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History of Brazil

The first inhabitants of present-day Brazil were Arawak and Carib Indians in the north, the Tupi-Guarani, on the east coast and the Amazon basin, the Ge, installed in the eastern and southern regions of the country, and the Pano in the west. Most of these tribes were semi-nomadic and lived by hunting, gathering and primary agriculture. The first European explorer was the Spanish navigator Vicente Yanez Pinzon. After his transatlantic crossing, landed near the site of the present Recife, January 26, 1500. Then sailed along the coast, north to the mouth of the Orinoco River. However, decisions under the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), modifying the partition line introduced in 1493 by Pope Alexander VI to mark the Spanish and Portuguese empires, the new territory was awarded to Portugal. Spain did not claim then the discovery of Pinzon.

In April 1500, the Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral also reached the Brazilian coast. The region officially declared the possession of Portugal. The territory was named Terra da Vera Cruz (in Portuguese, "Land of the True Cross"). In 1501, the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci led an expedition on this new territory at the instigation of the Portuguese government. During these explorations, Vespucci recognized and named many capes and bays, including Rio de Janeiro. He returned to Portugal with brazilwood (Pernambuco wood which included a red dye). The Terra da Vera Cruz took, from this date, the name of Brazil.

In 1530, the king of Portugal, John III the Pious, launched a program of systematic colonization of Brazil. Thomé de Souza, arrived in Brazil in 1549, launched a central government whose capital was set at the new city of Salvador de Bahia. Completely reformed the administration and justice. To protect the country from the French threat, established a coastal defense system. The importation of African slaves allowed many to overcome the shortage of local labor. It was during this period, exactly in 1554, which was founded in the south of São Paulo.

The following year, in 1555, the French tried to settle by establishing a colony on the shores of the bay of Rio de Janeiro. In 1560, the Portuguese destroyed the colony and created in 1567, the city of Rio de Janeiro.

In 1580, Philip II, king of Spain, inherited the crown of Portugal. This period of union of the two kingdoms, until 1640, was marked by frequent aggressions against Brazil English and Dutch. Thus, in 1624, a Dutch fleet seizes Bay. But the following year, the city was taken over by an army of Spanish, Portuguese and Indian. The Dutch resumed their attacks in 1630. This time, an expedition sponsored by the Dutch company of the West Indies took Pernambuco, the current Recife, and Olinda. The territory between Maranhão Island and the area downstream of the São Francisco and fell into the hands of the Dutch. Under the competent authority of Jean-Maurice of Nassau-Siegen, the part occupied by the Dutch Brazil prospered for several years. But in 1644, Nassau-Siegen resigned in protest against exploitation directed by the Dutch Company of the West Indies. Shortly after his departure, the Portuguese settlers, supported by Portugal, which had become independent from Spain since 1640, rebelled against the Dutch power. In 1654, after ten years of struggle, the Netherlands capitulated and in 1661, formally renounced its territorial claims on Brazil.

In 1640, after the breakup of the union between the two crowns of Spain and Portugal, Brazil back then under Portuguese sovereignty and became a viceroyalty. Spanish and Portuguese then lived peacefully in South America until 1680, when a Portuguese expedition in the south of the east bank of the Rio de la Plata where they founded a colony. That was the cause of a long series of problems that are not truly finished until 1828 with the creation of the Republic of Uruguay.

From the early seventeenth century, Jesuit missionaries made inroads in the Amazon. Under the reign of King Joseph I of Portugal, Brazil met numerous reforms at the instigation of the Marquis of Pombal, Secretary of Foreign Affairs and War, then Prime Minister. Indian slaves were freed, and bolstered the taxes reduced. Pombal attenuated the weight of the royal monopoly on international trade of the viceroyalty, centralized the governmental apparatus Brazilian whose headquarters was moved from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro in 1763. Three years earlier, in 1760, by way of what he had done in 1759 in Portugal, Pombal expelled the Jesuits from Brazil. The official reason was the discontent aroused by the Jesuit influence on the Indians and their growing weight in the economy.

The Napoleonic wars deeply bent during Brazilian history. Since November 1807, Napoleon with his army crossed the border between Spain and Portugal. Without waiting for the arrival of the French, Prince John, Regent of Portugal, and the Court embark at Lisbon bound for Brazil. The royal government of Portugal was then installed in Rio de Janeiro.

Towards Independence

In March 1816, Prince John became king of Portugal under the name of John Clement VI. The republican sentiment, widespread across the country after the French Revolution, won a large audience when the neighboring Spanish colonies became independent. Since 1816, John VI had to intervene to occupy the region of the Banda Oriental under the control of the Spanish-American revolutionaries. John VI named his second son, Dom Pedro, regent of Brazil. In 1822, a vote of the senate of the Constituent Assembly he became emperor of Brazil under the name of Peter I. To 1823, all Portuguese troops in Brazil had to give the new regime.
However, in 1831, he finally decided to abdicate in favor of Pedro II, the heir presumptive of 5 years.
In July 1840, the Brazilian Parliament proclaimed the coming of age of Pedro II, who could then take the head of state. It was revealed one of the most competent rulers of his time. Under his reign, which lasted nearly half a century, economic growth and population of the country was exceptional. Domestic production was multiplied by 10 and the country began to acquire a rail network. The foreign policy of the imperial government was openly hostile to neighboring dictatorships. From 1851 to 1852, Brazil argued that the revolutionary struggle then fought the Argentine dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas ..

The Republic of Brazil

In November 1889, joins dirigid military revolt by General Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca forced Pedro II to abdicate. The republic was proclaimed then under the authority of a provisional government led by Fonseca. Next, a number of Republican-inspired reforms were enacted including the separation of church and state. The drafting of a constitution was completed in June 1890. Inspired by the United States Constitution was adopted in February 1891, making Brazil a federal republic under the official title of United States of Brazil. Fonseca was the first elected president ..

At the end of the presidential elections in March 1930, Julio Prestes, the pro-government candidate, was declared the winner at Getulio Vargas. The latter was a major political man, a fervent nationalist, from the state of Rio Grande do Sul It provided the support of a majority of the army and the political class. In October 1930, triggered a coup. After three weeks of fighting, Vargas was appointed interim president, with very wide powers.

In 1933, Vargas began giving the country a new constitution calling for a Constituent Assembly. The new text adopted in 1934, provided especially voting rights of women, social security for workers and the election of President by Congress. On July 17, 1934, Vargas was officially elected president.

Successive dictatorships

In October 1945 a military coup finally forced Vargas to resign. José Linhares, chief magistrate of the Supreme Court, was appointed interim president pending elections. These took place in December 1945. They gave a landslide victory to the former minister of war, Eurico Gaspar Dutra. Took office in January 1946. The newly elected deputies were responsible for drafting the new constitution, adopted in September 1946.

Getúlio Vargas rejoined the Brazilian presidency in January 1951 after the previous elections held in October. He formed a coalition government with the major parties. As soon in office, this government took measures to balance the budget and implement a program to reduce inflation, rising wages and extension of social reforms. These conflicting decisions did not prevent the growth of inflation.

In August 1954, legislative election campaign, an Air Force officer was killed in an attack directed against a director of anti-Vargas newspaper. This death brought the army to demand the resignation of Vargas. On August 24, Vargas agreed to let the power temporarily to Vice-President João Café Filho, before killing himself hours later.

The former governor of Minas Gerais, Juscelino Kubitschek, gathered support from Vargas supporters and communists, which allowed him to win the presidential elections in October 1955. As soon took office in January 1956, announced an ambitious five-year economic development plan, followed by a loan from American banks, for an amount exceeding $ 150 million. It was also at this time and which were approved plans for the future federal capital: Brasilia.

Jânio da Silva Quadros, former governor of São Paulo, became president of Brazil in January 1961. Immediately undertook a policy of economic austerity. Then, without explanation other than the vague recollection of "forces of reaction" locking their efforts, Quadros resigned in August 1961.

His vice-president Joao Goulart succeeded him. But this series was not without difficulty. The military began to oppose, accusing Goulart to have sympathy for the Castro regime in Cuba. But an agreement was reached. The Constitution was amended to confiscate most of the executive powers of the president in favor of Prime Minister and government responsible in front of Congress. Goulart was able to take office in September 1961.

In March 1964, some days after the meeting shown on a worker, Goulart was overthrown in a military coup and had to flee to Uruguay. The Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Humberto Castelo Branco became president.
In 1965, a law reduced civil liberties, increased government power and entrusted to Congress the task of appointing the president and vice-president.

In 1966, the former minister of war Marshal Artur da Costa e Silva, candidate of the ruling party, Arena (National Renaissance Party), was appointed president. The Brazilian Democratic Movement, the only tolerated opposition party, had rejected a candidate in response to deprivation of electoral rights of the fiercest opponents of military rule.

In December 1968, seeing the consequences of social and political upheaval, Costa was given unlimited powers and was able to carry out political purges, cuts in the economy and impose censorship.

In August 1969, was affected by a stroke. The military chose to General Emilio Medici Garrastazú to succeed, election approved by Congress. But the protest was becoming more alive in the country.

It was in this context that General Ernest Geisel, president of Petrobras, nationalized oil company, came to power in 1974. He began by establishing a more liberal policy loosening censorship over the press and allowing opposition parties rebuke legal political activity. But these criticisms were partly canceled in 1976 and 1977. In 1979, another soldier, João Baptista de Oliveira Figueiredo, succeeded Geisel.

Democratic Era

It was finally in 1985 he was elected, Tancredo Neves, as Brazil's first civilian president after 21 years. But he died before taking office. Vice-President Jose Sarney has replaced it. Faced with a rebound in inflation and a large external debt, Sarney imposed an austerity program that included the issuance of a new currency, the Cruzado. To strengthen democracy, a new Constitution came into force in October 1988.

It was in the context of this new constitution providing for the election of the president by direct vote he was elected in December 1989, Fernando Collor de Mello, the Conservative Party candidate for national reconstruction. His drastic measures to combat inflation caused one of the most severe recessions that Brazil has ever seen in a decade. Moreover, increasingly accurate rumors of corruption began to circulate about President Collor.

The House of Representatives filed a lawsuit against Collor of corruption. Vice President Itamar Franco was commissioned to ensure the changeover period. All resources exhausted, Collor finally gave the December 29, 1992. Franco was then sworn in officially as president of Brazil.

In late 1994, presidential elections were won by Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who took office on January 1, 1995. Inflation was partially stopped, took off economically Brazil despite the persistence of significant pockets of poverty. The Northeast suffered the most severe drought for forty years.

In 1997, Brazil made a growing number of exchanges with the countries acceding to Mercosur. But back necessary acceleration of privatization, in order to avoid a crisis in the banking system was opposed by the unions, the radical left, Jose Sarney. Saw an upsurge in urban violence.

In October 1998, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was elected at the first ballot with about 54% of the vote, against less than 32% for his rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, leader of the Workers' Party (PT) . Announced its intention to continue its program of austerity and adopted in accordance with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a plan to follow. Resulted in increased unemployment. This financial crisis shook the Brazilian economy and destabilized its Mercosur neighbors, particularly Argentina. The IMF and rich countries agreed to 41 billion dollars to Brazil, which whipped around its economy.

The municipal elections of 2000 were marked by the success of the Workers' Party (PT), who managed the warden of São Paulo. Lula was elected, the October 27, 2002, in presidential elections. For the first time in Brazil was elected a president from the left. Took office on January 1, 2003. Would win again in 2006, this time to Geraldo Alckmin, also of the PSDB.

In 2010 became president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, an economist with 62 years and first woman governor in the country.


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