Brazil Research Paper

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The beginning of Brazils economy started when Portugal colonized the country that is known today as Brazil. The Portuguese were in search of vast riches and they got their first taste of earnings around the 1540’s. With the popularity of sugar cane growing in Europe, the Portuguese quickly started an agricultural enterprise in their colony. The Portuguese took advantage of the Dutch through their commercial skills and financing; in order to quickly get a foothold and build a small sugar monopoly. The financing from the Dutch allowed them to set up this whole sugar cane trade remarkably fast. Allowing the Dutch to also ship the sugar back to Europe made it one less risk the Portuguese had to worry about. The trading of sugar also impacted other parts of the Brazilian colony. A slave trade was set up along with the sugar trade; this was due to the need for labor on the sugar cane mills. Slavery in Brazil ended up lasting until 1888; Brazil was one of the last countries to abolish slavery. It is estimated that about 35% of slaves involved in the Atlantic slave trade ended up in Brazil (Brazil Equitable). Around the early seventeen century the sugar trade in Brazil began to decline due to the rise of sugar production from many other countries. Sugar has and always will be a main product in Brazil.

The search for gold and precious metals in colonial Brazil became a priority in the eighteenth century. After the sugar cane farming became less lucrative many people in Brazil looked for alternatives. This was when the discovery of gold in the mountains of Minas Gerais changed the entire dynamic of the Brazilian economy. Large numbers of Portuguese along with an estimated half a million slaves flocked to this mining region. It is thought that by 1725 about half of the population lived in Minas Gerais. This was also a problem in the mother county of Portugal; they had to severely limit immigration to Minas Gerais due to the mass migration. It has also been speculated that at the height of the gold rush about 350,000 oz. of gold were extracted. The gold peaked around 1750 and by 1790 the majority of the gold was depleted (Brazilian Geography). Just like any gold rush it came to an end, this led to a period of stagnation in the Brazilian economy. The people of Brazil did not experience another increase in the economy until the introduction of a new cash crop around 1820.

In Brazil around the early 1800’s coffee was quickly becoming a staple of Brazils economy. No one would have ever guessed that the effects of coffee on Brazils economy would be bigger than gold and sugar combined. During this period in 1822, Brazil gained its independence from Portugal. By 1830 coffee was a highly sought after product on the world market. With a high demand and a low supply of coffee Brazil quickly realized they had perfect coffee growing climate. The first region that started growing coffee was in the mountains around Rio de Janeiro. Coffee production rapidly spread across the Paraiba valley and towards Sao Paulo. This urgent spread of coffee production and primitive production techniques led to an increased need for labor. Many slaves were imported to Brazil at this time to help on the farms. In 1880 Brazil produced 1.2 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee. 8 years later it had increased to 2.6 million bags (Brazil Equitable). Finally in 1902, Brazil was exporting around 8 million bags. This increase in coffee production also meant increases in the transportation industry throughout Brazil. In 1860 there were 139 miles of railroad 15 years later it had increased to 4,310 miles. The coffee industry had a direct impact on infrastructure through out Brazil. By 1920 Brazil controlled the international coffee market producing around 80% of all coffee sold. In 1929, Brazil was selling coffee for 22.5 cents per pound; by 1931 it had dropped to 8 cents per pound (Brazil: A New Regional Power in the World Economy). The drop in coffee prices in Brazil...
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