Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brazil: Historically Speaking

Brazil is not a Spanish speaking country. The leading country in South America is not a Spanish speaking country. The British left, but the English language in India just grew and grew and grew. Brazil used to be a colony of Portugal. Just like India basically took over the English language - there are way many more English speakers in India than in England, way, way more - Brazil has taken over the Portuguese language.

Brazil's colonial history is kind of unique. Poor Portuguese sailors trying to scrape by early on lead to a more egalitarian start, although the sugar brand of slavery permeated Brazil just like many other places. The natives still got the short end of the deal, but much mingling happened otherwise. Most Brazilians are of mixed heritage like in few other places.

In many ways you could argue Lula is as central a figure to Brazil's history as Dom Pedro. Dom Pedro broke away from his father. Lula broke away from his country's past. And that past was one of gross mismanagement.

Brazil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
History of Brazil - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal.....a period of military rule (1964–1985).

Brazil - History The Portuguese reportedly found native Indians numbering around seven million. ..... villages often had as many as 5000 inhabitants. ..... The few remaining traces of Brazil's Indian tribes reveal little of their lifestyle, unlike the evidence from other Andean tribes. Today, fewer than 200,000 of Brazil's indigenous people survive, most of whom inhabit the jungle areas...... The only item of value they discovered was the pau do brasil (brazil wood tree) from which they created red dye. Unlike the colonizing philosophy of the Spanish, the Portuguese in Brazil were much less focused at first on conquering, controlling, and developing the country. Most were impoverished sailors, who were far more interested in profitable trade and subsistence agriculture than in territorial expansion. The country's interior remained unexplored..... To a degree unequaled in most of the American colonies, the Portuguese settlers frequently intermarried with both the Indians and the African slaves, and there were also mixed marriages between the Africans and Indians. As a result, Brazil's population is intermingled to a degree that is unseen elsewhere. Most Brazilians possess some combination of European, African, Amerindian, Asian, and Middle Eastern lineage,and this multiplicity of cultural legacies is a notable feature of current Brazilian culture. ...... In 1807, as Napoleon Bonaparte closed in on Portugal's capital city of Lisbon, the Prince Regent shipped himself off to Brazil. Once there, Dom Joao established the colony as the capital of his empire. By 1821 things in Europe had cooled down sufficiently that Dom Joao could return to Lisbon, and he left his son Dom Pedro I in charge of Brazil. When the king attempted the following year to return Brazil to subordinate status as a colony, Dom Pedro flourished his sword and declared the country's independence from Portugal (and his own independence from his father)...... In the 19th century coffee took the place of sugar as Brazil's most important product. The boom in coffee production brought a wave of almost one million European immigrants, mostly Italians, and also brought about the Brazilian republic. In 1889, the wealthy coffee magnates backed a military coup, the emperor fled, and Brazil was no more an imperial country. The coffee planters virtually owned the country and the government for the next thirty years, until the worldwide depression evaporated coffee demand...... In 1989, the country enjoyed its first democratic election in almost three decades. ..... concentrated mainly along the coast and in the major cities, where two-thirds of the people now live: over 19 million in greater Sao Paulo and 10 million in greater Rio. ..... the Brazilian dialect has become the dominant influence in the development of the Portuguese language, for the simple reason that Brazil has 15 times the population of Portugal and a much more dynamic linguistic environment.

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