Brasil

From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Reino do Brasil
Kingdom of Brasil
KofBrasilflag.png
CapitalRio de Janeiro
Largest CityRio de Janeiro
Population28 million
Government TypeConstitutional monarchy
LanguagesPortuguese (official)

The Kingdom of Brasil (Portuguese: Reino do Brasil) is a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Portugal and Brasil. Although most of its territory is comprised across the tropic of capricorn, the country also have control over the island of Fernando de Noronha near the Pernambucan coast as an oversea territory.

Brasil shares borders with Bahia to the north, Equador to the northwest, Peru to west, Paraguay to the southwest and the Riograndense Republic to the south.

Etymology

The etymology of the word Brasil is a tricky topic. Some historians and linguistics trace the origin of the word to the celtic word of Hy-Brasil, a mythical island of old Irish folklore. But the most accepted one is that Brasil comes from the Portuguese for brasilwood trees (pau-brasil) which, due to its strong red color, received the adjective of “red like fire” (vermelho como brasa). Throughout its existence, Brasil also was referred as Ilha de Veracruz e Terra de Santa Cruz in its early moments of exploration.

History

Establishment

Early History (1500-1750)

Prior to the first contact with Europeans, the estimated native population was around three million people. Differently from Mesomaerica or the Andes, these millions of people lived in thousands of communities across the whole territory. In 1500, the first Portuguese fleet, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral, took shore in Brasil where is now the city of Porto Seguro, in Bahia.

In 1494, Portugal and Spain signed the Treaty of Tordesillas which divided the world between the two colonial powers. It's at this point where the first Brasilian official borders are drafted. Colonization effort would happen only thirty years after first arriving, especially to defend trade of brasilwood tree with the natives from the French, English and Spanish. The first colonization model was the Hereditary Captaincies (Capitanias Hereditárias) which failed. The model was soon substituted by a more centralized government around Salvador.

The economy of the colony was based upon cultivation of sugarcane, coffee and mineral extraction, all of them heavily relying on enslaved labor force brought from Africa.

The Brasilian territory during this period suffered frequently from foreign invasions and occupation, especially by the French and the Dutch.

Clashes in the Southern Cone (1750-1762)

War on Rio de La Plata

During the Great Silesian War (1750-1755), Spain and Portuguese forces clashed in the Rio de La Plata over the control of the Colônia de Sacramento. A Portuguese outpost on the upper bank of the river.Sacramento was taken by the Spanish in 1752. The colony is kept under occupation for the rest of the conflict.

In the Treaty of Vienna (1755), it's decided that the colonial situation in the Southern Cone should come back to what was before the war, but due to Spain unwilling to have a Portuguese colony so close to Buenos Aires, the country decided to sign a  treaty apart from Vienna with Portugal.

Treaty of Seville (1756)
Situation around Rio de La Plata before and after the Treaty of Seville.

The Treaty of Seville was signed in January 13th 1756. The treaty finally defied the borders between the two colonial powers in South America, which weren't discussed since Tordesillas in 1494. The main point of the agreement was Portugal cede Sacramento in exchange to the northern section Spanish Pampas along the west bank of upper Uruguay river. Borders were also reshaped in the Amazon.

The Luso-Indian War (1757-1762)

In the upper Uruguayan west bank, Spanish Jesuits built a series of settlements in the mission to convert natives to Catholicism still in the 17th century. By 1755, these settlements grew to the point to become towns of thousands of inhabitants.

After the Treaty of Seville, these settlements  all fell under the Portuguese Crown, therefore, the Spanish ordered all Jesuits to leave the region, and move to Asunción and Buenos Aires. Unwilling to leave the region, the Jesuits kept their activities the way it was under Spanish control. The natives also feared they would lose their protected status now under Portugal.

In 1756, the Vicentine Ultimatum was declared by Portugal, which gave the order to the Spanish Jesuits to leave the region immediately, or troops from São Vicente, in the Captaincy of São Paulo, would soon take them away by force.

The war happened mostly by raids on both sides. Through the 5 years of conflict, farms, villages and towns were sacked and destroyed. By 1759, three years after the purchase of Carolina by Britain, the British joined the Portuguese against the natives and jesuits due to fear of anglo colonists coming from Acadia having their properties attacked.

The bloodshed of the conflict only ended in 1762, as the last bastion of native-jesuit resistance were crushed.

Revolutionary 19th century

Brasil during the Spring Of Nations

The 1830s and 40s were a turbulent period for Brasil. The colony faced secession movements across the majority of its territory. Although many attempts were made, in the early to mid 19th century, only Bahia and the Reiograndense Republic managed to achieve independence.

From 1836 to 1838, the Captaincy of Pernmabuco, along other northeastern captaincies proclaimed the short-lived Caatinga Republic. In the Captaincy of Maranhão and Piauí, revolutionary governments lasted only a few months. The same in Grão-Pará.

The Vila Rica Conspiracy (1837-1838)

On nowadays Brasilian territory, the major secession movement happened in the Captaincy of Minas Gerais, more specifically in the town of Vila Rica, the captaincy capital.

By 1837, the colony was already in a broken state, the only exceptions being  Rio, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, the core of the colony. In february 1837, a coalition of ten mine owners of the town gathered to plan a way to create an independent republic in Minas. The Vila Rica Independent Council.

The leader of the group, Manuel Joaquim Xavier, already an influential figure in the region, who, in the previous decade, influenced by republican ideals, and unsettled by the Portuguese economic policies over Brasil, used his wealth to travel to New Netherland, where gathered information about the country way of governing, in the hope of bringing it to a new country in South America.

The plan developed from february to late march, consisted in killing the captaincy president, Álvaro Baltasar, during Easter. Following this, the Republic of Minas would be established and follow a similar rule as New Netherland. With Manuel being granted the title of Estatutário (Portuguese for Stadtholder).

The first phase of the plan went successful, after the Easter celebrations, the captaincy president was killed along with his wife by mercenaries once the couple got home. Chaos shortly took the capital, and in april 13th, 1837, the Republic of Minas was proclaimed.

The country lasted only 9 months. Due to its geographic isolation, and conflicts with the Bahian rebels in the north because of territorial claims, the republic was completely crushed by the Portuguese forces by a last reinforcement coming from Rio de Janeiro in january of 1838. Manuel and his colleagues were arrested and publicly executed on january 24th.

After the failed Vila Rica Conspiracy, Brasil would only see another large-scale attempt of political reform in the early 20th century.

Path for decolonization (1877-1879)

Abolsihment of slavery and independence of Equador

After the independence of Bahia, Brasil was cut in half. To better manage what lasted from its former holdings, the colony was divided in two. Brasil in the south, comprising Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais e Mato Grosso. While the northern captaincies were reorganized as the colony of Equador.

In 1877, Portugal abolished slavery in the totality of its territories. In South America, where most of the empire slave labor was located, plantations owners, after many disagreements about economic reparations over their former slaves rebeled across the colony.

Creation of the Autonomous Territory of Brasil (1879)

Revolts happened in São Paulo, and Minas Gerais, two major coffee growing regions, although they weren't successful, differently from the North, where the rebels were capable of establishing the Republic of Equador in 1877. Although the country was only recognized in 1879.

In the same year, fearing its last holding in the New World to revolt shortly, the Portuguese parliament passed the Brasilian Autonomy Act, which ended colonial rule over Brasil. The former colony was now the Autonomous Territory of Brasil. Politically, the Autonomous Territory became ruled by a parliament, where the seats were occupied by directly voted candidates by the population, but only the male and literate could vote. The Autonomous Territory top position was the Governor General, which was directly appointed by the Portuguese Crown. The Governor General had the total power to dissolve the parliament and convoke new elections.

Economically, Portugal ceases to be under the colonial economic policies from Portugal, but it didn't mean full economic liberty. The Friendly Nations Trade Act only permitted Brasil to have economic ties with Portuguese allies. Although the economy of Brasil wasn't completely free, this period saw a spike in industry and infrastructure investments both from foreigin countries and former plantation owners interested in transitioning Brasil into the industrial revolution. Even with the enormous amount of investments in other areas, coffee production was still the core of the economy.

The Luso-Brazilian Compromise (1922)

The end of the colonial rule in Carolina sparked once again the feeling of nationalism and independence in Brazil, many republican authors, republican associations and communard societies across Brazil started to advocate for the end of Portuguese rule in the continent. These ideals gained more force after Brazil got hit directly by the economic crisis in Europe during most of the 1920s.

The economic crisis hit Brazil severely, coffee customers across the world, Brazil’s most important economic partners, started to reduce the purchase of the product, thus the many coffee plantations started to suffer from overproduction and devaluation of the prices. Many businesses closed and unemployment skyrocketed. In this context, opposition to the semi-colonial government of Brazil started to gain force. Many saw the problem as consequences of the crown heavily influencing the political and economic decisions, and from August 1922 to November of the same year, protests demanding more political freedoms, and in the most radical cases, total independence, started to happen.

On November the 2nd, 1922, in a radio broadcast, the province president of São Paulo, Rafael Tobias, declared a revolt. The province of Minas Gerais followed the same strategy soon later in the same day. The presidents of the two provinces had been in secret talks since September of 1922, the plan was to send an ultimatum to the crown. To prevent a bloody conflict in the continent, the rebel provinces stated openage to dialogue with the crown.

Portugal wasn’t in shape to fight a war thousands of kilometers away, and in telegram, agreed to discuss terms with the new Brazilian Government, which already comprised four of the six provinces of Brazil. On November 25th, Portuguese envoys and the Brazilian Independent Government gathered in Rio de Janeiro to solve the situation diplomatically.

On December 4th, the Luso-Brazilian Compromise, or Treaty of Rio, established the dual monarchy of Portugal and Brazil. The main terms of the treaty were:

  • Creation of a new Brazilian constitution, which were an adaptation of the Portuguese constitution, but with more political rights to Brazil;
  • The Kingdom of Brazil would consists of every Portuguese territory in South America, while the Kingdom of Portugal would consists of the rest of the empire;
  • Abolition of the title of Governor of Brazil and creation of the title of Prime Minister;
  • Political rights to any man, regardless of his income;
  • Establishment of a single citizenship. Luso-Brazilian;
  • Brazilians could be elected to all political offices;
  • End of Portuguese influence over local politics.

Involvement in the Great War (1935-1939)

When Portugal declared war on France and Austria in July 1935, Brazil was dragged along due the constitutional obligation to fight along the Portuguese in any conflict. Brazil was the only luso-american nation to fight directly in through the entirety of the conflict.

Brazilian Expeditionary Force

Composed of 30,000 troops, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force was created in September 1935. The troops were later divided in two groups: 7,500 men were sent to integrate the Portuguese forces in Europe, while the second group, 22,500 men, were sent on a mission to retake Portuguese colonies occupied by France in Africa.

The Brazilian forces were outdated, since South America was a relatively peaceful continent, and Brazil wasn't involved directly in any war or major armed conflict fought on luso-american territory since the independence of Equador. So it took two years to develop better equipment and vehicles for the army, which were granted by British investments.

Retake of Portuguese Guinea, Bioko and São Tomé e Príncipe

In October 1937, the Brazilian Expeditionary Force (FEB) landed on the island of São Tomé, retaking it in a matter of a week. After the news of the expulsion of the French from São Tomé, revolts quickly started to happen in Príncipe and Bioko, forcing the occupation forces to retreat to Niger.

The operation to retake Portuguese Guinea took place two months later, in the beginning of December. In the meantime, the FEB received reinforcements from Angola.

The Brazilian-Angolese force landed on Portuguese Guinea on December 10th, and found an mostly unprotected coastline, but once entered more into the interior of the colony, in the search of conquering Abome, fighting with the French occupation forces began.

On December 21th, the Brazilian-Angolse forces started a siege over Abome, which lasted until January 30th of 1938, when facing supply shortage, the occupation forces surrendered, ending the conflict in Portuguese Africa.

Anti-war demonstrations

Shortly after the entrance of Portugal, thus Brasil as well, in the Great War on the side of the Cordial League reached Brasilian newspapers, popular demonstrations against Brasil involvement in the global conflict began in the provincial capitals and other city centers of the kingdom. The streets of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, especially, saw marches of thousands of unpleased populars during the four years of fighting.

Among the protesters, people of many political spectrum could be seen. The common folk, not willing to have their husbands, brothers and sons sent to Europe or Africa, Republicans, which advocated the total political emancipation of Brasil from the Portuguese Monarchy, Anarchists and non-France aligned Communards. Although these groups had mostly different goals, the totality of them had in common: modify the Luso-Brasilian constitution, ceasing Brasil to be obligated to fight in wars alongside Portugal.

Night Of The Thirty Thousand

The Night Of The Thirty Thousand was the most numerous demonstration in Brasil during the Great War. Happening in Rio de Janeiro from the evening of the August 8th 1937 to the morning the next day, around thirty thousand people gathered in front of the parliament palace in a vigil against the continuation of Brasilian participation in the conflict and restructuring of the constitution. It was the most numerous popular protest since the establishment of the kingdom in 1922, and one of the major in the history of Brasil.