This essay is drawn from four lectures that I presented on expeditions in Brazil. In each talk, I deal with political, economic, and cultural aspects of Brazilian history. I first wrote these talks in 2007.
I begin with Portugal’s discovery and colonization of Brazil and examine why the Portuguese introduced slave-based sugar cane into Northeast Brazil. I then discuss the export cycles that underpinned Portuguese exploitation of Brazil – brazilwood (16th century), sugar (17th century), gold and diamonds (18th century), and coffee (19th century). I look at Brazil’s peaceful transition to independence (1822), political developments under Portuguese-Brazilian emperors (1822-1889), and how Brazil became a republic in 1889. I examine how Brazil became the world’s leading producer of coffee in the 19th century and why coffee export earnings dominated the Brazilian economy. I next review developments in Brazil’s Old Republic (1889-1930). I then analyze how Getúlio Vargas set up a dictatorial New Republic (1930-1945), how Brazilian post-war democracy slid into military dictatorship, and how well Brazil’s economy performed under democratic and military rule. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of the sites that I visited in Brazil.
Ship-based, Aboard the Silver Wind Santos (port for São Paulo), Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife, Natal, Fortaleza, Manaus, Iguazu Falls, Brazil and Argentina, Ship-based, Aboard the MS Noordam,