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Brazil: 1891-1964

Dom Pedro II

Dom Pedro II, the last ruler of imperial Brazil

1891 -Old Republic: November 15, 1889 Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca deposed Emperor Dom Pedro II, declared Brazil a republic.

  • Brazil became twenty states, creating sovereignty within each state with the exception of Presidential intervention in the case of threatened separation, foreign invasion, or conflict with other states.
  • The government was a constitutional democracy with limited voting capability by citizens.
  • 1915 it was apparent the wealthy few continued to play an important and monopolist role in political policy. Before 1930 only 3.5% had the ability to vote in the presidential elections, the conditions allowed only literate male adults the ability to cast votes.
  • Key regions such as Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais played an important role in elections and much of the power shuffled between both regions. This was called “Cafe com Leitte” or “coffee with milk” after the agricultural products of the two states.
  • 1929 affected the coffee exports of Brazil and seriously devalued its currency. The demand for Brazilian coffee decreased dramatically from 75% of the world market in 1900 to 67% in 1930. The decline of the coffee market most obviously influenced by the great depression encouraged political, social, and economic advancements while devaluing the state currency heavily.
  • New industrial development concentrated in “light” industry (food processing, small shops, and textiles) doubled from 3,000 in 1907 to 5,940 by 1918.



President and Dictator Vargas left of center center

1930-The Vargas Era, new era begins in 1930 and ends in 1945.

  • 1931 Revolution leading to the election of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas.
  • During the Vargas era there are three phases play out over his time within power.
  • 1st the period of provisional Government from 1930-1934, he becomes head of the provisional government.
  • 2nd the period of the new Constitution by the Constituent Assembly of 1934 elects Vargas as president and rules alongside democratically elected legislature.
    •  Beginning of populism within Brazil, promoting middle class concerns and promoting industry.
- Sought to rebuild Brazils economy after the collapse of the coffee market in the great depression, focused on economic stimulus, utilizing tax breaks, lowered duties, and advocating heavy tariffs.
  • 3rd, the period in which the “Estado Novo” of 1937-1945, where Vargas seeks to preserve his position of power by creating and assuming dictatorial powers.
    • Centralized control over economic development and organization change.
    •  State enterprises were created, along with a new labor code, censorship of the media, and new restrictions placed on foreign investment within Brazil.
    • During the Estado Novo Vargas suspended Congress and Political parties.
    • Implemented large scale urban planning, and created industrial concerns, such as the
      •  National Oil Advisor
      • The Administration Department of Public Service
      • National Iron Smelting Company
      •  Rio Doce Valley Company
      • São Francisco Hydroelectric Company
      • The National Motor Plant.
  • 1941 Brazil under Vargas aligned itself with the American states during WWII, the Brazilian participation helped to influence a second rubber boom in the economy.
  • Vargas was unable to secure support and was deposed in 1945 by  his own War Military, and the second republic was born.


1946- The Second Republic 1946-1964

  • The concerns for this time period were chiefly economic in nature. President after president was replaced as the economy continued to suffer.
  • 1946 to 1951 General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president and served during this time period.
  • Vargas returned to politics in 1950 to win the presidential elections for 1951.
  • Ambitious industrialization plan and pursued a policy of nationalization of the country’s natural resources. Petrobras was founded as the Brazilian state oil enterprise.




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