Colonization is taking off
According to Countryaah, 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.