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The Brazilian Independence Movement Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

The Brazilian Independence MovementDuring the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many Latin American countries went through a time of enlightenment which lead them to independence. One of these movements was the Brazilian independence movement. The Brazilian independence movement was one of the most peacefully-accomplished revolutions in Latin America. In this essay, the underlying and the direct causes to Brazil's movement, the outcome of the movement, the successes and failures of the movement, and a recapitulation of the history of Brazil will be discussed.Brazil was discovered by Pedro Alvarez Cabral in the name of Portugal on April 22, 1500. During the 1530's colonists from Portugal began to settle in Brazil and started establishing large sugar cane plantations. "Brazilian sugar, sold in Europe, brought wealth to Portugal."(Galloway) Large settlements like Recife, Salvador, and Sao Vicente were created and the Portuguese prospered. In time, two classes had developed. The first class was the reinois, those born in Portugal, and the second, the mazombos, the native-born Brazilians (although still pure Portuguese peoples). "The mazombos disliked those reinois who arrived in the New World to exploit it and then return with [Brazilian] riches to Portugal."(Burnes,16) After diamonds and gold were found in Minas Gerais, Brazil became a huge profit to Portugal. Over three million "colonists and slaves lived in Brazil. The slaves made up more than half the population."(Galloway) Aside from the conflicts between the mazombo and reinois classes, Brazil was a very prosperous colony. After France invaded Portugal and the Portuguese fled to Brazil, the colony became even more important, reaching "to the status of a kingdom." (Galloway) Afterwards, Brazil's prosperous times went downhill. Soon enough, the Portuguese royal family could returnto Portugal and they left Dom Pedro I to rule.The Portuguese parliament was "resentful of the exalted position Brazil had come to occupy in the empire, [and] moved to reduce the country to its former colonial status"(Burnes,29), and insisted on making Pedro rule from Lisbon. Brazil would not allow Portugal to push it aside again and Pedro whom was under the influence of Brazilian nationalists, favored Brazilian independence. Jose Bonifacio de Adrada e Silva, a very prominent Brazilian nationalist and a martyr of Brazilian independence happened to be Dom Pedro I's Minister of the Interior. On January 9, 1822, he refused the orders given to him by Portugal to return to Lisbon and on September 7 of that same you he proclaimed Brazil's independence as he "raised his sword and cried: "Independence or death!""(Burnes,30) By March of 1824, a constitution was made for Brazil, making it officially independent.Brazil had many direct causes that lead to its independence, but only one indirect cause. Although the name of the classes of colonists in Latin America differed (like mazombo or mestizo), the tensions between the two...


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