Brazilian Gold Rush

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The Brazilian gold rush started in the early 1700’s when the paulistas (residents of Sao Paulo) found the Catuga natives on their slaving expeditions wearing gold ornaments. They then wanted what the natives had and greed ensued. The Catuga then had to show the paulistas where the gold nuggets were located, which was northwest of Rio de Janeiro, in the streams of the highlands. Soon after, more paulistas moved to these areas in search for gold. Portugal heard of gold being found in Brazil and many of them also ventured out to Brazil in search for gold. By 1710 there were more white immigrants than the mixed race paulistas in the “gold zone”. The gold rush affected the growth of Brazil and the development of its interior by expanding the population (and having some Portuguese influence) and by opening up the frontier to settlement and thus creating native resistance and increasing internal conflict.

When these bandeirantes came back with the gold from the Catuga Indians, more paulistas swept to these areas where the gold was located. Not only paulistas, but free blacks and mamelucos in Bahia and Rio de Janeiro left in search of gold as well. Many even abandoned their farms and families. When Portugal heard of this newfound discovery, many young peasant men flocked to this region. To get money to go to Brazil, most had to borrow money (thinking that they will get rich and pay them back) or scrape around. Due to this migration of Portuguese peasants, Brazil had more than doubled the population from 1700 to 1810. This migration also impacted some cities with Portuguese influence, by the architecture, baroque churches, and religious practices.

During this gold rush, there were still expeditions, but not for the capture of slaves, but more for the control over gold sites, and quilombos (which most towns were created from). The rich Portuguese, or Brazilian-born whites, who got funded from the towns of the coast, like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, helped those...
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