A critical review of “The Cambridge History of Latin America (From Idependence to c. 1870), By Leslie Bethell
In this paper I will explain and highlight main arguments of Brazilian independence according to Leslie Bethell. The Brazilian independence was certainly not as violent as in the other Latin American countries and the independence was a final product of many events and influences. I will go through the economic situation Brazil was facing in terms of export and imports, followed by the installment of Portuguese Dom João in Rio de
Janeiro, because of the Napoleon wars going on in Europe at the time and finally concluding on what finally gave Brazil independence in 1822.
Economically, Brazil was major compared to its colonizer, Portugal. Brazil had the population the area and the natural resources to become a success, which they definitely was, but with a Portuguese exploitation of exports and population. Portugal was highly dependent on Brazilian exports and had a hard time providing Brazil with manufactured goods, an element Britain had a major role in. Brazil exported and still exports massive amounts of sugar to Portugal and later on, coffee and cotton became an important export, not to forget gold from Minas Gerais. It was basically hard for Portugal to justify the occupation of this new land of opportunities. The creation of a national identity that would help Brazilians to gain independence was definitely an important factor to the process. Some claim that the victory over the Dutch in 1654 was a major input and inspiration for the Brazilians. The Brazilian education and information system was although not on Brazilian territory and the minority of people that could afford it went to Europe for university. The economic, political and intellectual situation, led to massive criticisms due to the mercantile systems, its restrictions on trade, the heavy duty taxation on Brazil and also the high prices on manufactured goods...
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