Newspapers do not record any mention of the exchange of medals. Maximilian also had a personal project which justified his attempts. The emperor wanted to consolidate the hegemony of two great empires of the Habsburgs in the Americas, restoring the prestige of the dynasty. Again the plans of Maximilian were not successful. Even after several attempts of approaching Brazil, until the beginning of 1865, Brazil had not yet officially recognized the Empire of Mexico. Maximilian then changed his strategy: he started send diplomats to Brazil. The diplomatic representation in Rio de Janeiro started to have the same importance as had the ones in Vienna, Brussels, Paris and Rome. To defend Mexican interests in Brazil, he sent Pedro Escandon, lawyer and commercial agent, son of one of the richest families in Mexico. Arriving in January 1865, Escandon soon realized the little enthusiasm of Pedro II and the cynical contempt that the press devoted to the Mexican Empire. But the winds seemed to announce better times. The following month, Escandon was received by the king at the Palace of Guanabara, in public and with all the trappings. Sure that this recognition from Pedro II would serve as the foundation for an alliance of interests between the two American empires, Escandon spoke enthusiastically, saying it was necessary to 'keep unchanged the precious relationships that must always exist between two fraternal peoples, identified in origin, race, beliefs and government, speaking different languages, but understanding easily, due to the warmth expressed by their thoughts and sympathies.' Pedro II was limited to thank the proof of friendship to his 'brother and cousin, the Emperor of Mexico.' After the hearing, Escandon tried to consummate a trade treaty with the southern kingdom, and proposed to send a Brazilian representative to Mexico. All he received, however, were evasive answers."

The lack of Brazilian support and the end of the American Civil War proved difficult for the plans of Napoleon III. The United States, now at peace, required the withdrawal of French troops. The end of the monarchy in Mexico is seen as a republican victory in the continent and the Brazilian support for the Union during the war marked positive points with the Americans. For the first time since the Great Latin American War, Brazil and the Unite States opened formal relations, sending diplomatic missions and creating a direct telegraph line between Washington and Rio de Janeiro to "avoid future conflicts quickly and efficiently". The Universal Exhibition of Rio, in 1872, brought many notable figures for Brazil and for the first time a US President, Ulysses S. Grant, visited Brazil.

The American-Brazilian Skirmish (1878-1879) would be the first and only military clash between Brazil and the United States. It was a confrontation between the Brazilian and American fleets in the Caribbean caused by the bombing of Risa. The Brazilian sovereignty over the island of Cozumel, and the Brazilian fleet parked in it, was at time seen as an obstacle for American commercial expansion in the Caribbean.

The conflict seven when seven ships led by the American Charles S. Church, a filibuster, bombed and pillaged the village of Risa in Cozumel, killing an officer of the Brazilian navy. While fleeing, Church was chased by a flotilla coming from Argos, capital and main naval base on the island, reachin the Biscayne Bay in Florida, where Church found a small group of merchant ships that helped him fight the Brazilian flotilla. The defeat of Church's ships, known in the United States as the Massacre of Biscayne Bay, was devastating. 12 American merchant ships were destroyed. Nevertheless, Church managed to escape the heat of battle, denouncing the massacre to the US government. The Biscayne Monument, in Miami, was built in 1950 to remember the victims of the incident.

The US government then sent a punitive armada in order to block Cozumel, engaging the Brazilian flotilla at Cape San Antonio, Cuba. The battle ended with the destruction of the Brazilian flotilla and the American armada sailing to Cozumel, where the Brazilian fleet had been doubled, being the armada destroyed at the Battle of Risa.

The conflict ended soon after, when the US government found out about Church's attack on Risa and the Brazilian government found out that it was not orchestrated by the US government. In the US Congress, on one hand the supporters of the conflict exposed the Brazilian sovereignty over Cozumel as intolerable to American interests and the Brazilian exaggerated response as a good reason to take the island; on the other hand, contrary groups exposed that the United States was not prepared for a war with a naval power like Brazil. The conflict was resolved with the necessary repairs by the two governments by the Treaty Montes-Weber, in 1879, as the United States could not afford a war. According to the American historian Jeffrey Hart:

"After the Civil War, the US Navy entered in a period of decline. In 1864, the Navy had 51,500 uniformed men and nearly 700 vessels (of which about 60 were coastal monitor-type battleships) that made ​​the US Navy the third largest in the world after the British and Brazilian navies. Already in 1880 the US Navy had only 48 ships in commission, 6000 men and ships and scrapped facilities, but the Congress saw no need to spend money to improve them. The US Navy would not be prepared for a great maritime war until 1897. [...] the limitations of the monitor type ship effectively prevented the United States to project power abroad, and until the 1890s the USA was ill-prepared for a conflict against even Spain or the Latin American nations. In 1870, the US Navy was the the 12th largest in the world, having dropped nine positions in only 6 years. During the Virginius Affair (1873-1875), the vision of the Spanish battleship Arapiles, anchored in the port of New York, led the US Navy to admit with discomfort that the USA had nothing able to defeat such type of vessel. The American-Brazilian conflict, soon after, confirmed the American fears.

It was not until the early 1880s that the United States would launch its first ship of that type, in an effort to modernize its navy. And only with the Spanish-American War (1898) the Americans could test their modernized navy.

It is clear that it would be very difficult for the United States to win a naval war against Brazil at the time. In fact, the United State was no match against most great powers of the time until the First World War. The United States, still in 1917, kept a small army (the smallest among the major powers) and in the early 20th century its navy was only the fifth largest in the world. Their military forces grew long after that, of course, to a point at the United States was at top of military power in the Second World War. But until then the Americans had their geographic isolation as their greater defense."

With the Spanish-American War (1898), the United States gained new possessions across the globe (especially the Philippines and Puerto Rico) and the protectorate over Cuba. The war marked the American entry into world affairs. Since then, the United States would have a significant role in various conflicts around the world. Interestingly, Brazil supported the American position, hoping for a rapprochement with Great Britain, France and Russia, who shared such support, and in opposition to Germany. For the European powers and Brazil, the war was for the independence of Cuba, whose revolution and the Spanish repression was causing damage to American and Brazilian trade. But with the end of the war, Brazil saw a shift in the balance of power on the continent. The United States now had a colony in the Caribbean (Puerto Rico), a naval base in Cuba, which was now under an American protectorate, and the domain de jure on the Philippines, although the archipelago was not fully controlled. For the first time since 1835, Brazil was not the hegemonic power in the Caribbean.

Ensign of the Royal Navy of Brazil

Brazilian navy ensign.

Nevertheless, the two countries did not want a war. The United States knew that Brazil had greater military capabilities and it would not be as easy to handle as Spain. On the other hand, Brazil recognized that any conflict with the United States would be a great loss to Brazil and even the influence of the Caribbean was not worth such costly and uncertain victory. Also, by the time, the United States already had a bigger population than Brazil and was rapidly growing in industrial might.

The two countries then agreed to an unofficial agreement that became known as the Continental Partition. The American continent was divided into two spheres of influence: Central America and the Caribbean under the American sphere, and South America under the Brazilian sphere.

The Venezuelan crisis of 1902–03 saw Brazil and the USA allying for the first time against European powers. The crisis was a naval blockade imposed against Venezuela by Great Britain, Germany and Italy over President Cipriano Castro's refusal to pay foreign debts and damages suffered by European citizens in the Venezuelan civil war. Castro assumed that the Brazilian claims of influence over South America, as well as the United States' Monroe Doctrine would make them both prevent European military intervention, but at the time president Theodore Roosevelt and the Department of State saw the Doctrine as concerning European seizure of territory, rather than intervention per se and Brazil had their share on the Venezuelan debt too. With prior promises that no such seizure would occur, Brazil and the US allowed the action to go ahead without objection. The blockade saw Venezuela's small navy quickly disabled, but Castro refused to give in, and instead agreed in principle to submit some of the claims to international arbitration, which he had previously rejected. Germany initially objected to this, particularly as it felt some claims should be accepted by Venezuela without arbitration.

President Roosevelt and Chancellor Pillar forced the Germans to back down by sending their own larger fleets under Admirals George Dewey and Marcelo Amorim and threatening war if the Germans landed. With Castro failing to back down, US and Brazilian pressure and increasingly negative British and American press reaction to the affair, the blockading nations agreed to a compromise, but maintained the blockade during negotiations over the details. This led to the signing of an agreement on 13 February 1903 which saw the blockade lifted, and Venezuela commit 30% of its customs duties to settling claims. When the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague subsequently awarded preferential treatment to the blockading powers against the claims of other nations, the US and Brazil feared this would encourage future European intervention. The episode contributed to the development of the Roosevelt Corollary to the Monroe Doctrine, asserting a right of the United States to intervene to "stabilize" the economic affairs of small states in the Caribbean and Central America if they were unable to pay their international debts, in order to preclude European intervention to do so. It also made the US more daring to intervene in South America despite the Continental Partition, leading to the Canal Crisis.

The Canal Crisis was the last major diplomatic conflict between the United States and Brazil. At this time, the US President and the US Senate were interested in establishing a canal across the isthmus, with some favoring a canal across Nicaragua and others advocating the purchase the French investments in Panama. Brazil already had interests in the region since 1850, when a Brazilian-owned company built the Panama Isthmus Railroad, which allowed Brazil to reach its eastern coast easier. The railroad gained importance to the United States with the California Gold Rush, which fulled American interest in the region.

The French coach of the New Panama Canal Company, Phillipe Bunau-Varilla, who sought the American involvement, asked for 100 million USD but accepted 40 million USD in the face of Nicaragua's option. In June 1902, the US Senate voted in favor of the Panama option, provided that the necessary rights could be obtained.

On 22 January 1903, the Hay-Herrán Treaty was signed by US Secretary of State John M. Hay, and the Colombian charge, Dr. Tomás Herrán. For 10 million USD and an annual payment, the treaty would have granted the United States a renewable lease in perpetuity on the land proposed for the canal. The treaty was ratified by the US Senate on March 14, 1903, but the Colombian Senate did not ratify it. Bunau-Varilla told President Theodore Roosevelt and Hay about the possibility of a Panamanian independence revolt, and hoped that the United States would support the rebels with troops and money. Roosevelt changed tactics, partly based on the Mallarino-Bidlack Treaty of 1846, and actively supported the separation of Panama from Colombia and, shortly after recognizing Panama, signed a treaty with the new Panamanian government on similar terms to the Hay-Herrán Treaty.
Panama canal cartooon 1903

Satiric cartoon about the American intervention in Panama, 1903.

On November 2nd, 1903, American warships blockaded the sea routes that could be used by any Colombian troops to go forth to quell the rebellion. Panama declared its independence on November 3rd, 1903. The United States quickly recognized the new nation. On 6 November 1903, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, as Ambassador of Panama to the United States, signed the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty, granting the United States rights to build and indefinitely administer and defend the Panama Canal Zone. This is sometimes misinterpreted as the "99-year lease" because of misleading wording included in Article 22 of the treaty. Almost immediately, the treaty was condemned by many Panamanians as a violation of their country's national sovereignty. This would become a contentious diplomatic issue between Colombia, Panama and the United States. 

On the other hand, Brazil saw it as a violation of the Colombian sovereignty and did not approve such American intervention within the Brazilian sphere of influence. In telegraphic correspondence, the Brazilian government required the US government to withdraw the blockade of Colombia unless they wanted a war on their hands. While the odds of a quick war heavily weighted toward Brazil, a military conflict would be disastrous for both sides, and Brazil could be defeated in a longer war. So, Brazil hoped that the United States would accept to negotiate from a weaker diplomatic position.

The United States did not expect such a reaction. Brazil had ignored the South American affairs in favor of its colonial empire and position among the European powers for such long time, as well as had sided with the United States in the Venezuela Crisis. The Continental Partition was the only claim that Brazil had over South America as its sphere of influence. The United States also feared that a public repudiation of Panamanian independence by Brazil would attract other European powers to the conflict and make ​​it difficult to build the canal. Brazil claimed that Panama was part of Colombia, a South American sovereign nation and therefore part of the Brazilian sphere of influence. On the other hand, the United States claimed that Panama was part of Central America and therefore in the American sphere of influence.

After negotiations with the Brazilian Ambassador Marcos Buarque de Vaz, in Washington, he proposed the Vaz-Hunter Treaty, signed two weeks later by the two governments. By the treaty, Brazil recognized Panamanian independence and would not interfere in American politics about the canal, as well as recognizing American sovereignty over the Canal Zone. Also by the treaty, the United States would give Brazil the right to free navigation in the canal while be under American administration.

Imperialism in Africa and the Middle East
Group of men and women being taken to a slave market Wellcome V0050647

Group of men, children, and women being taken to a slave market.

During the colonial period, the Brazilian colonization of Africa was made mainly by two different groups: the slave traders, who claimed land for Portugal, and the COU.

Portugal already had influence over much of the African coast during the 16th century and slave trade was the main source of profit to the Portuguese in the region. Brazil was a big market for them, but the Portuguese-born had the monopoly over the Brazilian slave market, what led the Brazilian slave traders to look for other markets, like the Hispanic America. By the dawn of the 20th century, Brazil had control over three African territorial masses, Dahomey, Madagascar and the so-called "Brazilian Strip", which was formed by the colonies of Angola, Northern and Southern Zambesias, Nyassaland and Moçambique.

Brazilian Dahomey

In 1630, the COU had control over much coast of Dahomey. In alliance with Dahomey's kings, the COU supplied the kingdom with weapons and manufactures in exchange for gold and other resources. Still, Dahomey remained independent for a long time. The kingdom was known for its militaristic culture and traditions. Young boys were often apprenticed to older soldiers, and taught the kingdom's military customs until they were old enough to join the army. Dahomey was also famous for instituting an elite female soldier corps, called Ahosi, and known by many Europeans as the Dahomean Amazons. This emphasis on military preparation and achievement earned Dahomey the nickname of "Black Sparta" from Brazilian and European observers and 19th century explorers like Sir Richard Burton.

After 1835, the Brazilian government abolished the slave trade and arrested anyone who tried to trade slaves in the region, ending one of the main profit sources of the Dahomean elites. Also, it began to send expeditions to the interior of the kingdom, leading to many diplomatic conflicts with the Dahomean government. The Brazilian takeover and colonization of the Kingdom of Dahomey began in 1872. In the Scramble for Africa in 1884, Dahomey was recognized as a Brazilian protectorate, but the ain of the Dahomean king, Béhanzin, to free his kingdom from the Brazilian interference led to the Béhanzin Uprising in 1887, which was brutally suppressed by the Brazilian Army. After the conflict, Béhanzin was forced to renounce and to exile. The First Brazilian-Dahomean War in 1890 further weakened the kingdom. The Second Brazilian-Dahomean War resulted in it becoming a Brazilian protectorate in 1894. In 1904, the Dahomey territory was annexed as the colony of Brazilian Dahomey.

Under the Brazilians a port was constructed at Cotonou, and railroads were built. School facilities were expanded by Christian missions. In 1946, Dahomey became an overseas territory with its own parliament and representation in the Brazilian national assembly. On 1 August 1960, the Republic of Dahomey (current Benin) gained full independence from Brazil.


City of Porto Corso in 1900.

By 1630, the COU founded the city of Porto Corso and began to colonize the island of Madagascar. By the end of the 16th century, Madagascar was ruled by a fragmented range of socio-political alliances. From the early 17th century, most of the island were united and ruled under the Merina Kingdom by a number of Merina nobles. Meanwhile, the COU achived to colonize the island's southwest, calling the colony Libertatia. With the collapse of the Merina kingdom in the mid-18th century, a brief civil war settled on the island, killing around 35% of the Malagasy population. At the end of the war, all sides were destroyed. The people of the areas outside COU's control decided to join Libertatia. Since 1752, the island was under the COU's authority as the Colony of Malagasia and Libertatia. With the fall of COU in 1835, Madagascar passed to direct control of the Brazilian government and became one of the most important colonies of the empire. Thousands of Brazilians went to Madagascar during the 19th century, mixing their culture with the natives. By 1870, the population was largely "Brazilianized" and demanding for representation and autonomy as the Brazilians they were. The riots of Porto Corso and Toamasina in 1872 caused the Brazilian government to chage dramatically its policy to the colonies. The new policy, called "One Empire, Many Countries" led the Brazilian Congress to raise Madagascar to the status of first Imperial Realm in 1875.


After the Independence, Brazil took the biggest Portuguese territories in Africa, Angola and Moçambique. However, the former Portuguese, now Brazilian, direct control over the regions was limited to the coastline, Portugal had neither the intention nor the means to carry out a large scale territorial occupation and colonization. In the interior, many tribes and kingdoms lived free from the Brazilian interests.

In Angola, the development of the hinterland began in the 1820s with the financing of coal mining, but became a real plan of colonization only in the late 1860s. Brazilian investment fostered mining, railways, and agriculture based on various forced-labour and voluntary labour systems. Full Brazilian administrative control of the hinterland did not establish itself until the the late 1890s. Portugal had a minimalist presence in Angola for nearly three hundred years, but the Brazilian colonization was more intense. Between 1830 and 1900, about 250,000 Brazilians went to colonize Angola. Brazil created a whole colonial government which, allied to the Brazilian "civilizing mission" ideals, fostered education in Brazilian Portuguese and the expansion of Brazilian culture. Diffrently of the other Brazilian colonies in Africa, except for Madagascar, and similar to other Brazilian colonies, Brazil was quite efficient in "Brazilianizing" the Angolan peoples. The Portuguese language, Western/Brazilian clothing and Christianity achived to spread into the region. However, similar to what happened in Madagascar, the Brazilians were too successful in unifying the region under Brazilian flag. The Angolans, mostly, developed a sort of Brazilian yet nativist national identity. They saw themselves as Brazilians, but also something else, as Angolans. After many small conflicts within the colony, the population demanding for political voice, Brazil raised Angola to the status of Imperial Realm in 1910.

Brazilian East Africa (Moçambique)

With Moçambique, the situation was not good. Differently from Angola, Moçambique was almost ignored by the Brazilians. The developent of the Moçambican hinterlands just started at the 1890s, with Brazilian-fostered mines and railways. At the 1900s, the main piece of infrastructure in the colony was the Indian-Atlantic Railway, which linked Angola and Moçambique through the Zambesias.

The Zambesias and Nyassaland

Scramble for Africa

The Scramble for Africa.

From the colonization of Angola, the Brazilians began to expand through the interior of the continent. By the 1870s, the region which became known as Zambesia, from the Zambezi river, were explored by the colonist Armando Batista and the Brazilian East Africa Company. In 1882, he obtained a concession for mining rights from King Lobengula of the Ndebele peoples. He presented this concession to persuade the government of the United Kingdom to grant a royal charter to the company over Matabeleland, and its subject states such as Mashonaland as well. The Brazilians construct many forts through the Zambezi river. During the Congress of Brelim in 1884, which formalized the Scramble of Africa, the British interests in the region led to a diplomatic conflict which became known as the "Lusaka Crisis". The British, who wanted to build a railway to link Cape Town to Cairo, claimed the region, while the Brazilian claimed its control by the construction of forts and the terra nullius claim. The two nations settled an agreement, the region would be under the Brazilian control, but the British could build their railway, which would be considered a demilitarized zone two kilometers to east and to west. However, the British were never able to build their railway. With new weapons, like Maxim guns, the Brazilian were able take control of the region in the 1890s. The region were divided into three colonies, Northern Zambesia, Southern Zambesia and Nyassaland.

Imperialism in Asia and the Pacific

Brazilian South Arabia (Yemen)


United Arab Emirates

Brazilian Burma (Myanmar)

Brazilian East Bengal (Bangladesh)

Brazilian Ceylon


East Indies

In 1746, the Brazilians established a presence in Malaya, when the Sultan of Kedah leased Penang Island to the Overseas Trading Company (COU). The Brazilians obtained the town of Singapore in 1771, and in 1776 took control of Melaka following the Anglo-Dutch Treaty. By 1779, the Brazilians directly controlled Penang, Melaka, Singapore, and the island of Labuan. By 1810, the states of Pahang, Selangor, Perak, and Negeri Sembilan, had Brazilian residents appointed to advise the Malay rulers, to whom the rulers were bound to defer to by treaty. The remaining five states in the peninsula, while not directly under Brazilian rule, also accepted Brazilian advisers around 1820. Development on the peninsula and Borneo were generally separate until the 19th century. With the whole Malayan Peninsula under Brazilian direct control or protection, the end of the COU in 1835 transfered all of its rights to the Brazilian government. The Malayan states recognized this agreement, except for Perak, which was forced to accept the terms after the Brazilian Intervention in Malaya (1836). The entire Malayan Peninsula would be called Brazilian Malaya, divided into the directly controled Strait Settlements (Penang, Dinding, Malacca, and Singapore) and the protectorates. The area that is now Sabah came under Brazilian control as North Borneo when both the Sultan of Brunei and the Sultan of Sulu transferred their respective territorial rights of ownership, between 1837 and 1838. In 1842, after Brazilian-Bruneian War (1840-1842), Sarawak was ceded by the Sultan of Brunei to Brazil. After the Anglo-Brazilian War (1848-1853), all Brazilian rights and holdings in the Malayan peninsula and Borneo were ceded to the British, except for Singapore, which had a sizeable Brazilian population.

After the First World War, the Brazilians built the large Singapore Naval Base as part of the defensive Singapore strategy. Originally announced in 1923, the construction of the base proceeded slowly until the Japanese invasion of Manchuriain 1931. When completed in 1939, at the very large cost of 500 million USD, it boasted what was then the largest dry dockin the world, the third-largest floating dock, and having enough fuel tanks to support the entire British navy for six months. It was defended by heavy 15-inch naval guns stationed at Fort Siloso, Fort Canning and Labrador, as well as a Brazilian Air Force airfield at Tengah Air Base. However, despite the powerful fleet stationed there, the most important Brazilian port in Asia, it would mean nothing. During the Second World War, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded British Malaya, culminating in the Battle of Singapore soon after. When the Brazilian force of 60,000 troops surrendered on 15 February 1942, Brazilian Chancellor Getulio Vargas called the defeat "the worst disaster and largest capitulation in Brazilian history."

Brazilian Polynesia

Imperialism in the Americas and Europe





The "One Empire, Many Countries" Policy and the Imperial Realms
Brazilian Golden Age and the Belle Époque
The Coffee and Rubber Exploration

World War I (1914-1918)

Brazilian Non-Interventionist Policy
The European Theater
The African and the Middle Eastern Theater
The Pacific Theater
The Effects of the War in Brazil

Interwar Period

The Crash of 1929
The Interwar Isolation

World War II (1939-1945)

The European Theater
The Pacifc Theater and the "Great Defeat"
Internal Effects

Decolonization and the Fall of the Brazilian Colonial Empire

Conference of Porto Corso and the transcontinental Brazil
The Act of Autonomy of Adamant
The Gradual Independence Policy
The War of Both Zambesias
The Arab Nationalism and the Independence of Yemen
The Independence of Singapore and the Status of Weihai

Brazil in the Bipolarized World

Brazil within the Western Bloc
Brazilian Space Exploration
Brazilian Intelligence in the Cold War
Counterculture in Brazil
Brazilian Pop Culture
The Energy Crisis and the Program of Energy Transition
The Brazilian Ambientalism at the late 20th century

The 21st Century Brazil

Brazil's economic growth
The Autonomous Cities at the European Economic Zone
Brazilian diplomacy and conflicts
Peacekeeping missions
Brazilian innovation
Space exploration
Brazil as a potential superpower


Biomes and Biodiversity

Amazon (Equatorial rain forest)

Cerrado (Tropical savannah)

Caatinga or Sertão (Tropical xeric shrublands and thorn forests)

Atlantic Forest (Tropical and subtropical broadleaf forest)

Pantanal (Tropical wetland)

Pampas (Subtropical steppes and pastures)

Andes (Alpine tundra)

Patagonia (Temperate and dry steppes and cold grasslands)

Costa Ecuatorial (Tropical dry steppe)

New Scandinavia (Dense subantarctic forests and cold pastures)

Stubnitz (Temperate forest)

Cozumel Forest (Tropical Caribbean forests and grassands)

Jejuan Vegetation (Humid subtropical forests and wetlands)

Areial (Tropical deserts, steppes and savannahs)

Polynesian Forest (Oceanic tropical forests)

Gaditan Vegetation (Mediterranean vegetation)



The Brazilian population was 209,469,323 inhabitants (19.96/km²) in 2019, as recorded by the census of the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), with the proportion of men and women of 0.96:1. In 2019, 81% of the population was urban (169.7 million, the world's fourth-largest) and 19% was rural (39.8 million). 97.9% (205 million) lived in Mainland Brazil, while 2.1% (4,5 million) lived in the overseas provinces and territories in 2020.

Historical Evolution of Brazilian Population
Manowan Kingdom (1500) 1 million (est.)
Amerindian Peoples (1500) 1-2 million (est.)
1530 600.000
1550 650.000
1600 1,100,000
1660 2,700,000
1700 4,500,000
1770 7,600,000
1808 11,500,000
1830 25,717,000
1850 34,256,000
1870 40,930,478
1890 57,333,915
1900 65,438,434
1920 74,635,605
1940 85,236,315
1950 91,944,397
1960 106,119,071
1970 126,139,037
1980 145,070,865
1990 162,917,459
2000 177,544,443
2010 199,755,799
2020 209,469,323

Brazil is the 6th most populous nation after China, India, USA, Indonesia, and Pakistan, and is one of the only developed countries, alongside the United States, where there are prospects of an increase in much of the population. With a birth rate of 17.6 per thousand in 2017, the second-highest in the developed world after Israel, and a net migration rate of 1.8 per thousand, its population growth rate is 1.64%, one of the highest of the developed world. With a fertility rate of 3.0, Brazil is the second most fertile among the developed countries, after Israel. Brazil's sex ratio is of 0.963 male(s)/female.

Brazilian population by age (2017)
Age % Pop.
0-15 (Young) 19,6% 41,055,987
15-30 (Young Adult) 20,9% 43,779,088
30-45 (Adult) 21,4% 44,826,435
45-65 (Midlife) 22,5% 47,130,597
65- (Elder) 14,6% 30,582,521
All 100% 209,469,323

The largest urban areas of Brazil by population are the metropolitan areas of Rio de Janeiro (15,280,702) and São Paulo (12,829,923), which together and added some cities between them form the Southeastern Megalopolis. Almost all the capitals are the largest cities of their provinces, with exceptions such as Iconia, capital of Corrientes, Florianópolis, capital of Santa Catarina, and Quito, capital of Ecuador. There are also non-capital metropolitan areas, such as Campinas (São Paulo) and Steel Valley (Minas Gerais) in the Southeast; Serra Gaúcha (Rio Grande do Sul) and Itajaí Valley (Santa Catarina) in the South; Petrolina (Paraíba) and Upper Ribeira (Piauí) in the Northeast.

Brazilian cities generally rank highly on international livability measures. For instance, in 2014 Rio de Janeiro was ranked the world's first most liveable city and São Paulo the fourth by the Mercer Quality of Life Survey.

Most Populous Brazilian Urban Areas (2020 Census)
Praia da Barra e Montanhas do Parque Nacional da Tijuca
Position Core city Province Population
1 Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro 15,280,000
2 São Paulo São Paulo 12,829,000
3 Belo Horizonte Minas Gerais 9,552,000
4 Natal Northern Rio Grande 6,258,000
Sao Paulo (PB)

São Paulo

5 Mayen São Francisco 5,201,000
6 Alexandria Corrientes 4,305,000
7 Guayaquil Ecuador 4,253,000
8 Recife Pernambuco 4,114,000
9 Porto Alegre Southern Rio Grande 3,502,804
Belo Horizonte, MG

Belo Horizonte

10 Curitiba Paraná 3,394,181
11 Manaus Amazonas 3,223,899
12 Salvador Bahia 3,153,387
13 Brasilia District of Planalto 2,914,830
14 Goyania Goyáz 2,009,000
15 Belém Pará 2,002,000
Natal (PB)


16 Josanso Jeju 1,910,000
17 Starling Western Guyana 1,888,000
18 Montevideo Uruguay 1,797,000
19 Saint Louis Maranhão 1,538,000
20 Laguna Santa Catarina 1,504,000



The Cathedral of Nova Florença, built between 1520 and 1540, is the oldest cathedral in the Americas. Its also known as the Congregation of the 12 Apostles, because of the 12 statues on its façade.

The Constitution provides for freedom of religion and prohibits any kind of religious intolerance. Church and state are officially separated, being Brazil a secular country.

The Christian religion is the country's largest, with 69,6% of the population; subdivided into the Catholic Church (33%), Protestant churches of traditional (Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc) and Evangelical denominations (30.9%), and the Eastern Orthodox Church (5.7%). 24% are Irreligious, Atheist or Agnostic; 2.2% are identify as Jewish (Brazil has the third biggest Jewish population with 26% of the world's Jews); 1.1% follow Islam; 1% follow other religions (Buddhism, traditional indigenous beliefs, Ra'iauahiAzwa'ran, Islam, Hinduism, etc); 1% follow the traditional African-Brazilian religions (Candomblé, Umbanda, etc); 0.6% are Spiritists; and 0.5% follow Shinto.

Religion was an important part in the formation of the Brazilian culture. Brazil is the country with the fifth largest Catholic population (about 55 million) and the fourth largest Protestant population (about 53 million), but the province of Santa Sofia, which was greatly influenced by Greek and Russian settlers, is predominantly Orthodox (Brazil has the fifth largest Orthodox population, with about 9.8 million adherents to the Brazilian Orthodox Church, and roughly 12,000 adhering to other Orthodox churches). Brazil also has the fourth or fifth largest irreligious population (about 41 million). Indigenous religious traditions are relativelly well preserved among minorities of the population in the Brazilian Polynesia (in the form of Ra'iauahi, the Organized Polynesian Polytheism), as well as in some regions of Manowan (in the form of Azwa'ran, the Organized Manowan Polytheism) and Ecuador and among indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Brazil has the world's third largest Jewish population with about 3.8 million throughout the country. Since the beginning of colonization, Brazil was seen as a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution. Despite, or perhaps because of this, Brazil was less exposed to anti-semitism. It is known that anti-semitism was discouraged in Brazil since the colonial period, at the forefront of other nations at the time, and today is almost nonexistent.

Despite the high visibility of religion in Brazilian culture, religious tolerance and state secularism is quite a cultural trait in Brazil, as it was cultivated since the Holy Charter of Rights of 1548, though some religious conflicts in the 16th century. Brazil has

It is important to note that, while most Brazilians identify to one religion or another, many, between 40% and 55% of the Brazilians who identified as having religion are mostly non-praticant and derive their religious identity from cultural background.


Brazil's official language, Portuguese, is the native language of 90.1% of the Brazilian population, 86,2% as the only language spoken at home, and is spoken by 96% of the population. It the language most used in media, business, and for administrative purposes. Brazil is the only major Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas (though it is official in Canada, it is only the third most widely spoken language) and the language has become an important part of national identity.

Owing to Portuguese and Brazilian colonial expansion, Portuguese in 2019 the third most widely spoken native language in the world (after Mandarin and Spanish), with more than 404 million native speakers worldwide, of which, half live in Brazil. It main regulating authorities are the International Council of the Portuguese Language (which is the unified body that includes the Portuguese Academy of Letters, the Brazilian Academy of Letters, as well as those from other Portuguese-speaking countries) and the Union of Luso-Brazilic Nations (ULBRAN).

Brazilian Portuguese, the dialect of the Portuguese language spoken in Brazil, had its own development, influenced by Amerindian, African, and other European languages. As a result, Brazilian Portuguese is quite different, especially in phonology and wealth of vocabulary, from Lusitanian Portuguese, although speakers of the two variaties can understand one another with some effort. In 1990, the Union of Luso-Brazilic Nations (ULBRAN), which includes representatives from all the countries where Portuguese is the official language, reached an agreement on the spelling standardization of language, in order to reduce the differences between the many variants. To all countries of the ULBRAN it was given the deadline until 2000 to adapt to the necessary changes. Spanish is the most spoken foreign native language, followed by Malagasy, German, Japanese, and Chinese.

All Brazilians must learn English as second language at school, followed by Spanish or French as their second foreign language. English, French, Spanish, German, Italian and Japanese are the foreign languages most learnt by Brazilian children, but public schools also offer Russian, Korean, Mandarin, Hindi, Dutch, Greek, Latin, among others. As Brazilian public schools' language teaching is highly interactive and efficient, Brazilians are typically multilingual: in Brazil, 72% of Brazilians are able to communicate in at least one foreign language (mostly English) and 49% in at least two. 69% of Brazilians are able to communicate in English, and most people who speak a foreign language other than English speak English, too, as English-teaching is considered of sum importance to raise a competive labor force.
Portuguese-speaking regions

The Brazilian Portuguese was also the basis for other dialects due to the Brazilian colonial expansion between the 16th and 19th centuries. In addition to the varieties found in Brazil (sub-dialects of Brazilian Portuguese), it gave birth to other dialects such as:

  • Canadian Portuguese - primarily spoken natively by the majority of inhabitants of the Canadian province of Terra Nova and Labrador and in communities in Ontario and British Columbia. It is the third most spoken native language in Canada (14.9%) and one of the three official languages of Canada since 1990 (alongside English and French);
  • Dhaka Portuguese - co-official language natively spoken by 59% of the Bangladeshi population;
  • Sri Lankan Portuguese - co-official language and national lingua franca spoken natively by 41% and in total by 76% of the Sri Lankan population;
  • Malay Portuguese - co-official language spoken natively by 38.9% of Singaporeans and the lingua franca of the country spoken in total by 97% of its inhabitants. It is also a recognized minority language spoken in Malaysia;
  • Hellenic Portuguese - co-official language natively spoken by the Brazilian Cypriots, 46% of the inhabitants of Cyprus, and a recognized regional language spoken natively by the Brazilian Cretean community, almost 36% of the inhabitants of Crete, Greece;
  • Weihaian Portuguese - co-official language spoken natively a by 13% of Weihaian citizens;
  • Lagoano Portuguese - spoken by the Lagoanos, a historic cultural community descending from the inhabitants of COU colony of Lagos, in Illinois. It is co-official in Illinois and spoken by most of the 5.3 million of Lagoanos, 3.4 million of which live in Illinois. Portuguese is the second most spoken language of Illinois, spoken by natively by 26.5% of the population;
  • Madagascar Portuguese - co-oficial language spoken natively by 54% and in total by 79% of the population of Madagascar;
  • Emirati Portuguese- co-official language spoken natively by 25% and in total by 71% of the population of the United Arab Emirates (however, since about 46% of the country' population is formed by expats, the number of native Emiratis who are native Portuguese speakers is actually 46%);
  • Angolan Portuguese - official language natively spoken by 87% of the Angolan population.

Minority languages ​​are spoken throughout the country, alongside Portuguese. The 2020 census counted 305 indigenous groups in Brazil that speak 274 different languages. Between indigenous people five year-old or older, 23.4% speak an indigenous language and Portuguese. There are also significant communities of German speakers (mostly Hunsrückisch, a high German dialect) and Italian (mostly the Talian, of Venetian origin) in the South where more recent immigrants kept part of their heritage when compared to earlier German and Italian settlers in the Northeast during the colonial period. In Brazilian Polynesia, 13.1% of the population speak Polynesian dialects, which are co-official. In the province of Manowan, Manuuwa is co-official and spoken natively by about 10% of Manowans. Several municipalities co-officialized other languages, such as São Gabriel da Cachoeira, in the province of Amazonas, where it officialized Nheengatu, Tukano, and Baniwa, which are Amerindian languages. Other cities, such as Santa Maria de Jetibá (Espirito Santo) and Pomerode (Santa Catarina) also co-oficialized other foreign languages, such as German and Pomeranian. The states of Santa Catarina and Southern Rio Grande also have the Talian as official linguistic heritage, while Espirito Santo, since 2011, included in its constitution the Pomeranian, along with German as their cultural heritage, as did Ilhéus with Italian in 1990.

Despite such variety, the scope of Brazilian education in Portuguese, as well as integration policies in annexed regions duringthe 19th and 20th centuries, made Portuguese to be spoken by the entire population. Other languages ​​are spoken normally only within the context of these communities, and some have their own publications and even radio and television channels. Still, local schools offer the teaching of these languages ​​and the teaching of culture and history of these regions is part of the compulsory curriculum in these locations.

Ethnic Composition

As a predominantly mixed nation, a melting pot, the Brazilian statistical system uses phenotypes (like skin color and distinctive ethnic features) as a research base, not seeking racial purity values. As such a person can be classified as White even having recent ancestors of other ethnicities. Due to miscegenation, people considered white or black or asian can be as mixed as a person classified as mixed. Such a system is for mere value of study and does not seek to discriminate against any groups or research their ancestry.

The census classifies primarily by ethnic appearance (phenotype). Such groups are:

  • White - people with predominantly Caucasian phenotypical features (European and Middle-Eastern/North African). The Brazilian concept of "White race" is different from other countries, it is more based in phenotype than ancestry. A comprehensive study presented by the Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research found that on average, White Brazilians are (>80%) European. Another autosomal study carried out by the geneticist Sergio Pena showed that the overwhelming ancestry of "White" Brazilians is European and Middle Eastern, but there are Native American and African ancestry as well (an average of 80-90% European ancestry).
  • Black - people with predominant phenotypical features of sub-Saharan African origin. As it occurs to Whites, Black Brazilians are not all African. The overwhelming ancestry of "Black" Brazilians is African, but there are Native American and European ancestry as well (an average of 70-80% African ancestry).
  • Mixed - the most diverse group, characterized by those who have a mixture phenotypical features of other ethnicities. Its most common sub-group (about 88% or 53.6 million people) is the Pardo people, a Brazilian ethnicity that is mostly characterized by predominantly European- or Amerindian-like features with light brown/tan, brown or black skin, alo,gside brown, honey, or amber eyes, and soft curly or straight hair. The Pardo people also represent the predominant stereotype about Brazilians in the world. Even though the majority of Brazilians are, technically, mixed race, this classification relies only on predominant phenotypes.
  • Amerindian - people with characteristics predominantly from Native Americans and pre-Columbian civilizations. That group is difficult to distinguish from some types of Mixed people. People with pure Manowan phenotype (a combination of olive or tanned to dark skin, white or silver hair and purple eyes) are inserted within this category, even if the Manowan people are not related to any other of the Amerindian ethnicities.
  • Asian - people with East, Southeast, and South Asian ancestry (mostly Japanese, Korean, Bangladeshi, and Sri Lankan) and Eastern features. Some groups of different characteristics such as Indians are included here, but there are quite few Indians in Brazil. Despite the stereotype of pulled black eyes and straight black hair, it is not uncommon for them exhibit, due to decades and even centuries of miscegenation, one or another characteristic most common to other ethnic groups, such as blue eyes, or curly or blonde hair. Of all people classified as Asian-Brazilian, 60% (5.1 million) are Japanese, 24% (2 million) are Bangladeshi, and 16% are other Asians. Brazil has the largest Japanese population outside Japan and Japanese culture has influenced Brazilian culture in many aspects since the First Japanese Wave in the 16th century and more since the Second Japanese Wave in the 19th century. Though, it must be noted that, given that the oldest Japanese immigrants to Brazil came in the 16th century and became ever more prone to miscegenation, about half of Brazilians that identify as having Japanese descent or who have Japanese surnames are not classified as Asian, but as White or Mixed. As such, Japanese Brazilians of full or partial ancestry account for between 10-11 million people, even if Japanese-Brazilians classified as Asians only account for 5 million people.
  • Polynesian - People descending mainly from the original inhabitants of the Brazilian Polynesia. Brazil has the biggest Polynesian population in the world (1 million out of 2.7 million of Polynesians in the whole world).

According to the IBGE Census 2017, 52.71% of Brazilians were White (about 110.41 million), 29.10% were Mixed (about 60.96 million), 12.07% were Black (about 25.28 million), 4.09% were Asian (about 8.57 million), 1.43% were Amerindians (about 3 million), and 0.5% were Polynesian (about 1 million ). By 2019, Brazil was the country with the world's third largest White/European/Caucasian population, the largest Black or Multiracial/Black population and the largest Polynesian population.

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Brazilians belong to various ethnic groups. Clockwise, according to the IBGE classification: Lara Morgan (actress) and Julio Bergantim (singer) are Whites; Luma Oliveira (singer) and Rafa Spina (actor) are Blacks; Rebeca Araujo (model) and João Paulo Bernal (model) are Mixed; Jacira Couto (actress) and Juan Calavares (writer) are Amerindians; Arina Chun (presenter) and Ayato Castro (singer) are Asians; Gustavo Palu (surfer) and Mahana Souza (journalist) are Polynesians.

A unique Brazilian feature among other developed countries is the lack of racial enclaves. Unlike countries like the US, where blacks and whites typically have their own separate neighborhoods, or France and the United Kingdom, where Muslim communities or African descendants have their neighborhoods and live, many times, in a sort of self-imposed segragation, in Brazil that is, if not non-existent, at least rare. Brazilian culture is usually more welcoming and that racial integration, for example with Muslim communities, is "crucial to public policy and integration of immigrants in Brazilian society", says Gilberto Montagner, sociologist, who explains the rarity of problems with the integration of immigrants in Brazil, unlike European countries, for example. "Brazilian society is more tolerant and welcoming." He says. "Though our government and society put more importance on integration." Except for naturalized foreigners, it is uncommon for Brazilians to classify themselves as German-Brazilian, Japanese-Brazilian or by any other ancestry, actually, 72% of Brazilians do not even know where their ancestors even came from. In Brazil, the racial frontiers are very thin and most of the people born from immigrants consider themselves as just Brazilians, contributing to Brazilian culture by adding their foreigner ancestors' culture in it. However, like any society, there are racism and xenophobia in Brazil, and it is being debated by students and teachers in Brazilian education system and by politicians.



Immigration in Brazil

Immigrants of Brazil by country of origin, 2017.

Of the total of the Brazilian population, 12.7% (25.6 million) were of immigrants/foreign-born in 2019. 59.9% (15.9 million) were from the Americas (mostly Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico), 17% (4.5 million) were from Africa (almost 90% from the old Brazilian colonies in Subsaharan Africa), 13% (3.5 million) from Europe (two thirds of which were Eastern Europeans and Mediterraneans such as Portuguese, Spanish, Greek, and Italian); and 10.1% (2.7 million) from Asia (mostly China, Southeast Asia and Syria). Brazil has world's the second largest foreign-born population by gross numbers, counting for 9.8% of all immigrants in the world,. It must be said that Brazil, as one of the few developed nations that grants birthright citizenship, alongside the USA and Canada, only counts as immigrant those of first-generation, people who are foreign-born. As such, most of immigrant-born people are counted as Brazilian citizens.

Of the foreign-born population, Argentines make up the largest share, with 25% of all immigrants in Brazil or 6.7 million Argentines in Brazil. Other large groups include Mexicans (2 million), Bolivians (1.7 million). Peruvians (1.3 million), Venezuelans (1.3 million), Colombians (1.3 million), and Chileans (1 million).

The Manowans and the Indigenous Brazilian were the first people to reach Brazil, followed by the early European settlers and slaved Africans. Brazil saw the most diverse settlers during its colonization, from Mediterraneans, Slavs, Northern Europeans, and even Japanese. After the Independence, African and Asian immigration from the Brazilian colonies became a new source of new settlers, but Europeans remained the bulk of the immigrants settling in Brazil because of the Civilized Immigrant Law of 1832. Though the racialist ideals of the 19th century never caught on in Brazil due to its diverse, educated, and influential non-White population, the Eurocentric ideals of civilization certainly did, as it was accepted among the Brazilian elites that, though Europeans were not biologically superior to non-Europeans, their European and European-based societies were. As such, the Brazilian elites not only seeked to expand "civilization" on their colonies to "rise them to the level of the West", but to limit immigration from any non-European country that was not deemed "civilized enough". Due to this, though the law was only abolished in the 1970s, by the end of the 19th century countries such as Japan, the Ottoman Empire, and the Imperial Realms of Madagascar and the UAE were deemed civilized enough by the immigration authorities to send immigrants to Brazil.

Since the 1980s, Brazilian immigration policy started to shift from Eurasia to Latin America. With its "good neighboor policy", Brazil started to focus on Latin American immigration. Brazilian planned immigration policy prefered skilled workers and people from countries with culture and values more closer to its own, allowing immigration from the most developed Latin American countries, such as Mexico and Argentina. Nowadays, Brazil's biggest sources of immigrants are the Mercosur nations (prefered due to their high literacy rates and skilled workforce and similar values) because mainly of the Mercosur transit policy (Mercosur nations' citizens have preference regarding immigration laws).

With a points-based immigration system adopted still in the 1960s, Brazil has one of the strictest immigration policies in the world, with the government picking the applicants more suited to live and integrate in Brazil and to contribute for the progress of the Brazilian economy. Being the developed country with the largest borderlines with developing countries, Brazil gives a great deal of attention to its borders and became quite efficient in controlling immigration, making use of fences, walls, satellite vigilance systems and land, river and sea patrolling, in order to enforce its immigration policies. Still, most of Brazil's shared borders are covered by dense rainforest or uninhabited savannas and deserts. As such, most of Brazil's border control is concentrated in the South, the border with Bolivia, and the Western provinces of Ucayali and Ecuador. Aditionally, Brazil is the leading nation of the South American Security Association, an international organization of which all South American countries are members. The SASA's mandate is to deal with international trafficking, border control, and military cooperation, nut some specialists accuse the organization of being an instrument through which Brazil has outsorced its border control to bordering coUntries. In 2020, estimates of illegal immigrants in Brazil ranged between 85,000 and 220,000.

Immigration brazil

Countries with restrictions on immigration to Brazil, 2017.

Since 1984's Aleixo Law, to discourage terrorism, Brazil has had a policy of restricting immigration from countries that are considered "sponsors of terrorism" by the Brazilian government, as well as countries "highly impaired by terrorist organizations or with active conflict zones". The countries regarded as so have changed through the decades.

Brazil also restricts, since 1991's Seixas-Sinclair Law, immigration from countries with values largely opposing Brazilian basic values such as rule of law, gender equality and religious freedom. Those countries are countries were religious law, such as Sharia, are applied oppressively, especially if in the criminal system. Since Brazil strictly bans any religious law system and rules that not concerned with religious matters only (such as the Catholic excommunication process) or that goes against Brazilian secular law from having legal status, the Brazilian legislators concluded that people born and raised under religious law are less abiding to secular law and are more prone to commit action considered crime by secular law, but not by their religious law. People from those countries must pass through a stricter immigration filter, psychological analysis, and settlement education in the Settlement Centers. The reason of that is to discourage cultural and religious clashes as well as familiarize immigrants from those countries to the Brazilian legal system, since the Brazilian Constitution states that no law can be passed based solely on religious beliefs or be applied discriminating between religious groups. As said by Chancellor Grimaldi: "Our legal system will not bow to any group, internal or external. Our law is for everyone who lives in our country. If someone wants to live in Brazil, they must understand and respect our laws and core values."

Brazil also has a controversial policy of deporting foreigners (permanent or temporary residents, and even refugees) who are convicted of certain offences or who are illegally paid welfare benefits.

An October 2017 study of Brazilian values by IBGE gave a conflicting picture: Although 48% of those polled said they wanted minorities to do more to fit into the mainstream, the same number also said they were nonetheless happy with how the immigrants they knew were integrating themselves into the community. Further, 31% of Brazilians believe immigration policy should be based not only on the Brazil's economic, social and labour needs (as it has been for decades), but also on the needs of foreigners to escape crisis in their home countries. In an analysis of the survey, it was wrote that although Brazilians' commitment to multiculturalism is not increasing, nevertheless their attitudes on immigration have no white-preference racism, and that the vast majority of newcomers feel that they are treated fairly and equally as "Brazilians".

As said above, Brazil has one of the strictest immigration policies among the developed countries. Immigrants must prove they can find a stable job and are expected to assimilate into Brazilian values. Though they are not prohibited to practice their culture and religion, the core Brazilian/Western values are considered above race, culture, religion and nationality. Immigrants only gain permanent residency after seven years of continuous residency in Brazil and a clean criminal record.

Brazil have settlement workers and education centers that help immigrants in Brazil to understand their rights and responsibilities and find them programs and services they need to integrate with the new culture and prospect of livelihood and to find a job. They motivate organizations to hire immigrants and support immigration through recruiting new members. They work with government agencies, school board, library and other community organizations with a network of resources. The classes provided by the Settlement Centers focus on teaching Portuguese, the Brazilian values such as gender equality and democracy, the rights and duties of a Brazil's resident (citizen or not), etc.

Free speech is a constitutional right guaranteed by the Constitution and mostly applied to Brazilian society since the Holy Charter of Rights, beause of that, Brazilians are very protective of their free speech rights, despite ideological differences or potential offensiveness, many regarding Brazil as a "troll culture", where, though people should think before they speak, people are often offensive and nobody cares. Brazil's hate speech law defines it as "explicitly calling for physical violence and/or segregation against a certain class or group of people" and are more specific than in Europe.

According to Chancellor Grimaldi: "Brazil is proud of having diversity of race, culture and thought, but more proud even of being monolithic regarding to values. Despite our different colors, cultures and religions, the Brazilian and Western values of free speech, free press, freedom of religion, gender equality, rule of law and isonomy, and all the other civil liberties are engraved into Brazilian hearts and minds and are set above any difference."

By 2018, Brazil had a refugee population of 502,300 (the 2nd largest in the developed world), of which 83% fled from Venezuela, 10% from Syrian and Subsaharan Africa, and 8% from Mexico's and Central America's drug wars.

Brazil is also a education immigration site. As high education in Brazil is free and well ranked in international rankings, Brazil is one of the most desired destinations to immigrants. Between 2003 and 2013, thousands of foreigners have enrolled. Brazil has the world's second largest foreign student population, just behind the USA, with 1,021,000 foreign students in Brazil. The Brazilian government, on the other hand, sees these immigrants as very desirable to Brazil. According the Brazilian Minister of Economy, Lucas Souza Prado:

"Keeping international students who have studied in the country is the ideal way of immigration. If 40% of foreign graduates stay in the country for five years Brazil recovers its costs. If he stays, we have a qualified and skilled worker, who has been in Brazil for years. Who knows our culture and values, our language, and has the opportunity to exploit one of the best economic environments in the world. The government facilitates the acquisition of permanent residency to just graduated and we have many programs of integration between the university and the companies. It is a very good deal to Brazil."

Foreigners who have student visa can apply easly for permanent visas after graduating in Brazilian universities. In 2017, more than half of the foreign graduates in Brazilian universities applied for permanent visas. In 2017, Brazil had 512,100 American immigrants, two thirds of them being students.

A 2010 survey, undertaken by the IBGE, produced statistics which showed that 69% of the foreign students who completed university education in Brazil applied for and were granted permanent residency.

For centuries, Brazil has been chosen as a new home by millions of people. Because of that, large and diverse ethnic communities live in Brazil. Brazil has the largest populations of full or partial ancestry from Italian (about 40 million), Portuguese (about 27 million), Arab (about 12 million), Swedish (about 7 million), Greek and Greek-Cypriot (about 6 million), Russian and other people from the former Russian Empire (about 5 million), and Japanese (about 3.5 million) immigrants; the second largest populations of people of full or partial ancestry from German (about 22 million), Polish (about 7 million), Korean (about 1.2 million), Danish (about 1 million), and Norwegian (about 1 million) immigrants; the third largest populations of full or partial ancestry from Irish (about 14 million) and Jewish people (about 3.8 million) in the world, and from French (about 7 million) immigrants outside Franch. Other significant populations are those of English (about 5 million), Scottish (about 2 million), Chinese (about 200,000), and Turkish (about 178,000) ancestry).

Brazil also has the largest population of Argentines (about 4 million) outside Argentina, and the world's largest African diaspora, with 56.8 million Black and Mixe-Race people of Sub-Saharan African descent.

There are a number of ways to immigrate to Brazil, classed under different categories of visa:

  • Worker visas - Brazilian working visas are most commonly granted to highly skilled workers. Candidates are assessed against a points-based system, with points allocated for certain standards of education. These visas are often sponsored by individual provinces, which recruit workers according to specific needs. Visas may also be granted to applicants sponsored by a Brazilian business. The most popular form of sponsored working visa is the F90 visa, set in place since 1986. It is the most prevalent type of visa used to immigrate to Brazil.
  • Student visas - The Brazilian government encourages foreign students to study in Brazil. There are a number of categories of student visa, most of which require a confirmed enrolment in an educational institution.
  • Family visas - Visas are often granted on the basis of family ties in Brazil. There are a number of different types of Brazilian family visas, including Contributory Parent visas and Spouse visas.
  • Investor visas - Foreign investors could invest in business or fund in Brazil to acquire the Permanent Residential of Brazil, after 4 years (including the year which acquire the visa), they need to take the exam and make a declaration in order to be a citizen of Brazil.
  • Refugee visas - For refugees under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. In Brazil, the maintainance of refugee status is directly related to the refugee's criminal report. Any refugee convicted in Brazilian territory of crimes classified by the Criminal Code as Tier 3 or higher, suh as rape, murder or severe aggression, is deported (if possible). That policy is seen with criticism by many international organizations.

Those visas can often lead to Brazililian citizenship; however, this requires the applicant to have lived in Brazil for at least 7 years with at least 5 years as a permanent resident. People who want to apply for Brazilian citizenship are also required to speak Portuguese, have an stable job, and a clean criminal record.

Brazilian Diaspora

The Brazilian diaspora consists of Brazilian people and their descendants who emigrated from Brazil. Differently from the diasporas of other American peoples, the Brazilian one started much earlier, when the very Brazilian identity was not even consolidated yet. The diaspora is concentrated in the regions were the Brazilian Overseas Trading Company had influence, as well as the old Brazilian colonies of the 19th century. Countries like Angola, Madagascar, Singapore, Canada and the United States. Since World War II and the end of the Brazilian colonial empire, Brazilian migration throughout the world became far less impressive.

Throughout history, the Brazilian diaspora originated many important groups in many regions of the world:

  • Brazilian Cypriots, of Cyprus;
  • Brazilian Emiratis, of the United Arab Emirates;
  • Brazilian Malagasy, of Madagascar;
  • Brazilian Canadians or Terranovanos, of Canada;
  • Brazilian Singaporeans, of Singapore;
  • Brazilian Angolans, of Angola;
  • Brazilian Sri Lankans, of Sri Lanka.

They are all important national groups in their respective countries, constitutionally recognized and with great influence in their countries' culture and ideals. These groups are mostly bilingual, while having Portuguese as their first language. They also live in countries that recognize Brazilian Portuguese or a derivate dialect as an official language at the national level. These groups were, generally, very influential in the history of their countries.

Besides those, there are many historical minorities of Brazilian descent legally recognized and protected by their respective nations:

  • Brazilian Creteans, of Crete, Greece;
  • Brazilian Corsicans, of Corsica, France;
  • Brazilian Malaccans, of Johor, Malaysia;
  • Lagoanos, of Illinois, USA.

They are all recognized groups, with their language regionally recognized and considerated co-official in the regions they claim their roots. They, mostly, have Portuguese as their first language at home, but also speak their countries' national language natively.

Besides those, there are more modest Brazilian minorities within countries were Brazilian colonialism took place. In those countries, Brazilian Portuguese is the/an offical language, but most times not actually spoken natively by a sizable population, and the Brazilian minorities there are the descendants from the few colonizers that settled:

  • Brazilian Moçambicans, of Moçambique;
  • Brazilian Malawians, or Malawi;
  • Brazilian Bangladeshis, of Bangladesh;
  • Brazilian Weihaians, of Weihai, China;
  • Brazilian Zimbabweans; of Zimbabwe;
  • Brazilian Zambians; of Zambia;
  • Brazilian Beninese; of Benin;
  • etc.

Also, there are some historical minorities of Brazilian descent that are not recognized by their native countries and even persecuted by the government:

  • Adenitas, of Yemen;
  • Brazilian Burmese, of Myanmar.

Government and Politics


Marco II of Bragança, King of the United Provinces of Brazil

Brazil is internationally known as one of the politically stable countries in the world. Its democracy has been called one of the world's best, most transparent and least corrupt. Additionally, with nearly 80% voter turnout in its 2010 elections, Brazil has one of the world's highest levels of civic participation.

The Brazilian nation is a federal parliamentary constutional monarchic country formed by the federated and indissoluble union 49 entities with equal rights and duties: the Provinces and the Federal District (the latter with some different competencies). Its based on the Royal Constitution of 1824. The classic tripartite branches of government (Executive, Legislative and Judiciary under the checks and balances system) are officially created by the Constitution. The Executive and Legislative are organized independently in all levels of government, while the Judiciary is organized only at the federal and the provincial spheres. Judges and other judicial officers are appointed after passing entry exams. Voting is voluntary, exercised by citizens over 18 years. Almost all governmental and administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated to the Executive.

Brazil has a parliamentary government. The parliament, called National Congress, is bicameral, composed by two houses: the Senate (Upper House, integrated by 98 senators, who represent the 49 federative units) and the Magisterium (Lower House, integrated by 429 magistrates, who represent the people). The members of the National Congress are known as congressists or parliamentarians. All bills passed are given Royal Assent before becoming law.

The Magisterium elects a candidate for Chancellor, Brazil's head of government, who is then submitted to the Senate for approval before and, finally, appointment by the Monarch, the head of state. It is appointed, by convention, the person most likely to command the confidence of the Congress; this individual is typically the leader of the political party or coalition of parties that holds the largest number of seats in the Magisterium. The Chancellor appoints a cabinet and its members are formally ratified by the monarch to form the government. By convention, the King respects the Chancellor's and the Magisterium's decisions. 

Executive power is exercised by the Chancellor and his cabinet (Ministers of State or Ministers of the Crown). The current Chancellor is Maia Grimaldi, who has been in office since 10 October 2014. Grimaldi is also the leader of the Social-Liberal Party (PSL).

The general elections occur after a period of four years (to magistrates) and six years (to senators), however, the Monarch and the Chancellor can call for new elections any time when they think the Congress is not capable of coming to terms or when there is great popular outcry. In the Senate, all the provinces have the same number of representatives (two senators), not concerning their population sizes and three commissioners (each from one of the inhabited Brazilian dependencies) who have together the right to one vote (totalizing 99 votes); while in the Magisterium, the number of magistrates of each federative unit varies conforming its population size, and the inhabitated Brazilian Overseas Dependencies, Tristan da Cunha, Svalbard and Rapa Nui have one magistrate each in the Magisterium.

The Social-Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, and the Patriotic Alliance are nowadays Brazil's four major parties, representing the Brazilian traditions of social liberalism, freedom, and liberalism.

Maia Grimaldi, Chancellor of Brazil.

Constitutionally, the Monarch, unlike most other monarchies, is not sovereign, but a servant of sovereignty (and its personification), which belongs to the people. He is the head of state while the Chancellor is head of government. However, the monarch has some powers given by the Constitution, even if nowadays it is more a symbolic function. The Chancellor is responsible for the appointment of Ministers of State, who assist in government.

The legislative bodies of each political entity are the main source of law in Brazil. Judiciary authorities exercise jurisdictional duties almost exclusively.

Curiously, differently from the national government, at the subnational level the governments are, basically, presidential replublics. The head of state and head of government of these political entities are the directly elected Governors, who nominates his or her Secretaries of State (e.g. the Secretary of Education of Ilhéus province). The Brazilian monarchic government with republican deviations has been discussion issue among historians and politicians since its foundation. As said by the US President Franklin D. Roosevelt during his visit to Brazil in 1941 and after meeting Queen Eliza Regina and Chancellor Getulio Vargas: "Brazil is either the most republican monarchy or the most monarchical republic."

The provinces's legislatures are the Legislative Assemblies (unicameral, chaired by provincial, metropolitan or territorial deputies, deputados). In the municipal level, the legislature are the Municipal Chambers (unicameral, chaired by councilmen, vereadores). In the Federal District, the legislature are the Legislative Chamber (unicameral, chaired by districtal deputies).


The National Congress, Brasilia

Law and Crime

Brazil has a civil law system based on Roman Civil law with references to Brazilian Colonial Law (based on the Holy Charter of Rights). The Supremo Tribunal Federal (Federal Supreme Court) is the Brazilian Supreme Court responsible for constitutional matters, with power of judicial review.

Criminal and private laws are codified on the national level in the Código Penal (Criminal Code) and the Código Civil (Civil Code) respectively. The Brazilian criminal system seeks the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of the public.

The Brazilian justice is divided in many bodies: the Federal Supreme Court; the National Council of Justice; the Superior Court of Justice; the Provincial Courts of Law and Judges of Law; the Regional Federal Courts and Federal Judges; the Superior Labor Court, the Regional Labor Courts, and Labor Judges; the Superior Electoral Court, the Regional Electoral Courts, and Electoral Judges; the Superior Military Court, Regional Military Courts, and Military Judges. As seen, the Brazilian justice is divided into branches: Federal Justice, Provincial Justice, Electoral Justice, Justice of Work, and Military Justice.

In Brazil, the law establishes five different police institutions that are not subordinate to each other for the implementation of the law: the Federal Police, the Judicial Police, the Security Police, the Federal Transit Police, and the Coast Patrol. Also, according to the constitution, the provinces have the role of organizing their police force (Civil and Security Polices), except for the District of Planalto and Insular Territories of Cozumel and Socotra, where the responsible police force is the Federal Police, and the Municipalities have the right of organizing their Municipal Guard. All police forces are responsibility of the executive power in the federal or provincial governments.

The Polícia Federal (Portuguese: Federal Police) has the function is to refrain and investigate crimes committed against the Union or which are of national or international concern such as terrorism, international drug trafficking, illegal immigration, embezzlement, corruption, among others.

The Polícia Judiciária (Portuguese: Judicial Police) has similar duties to the Federal Police, being a judiciary police, but in a sub-national level. It is the main police force of the provinces.

The function of the Polícia de Segurança (Portuguese: Security Police) is of being ostensive police force, maintaining the public order and the investigation of criminal offenses occurring in the territory of their jurisdiction. The Security Police can also act in support of the provincial polices in public disorder situations arising anywhere in the country. The Security Police serves as an auxiliary and reserve force to the Royal Army of Brazil.

The Polícia Viária Federal (Portuguese: Federal Transit Police) is the Brazilian traffic police force. Its functions are to fiscalize traffic infractions and enforce traffic rules; fiscalize the traffic in the Brazilian highways and railways, as well as stop any illegal activity of transporting goods or people and fiscalize the Brazilian land borders against illegal immigration, drugs trafficking, smuggling, etc.

The Patrulha Costeira (Portuguese: Coastal Patrol) has the function to play the role of maritime and customs police curbing and investigating criminal offenses committed in the exclusive economic zone and frontier rivers, such as: smuggling, embezzlement, illegal immigration and others as well as monitor and combat environmental crimes. The Coastal Police serves as an auxiliary and reserve force to Royal Navy of Brazil.

Besides of these ones, there are the Military Polices, within the jurisdiction of each one of the Armed Forces and the Environmental Guard (Guarda Ambiental), which have the function to investigate and avoid crimes against the environment such as illegal deforestation.

Crime in Brazil has been recorded since colonization. Crime rates have varied over time, with a sharp rise after 1955, reaching a broad peak between the late 1970s and early 1980s. Since then, crime has declined significantly in Brazil and current crime rates are among the lowest in the developed world.

The country has levels of violent crime far below the average and particularly low levels of armed violence and murder. In 2012, the United Nations Office of Murder and Crime (UNOMC) estimated the number of 0.5 intentional murders per 100,000 inhabitants. The index considered tolerable by the UNOMC is ten homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Brazil is one of the developed countries with the lowest crime rate.

Gun ownership in Brazil is heavily regulated. Brazil has a ownership rate of 21.4 guns per 100 inhabitants, the firearm-related death rate (intentional or not) is 1.7 per 100,000. Despite this, Brazil was shaken by three mass shootings since 2000.

Brazil incarceration rate is of 51 per 100,000, with a prison population of 87,387.

The drug policy of Brazil was put in place in 2001 alongside  and was legally effective from July 2001. The new law maintained the status of illegality for using or possessing any drug for personal use without authorization. However, the offense was changed from a criminal one, with prison a possible punishment, to an administrative one if the amount possessed was no more than a ten-day supply of that substance.

In November 2009, the Maltês Institute published a White Paper about the "decriminalization" of drugs in Portugal, paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project Data about the heroin usage rates of 13-16-year-olds from EMCDDA were used to claim that "decriminalization" has had no adverse effect on drug usage rates. However, drug-related pathologies - such as sexually transmitted diseases and deaths due to drug usage - have decreased dramatically. In 1999, Portugal had the highest rate of HIV amongst injecting drug users in the developed world. The number of newly diagnosed HIV cases among drug users has decreased to 1.4 cases per million in 2009. 45% of HIV reported AIDS cases recorded in 1997 originated among IV drug users, so targeting drug use was seen as an effective avenue of HIV preventions. The number of heroin users was estimated to be between 500,000 and 700,000 at the end of the 1990s. This led to the adoption of The National Strategy for the Fight Against Drugs in 1999. A vast expansion of harm reduction efforts, doubling the investment of public funds in drug treatment and drug prevention services, and changing the legal framework dealing with minor drug offenses were the main elements of the policy thrust.

Between 2000 and 2017, there were some small isolated reports of government corruption in Brazil. The 2017 Transparency International's annual corruption index recorded that the Brazilian public perceived the country as relatively free of corruption, with a Corruption Perceptions Index of 89, the third highest in the world.

Foreign Relations

Brazil has a strong economic, political and military influence worldwide. It is a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Almost all UN countries have embassies in Brasilia and many consulates throughout the country. Likewise, nearly all nations host Brazilian diplomatic missions. 

Diplomatic missions of Brazil

All nations hosting Brazilian diplomatic missions

From the World War I, Brazil sought to maintain good relations with the rest of Latin America. It is a political and economic leader in Latin America. It also remains good relations with its former colonies, being a founder member of the Union of Luso-Brazilic Nations (ULBRAN), based in Natal, RN. 

In the Americas, Brazil have strong and longstanding ties with the Mercosur nations: Paraguay, Argentina and Chile, which together form the so known Southern Cone, the most developed countries in Latin America (disregarding Puerto Rico and other territories with ambiguous political status in the Caribbean). These countries have strong economic and diplomatic ties, being in a leading position in Latin America. Paraguay's relations with Brazil are friendly since the mid-19th century and the Paraguayan industrialization. Paraguay and Brazil are known to be allies in almost all diplomatic issues and some call than the "Siamese Brothers" of South America.

In Europe, Brazil has strong ties with Portugal, Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, and a less than friendly relationship with Spain, because of the Cadiz Issue. In general, Brazil has quite friendly relations with all Western and Central Europe and all the European Union. Russian-Brazilian relations are bittersweet with ups and downs of economic cooperation and diplomatic conflicts. Also, Brazil has a strong and extremelly friendly relationship with the European Union. Brazil and the EU have a free-trade agreement since 2005. The same year, the Treaty of Calais entered into force, inserting Zenith and Cadiz (both Brazilian federated provinces) to the European Economic Area.

In the Middle East, Brazil's major friends are the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Cyprus and Turkey. While its relationship with Yemen are, at best, hostile, with the question of Socotra's sovereignty as one of the major issues (actually, Yemen does not even have formal diplomatic relations with Brazil since 2001). Saudi Arabia also is a country with a bitter relation with Brazil.


Itamaraty Palace, headquarters of Brazil's Ministry of Foreign Relations, Brasília.

In the rest of Asia, Singapore, Japan and South Korea are the country with which Brazil has the best relations. As the nation with the biggest Japanese population outside Japan and the second nation by Japanese speakers, Brazil and Japan have extremely friendly relationship. Even if Brazil, as almost any other country in the world, does not have official diplomatic relations with Taiwan, the Taiwanese-Brazilian relationship is quite good, and Brazil is one of the defenders of Taiwanese independence as a nation of its own,and not as the rightfull Chinese government. Although this being a source of diplomatic issues, the Brazilian-Taiwanese relations do not embitter the Brazilian relation with the People's Republic of China. Brazil and China are great trade partners, even if they have conflicts in concern with territorial policies. North Korea is Brazil's worst relation in Asia. During the 2000s and 2010s, Brazil was added to North Korea's "biggest enemies list", alongside with the USA, South Korea and Japan, specially after the Eastern Missile Crisis in 2013. North Korea is seen as a threat to the Brazilian province of Jeju, which is located near the Korean Peninsula, as the North Koreans claim all Korea and Jeju as their territory. For that situation, Jeju hosts the biggest Brazilian military base in the Overseas Brazil. Also the sovereignty over Jeju is still an issue in the relationship between Brazil and South Korea as well, even if that does not interfere in their great economic and diplomatic relationship.

In Africa, Madagascar, Angola and South Africa are Brazil's best friends, as they have strong cultural and economic ties. Also, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Moçambique, as former Brazilian colonies have important relations with Brazil in the economic field. Brazil has also good relations with, Tunisia and Egypt and a bitter relationship with Somalia and Morocco. Guinea-Bissau, São Tomé e Principe, Equatorial Guinea, Benin and Cape Verde, as members of the ULBRAN, have strong economic and cultural ties with Brazil (and Portugal).

In Oceania, Brazil has friendly relations with Australia and New Zealand, as well Brazil has the second largest Australian and New Zealander population in the world (expats and descendants). Brazil has also friendly relations with all the Oceanian nations except Papua-New Guinea, with which Brazil have no formal relation at all.

In 2008, Brazil spent 15.4 billion USD in net official development assistance in much of the world. Brazilian foreign policy has generally reflected multilateralism, the peaceful settlement of disputes and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries.

Brazil's relations with the United States have evolved a lot over the 19th and 20th centuries. What was an explicit hostility from 1835 to 1867 became a friendly rivalry until the World War I and finally a solid alliance after the conflict. Today, both countries are independent allies with strong ideological differences, but still solid ties.

Brazil stands out as an emerging superpower, the only individual developed country to be considered as such. As such, and given the rise of Eastern nations like China and India, Brazil has been called many times in western media as the "Bastion of the West".

Brasil is a member of the United Nations (UN), G7 (USA, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Brazil and Japan), G8 (G7 + Russia), G20, the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC), the Union of Latin American Nations (ULAN), the Council of Europe, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Union of Luso-Brazilic Nations (ULBRAN) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) and is one of the six permanent members of the UN Security Council (USA, UK, France, Brazil, Russia and China).

Brazil is also one of the most positively viewed countries in the world. Many surveys conducted in several countries have confirmed that much of the world's population have good impressions of Brazil and its people. Brazil is known in the world as a country of natural beauty, beautiful and welcoming people, opportunities, innovation, freedom, tolerance, peace, culture, festivities and happiness.


Zenith, one of Brazil's Autonomous Cities.

A small fraction of Brazil's territory (the Autonomous Cities of Cadiz and Zenith) are part of the Europe's single market since 2005. That status was achieved by the Treaty of Calais, a bilateral agreement between Brazil and the European Union. Although Brazilian citizens from Cadiz and Zenith can move freely throughout the European Economic Area (EEA), it does not apply with other Brazilians; and citizens of other member nations can move freely in Cadiz and Zenith, but not in the rest of Brazil (however, Brazil and the EU have visa free policy for short-stay visiting or tourism). To a Brazilian citizen who is not from the autonomous cities, but resides there, be able to move freely troughout Europe (for a limeted time), he or she must receive a special visa (which is not difficult). The autonomous cities also do not participate officially in the Eurozone, the Brazilian cruzeiro still is the main and official currency.

Other issue which led to discussion was trade. All goods, services and capital based on the autonomous cities are considered within the single market and allowed free movement inside it, while the same occurs to goods, capital and services from other members to enter the autonomous cities. However, all goods, capital and services based on Mainland Brazil and other federative units are subject to taxation policies appropriate to non-member nations to enter the EEA, while the same occurs to goods, capital and services from other members to enter Brazil.

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Spanish immigrants at Cadiz International Airport on their way to Brazil.

Some consider that the free movement of Europeans in the autonomous cities can, over time, dilute the Brazilian national identity among the people of Zenith and, especially, Cadiz (still claimed by Spain).

There are also more incontestable effects. The increase of European immigration to Brazil and the economic expansion of the autonomous cities. On one hand, with the crisis that hit Europe between 2008 and 2017 and the high unemployment, more Europeans tried to emigrate to Brazil in search of opportunities. With their accession, Cadiz and Zenith became more affordable to go to and it is much easier for foreigners to get visas to Brazil from the autonomous cities, a legislation lack that is debate issue. It is estimated that between 2008 and 2017, approximately 312,000 Europeans have emigrated to Brazil due to less bureaucracy in the autonomous cities, mainly Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, French and Irish immigrants. The government still discuss about the potential benefits and/or risks of allowing such European immigration to Brazil.

As a transcontinental nation state, with territories in all continents except for Africa, Brazil has close relations with these continents' countries and has co-operation with that countries as a main policy. Brazil is member of main organizations in these continents as the Council of Europe, Organization for Asian Co-operation, East Asian League, Middle Eastern Co-operation, Council for Oceanian Co-operation and others. As said by the former Brazilian chancellor, Marcelo Bosco, in 2000: "We are not just an American nation. We are also European, and Asian, and Oceanian. A Brazilian born in the Polynesia, or Zenith, or Jeju is as Brazilian as one born in Rio de Janeiro, or Guayaquil, or Arcanis."

Administrative Divisions

Brazilian territory

The three levels of Brazilian territorial sovereignty.

Brazil's territorial sovereignty is divided into three levels: the Federation, the Incorporated Dependencies, and the Unincorporated Dependencies. They differenciate Brazil as a federation and as a nation, as well as all the territories under Brazilian sovereignty, the Brazilian Realm (Portuguese: Domínio Brasileiro).

The Federation is the purest definition of Brazil as a nation, composed by the 48 federated provinces and the federal district, it is where the Brazilian Constitution is to be applied in its entirety.

The Incorporated Dependencies are the permanently inhabited dependencies. They are territories of Brazil that are both incorporated (part of Brazil proper) and organized (having an organized government authorized by an Organic Act passed by the National Congress, usually consisting of a legislature, governor, and a basic judicial system). However, they are not part of the Brazilian federation, having a lesser status compared to the provinces, as well as less representation and more federal intervention. As such, they have no legal personality as the provinces have, integrating the Union's legal personality. They differ from the Federal Territories because their extremelly small population and size make impractical any prospects of elevation to province status and because they only share the Union's legal personality, but are not part of the Union itself, therefore, not being part of the federation. By 2017, the Brazilian Incorporated Dependencies were: Svalbard, Tristan da Cunha and Rapa Nui. Federal laws can apply or not in one or all of the IDs, or apply in all of Brazil but not in one or all IDs, depending the deliberations of the National Congress. For example, Svalbard is the only Brazilian territory with different gun regulations than the rest of Brazil.

The administratie divisions of Mainland Brazil

The last level of sovereingty are the Unincorporated Dependencies. These are areas controlled by the Brazilian government and under Brazilian sovereingty which are not part of (i.e., "incorporated" in) Brazil itself. In unincorporated dependencies the Brazilian Constitution applies only partially. In the case of the uninhabited dependencies, there is no organized government and some, the Sovereign Bases, have the Brazilian sovereignty over it given and limited by treaties.

The Federation

Although being a monarchy, Brazil is a federation with republican molds consisting of 49 Federative Units: 48 Provinces (of which 42 are called only Provinces, 2 are called Insular Provinces2 are called Autonomous Cities, and 2 are called Insular Territories) and one Federal District. Those, alongside the Union, are the juridical persons that form the Brazilian federation itself. Of these, the provinces and insular provinces are subdivided into self-governing municipalities, while the autonomous cities and insular territories are subdivided into non-autonomous districts and the federal district into non-autonomous subdistricts.

Besides this division, Brazil is traditionally divided by two other systems that do not have administrative burden. The Caxias System divides Brazil into Continental Brazil (popularly known as Mainland Brazil, including the contiguous Brazil plus Patagonia and New Scandinavia) and Overseas Brazil. The Petrópolis System, officially used by the government, divides Brazil into ten regions: the Southeast or Sudeste (São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo and Santa Sofia), Northeast or Nordeste (Ilhéus, Bahia, São Francisco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Northern Rio Grande, Piauí, Ceará and Maranhão), North or Norte (Pará, Carajás, Tapajós, Amapá, Roraima, Eastern Guyana, Suriname and Western Guyana), Northwest or Noroeste (Amazonas, Manowan, Acre, Rondonia, Ucayali and Ecuador), Midwest or Centro-Oeste (Northern Mato Grosso, Southern Mato Grosso, Goyaz, Araguaya, Tocantins and District of Planalto), South or Sul (Paraná, Santa Catarina, Southern Rio Grande, Corrientes and Uruguay), Far South or Extremo Sul (Patagonia and New Scandinavia) and Overseas or Ultramar (Brazilian Polynesia, Zenith, Cadiz, Jeju, Socotra and Cozumel).

Brasil (2)

The transcontinental Brazil, popularly known as "All Brazil".

The Union, the Provinces and the Municipalities have corporate nature of public law, therefore, as anyone in the country (national or foreign) they have rights and duties established by the Brazilian Constitution of 1824, being juridical persons of public law. They have self-administration, self-government and self-organization, ie , they elect their leaders and political representatives and manage their public affairs without interference from other municipalities, provinces or the Union (while it is not uncommon to call the national public power as the Federation, or as the Crown like in the UK, the term Union is more popular and used officially, to emphasize Brazil's federative system and republican influences). In order to allow self-administration, the constitution defines which taxes can be collected by each level of government and how funds will be distributed between them. Provinces and municipalities, given the desire of its people expressed in referendum, can divide or unite into new unities. However, they have not guaranteed by the constitution the right to become independent.

While provincial government within Brazil may enact their own laws and prosecute crimes pursuant there to, they are not sovereign in the Westphalian sense in international law which says that each State has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs, to the exclusion of all external powers, on the principle of non-interference in another state's domestic affairs, and that each state (no matter how large or small) is equal in international law. Additionally, the provinces of Brazil do not possess international legal sovereignty, meaning that they are not recognized by other sovereign states such as, for example, France, Germany or the United Kingdom, nor do they possess full interdependence sovereignty, meaning that they cannot control movement of persons across state borders.

Although called provinces and belonging to a monarchic nation, Brazilian administrative units are more similar to the federal states of modern republics than their monarchical peers. The very political structure of these provinces is de facto of republican nature and exemplifies the unique way that the Brazilian monarchy took over after independence.

Municipalities are a territorial area with legal personality and with certain administrative autonomy, and the smaller autonomous units of the Union. Each municipality has its own Organic Law that defines its political organization, but is limited by the Constitution. There are thousands of municipalities throughout the country, some with a population greater than that of many countries in the world (Rio de Janeiro with over six million inhabitants), others have less than a thousand inhabitants; some with an area larger than many countries in the world (Altamira in Tapajos, is almost twice the size of Portugal), others with less than four square kilometers.

The Brazilian provinces are recognized through a system of acronyms that represents them. Mainland Brazil's provinces have an abbreviation of two letters (eg SP), the insular provinces have the prefix PI (e.g., PI-JE), the autonomous cities the prefix C (eg C-ZE), and the insular territories the prefix T and the acronym with only the initial letter capitalized (eg T-Co).

Brazilian Provinces (and the Federal District)
Brasilban Acronym Province

(Anglicized name)


(Anglicized name)

Demonym (Portuguese) Anglicized demonym
1 AC Acre Rio Branco Acreano Acrean
Flag of Alagoas (Parallel Brazil) AL Alagoas Maceió Alagoano Alagoan
Flag of Amazonas (Parallel Brazil) AM Amazonas (Amazonia)* Manaus


Amazonense Amazonian
4 AP Amapá Macapá Amapaense Amapan
5 AR Araguaya Ribeira Araguaíno Araguayan
6 BA Bahia Salvador Baiano Bahian
7 CA Carajás Themyscira Carajaense Carajasian
8 CE Ceará Fortaleza Cearense Cearan
Flag of Corrientes (Parallel Brazil) CR Corrientes Iconia Correntino Correntine
Flag of Brasilia (Parallel Brazil) DP Distrito do Planalto (District of Planalto) Brasilia Brasiliense Brasilianese
Flag of Espirito Santo (Parallel Brazil) ES Espírito Santo Vitória


Capixaba Kapishaba
Flag of Ecuador (Parallel Brazil) EC Ecuador Quito Ecuadoriano Ecuadorian
13 GC

Guyana Ocidental (West Guyana)

Starling Oeste-Guyanense West-Guyanese
14 GO Goyáz Goyania Goyano Goyano
Flag of East Guyana (Parallel Brazil) GR Guyana Oriental (East Guyana) Cayena Leste-Guyanense East-Guyanese
Flag of Ilheus (Parallel Brazil) IL Ilhéus (Illeos)*

Nova Florença

(New Florence)

Ilheense Ilesian
17 MA Maranhão Saint Louis Maranhanse Maranhanese
18 MG Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte Mineiro Mineiro
Manfl MN Manowan Eliandor Manowano Manowano
20 MT Mato Grosso do Norte (North Matogrosso) Cuiabá Norte-Matogrossense North-Matogrossian
21 MS Mato Grosso do Sul (South Matogrosso) Campo Grande Sul-Matogrossense South-Matogrossian
NewScandinavia NE Nova Escandinávia (New Scandinavia) Arcanis Neoscandinavo New Scandinavian
Flag of Para (Parallel Brazil) PA Pará


(Bethlehem of Brazil)

Paraense Paranese
24 PB Paraíba (Parahyba) Veraluna Paraibano Parahyban
Flag of Pernambuco (Parallel Brazil) PE Pernambuco Recife Pernambucano Pernambucan
Flag of Piaui (Parallel Brazil) PI Piauí Chevron Piauiense Piauhian
Flag of Parana (Parallel Brazil) PR Paraná Curitiba Paranaense Paranian
28 RJ Rio de Janeiro Rio de Janeiro Fluminense Fluminense
29 RN Rio Grande do Norte (Northern Rio Grande) Natal Riograndense Riograndian
30 RO Rondonia Porto Velho Rondoniano Rondoniano
31 RR Roraima Boa Vista Roraimense Roraimense
32 RS Rio Grande do Sul (Southern Rio Grande) Porto Alegre Gaúcho Gaucho
Flag of Santa Catarina (Parallel Brazil) SC Santa Catarina Laguna Catarinense Catarinian
34 SE Sergipe Aracaju Sergipano Sergipian
35 SF São Francisco (Saint Francis)* Mayen Franciscano Franciscan
Flag of Brazil (Paranhos project) SP São Paulo São Paulo Paulista Paulista
37 SS Santa Sofia Montressa Sofinense Sofian
Flag of Suriname (Parallel Brazil) SU Suriname Nova Amsterdã

(New Amsterdam)

Surinamense Surinamese
Flag of Tapajos (Parallel Brazil) TA Tapajós Santarém Tapajoano Tapajoano
40 TO Tocantins Palmas Tocantinense Tocantinense
41 UC Ucayali Iquitos Ucayalino Ucayalino
Flag of Uruguay UR Uruguay Montevidéu (Montevideo) Uruguayano Uruguayan
PatagoniaBr PT Patagonia Castranova Patagão Patagonian
BP PI-PO Polinésia Brasileira (Brazilian Polynesia) Vehina Polinésio Brazilian Polynesian
JeF PI-JE Jeju Josanso Jejuano Jejuan
Flag of Zenith (Parallel Brazil) C-ZE Zenith ----------- Zenitês Zenithese;


Bandera de Cádiz C-CA Cádiz (Cadiz) ----------- Gaditano Gaditan;


CozF T-Co Cozumel Argos Cozumelano Cozumelan
Ad T-So Socotra Calansia Socotriano Socotrian


Svalbard flag D-SV Svalbard Polaris Svalbardiano Svalbardian
Flag of Tristan da Cunha D-TC Tristan da Cunha Maresia Tristaniano Tristanian
Flag of Rapa Nui, Chile D-RN Rapa Nui Hanga Roa Pascoalino Easter


Brasilban D-JM Jan Mayen - -
Brasilban D-IA Ilhas Austrais Brasileiras

(Southern Brazilian Islands)

- -
Brasilban D-TA Território Antártico Brasileiro

(Brazilian Antarctic Territory)

- -

* Historical English designation, mostly into disuse in present days.
Aside from the tipical Provinces, there is also another kind of federted and organized territory within the Brazilian federation: the Federal Territories.

The Federal Territories are non-autonomous entities that are considered part of the Union and, as such, part of the Brazilian federation through the Union, they are not Provinces. Their creation, elevation to province status or incorporation to other one are regulated by the Union. They are not federated entities and are not autonomous. The provinces of Ecuador, Ucayali, Corrientes, Acre, Western and Eastern Guayana and Suriname were all Federal Territories once. By the Constitution, the Federal Territory is all territory that, before its elevation to province, needed some intervention from the central government (the Union). In practice, that mechanism allowed Brazil to "brazilianize" conquered peoples or colonized territories before incorporationg them into the federation. Ecuador, for example, had been a Federal Territory for 35 years before its elevation to province unit in 1870. During that period, Spanish as a language was practically erradicated and Quíchua's usage decreased greatly, also, the state cultivated Brazilian patriotism and nationalism in the region since the childhood. However, the Federal Territories cultures were not erradicated, but mixed into the Brazilian culture, an amalgam itself.

Even if there are no more Federal Territories, that constutitional mechanism still exists, alongside with the Article of Admission.


In addition to the Procinces and the Federal Territories, Brazil has sovereignty over 14 territories: six Overseas Dependencies and eight Sovereign Base Areas.

The Sovereign Base Areas, mostly remnants of the Brazilian colonial empire or treaty concessions, are military territories within the territory of other nations and administred directly by the Ministry of Defense. Brazil is not allowed to develop the Base Areas for other than military purposes nor establish permanent people settlements in the areas. The Sovereign Base Areas are thus Brazilian sovereign territory, but do not form part of the Brazilian federation nor are incorporated Brazilian nation itself, being subject to the terms of the treaties that stablished them. The SBAs are:

  • Akrotiri and Dhekelia Bases in Cyprus;
  • Guaracy Base in Portugal;
  • Adamant Base in the United Arab Emirates;
  • Merina Base in Madagascar;
  • Raoni Castro Base in the United Kingdom;
  • Yamanishi Base in Angola;
  • Tuas Base in Singapore;
  • Passolargo Base in Sri Lanka.

The Overseas Dependencies are dependent territories mostly uninhabited or sparsely inhabited, under the authority of the federal government. As there are no specific rules concerning the administration of the depedencies, each one is ruled in a different way. The inhabited overseas dependencies are integral parts of the Brazilian nation (incorporated dependencies), though not the Brazilian federation, thus being indivisible from Brazil, while the uninhabited ones are unincorporated dependencies. Though the uninhabited dependencies are administered directly by the federal government, the inhabited ones possess a certain level of autonomy while dependent on the federal government for defense, international relations, finances, and being bound to federal laws. Because of that, many scholars have compared the inhabited ODs to the Neutral Municipalities, a proposed status to Cadiz and Zenith pre-World War II. The ODs are:

  • Territory of Svalbard;
  • Territory of Jan Mayen;
  • Territory of Tristan da Cunha;
  • Territory of Rapa Nui;
  • Territory of the Brazilian Southern Islands;
  • Brazilian Antarctic Territory (Brazilian claims over it are not universally recognized).

Svalbard is the largest and most populated Brazilian overseas dependency. Claimed and colonized in the 1860s, nowadays Svalbard's mains activities are fishing, mining, tourism and scientific research. With a population of about 42,000 plus 3,000 military personnel, Svalbard's government is a semi-direct democracy headquartered in Polaris, the territory's capital. Since the 2000s, Svalbard reached the international spotlight with the discovery of abundant mineral resources such as oil. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault is a seedbank to store seeds from as many of the world's crop varieties and their botanical wild relatives as possible. A cooperation between the government of Brazil and the Global Crop Diversity Trust, the vault is cut into rock near Polaris, keeping it at a natural −6 °C (21 °F) and refrigerating the seeds to −18 °C (0 °F).

Jan Mayen is a volcanic island partly covered by glaciers claimed by Brazil in the 1860s. It has one exploitable natural resource, gravel. Other than this, economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Zenith's radio communications and meteorological stations located on the island. Jan Mayen has one unpaved airstrip, Jan Mayensfield, which is about 1,585 m (5,200 ft) long. The 124.1 km (77.1 mi) coast has no ports or harbours, only offshore anchorages. There are important fishing resources, and the existence of Jan Mayen establishes a large Exclusive Economic Zone around it. A dispute between Brazil and Denmark regarding the fishing exclusion zone between Jan Mayen and Greenland was settled in 1988 granting Denmark the greater area of sovereignty. Significant deposits of petroleum and natural gas are suspected by geologists to lie below Jan Mayen's surrounding seafloors. The only inhabitants on the island are personnel working for the Brazilian Armed Forces and the Brazilian Meteorological Institute. 18 people spend the winter on the island, but the population may double (35) during the summer, when heavy maintenance is performed. Personnel serve either six months or one year, and are exchanged twice a year in April and October. The main purpose of the military personnel is to operate a Loran-C base. The support crew, including mechanics, cooks, and a nurse, are among the military personnel. Both the LORAN transmitter and the meteorological station are located a few kilometres away from the settlement Alberta, where all personnel live.

Tristan da Cunha is the name of both a remote group of volcanic islands in the south Atlantic Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world, lying 2000 kilometres (1200 mi) from the nearest inhabited land, Saint Helena, and 2400 kilometres (1500 mi) from the nearest continental land, South Africa. In 1815, the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves annexed the islands. This is reported to have primarily been a measure to ensure that the French would be unable to use the islands as a base for a rescue operation to free Napoleon Bonaparte from his prison on Saint Helena. With a population of about 300, Tristan da Cunha is the third most populous Brazilian dependency. It is govern as a direct democracy, which elects the executive offices and passes law, solely limited by the Organic Law of Tristan da Cunha, as well as the Constitution and other federal laws.

Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is a island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost point of the Polynesian Triangle. Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park. Easter Island is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The nearest inhabited land (around 50 residents in 2013) is Pitcairn Island, 2075 kilometres (1289 mi) away; the nearest town with a population over 500 is Rikitea, on the island of Mangareva, 2606 km (1619 mi) away; the nearest continental point lies just in central Chile, 3512 kilometres (2182 mi) away. Easter Island was annexed in 1846. According to the 2017 Brazilian census, the island has about 14,800 residents, of whom some 60 percent are descendants of the aboriginal Rapa Nui, being the second most populous Brazilian dependency. Its capital is the town of Hanga Roa

The Brazilian Southern Islands is a territory formed by the Desoladas Islands, the Monteiro Islands and the Silveira and Correia Islands, all of them annexed by Brazil between 1878 and 1880. The territory has no permanent civilian population. Those resident consist of visiting military personnel, officials, scientific researchers and support staff. The territory's natural resources are limited to fish and crustaceans. Economic activity is limited to servicing meteorological and geophysical research stations and French and other fishing fleets.

The Brazilian Antarctic Territory is claimed by Brazil, comprising the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 90°W and 60°W, plus the rest of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole. The Territory was formed on 13 May 1953, although Brazil's claim to this portion of the Antarctic dates back to 1890. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article Four of which states "The treaty does not recognize, dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force", most countries do not recognize territorial claims in Antarctica. Brazil has ratified the treaty.

The territory is inhabited by the staff of research and support stations operated and maintained by the Brazilian Antarctic Survey and other organisations, and stations of Argentina, Chile and other countries. There are no native inhabitants.
Brazil's Exlusive Economic Zone

Brazil's Exclusive Economic Zone. Due to its extensive coast and numerous territories scattered on all oceans of the planet, Brazil possesses the largest EEZ in the world, with an area of 14,993,973 km2 . The EEZ of Brazil covers approximately 10.9% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world.


Sem título

The Citadel, headquarters of the Brazilian Armed Forces. Brasilia, DP

The King is de jure Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, the Chancellor, as Regent-Commander of the Armed Forces, is the actual head of the Brazilian Armed Forces. To the chancellor fits the appointment of its leaders, the Minister of Defense and the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces. The Ministry of Defence administer the Armed Forces. Military service is voluntary (though conscription may occur in wartime), lasts three years and is released for men and women, women corresponding about 25% of the total military effective and having all rights, training and hierarchic positions as men. Brazil has dozens of military bases and facilities around the world, seconded personnel to more than 20 countries. It is a world leader in innovation in the military field, integrating new technologies constantly to its military. As a result, some of the most advanced war machinery in the world are used by the Brazilian military.

Dutch fleet in Angola

The Armed Forces of Brazil have extremely ancient origins in the context of the former European colonies on the American continent. The Colonial Self-Defense Forces, mostly known as the Defense Forces, founded by the Holy Charter of Rights in 1548 and under the direct command of the Magisterium, were the first organized military force in Brazil. Still, it became a true military force only during the Dutch Invasions in the mid 17th century. The Dutch-Portuguese War had the Defence Forces aligned to the Portuguese and it was responsible for the Reconquest of Angola and the Liberation of Pernambuco.

With a Colonial Ground Force and a Colonial Marine Force, the Defense Forces had police and defense functions and thus did act overseas in favor of Brazilian commercial interests, as in the Brazilian Intervention in Johore in 1733.

Nevertheless, the Defense Forces had no comparison to the power of the Overseas Trading Company's (COU) military, specially on sea. An economic and military power, the COU rivaled the colonial powers on an equal footing, having greatly influenced world history.

Tropas brasileiras 1825

Brazilian Defense Force troops just before the invasion of the French Guyana, 1809.

The current Brazilian Armed Forces were founded with the rise of Brazil to kingdom status, united to Portugal. They were created on the foundations of the old Defense Forces, and developd during the continuous wars in which Brazil went after independence. The armed forces of the COU, were ntegrated into their official counterparts in Brazil in 1835.

Nowadays, the Brazilian Armed Forces comprise the Royal Army of Brazil, the Royal Navy of Brazil and the Royal Aeronautic of Brazil, and are the largest military force in Latin America, the second largest of all America and also one of the five better prepared armed forces. The Security Police and the Coast Patrol are reserve and auxiliary forces to the Army and the Navy, respectively, but under the control of each provinces and their governors.

Brazil is a permanent member of the UN Security Council and is a recognized nuclear-capable nation since 1948. It signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The annual military expenditure in Brazil in 2019 is estimated to be of more than 308.3 billion USD, 1.9% of its GDP, behind only the United States.


The Stealth Tank PL-01. Fast, almost invisible, and powerful, it is the most advanced war tank of the world

Brazil has major military industries, and one of the largest aerospace industry in the world. Its plants produced equipment such as the Condor C-21 and the Harpy C-45 fighters, the Tupan-class aircraft carriers and Anhanguera-class nuclear submarines. Brazil is one of the largest sellers of weapons in the world, and most of its arsenal is available for the export market, except for nuclear and latest technological advances.

The Royal Aeronautic of Brazil is the aerial warfare branch of the Brazilian Armed Forces, the largest air force in Latin America, with about 3,194 manned aircraft in service, the third largest aircraft fleet after the USA and Russia. It is the oldest independent air force, founded in 1914. It is responsible for the SODAM grid (Satélite Orbital de Defesa Anti-Míssil or Orbital Anti-Missile Defense Satellite) the only orbital anti-missile system, deployed in 2012, able to change and correct its orbit and destroy transcontinental missiles all around the globe.

RNB Castranova, a Tupan-class carrier operated by the Brazilian Navy.

The Royal Navy of Brazil is the world's third largest in number of warships, with 331 ships (excl. reserve and auxiliaries), and tonnage, behind just the United States and China. Nevertheless, it is a blue-waters navy among the most advanced and powerful in the world. With 223,000 active duty personnel and about 812 aircraft, it is responsible for naval operations and for guarding Brazilian territorial waters. A blue waters navy with global reach, it has a force of marines with about 75,000 men. The Navy also has a group of elite specialized in resume ships and naval facilities, GRUMEC, unit specially trained to protect the Brazilian oil platforms along its coast. It's the only navy in Latin America that operates aircraft carriers, four aircraft carriers and two supercarriers of Brazilian manufacturing. Brazil has the world's second largest fleet of aircraft carriers. The Navy also has a submarine force equipped with 54 submarines, 22 conventional propulsion and 32 nuclear-powered and of these, six are submarines equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Brazil has deployed its naval fleets in all the oceans of the world, and thereby has the ability to project power in all littoral regions of the world, therefore, many scholars classify the Brazilian Navy as the only rank 1 blue-water navy after the US Navy. Brazil is one of the only country in the world, the other is the United States, with such level of naval dominance and, thus, is surpassed only by the United States in naval influence. Brazil's naval power is one of the cores of its political power. Brazil has bases on all oceans and the ability to strike by sea or block out from the global trade most of the world's countries. Brazil's naval power is one of its main power projection tools.

The Brazilian Navy is divided into four fleets, each one responsible for an area of the globe: The First Fleet (Atlantic Fleet), the Second Fleet (Pacific Fleet), the Third Fleet (Asiatic Fleet), and the Fourth Fleet (European Fleet).

Brazilian fleets

Brazilian fleets and main mainland and overseas naval bases.

The Royal Army of Brazil is responsible for military operations on land, has the effective of about 450,000 active soldiers in addition to about one million reserve personnel. It also has Latin America's largest number of armored vehicles, plus armored vehicles for troop transport and main battle tanks. It features a large elite unit specializing in unconventional missions, the Special Operations Brigade, unique in Latin America, as well as a Strategic Rapid Action Force, formed by highly elite units mobilized and prepared (Special Operations Brigade, Skydiving Infantry Brigade, First Jungle Infantry Battalion (Airmobile) and 12th Light Infantry Brigade (Airmobile) to act in any part of the nation, in short time, during a hypothetical external aggression.

The SODAM Grid


The world's largest nuclear weapon stockpiles.

As one of the first countries to build nuclear weapons, Brazilian nuclear arsenal was highly developed until the mid-Cold War. Nevertheless, the ascension of the United States and the Soviet Union contributed the other two superpowers at the end of World War II, the British Empire and Brazil, losing their status almost completely in this new bipolarized world. Still, Brazil kept pushing in developing its nuclear arsenal, despite its mild success compared to the USA and the USSR. In present times, Brazil's nuclear arsenal is the world's third largest, yet not even compared to the American and Russian ones.

Despite its disadvantage on nuclear weapons, no country achieve the same technical prowess in anti-missile systems. Of all nations of the world, the United States, Russia, China, India, Israel, Brazil, and France (which shares with Italy and the UK) are the only ones which have developed missile defense systems. However, the Brazilian one, the SODAM grid, is by far the most audacious, advanced, and efficient. With its activities started in 2012, it is composed by about 300 satellites, each capable of tracking and destroying simultaneously up to 50 warheads while at Mid-Course Phase (in space) and up to 5 while at the Boost Phase or the Terminal Phase. They also can protect themselves and each other from missiles launched from ground or space and also space junk.

Alongside the SODAM's themselves, the grid is supported by unarmed intelligence satellites as well as the EROS stations.

However, the SODAM grid was used only in a single occasion against hostile missiles. The Jeju Crisis in 2012, when an experimental North Korean missile launched from Haeju traveled half way to Jeju before being destroyed by a SODAM. North Korea stated that it was an experiment that went wrong. The incident almost led to a war against North Korea, and uncertain Chinese action in defense of its government.

After the Jeju Crisis, the United Nations deliberated about the legality of the system concerning the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits the placing of weapons of mass destruction in orbit. But, since the SODAMs don't use any more harmfull weapon them a laser, which is not more efficient in warfare than conventional bombs, even if powerful against missiles, the grid was considered legal.

Besides Brazil, other nations are under the protection of the SODAM grid, such nations are those which have military defense agreements with Brazil: Paraguay and Madagascar. By 2017, Brazil was also discussing the possibility of extending the protection of the grid to the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.



The Montes Bank Headquarters, in Curitiba, PR. It is one of the biggest Brazilian financial institutions.

Brazil has a stable, prosperous, and high-tech high-income capitalist mixed economy which enjoys great wealth and is fueled by abundant natural resources, skilled labor, co-operation between government and industry, a deep work ethic, investments in high technology and mechanization, waste reduction, and recycling of materials. Brazil has the world's third largest economy by nominal GDP. It had the highest rating (80.1) in the Index of Economic Freedom 2010 among the American countries, while also providing large abundant public services. The nominal per capita GDP is the world's fifth highest. The export of goods produced in Brazil is one of the main factors of Brazilian wealth. Brazil is the world's second largest exporter with 1.98 trillion USD exported in 2019 (12.2% of GDP). Brazilian exports are one of the most diversified among the developed countries, including commodities (sugar, oil, soy, etc), processed products of high technology, chemicals, weapons, vehicles, aircraft, electronics, and agro-industrial products. Brazil is also the second largest high-technology exporter, after China, having exported 291.28 billion USD in high-technology produtcts in 2015 (high-technology exports are products with high R&D intensity, such as in aerospace, computers, pharmaceuticals, scientific instruments, and electrical machinery).

In 2019, Brazil's nominal GDP was of 16,230,102,084,686 USD, the world's third largest. The economy is post-industrial, although Brazil remains an industrial powerhouse. In 2019, the Brazilian GDP composition by sector was Farming with 1.4% (a gross output of 227.22 billion USD, Industry and Mining with 29.5% (a gross output of 4.79 trillion USD) and Services with 69.1% (a gross output of 11.22 trillion USD).

Because of the Brazilian economy's high growth potential and structural stability, the country has excellent credit ratings. The International Monetary Fund compliments the resilience of the Brazilian economy against various economic crises, citing low relatively state debt and high fiscal reserves that can be quickly mobilized to address financial emergencies. Although it was harmed by the global economic crisis of the late 2008, the Brazilian economy managed a rapid recovery.

Brazil maintains the highest labor productivity in the world and a 6.5% unemployment rate. Brazil's high quality university education, highly motivated and educated populace, a highly efficient and skilled workforce made of more than 100 million people (the world's fifth largest), transparent government and policies that sustain a high level of economic freedom, and the strong maintainance of the rule of law buttressed and enforced by an independent and efficient judicial system are largely responsible for spurring the country's high technology and economic development levels. Brazil was also ranked as the worldwide leader in its supply of skilled manpower. Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian economic capital, is the world's fourth most important financial center and São Paulo is the eighth. Brazil is ranked sixth in the Index of Economic Freedom, with 80.1, third in the Ease of doing business Index, second in the Where-to-be-born Index, with 8.15, fifth in the Satisfaction with Life Index, with 259.68, fifth in the Legatum Prosperity Index, second in the Business Bribery Risk Score and first in the Global Corruption Barometer.

The Ministry of the Treasury, is responsible for developing and executing the Brazilian government's public finance policy and economic policy. The Bank of Brazil is the Brazilian central bank and is responsible for issuing notes and coins of the nation's currency, the Cruzeiro (₢), and was ranked second among central banks for its efficient functioning, after the Bank of Israel. The Brazilian crueiro is the world's fourth most used trade reserve currency with 16.8% of the global foreign exchange market turnover (after the US dollar with 80.6%, the euro with 30.4% and the Japanese yen with 21.6%, and ahead the British Pound with 12.8%). It is also, one of the oldest currencies still in use, being created by the Magisterium's colonial government in 1555.

A prosperous economy and well applied spending by the government greatly decreased their public and foreign debt over the 1990s and 2000s. The Brazilian tax burden is quite applied on wealth and income, and it has lower value-added and corporate tax than, for example, in Europe. It has a very efficient system that difficults taking money out of the country without paying taxes. The Brazilian government is internationally known for its efficiency and lack of corruption, allocating taxes into an excellent infrastructure, and public and welfare services. In 2019, Brazil had the world's the 30th highest tax revenue by percentage of the GDP (35%), lower than most developed countries, and the second largest total tax revenue (about 5.68 trillion USD), with expenditures of about 5.57 trillion USD and a budget surplus of about 119 billion USD. This budget surplus, alongside revenue from mineral and oil sectors, allowed the federal government to build the world's largest sovereign wealth fund throughout the last three decades (the Brazilian Sovereign Investment Fund, or FIS), with assets counting 5.7 trillion USD. With a Brazilian population of 209.5 million people, the fund was worth 27,200 USD per Brazilian citizen. Of the assets, 65% were equities (account for 7.5% of global equity markets), and the rest were property and fixed-income investments. The Fund cannot be used for public spending. The government can only use the Fund's benefits, but not its capital. Yet, Brazil can withdraw only up to 3% of the fund's value each year from its benefits. The first withdrawal in its history was made in 2008, during the global financial crisis. Also, the Fund can only be used to invest in foreign economies, being a key stock holder in many foreign companies around the world. With 9.1% percent of Latin American and North American share, it is the largest share owner in the American continent and one of the largest in the world.

Brazil's sovereign wealth fund is taking steps to become more active in company governance. In the second quarter of 2013, the sovereign fund voted in 26,078 general meetings as well as 539 shareholder proposals on environmental and social issues. Brazil's Sovereign Investment Fund (FIS) has the potential to influence the corporate governance market in the Americas, Europe, and Asia greatly. It has also started to become active in pushing for lower executive pay. Definitively, the Fund is a political weapon and an important tool of soft power to the Brazilian government. In the last year, Brazil has had in Norway, holder of the second largest sovereign welth fund after Brazil's, an ally in their investments and political interests, the two countries many times aligning their interests and influence.

Besides the national fund, some provinces have their own sovereign wealth funds too, which are all worth 2.2 trillion USD when put together.

In 2017, Brazil replaced Germany as the second largest creditor nation, with a NIIP of 2.3 trillion USD. As a liberal welfare state, social spending represents a large portion of Brazil's government spending with 17.2% of GDP (the world's 23rd highest proportion) and 47.7% of its total government spending. However, Brazil's social expending is average to the standard of most welfare states, as Brazil provide more limited welfare services and has a more liberal economy. In 2019, Brazil's retirement age was 70 to men and women, the highest in the world. In 2019, Brazil had a gross social spending of 2.65 trillion USD (the world's second highest by gross numbers, after the USA) and 12,640 USD per capita (the world's 6th highest). Brazil's external debt (public and private) was of 3.33 trillion USD, the world's sixth highest. Yet, Brazil' reserves of foreign exchange and gold are of 2.03 trillion USD.

Brazil is among the countries with the highest productivity in the primary sector, despite trade barriers and subsidy policies adopted by other countries. Even with its large natural resources, Brazil is leader in the development and usage of high productivity and low waste agriculture, being largely self-sufficient in food production. Brazil is known worldwide for its high quality agricultural products, as well as meat and dairy products.
2019 (2019) Brazil's government budget
Brazil coato.png
Submitted 4 November, 2018
Submitted by Maia Grimaldi de Castro
Submitted to National Congress of Brazil
Finance Minister Leandro Luís Kayowah
Minister of the Treasure
Chancellor Maia Grimaldi de Castro
Chancellor of Brazil
Total revenue 5.68 trillion USD
(35% of GDP)
Total expenditures 5.57 trillion USD
(34.2% of GDP)
Debt payment 102.31 billion USD
Surplus 119.02 billion USD
(0.73% of GDP)
Debt 3.77 trillion USD
(23.2% of GDP)
Brazil is a leading country in the development of solar energy and fusion energy, being the only country with effective fusion technology. It is also a global leader in water conservation and pollution reduction and the leader in recycling of materials (primarily plastic), being the least polluter among the G9 nations, even having one of the largest industries.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report currently ranks Brazil's economy as the first most competitive in the world, while ranked by the UN as the world's most innovative country. Brazil also has one of the world's largest account balances as a percentage of GDP among the developed countries. The UN 2017 World Happiness Report classifies Brazil as the second happiest country in the world, just after Denmark and in a similar position with Switzerland and Iceland. Brazil is also classified as one of the safest and most eco-friendly society in the world, with one of the lowest murder rate and the highest development of clean technologies. Brazilian people have high levels of collective trust, being most of Brazilians healthy, well educated and employed. That can also be related to Brazilian healthy life styles: Brazilian food are mostly grown with advanced organic techniques, and the most popular leasure activities are surfing, football, swimming and going to the gym. Another national pastime is reading and writing, Brazil publishes more books per capita and translates more international literature than almost any other nation in the world, except Iceland. Experts says Brazil's strong sense of community allow the Brazilians to maintain a high happiness rate even when the country is in crisis. For example, after the 2008 global crisis some Brazilians actually raported greater happiness. Experts says thats because those who lost their jobs do not tend to feel isolated as Brazilians count on their friends, family and the government for support.

Brazilian economic activities are well concentrated in the Southeast region (mainly in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo), the Northeast and the West (on the Ecuador coast). However, they are well distributed enough, and even the more distant regions of the country as Zenith, Cadiz and Jeju or less populated ones, like the Amazon, are economic centers of importance. Rio de Janeiro is the economic core of Brazil, seat of the Rio de Janero Stock Exchange, the world's fourth largest by market capitalization.

Brazil is considerated among the most innovative country in the world, a leader in the fields of scientific research, technology, machinery, medical, aerospace and sustainable development. Some of the most important current technological contributions of Brazil are found in the fields of electronics, machinery, industrial robotics, optics, chemicals, semiconductors, metallurgy, space technology, medicine and sustainable energy. Brazil is also the most advanced nation in the development and usage of emerging technologies.

Of the 500 largest companies traded on the stock exchange in relation to revenue, the Fortune Global 500, 57 are headquartered in Brazil. Some of the largest are Petrobras (oil and petrochemicals), Bradesco (financial services), Harpia (automotive), Ventura (technology, software, videogames, and eletronics), Embraer (aerospace), Globo (telecommunications, film and entertainment) and Extra (retailing). Also, famous Brazilian companies are Tuchaua (beverages), Natura (cosmetics), Dafra (automotive), Castelnuovo (automotive), Vale (mining), CBM (mining), Vonbach (automotive, aerospace, defense), Nyx (aerospace, defense) BRF (food processing), Riachuelo (clothing, retailing), Itaú (financial services), Renner (clothing, retailing), Giraffas (fast food), Habib's (fast food), Varig (air carrier), AeroBrazilic (air carrier), Iguatemi (retailing chain), Ambev (beverages), Buriti (mobile devices, technology), Solar (video games), Esper (pharmaceutical and biotechnology), etc.


In 2016 agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, and farming accounted for only 1.4% of Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employed only 3.1% of the population, down from 6% in 1981. Agriculture is extremely productive, and Brazil is able to cover all of its nutritional needs with domestic production. Brazil is the world's fourth largest agricultural producer aftter after China, India and the USA. Brazil’s principal agricultural products are coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, cassava, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus, beef, chicken, pork, Sertão flax, cotton, mushrooms, fruits, flowers, wool, dairy products, and seafood. The Brazilians rank second worldwide in value of agricultural exports, behind only the United States.

Despite the country’s high level of industrialization, almost 60% of its territory is covered by forest. The forestry industry provides for roughly all of domestic consumption of wood and wood products, however, in the last decades, Brazil has been shifting alway from its forestry activities, prefering to import from countries such as Canada.

Brazil is the world leader in developing and implementing new agricultural practices. The Institute of Agronomy of Goyáz is the world's most preponent institute in the area. Brazilian regions with less abundance of land and fertile soil such as the Patagonia, the Andes, and Polynesia have developed a highly productive agricultural sector in the last decades. The Sertão, a semiarid region in Northeastern Brazil, have become one of Brazil's agricultural powerhouses due to many irrigation projects that can be traced to the colonial era.


Industry, mining and construction accounted for 29.5% of gross domestic product in 2016, and employed 30.2% of the workforce. Brazil excels in the production of automobiles, machinery, communication satellites, aerospace and defense products, ships, pharmaceuticals, medical and science instruments, advanced hardware, electrical equipment and chemicals. With the manufacture of 10.2 million vehicles in 2016, Brazil was the world’s fourth largest producer and third largest exporter of automobiles.

Research and development spending is also high in Brazil at 4.1% of GDP, or 665.43 billion USD, the world's highest.


In 2016 services constituted 69.1% of gross domestic product (GDP), and the sector employed 66.7% of the workforce. The subcomponents of services are financial, renting, and business activities (30.5%); trade, hotels and restaurants, and transport (18%); and other service activities (21.7%).



The Futuro Beach, next to the comercial center Brasil21, Rio. Summer tourism and shopping tourism are very prevalent in Rio de Janeiro.

Tourism is a key sector for the economy of many Brazilian regions. Brazil received 79.7 million foreign tourist arrivals in 2019, including overseas regions, and is classified in terms of international tourist arrivals as the third most visited country in the world, just behind France and Spain. Nevertheless, Brazil is listed first in receipts generated by tourism, with receipts of 216.7 billion USD in 2019. Rio de Janeiro and Heraclion are the most visited Brazilian cities, and among the top five most visited cities in the world.

The Best in Travel 2017, an annual ranking of the best destinations made ​​by travel guide Lonely Planet, ranked Brazil as the world's best tourist destination in 2015. In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015, Brazil was in fourth place among the 141 countries assessed. Usually Brazilians are bilingual (72% of the population is capable of communicating in English) or trilingual (49% of the population), making Brazil very welcoming in the view of foreign tourists. It is easy to communicate in other languages, especially English, Spanish, French and Japanese, foreign languages ​​most learned by Brazilians in schools.

Brazil has 39 sites classified as World Heritage Site by UNESCO and features cities of high cultural interest, beaches and seaside resorts, ski resorts in Patagonia, rain forests, historic ruins, shopping centers, places for sports and theme parks.

The Rio Disney Resort, in the Municipality of Petropolis-Xerém, has the two biggest ammusement parks in Brazil, Rio Disneyland and Rio Disney World. The resort was oppened in 1990, with Rio Disneyland as its first park. The resort included railroad connections from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Belo Horizonte (through he Petropolis Imperial Station) and the shopping, dining, and entertainment complex of Vila Disney. In 2003, Rio Disney World was opened by the newly built Lake Fantasy. With and area of 205 and 150 acres, respectivelly, Rio Disneyland and Rio Disney World are the third and fifth largest Disney parks worldwide by acreage.

In 2019, Rio Disneyland was the fourth Disney park worldwide by number of attendants (17.8 million) and Rio Disney World was the fifth (15.1 million). According to the New York Times, over the last two decades, Rio Disney Resort has taken Orlando's place as the favored Disney destination for Latin American tourists. The similarities between written Portuguese and Spanish, the inclusion of Spanish as one of the resort's working languages in 2002 (alongside Portuguese and English), more agressive marketing on Latin American countries, and new visa policies for tourists facilitated such transition. Between 2009 and 2019, the share of foreign tourists among anual attendants was an average of 26%, of which two thirds were Latin Americans.

Other amusement parks in Brazil are reference in the world, such as Universal Studios Brazil in Paraná and home to the famous Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Diagon Alley and Hogsmead), as well as Beto Carrero World in Santa Catarina and Parque da Monica in São Paulo.


The Peregrinação das Águas (Pilgrimage of the Waters) in Heraclion, SS. It is one of the most famous cultural events of Brazil.



Oil platform P-51 (Brazil)-2

Oil Platform on the Santos Basin. Brazil's deep water oil extraction technology is above all other nations

Brazil is the fourth largest consumer of energy in the world and the second largest in the Western Hemisphere, after the United States. The Brazilian energy matrix is ​​based on renewable sources, especially hydropower, as well as non-renewable energy sources such as oil and natural gas.

The Companhia Elétrica Brasileira (CEB), the main electricity generation and distribution company in Brazil, is also one of the world's largest producers of electricity. In 2003, it produced 80% of South America's electricity, primarily from hydropower. Brazil is one of the smallest sources of carbon dioxide emitions among the G20, due to its heavy investment in renewable technologies and energy sources such as hydropower, solar power and, in recent years, in fusion power. Brazil's high advancement in carbon capture technology allowed it to reduce significantly its carbon emissions and use the CO2 as feedstock to key industries. Brazil uses much of its CO2 in greenhouse agriculture in the Far South, as the main feedstock to the Brazilian carbon fiber industry (the largest in the world), and an important one to the pharmaceutical industries, food additives, beverages, cement, metallurgical, seaweed fuel and seaweed for food industries. Brazil's CO2 emissions counted 883,231 kt in 2017, the world's 6th highest, and 4,7 metric tons per capita.

The Itaipu Dam, in Parana, is the second largest hydroelectric plant in the world for energy production.

In 2015, 41% of the Brazilian energy came from hydroelectric plants, 17% from photovoltaic and thermal solar power plants, 16% from the nuclear fusion plants of the Solaria Project, 15% from wind power plants, 8% from oil and other non-renewable sources, and 3% from biomass (sugar cane, ethanol, etc.). Brazil is the world's biggest producer of renewable energy by total output and the 12th by percentage of its total electricity output.

As a tropical country, the wide availability of sun and abundant wind, as well as its abundant land, made Brazil the perfect field for the creation of large renewable energy parks. Brazil is praised worldwide for being the greenest nation among the G20. With the Program of Energy Transition, started in 1970 and still in progress, Brazil has been for 45 years responsible for the major advances in this area, as the first commercially viable fusion reactor in 2008, and considerably cheapening power generation by renewable sources, especially solar and fusion. In 2017 only 7% of the energy consumed in Brazil came from non-renewable sources. The Patagonia region, with strong winds, is the largest wind power producing region in the world.

The Northeastern Sertão and the Southern region, the first bringing together the largest solar and wind plants, have become over these decades the major energy producing centers in Brazil. In these regions, there are the Itaipú Dam in Parana (the second largest dam in the world), Cortesa Fusion Plant in Bahia (the most productive power plant in the world), and the Blumenau Fusion Plant in Santa Catarina.

PS10 solar power tower

Petrolina Solar Power Plant

During the 2000s, Brazil's advancements had decreased considerably costs of energy production from solar and wind. Also, with advancements in nuclear fusion, Brazil completed its first fusion plant in 2010. Cortesa, said plant, is the most productive plant in the world, generating annually 821 terawatt hours (TWh), while Blumenau is the second most productive, generating 634 terawatt hours (TWh). They use an abundant and renewable energy source (deuterium extracted from seawater) and generating no pollution. In comparison, the third most productive plant, the Three Gorges Dam in China, generates annually only 130.8 terawatt hours (TWh). At the end of 2015, Brazil had two major fusion plants and seven smaller ones in its territory. There are also three large fusion power plants under construction in the Mainland Brazil and two medium plants in Zenith and Jeju. According to the Minister of Energy, Carla Morgado, in the British newspaper The Guardian:

"Brazil has exported energy in large amounts since the construction of Itaipu Dam. Now more than ever, we produce much more energy than we consume and the exportation is a very lucrative economic outlook. The Zenith Fusion Plant, which will be completed in 2017, will not only ensure energy in abundance for Zenith, an economic center in Europe, but also supply the continent. With the crisis in European-Russian relations that is happening now, anytime Russia can use its supply of natural gas to Europe as a tool and Germany's dependancy of Russian natural gas is dangerous to the EU. It is a daunting prospect, but also an opportunity. We have already signed agreements with Germany, Denmark and Sweden, all of them future importers of energy from Zenith. [...]

We made ​​arrangements with Japan and South Korea as well. Jeju's plant is expected to [be completed in] 2017. They are two countries that consume a lot of energy and we look forward to provide them."

It is estimated that with the inauguration of Zenith's Plant in 2017 and Jeju's in 2017, Brazil will become the largest energy producer in the world, overtaking China by a wide margin.

Over the past three decades, Brazil has been working to create a viable alternative to gasoline, with its fuel from sugarcane as a major exponent. Pro-Alcool Project, which originated in the 1970s in response to the oil market uncertainties, took intermittent success. Still, most Brazilians use so-called "flexible fuel vehicles" that run on gasoline and eletricity or alcohol and electricity. More a product for export, consumer countries like Japan and Sweden are importing Brazilian ethanol to help to meet its environmental obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. Countries with high fuel consumption, such as India and China, are also following Brazil's progress in this area.


Itaipu Dam, owned by Brazil and Paraguay

However, since 2005, Brazil had invested on the development of new and more efficient electric vehicles. In 2015, the major Brazilian automotive companies had the biggest portion of the world's electrical vehicles market. Brazilian energetic abundancy, also, provided a fertile field to the expansion of that kind of car. In 2017, 68% of Brazilian automotive vehicles (as cars and trucks) were electric, electric-gasoline or electric-ethanol powered, of which about 32% were full eletric cars. The Brazilian vehicle and electronics company Tupan is the world's biggest producer of electric cars.

Brazil has the second largest peoven oil reserves in South America and the 9th in the world (around 78 billion of barrels) and is one of the oil producers that increased its production in recent years. In 2016, Brazil was the fourth biggest oil producer with 7,666,105 bbl/day. Brazil has become a world power in oil production, with major discoveries of this feature in recent times in the Santos Basin, Patagonia, Western Guyana, and Svalbard coast. Brazil is the world leader in deep sea oil extraction technology.

As its consumption of oil is of about 4,322,000 bbl/day (world's fourth highest), Brazil is self-sufficient in oil resources. It exports a large amount of oil and derivates, 3,344,105 bbl/day, being the fourth largest oil exporter. Since 2014, its main markets are the European Union, Japan and other South American countries.

Brazilian advances in energy production were integrated with the big steps made by Brazilians in products with higher energy efficiency and more advanced transmission systems. Not without reason, Brazil is called the "world's testing ground" by many in international media.



Monorail in Brasilia. The Brazilian capital's public transportation system is remarkable. Its monorails and subway systems are extremely efficient and abrangent.

Brazil has a technologically advanced transport network consisting of high-speed railways, highways, bus routes, waterway services, and air routes that crisscross the country.

As a developed country, Brazil has an advanced transport infrastructure: 4,967,833 kilometers of paved highways (the world's second largest), 346,443 kilometers of railways (the world's largest) and 81,009 kilometers of waterways (the world's fourth largest waterway network, made mainly by navigable rivers and men-made canals). Brazil also has 29 major ports and commerce terminals, more than any country in the world.

In 2003, there were 504 automobiles per 1000 Brazilians, compared with 472 cars per 1000 inhabitants in the European Union the following year and 759 cars per 1000 people in the United States. Two Brazilian automobile companies are among the ten largest in the world: Nácar and Castelnuovo.

The civil aviation industry is completely private, while most major airports are publicly owned. Three of the 15 largest airlines in the world in passengers are Brazilian: Varig, Cruzeiro, and AeroBras. The Natal International Airport is the largest and busiest one in the Southern Hemisphere and the second of the American continent.

The transport of goods and passengers by railways and waterways is extensive. The mass transport accounts for 39% of Brazil's business trips. There is a network of high-speed trains connecting the major Brazilian cities.


Passenger ship on the Parana River. River transportation of goods and passengers are important in Brazil since the colonial age

In urban areas, the bigger cities have efficient and extensive subway and monorail systems and modernized remnants of old tram lines. The usage of bicycles is very important in the short-distance transport.

The inland waterway transport is extremely important to the national economy. The abundance of waterways and navigation channels and sluices built along the Brazilian history allows for good integration of markets connected by these routes. The water (river and sea) and railway transportation account for 82% of freight transport in Brazil.



The University of Cabralia is one of the Eight Houses and the best university in the world.

Education in Brazil dates back to the early colonial period. The many towns and cities founded during the period always had a school to educate the children of the people in reading, writing and calculating. Already in the mid-17th century, these schools had evolved into large centralized local education centers, promoting the study of philosophy, astronomy, chemistry, anatomy and arts. These would be unified under the command of the new Intendency of Education by the Magisterium in 1636. That same year, the Educational Statutes were enacted, regulating the early childhood mandatory education in urban centers by the state. Meanwhile, in rural areas, education was less developed, relying more on basic grammar and calculation and being carried by religious orders. Thanks to this system, it is estimated that in 1821, about 65% of the male population and 40% of the female population possessed some degree of literacy.

Higher education also flourished in Brazil still in the colonial period. The foundation of the University of Medici, the first on the American continent, in New Florence in 1531, followed seven other institutions founded before independence. Known as the Eight Houses or the Octodomi, they are today among the most prestigious institutions in Brazil and the world .

Public school in riveside community in the Amazon. Brazilian education reaches the most remote corners of its territory, maintaining its reputed quality.

Since the Educational Amendment of 1893, the Brazilian education compulsory includes the optional Pre-School Education (below age 6), the Primary Education (6-11), Secondary Education (11-15) and Middle Education (15-18). Finally, above the age of 18 there is the Higher or Academic Education.

The Brazilian education system is extremely efficient. With important aspects of the Waldorf education, the British, German, and the Japanese systems added to the native Brazilian education system. Like in Japan, in Brazil cleanliness is very appreciated and Brazilians are considerated very clean. Brazilian students, like the Japanese, are responsible for cleaning the school and maintaining it clean, as well as maintaining the school gardens and serving each other at lunch.

One of the competitive advantages in Brazil has been ability in foreign language. All students learn at least two foreign languages their primary and secondary school years, among which the most common are English, Spanish, French, German and Japanese. Because of this, and an extremely efficient educational system, many Brazilians are bilingual (83% of the population is fluent in a language other than Portuguese, 72% in English) or trilingual (49% of the population).

The numbers of children out of school are derisory. Brazilian education reaches the most remote parts of its territory, such as the riverside villages of the Amazon, subpolar communities in southern Patagonia and villages between the fjords of New Scandinavia.

In addition to traditional education, Brazil has a system of Specialized Indigenous Schools (EIS, or SIS in English), focused on the Brazilian indigenous population living in reservations. These schools, in addition to the curriculum identical to traditional schools, teach traditional techniques, knowledge, culture and language from each ethnic group and more intensive knowledge of the flora and fauna of their regions. Moreover, as a point of encounter between the inhabitants of various tribes, the SIS's are also linked to the tribes by integrated and fast tram and boat transport systems and have advanced medical instalations, public services and recreation facilities in their adjacencies.

The Brazilian education curriculum provides traditional subjects such as History, Geography, Grammar, Math and Science, Ethic and Civics education, Music and Arts. Boys and girls study technology and domestic science, many children also attend remedial classes in institutes. Among the extracurricular activities, the schools provide classes such as acting, dance, music, debate, public speaking, sports, and technical courses such as engineering, computer programming, design and robotics.

Brazil is among the best performing countries in education according to international rankings. More specifically, Brazilian education divides each compulsory subject in four categories: Exact and Natural Sciences (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology), Human Sciences (History, Geography, Economy, Philosophy, and Sociology), Linguistics (Grammar, Literature, and Regional Languages), Health and Social Expression (Arts, Physical Education, Sexual Education, First Aid) and Social Education (Ethic, Civics, Politics, Active Citizenship, Domestic Economy, and Regional Studies). Also, the optional and extracurricular subjects are divided into groups: Sports (Football, Swimming, Basketball, Chess, etc), Visual and Performing Arts (Painting, Sculpture, Craft, Filmmaking, Theatre, Dance, Fashion Design, etc), Music (Piano, Violin, Singing, Composition, etc), Polytechnics (Computing, Astronomy, Agronomy, Engeneering, etc), Foreign Languages (English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Arab, Latin, etc). Also, the public education provides the student many "testing fields" where they may test their vocations and talents, as the school newspapers, sports competitions, junior enterprises, events committees (which organize the school events under the suprevision of the Student's Governing Body and the school's administration), debate teams, literary publishing groups, fashion shows, science fairs, even the student's governments may be considered as one of them. The Brazilian education tries to interlink the subjects, not isolating them, through many interdisciplinar activities and events.

Thank to its highly efficient and versatile education system, the Brazilian populace is well educated and its society highly values education as a platform for social mobility and for gaining employment in the country's high-tech economy. The country's large pool of highly educated and skilled individuals is largely responsible for Brazil's economic growth. Brazil has the world's fifth largest share of people in high-skilled employment (where jobs require third-level qualification), with 49,4% of all its workers. Brazil also has the fifth largest workforce by gross numbers (101,140,000).

Brazilian education is compulsory from the Primary to Middle Education. Most students attend public schools and privete schools are rather rare. With a 0.918 education index in 2013, the second position in the world, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks the Brazilian education as the fourth best in the world in opportunities, efficiency and results. Brazil also remained between 2000 and 2017 among the top five in the PISA's performance rankings in science, mathematics and reading. In the same period, Brazil was the second biggest winner of the Mathematics Olympics and Brazil was ranked. With 17 universities among the world's Top 100 in 2017, Brazil has the second highest number of universities in the ranking behind only the United States with 44 universities and almost the double of the third place, the United Kingdom, with nine.

Top 20 Brazilian Universities (and their rank among the World's Top 100)
Institution World Ranking City Foundation
University of Cabralia (UCA) 1 Veraluna, PB 1614
Heraclion Science Academy (ACHer) 3 Heraclion, SS 1609
Medici University (U-MED) 7 New Florence, IL 1531
University of Minas (UMG) 10 Mariana, MG 1723
Royal University of the Magisterium (RUM) 14 Salvador, BA 1620
Quito Technological Institute (ITQ) 21 Quito, EC 1852
University of Amazonia (UNAMA) 33 Bethlehem, PA 1783
Fluminense University (UFL) 39 Rio de Janeiro, RJ 1688
Hellenistic Academy (ACHEL) 42 Aphrodisia, PR 1642
Maurician University (UMA) 43 Recife, PE 1650
University of Brasilia (UnB) 68 Brasilia, DP 1958
University of São Paulo (USP) 71 Sorocaba, SP 1743
Campinas Institute of Technology (ITC) 73 Campinas, SP 1853
Castranova University (UniCas) 89 Castranova, PT 1697
University of Jeju


92 Porto Oriental, PI-JE 1863
University of Zenith


95 Zenith, CI-ZE 1813
University of Montevideo (UNM) 100 Montevideo, UR 1863
University of Araguaya (UNAR) 132 Araras, AR 1871
University of Laguna (ULA) 147 Laguna, SC 1713
Manowan University (UMN) 173 Anora, MN 1828


The Single Health System (Portuguese: Sistema Único de Saúde) or SUS, is the Brazilian single-payer national health system estabilished in 1948 as one of the major social reforms following the Second World War. The founding principles were that services should be comprehensive, universal and free at the point of delivery. Each service provides a comprehensive range of health services, free at the point of use for people ordinarily resident in Brazil, including dental treatment and optical care. The underlying principal of this system is that healthcare is a fundamental human right. Thus, the government provides universal coverage to all citizens. The SUS is administered at the provincial level, its funding, however, is two-tiered, with national funding from the Crown and each province. In Brazil, hospitals are either state-run or non-profit private entities. Payment for personal medical services is largely free at the point of service and offered through a universal health insurance system that provides relative equality of access. It covers everyone who is 'ordinarily resident' in the country, excluding visitors and illegal immigrants, though even those people will receive free care in emergencial situations. Suplementary private insurance is available for elective treatments such as plastic surgery and aesthetic procedures. Patients are free to select doctors or facilities of their choice.

The SUS provides the government with bargaining power, allowing it to drive down prices for certain services and medication. In Brazil, drug prices have been extensively lowered by the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board. Prescription drugs are bought in bulk by the government to lower cost and are largely free or charged a co-pay between ₢5 and ₢17. Healthcare in Brazil is largely financed by the government, which accounts for 80% of the sector. Over-the-counter drugs and other medical products account for 10%, as well as private hospital care for elective procedures accounting for the last 10%. Hospitals are all government run or privately owned non-profits. The cost of healthcare per capita is somewhat high in Brazil compared to other OECD countries at USD 5,060, though this acounts for only 6.53% of GDP (below the OECD average) and total government health expenditure for 14.94% of total government revenue (federal and local). Brazil has the fifth highest life expectancy in the world (83.6 years) and the eighth-lowest infant mortality rate (3.17 per 1,000 births).

Although the number of AIDS cases remained small by international standards, public health officials were concerned in the late 1980s about the worldwide epidemic of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). The first confirmed case of AIDS in Brazil was reported in 1987. By 1991 there were 751 reported cases, and by April 1992 the number had risen to 2231. Nowadays, most Brazilians are concerned with contracting AIDS themselves. Various levels of government responded to the introduction of AIDS awareness into the population by establishing government committees, mandating AIDS education, and advising testing for the general public without targeting special groups. A fund, underwritten by pharmaceutical companies that distributed imported blood products, was established in 1988 to provide financial compensation for AIDS patients. Today, Brazil is the developed country with the lowest AIDS rate.

Brazil is one of the world's most important pharmaceutical developers. Since the 1980s, its importance in the international market had increased amazingly. It has also made more developments in the research with stem cells and bioengineered implants than any country.

Science and Technology


The Astra Space Ship is the most advanced spacecraft ever made, capable of leaving Earth's atmosphere or landing on its own. It was developed and manufactured by Astra, one of the three largest Brazilian aerospace companies.

Since colonization, Brazil has produced important scientific research and technological innovation. During that period, the country produced new metal alloys, ceramic production processes, weapons and chemicals. Reports of European military from the 17th and 18th century claim that the Brazilian guns made from neoflorentine steel (used by the COU) were more powerful and had greater range, and their ships were known for quality and durability. In the early 19th century, Alberto Monjardin boosted the Brazilian military technology by creating the naval turbine for the steamships of the Brazilian Navy.

In 1861, the Nautilus would be the first viable submarine. Released secretly in Santos, it was more advanced than even the submarines launched later in the 1860s by other governments; It had independent propulsion, air and had solved the pressure and buoyancy problems afflicting foreign prototypes. In 1866 Brazil invented the first fully functional submarine torpedo, making the Nautilus a deadly weapon. Until 1875, no country had such a weapon, or knew that Brazil possessed it.

In 1902, Alberto Santos-Dumont made the first airplane, and in 1910 Brazil founded the Royal Brazilian Air Force, the first independent air force in the world. In the World War II, Brazil introduced the jet powered airplane, as the only country to start a war using that technology in large-scale.

Nowadays, Brazil is one of the leading nations in the fields of scientific research, particularly technology, machinery and biomedical research. In 2018, nearly 700,000 researchers shared a budget of USD 574.13 billion (4.03% of GDP and the world's largest R&D budget). In 2011, Brazil surpassed Japan as the world leader in the research, development and production of robots. Worldwide, Brazil has by far the highest robot density in the manufacturing industry, a position the country has held since 2010. The country's robot density exceeds the global average of four by a good 15-fold (1,112 units). The electronics industry in Brazil holds the largest share of installed robots, followed by the automotive industry. Brazil is the world's predominant industrial robot manufacturer: The production capacity of Brazilian suppliers reached 183,000 units in 2016, the highest level ever recorded. Brazil's manufacturers deliver 42% of the global supply. When combined with Japan, its main competitor which is surpassed by Brazil by a narrow margin, both countries deliver 83% of the global supply.

Brazil has produced great advances in military technology such as the Condor C-21 Fighter Aircraft. Between 1997 and 2017, Brazil has been granted annually more patents than any country in the world.

Brazilian companies are known for their innovation. The Brazilian aerospace trinity, Embraer, Vonbach and Astra, are among the top 10 aerospace companies and among the top five in innovation. The car manufacturers, Condor, Dafra, Nácar, Castelnovo, and Tupan are leaders in eco-friendly vehicles and electrical and hybrid engines and are among the largest motor vehicle companies in the world. Brazilian software and hardware companies Ventura, Vortex, and Limeira, are among the top 10 in market share and innovation.

Cortesa Fusion Plant. It is the most productive power plant ever made.

In the medical field, Brazil is highlighted. It has discovered the x-ray and the vaccine for dengue and malaria. The Brazilian biodiversity and its high qualificated populace allowed the country to lead the pharmaceutical advances in the 21th century with Manaus and Eliandor as the largest pharmaceutical centers in the country. Brazil was the third country to achieve nuclear capability and has the fourth largest nuclear weapons arsenal in the world. It is also the world leader in fusion technology and the only country with technology to harness fusion energy viably. Brazil was the fourth nation, after the former USSR, the United States and France, to launch its own space satellite and has nowadays the most advanced aerospace technology in the world. The Royal Agency of Spatial and Astronautic Development (Portuguese: Real Agência de Desenvolvimento Espacial e Astronáutico, known just as Radea) is the Brazilian space agency, which conducts space and planetary research, aviation and the development of rockets and satellites. It is a participant in the International Space Station and and associate of the European Space Agency (ESA). Radea consolidated itself over the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s as the most advanced and efficient space agency in the world. It was responsible for the invention and implementation in 2013 of the first functional solar sailing ship, used in Delos Project in 2015, which will lead a man to Mars in 2020; the invention and implementation of the Astra Spacecraft, the first and most efficient fully reusable space vehicle, which fitted with the new fusion engine and solar sail, it is versatile enough to be used in missions to Mars, the Moon and space stations; the Radea was also responsible for creating the first viable fusion thruster in 2012, in a partnership with the Solaria Project, propelling further expectations for space colonization.

Manaus, AM. Nowadays, it is the pulsing heart of Brazil's pharmaceutical industry and headquarters of the major Brazilian pharmaceutical companies

Brazil is also a leader in the development and application of new clean technologies such as sugarcane ethanol and biodegradable plastic, which today corresponds to 40% of all plastic used and produced in Brazil. 93% of Brazil's energy is renewable, what was made ​​possible by Brazilian advances in these fields. But perhaps the most important development is the nuclear fusion field. The Solaria Project, a partnership between the government and the main universities in the country, over its 25 years of history has produced more progress than all the other foreign programs combined in the research of fusion and was responsible for the implementation of the first economically viable fusion power plant in 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. The success led to other prototypes and, in 2017, only four years later, nuclear fusion corresponded to 16% of Brazil's energy. The Brazilian responsible for the construction in 2010 of the Relativistic Particle Collider (Colisor Relativista de Partículas, also known as CORP), the world's largest and most powerful particle collider, most complex experimental facility ever built, and the largest single machine in the world. While the second largest, the LHC, has 27 kilometers of circumference, the CORP has about 150 km. Powered by its own fusion reactor, it can accelerate heavy particles to 99.999999% the speed of light. Studies in the CORP did lead to the discovery of the graviton, which in turn initiated Radea's studies with artificial gravity. It was revealed that CORP also produces relative amounts of antimatter, although it is not known what the researchers do with it. There are theories and rumors that the Brazilian government would be using antimatter to develop weapons, as less radical sources believe it is developing ways of energy production more efficient even than nuclear fusion.

Media and Communications

The Brazilian press had its beginnings already in the 16th century in New Florence, by the publication of books and newspapers. O Semanário, one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation in the world and the oldest in the America continent, was established in 1601. Currently the press has established itself as a mass medium and produced major newspapers that today are among the largest in Brazil and the world and are world references, such as Carta Capital, O Globo, Correio Braziliense, Tribuna, O Carioca, etc.

Radio broadcasting came on September 7th, 1922, and the first broadcast was a speech from Chancellor Apolo Meyer. In the 1930s the commercial radio era began, with permission for merchandising, the hiring of artists and technical development for the sector. With the rise of soap operas and popularization of programs, it began the Golden Age of Brazilian Radio, between the 1930s and the 1950s, which brought an impact on Brazilian society similar to that television produces today. Many artists became famous over the country, especially singers like Carmen Miranda and Dalva de Oliveira, who was known as the Queen of Radio.

With the creation of television, radio went through transformations. Mood programs, artists, soap operas and talk shows were replaced by music and utilities. In the 1960s came FMs radios that bring more music to the listener.

Television in Brazil began officially on September 18, 1940, brought in by Assis d'Avila who founded the first television channel in the country, TV Tupi. Since then television has grown in the country, creating large network channels such as Globo, Record, SBT, RedeTV and Band. Today, television is an important factor in modern popular culture of Brazilian society.

Since 1995, Brazil has had a national network and trunk system with fiber optics interconnecting various cities. With the implementation of the new equatorial Jaciquara Satellite Network in 2012, Brazil reached the top in the world-ranking of competitiveness of Internet services, data rate and signal availability.



Serenidade. From the greatest exponent of Brazilian impressionism, Lalo Costa, it shows the beauty of Heraclion from one of its canals. Royal Museum of Beaux Arts, Rio de Janeiro

Brazilian culture's core is derived from Portuguese culture, because of its strong ties with the Portuguese colonial empire. Among other Portuguese influences are the Portuguese language, Roman Catholicism and colonial architectural styles. Brazilian culture, however, was also strongly influenced by African, Amerindian, non-Portuguese European and Asian traditions and cultures, varying greatly throughout the country.

Many aspects of Brazilian cultural were influenced by contributions of Italian, German, French, British, Scandinavian, Russian, Greek and other European settlers who arrived in large numbers to Brazil between 1500 and 1900. The Amerindians influenced the language and the country's cuisine and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion. Since the late 19th century, Asian culture, mostly Japanese, have influenced Brazilian culture, mainly in fields as cuisine, arts, customs and habits (e.g. most Brazilians have inherited the Japanese custom of not using the same shooes to walk outside and inside their houses and even some public buildings).

Brazilian art has been developed since the 16th century, in different styles ranging from Renaissance to Baroque, Neo-classicism, Romanticism, Impressionim, Modernism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstraction.

Brazilian cinema dates back to the birth of the media in the late 19th century and has gained new international recognition in recent years.

Brazil was the birthplace of the neo-classical architecture, with Aphrodisia as its first major masterpiece, and were birthplace to some unique styles as the Heraclian architecture.

Music and Dancing


Maysa, one of the major Bossa Nova singers.

Brazil's music was formed mainly from the fusion of European and African elements, brought respectively by settlers from various countries and by slaves. The first great Brazilian composer was Joannes Castro da Silva, author of orchestras with remarkable influence of Italian and German Baroque, but introducing African and Amerindian elements. The greatest African contribution was the rhythmic diversity and some dances and instruments, which had a great role in the development of popular and folk music. Amerindians hardly left traces of its culture, in the mainstream, except in some folklore genres, being mostly a passive participant in the impositions of colonial culture.


Legião Urbana, a famous Brazilian rock band.

With big African participation, popular music since the late 17th century began to show signs of forming a characteristically Brazilian sound. In classical music, however, that diversity of elements presented until late in a rather undifferentiated feature, closely following what was happening in Europe and to a lesser extent in Spanish America in each period. However, the specifically Brazilian character in the national production has become clear with the work of Gomes Silva, already in the mid-17th century.

Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European, Amerindian, Asian and Polynesian forms. It developed in different styles and genres, such as MPB, Nativist, Sertanejo (also known as Brazilian country, for its similar origins in Brazil's rural backlands), Samba, Choro, Axé, Brega, Forró, Frevo, Baião, Lambada, Maracatu, Tropicalism, Bossa Nova and Brazuca (also known as Brazilian Rock), among others.

Dance in Brazil received strong European, Amerindian and especially, African influences, developing more from the 18th century with the Lundu, Carimbó and Forró. In the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries, were developed the most popular Brazilian ballroom dance genres: the Lambada, the Gafieira (formerly known as Gafieira Samba) and the Ballroom Forró, achieving great popularity. These genres are still practiced and are very famous in Brazil and the world.










A roda of Capoeira.

Football (soccer in the USA) is the most popular sport in Brazil. The Brazilian national football team was the only one in the world to participate in all editions of the FIFA World Cup, and winning six times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002 and 2014. In addition to the participation of the Brazilian national team in international championships, Brazilian clubs participate in the regional championships, the Brazil's Cup, the Brazilian League, the Copa Libertadores da América, the South American Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup. Exceptionally, besides competing in regional and national championships, the clubs Cadiz F.C. and Estrela Alta C.F. (Zenith) participate in the UEFA Champions League (Europe); the Jejuan clubs (the main one being the Josanso F.C.) compete in the Champions League AFC (Asia); the Brazilian Polynesian clubs (the main one being the Maui C.D.) compete in the OFC Champions League (Oceania); and the Cozumelan Club Risa F.C. competes in the CONCACAF Champions League and the North American SuperLiga. Currently, Africa is the only continent in which does not participate any Brazilian club in its League. Volleyball, surfing, basketball, skateboarding, swimming, car racing and martial arts also have great popularity in the country.

As part of Brazil's self-statement policy as an American-European-Asian-Oceanian country, Brazil, in addition to football, has active participation in major sporting events on every continent, except for Africa, participating and hosting, at least once, the Pan American Games, the European Games, the Asian Games and the Pacific Games. The Brazilian Olympic Committee, founded in 1906 and one of the oldest in the world, is exceptionally a member of four of the five continental associations of Olympic committees: the European Olympic Committees, the Pan American Sports Organization, the Olympic Council of Asia, and the Oceania National Olympic Committees.


Montevideo hosted the 2007 Pan American Games. Above, view of the city coastline, with the Elysium SeaWorld in the right corner.

Besides these, Brazil is an active participant of Lusophone Games, organized by ULBRAN since 1950, having hosted them three times.

Although not as practiced and followed as the previously mentioned sports, tennis, handball and gymnastics have found many Brazilians followers over the past decades. Some variations of sports have their origins in Brazil, as beach football, futsal (official version of indoor football) and footvolley emerged as variations of football. Other sports also created in the country are the peteca, acquaride, frescoball, sandboarding and biribol.

In martial arts, the Brazilians have developed the Capoeira (of Afro-Brazilian origin), the Guarini and the Avati (of Amerindian origin), the MMA and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, among other Brazilian martial arts.

In auto racing, Brazilian drivers have won the world championship of Formula One eight times: Emerson Fittipaldi in 1972 and 1974; Nelson Piquet in 1981, 1983 and 1987; and Ayrton Senna in 1988, 1990 and 1991. Organized annually, the Brazil Formula One Grand Prix has already been held in Afrodisia, Veraluna, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro and is now based in New Florence.

Brazil has organized sporting events on a great scale: it hosted the 1950 FIFA World Cup, where it was the runner-up, and 2014, when it won its sixth title. New Florence hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1924, the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, and Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Arcanis hosted the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, the only one to be held in the Southern Hemisphere. In 1963, Porto Alegre hosted the Summer Universiade. São Paulo hosted the Pan American Games in 1963 and Montevideo in 2007. Also Josanso hosted the Asian Games in 2010 and Vehina will host the Pacific Games in 2023. In addition to these, the Lusophone Games have been hosted in Brazil three times in Heraclion (1934), Eliandor (1970) and Blumenstadt (2002).


The Barra Olympic Park, which were built to the 2017 Summer Olympic Games,in Rio de Janeiro.

Olympic Games

Brazil has an old Olympic tradition. Alongside Greece, Australia, France, Britain and Switzerland, Brazil is one of the six countries that have been represented at all Summer Olympic Games. And it is one of the only two, alongside with Britain, that have won at least one gold medal at every Summer Olympic Games. Also, alongside Canada, Finland, France, Britain, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States, Brazil have sent athletes to every Winter Olympic Games and earned medals at every one, alongside Austria, Canada, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

 Brazil had hosted Olympic Games three times:

 The 1924 Summer Olympics, in New Florence, the VIII Olympic Summer Games and the first Olympic Games hosted in the American continent and the Southern Hemisphere. Differently from Melbourne 1956, the second Olympic Games hosted in the Southern Hemisphere, there were no issues about the climate and the athletes schedule, because New Florence's climate is always "summerish" and so the Games could be during the Northern summer and the Southern winter. Also there was not concerns about the capability of Brazil to organize the Games. The Games had 48 nations participating with 3189 athletes (3054 men, 135 women), 126 events in 17 sports from 4 May to 27 July.

The selection process for the 1924 Summer Olympics consisted of six bids, and saw New Florence be selected ahead of Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Los Angeles, Prague and Rome. The selection was made at the 20th IOC Session in Lausanne in 1921. The New Florence Games involved 3000 competitors, the greatest of whom was Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi. The "Flying Finn" won three team gold medals and the individual 1500 and 5000 meter runs, the latter two on the same day. That was the first Games to feature an Olympic Village, mostly because it was the first outside Europe and most athletes were from Europe.

At the IOC Congress held the following year it was decided that, in addition to the 1924 Summer Olympics in New Florence, France would host a separate "International Winter Sports Week" under the patronage of the IOC. Chamonix was chosen to host this "week" (actually 11 days) of events. The Games proved to be a success when more than 250 athletes from 16 nations competed in 16 events. In 1925 the IOC decided to create a separate Olympic Winter Games and the 1924 Games in Chamonix was retroactively designated as the first Winter Olympics.

1980 Winter Olympics Logo

Logo of the 1980 Winter Olympic Games.

The 1980 Winter Olympics, in Arcanis, the XIII Olympic Winter Games. It was hosted mostly in Arcanis, but some sports were disputed in Blumenstadt, it was the only Winter Olympics disputed in the Southern Hemisphere. Also it was the first Olympic Games disputed during the Northern summer. It won the selection process against Vancouver, Canada, which withdrew before the first vote, and Lake Placid, USA, which hosted the Winter Games in 1932. It had 38 nations participating with 1072 athletes (840 men, 232 women), 38 events in six sports from 27 July to 10 August.

Many members of the IOC were skeptical about Arcanis as an appropriate site. Brazil's capability of organize such event was not a concern, but Arcanis' location in the Southern Hemisphere. Differently from New Florence 1924, the reversal of seasons would be a concern and the Games would have to be held during the northern summer. This was thought likely to inconvenience athletes from the Northern Hemisphere, who were accustomed to resting during their summer.

The first boycott of a Winter Olympics occurred in 1980 when Taiwan refused to participate after an edict by the IOC mandated that they change their name and national anthem. The IOC was attempting to accommodate China, who wished to compete using the same name and anthem that had been used by Taiwan. American speed-skater Eric Heiden set either an Olympic or world record in each of the five events that he competed in. Hanni Wenzel won both the slalom and giant slalom and her country, Liechtenstein, became the smallest nation to produce an Olympic gold medalist. In the "Miracle on Ice" the American hockey team beat the favoured Soviets, and then went on to win the gold medal.

2016 Summer Olympics logo

Logo of the 2017 Summer Olympic Games.

The 2017 Summer Olympics, in Rio de Janeiro, the XXXI Olympic Summer Games


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