Plantation_Societies_Hist_1960_______Jan_30__2009 - The...

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The Road to Independence in Brazil : The Spanish Caribbean islands such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, as well as the Portuguese colony of Brazil, did not participate in Independence wars nor host revolutionary movements in the early 19 th century. For the Spanish possessions in the Caribbean this would mean deferring independence and the abolition of slavery, on which the economies of the islands revolved, until the 1880s. Brazil in some respects, managed to have its cake and eat it too: -- it negotiated a peaceful separation from Portugal, retaining a monarchy linked by kinship and shared cultural ties with the Bourbon dynasty in Lisbon; --buffered its plantation and slave-based economy from the kind of massive rebellion that characterized Haiti; and forestalled the widespread dislocation and costly wars of independence that depleted the mining, agricultural and commercial enterprises of its Spanish South American neighbors. How did it manage this? And what were the consequences for Brazilian society? Like Spain, Portugal was also the victim of Napoleonic invasion, but in contrast to Ferdinand the VII, Joao VI, the Portuguese Emperor, relocated his court to his colonial possession in the Americas: specifically, Rio de Janeiro, the northeastern coastal port city of Brazil in 1807. For the duration of Napoleon’s occupation of Portugal, the Portuguese Empire re-directed trade and political matters to Brazil, opening up the ports of the country to British trade in order to ensure a steady income from its colonial possessions in Africa and Brazil. In 1822 when the Napoleonic threat had passed and Joao VI decided to move back the imperial court to Lisbon and restore the former monopolistic control of trade as well as the subordinate political position of Brazil as a colonial dependency of Portugal, Joao’s son, Dom Pedro opted instead to join the Brazilian nobility and create a separate, independent kingdom in Brazil. Independence was thus won without bloodshed, but the cost of this move was the maintenance intact of colonial political institutions, an economy based on large estates and plantations owned by a powerful, non-hereditary nobility who commanded their own private armies and dependents, retained a highly segregated and exclusionary political system and ensured the survival of slavery intact from the colonial period in which 90% of the population remained illiterate and without political rights. Dom Pedro assumed the title of Emperor and a Constitution was passed in 1824 that
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This note was uploaded on 02/17/2009 for the course HIST 1960 taught by Professor Craib, r during the Spring '06 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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Plantation_Societies_Hist_1960_______Jan_30__2009 - The...

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