Economic History of Brazil

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Over the four centuries of Portuguese involvement in the Atlantic slave trade, an estimated 10 to 15 million Africans were transported to the European colonies in the Americas. Of these, over 3.5 million were taken to Brazil. Brazil was the biggest importer of slaves and took in an even greater amount than the United States. What influence did these 3.5 million Africans have on Brazil? The international slave trade that took place from 1538-1888 changed Brazil’s culture profoundly. Many Of Brazil’s cultural identities derive from African descent such as some cuisines and musical rhythms. With an economy based on free labour they were able to get huge economic status and finally there are African infused religions that are practiced in Brazil. It was the seventeenth-century Jesuit preacher and missionary, Frei Antonio Vieira, who said that Brazil had 'the body of America and the soul of Africa' and this description continues, to some extent, to hold true. Since Brazil was the largest importer of slaves, the effect that any group of slaves has on a country’s economy, culture and religions is shown most prominently in Brazils Culture, economy and religions. When slaves started to be transported in large numbers starting in 1580, Africans from places such as Angola and Bantu constituted two thirds of the population of the North east of Brazil. By the start of the sixteenth century, Brazil's population of African birth or descent already topped 20,000, with Africans being imported at a rate of 8,000 per year and making up 70 per cent of the labour force. The amount of Africans greatly increased over the next couple of hundred years until the law banning slaves was passed in 1888. Brazil was the last country to ban slaves because it had the largest free labour economy. While the slaves were in Brazil they often would play rhythms from the African tradition. The Samba is one of the first expressions of the Afro-Brazilian culture to be admired. The Samba is a rhythm...
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