The history of Brazil is marked by exploitative colonization and territorial disputes between Europeans and natives. The Indians were the only local inhabitants in 1500 and suffered greatly during the colonization process. Portugal not only discovered Brazil, but also played a decisive role in the colonization of Rio de Janeiro and its development after the arrival of the royal family.
The passion of the Portuguese was one of the reasons that led to our independence in 1822. The economic cycles of sugar, gold, coffee and rubber played a major role in Brazil’s land development and the great influx of African slaves.
In 1889 Brazil became a Republic and introduced a new Constitution. The first 30 years were marked by the politics of “Coffee with Milk”, a reference to the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo (respectively producers of dairy and coffee), which took turns governing Brazil. In 1930, led by Getúlio Vargas, the country embarked on a new industrial and urban development model. Basic human rights and workers’ rights were implemented, but press censorship increased. When elected president in 1960, Juscelino Kubitschek made good on his campaign promise to build a brand new capital, Brasilia, and achieve 50 years of development in 5 years.
Brazil’s military dictatorship began in 1964 and ended in 1984, when President Sarney took office. During this 20-year period Brazil endured serious repressions of freedom of speech. At the same time, the country underwent significant economic growth, financed by foreign loans and high inflation.
As a democracy we took to the streets in mass demonstrations to impeach President Fernando Collor, in 1992. We witnessed the evolution of the Workers Party (PT) and elected Fernando Henrique Cardoso as president, who implemented his Plano Real to control rampant inflation. We finally were able to stabilize our currency, control inflation and develop social programs, but haven’t managed to eradicate corruption, still an ever present evil in today’s society. Our population is now predominantly urban and the modern technological revolution is changing our lives.
Since Lula became president, in 2002, Brazil has gradually found its place in the world; it’s respected by other countries and a partner in sustainable development and environmental issues. We are a nation looking for strategies to protect its natural resources and stimulate sound, democratic growth.
The country maintained the economic model of the previous government and weathered the recent financial crisis in good shape. Brazil is seen as a safe country for foreign investments, but we still battle great inequalities. Our media is strong and powerful, denouncing scandals and alerting the population. We see a greater integration of the private and public sector and society, contributing to the development of the country. We are still a country of the future, proud of our culture and diverse heritage, working together to create the country we all long for today.