Colonization is taking off
over time, two forms of agricultural production developed.
Partly the cleared fields, granjas, and the large
plantations, fazendas that grew export crops -
especially sugar cane. Despite the favorable conditions, it
took a long time for the plantations to become truly
profitable. It was due to the lack of capital and labor. The
Portuguese tried well enough to put the indigenous people in
labor in exchange for European goods, but the agriculture
and discipline of the plantations lay them distant. The
settlers therefore quickly decided to obtain slave labor.
Either through direct hunting of Indians or by using other
Indians as middlemen.
Already in the second half of the 16th century the Native
American population of the coastal areas was greatly
reduced. It had died of European diseases - colds, measles
and smallpox - or had fled to other zones. The use of
African slaves for the cultivation of sugar was therefore
allowed and traffic across the Atlantic increased
dramatically. It is estimated that 3-4 million African
slaves arrived in Brazil from the 16th to the 19th
centuries. (For the same reasons as in 1530, the Portuguese
crown decided in 1848 to be directly represented in Brazil
again. It appointed a general governor who, with 1000 men,
left for Brazil, where he founded a capital for the entire
country of Bahía in the northeastern corner of the country).
In 1551, the Portuguese created an archdiocese. It was
only after 50 years of presence that the Portuguese had
reached the same level of European institutions that
characterized the Spanish colonies. At about the same time,
the Jesuits began to arrive, and they quickly became the
strongest branch of the Catholic Church, unlike the Spanish
colonies, to which they arrived much later than other
orders. The Jesuits were very active. They taught guaraní to
convert natives to Catholicism and created villages in the
same way as the missions of the Spanish colonies. In the
end, the primary form of contact between natives and
Europeans - war, trade, slavery and the missionary -
therefore became the same as in the Spanish territories. The
contact also meant that the guaraní language of this century
became the most widely used in all relationships.
Brazil undertook a rapid expansion west of the line laid
down in the Tordesilla Treaty - the longitude 370 leguas
(approximately 2000 km) west of Cabo Verde. The expansion
reached the foothills of the Andes to the west, to the north
of the Amazon and to the south of Río de la Plata. In the
north, the expansion was led by the Jesuits who created
countless mission stations across the Amazon. In the
northeast, peasants from the sugar cane areas around
Pernambuco and Bahía penetrated the heart of the continent
in search of new pastures. They reached as far forward as
Piauí, Goiás and Maranhao.
But the main wave of expansion to the west was led by the
"Paulists", who were called the settlers from São Paulo. In
their search for native slaves, gold, and gems, the Paulists
organized large expeditions - known as bandiras -
into the interior of the country. Portugal's incorporation
into the Spanish kingdom in 1580 facilitated this expansion,
for the internal borders of the country were abolished, like
the Treaty of Tordesilla. The expeditions brought the
Paulists all the way to the mining areas of Peru and to
Bogotá in Colombia. They also explored Mato Grosso and in
the south they attacked the native settlements - especially
in Guaíra where the Guaranís were reasonably immune to
European diseases and won for collective agricultural work.
In most cases, they encountered resistance from the Guarani
and the Jesuits who protected them. It was such a
devastating human hunt that it forced the Jesuit missions
further south to their final location in Siete Pueblos in
the current state of Río Grande do Sur.
It was not just the Paulists who stepped into the dense
rainforest. Thousands of African slaves fled from the
coastal plantations into the forests. There, Africans,
natives and mestizos joined together in constant wars
against the military expeditionary force of the colonial
power. They created villages that got the African names "quilombo"
and "mokambo". In northeast Brazil, the Palmares
Quilombos (1630-1695) became famous, and their leader
in the fight against the Portuguese, Zumbí, became history.
The anti-racist Brazilian movement continues today to mark
November 20 as "The Day of Black Consciousness" - the day
Zumbí was killed in combat.
Brazil was also swirled in the Dutch independence
struggle against Spain. Due. In succession, the Netherlands
and Flanders were owed the Spanish crown. In the period
1630-54, the Dutch occupied Pernambuco after an attempt to
capture Bahía. An attempt that failed only because of the
joint efforts of natives, Africans and Portuguese. The
subsequent separation of Spain and Portugal was unable to
revive Tordesilla's demarcation line. This dividing line
between the two colonial powers had long since been
overtaken by history. In 1696, gang riots
encounteredon the first gold mines in what is today Minas
Gerais. In the 18th century, the area reached its largest
production of precious metal. The consequences of these
mines for the Brazilian economy were a major reason for the
capital being moved from Salvador do Bahía in the north to
Rio de Janeiro in the south in 1763.