A Concise History of Brazil

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A Concise History of Brazil covers almost 500 years of Brazilian history, from the arrival of the Portuguese in the New World to the political events that defined the transition in recent years from an authoritarian to a democratic political regime. This book emphasizes topics that have deeply influenced the historical formation of Brazil and affected its existence to the present day, such as Indian cultures and their destruction, slavery, and massive immigration during the last decades of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth century.

"Excellent one-volume history of Brazil by leading Brazilian social historian is suitable for advanced students and sophisticated general readers. Emphasizes political and economic history. Treats colonial and 19th-century history seriously as political history; one-third of book covers 1930-80. Unlike other recent one-volume histories, such as those by Skidmore (see item #bi 00004885#) and Levine (see item #bi 00000173#), work does not cover contemporary events (1980-90), and the evaluation of the transition from 1964 dictatorship to electoral politics is reticent. Often narrates events by synthesizing differing interpretations in historiography of key issues: nature of Portuguese imperial state, reasons for 19th-century Brazilian territorial unity, relation between slavery and peasantry. Good summary discussion of demography and class structure, but little overt explanation of political culture and almost no references to folkways and the arts"--Handbook of Latin American Studies, v. 58.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
It's no mean feat to tell the unruly story of a country as large, diverse and divided as Brazil in one volume of narrative history. But Fausto succeeds admirably in presenting facts, figures, events and influences in an orderly, palatable fashion. Expansion led the Portuguese to Brazil in 1500, when Pedro Alvares Cabral first sighted the country's coast. From the beginning, Brazil was totally dependent on slavery, first enslaving Indians and then importing Africans to work one or another of the labor-intensive aspects of the boom-or-bust economy. In 1888, slavery was reluctantly abolished under heavy pressure from Britain, which was then playing a major role in attempting to help Brazil recover from its latest financial disaster. Although people of color outnumbered whites for hundreds of years, there were no slave uprisings or effective abolitionist movements to force the issue. Brazil's independence from Portugal happened in much the same haphazard way as the country's slip into dictatorship. Sao Paulo University professor Fausto has written a nuts-and-bolts account that will serve general readers as a navigable port of entry into the history and life of one of the world's most culturally rich nations. Photos not seen by PW. Mar.
Library Journal
A professor of political science at the University of Sao Paulo, Fausto is one of the most articulate, well-known historians of 20th-century Brazil; his numerous historical publications form an important part of the country's historiography. He recently published a college-level textbook in Portuguese on Brazilian history, and though there are differences, many sections of this English-language volume are similar to or direct translations from that book. The volume is in narrative style with a focus on traditional history, and it is valuable for introducing theoretical ideas not found in similar textbooks by non-Brazilians. Fausto's style, while somewhat simplistic, is refreshing. It has been many years since a Brazilian scholar published a textbook history of Brazil in English, and this long-overdue book will be of interest to both academic and public libraries.--Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, UT
From the Publisher
"… this long-overdue book will be of interest to both academic and public libraries."
Mark L. Grover, Library Journal

"… this probing view of 500 years in one of South America's richest and most populous countries hits the highlights."
Joe Collins, Booklist

"A fine introduction to Brazilian history."
Kenneth Maxwell, Foreign Affairs

"… this highly reliable history will be as valuable as a reference work as it will be for couse adoption."
Luso-Braziliam Review

"It's no mean feat to tell the unruly story of a country as large, diverse and divided as Brazil in one volume of narrative history. But Fausto succeeds admirably in presenting facts, figures, events and influences in an orderly, palatable fashion. … Fausto has written a nuts-and-bolts account that will serve general readers as a navigable port of entry into the history and life of one of the world's most culturally rich nations."
Publishers Weekly

"The most distinguished historian of Brazil of his generation, Boris Fausto has chosen a broad-brush historical narrative approach, punctuated by a discussion of key controversies in the historiography. … A Concise History offers the non-expert reader a broad panorama of Brazilian history. The expert will appreciate efforts to capture issues and controversies in the historiography and to present them in a digestible fashion."
Reviews in History

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521563321
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1999
  • Series: Cambridge Concise Histories Series
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Boris Fausto is a renowned Brazilian historian and political scientist. He is a retired Professor of Political Science at the University of São Paulo.

Sergio Fausto is a political scientist and executive director of the Fernando Henrique Cardoso Institute, a Brazilian think tank.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Colonial Brazil (1500-1822) 1
1.1 Overseas Expansion and the Portuguese Arrival in Brazil 1
1.2 The Indians 7
1.3 Colonization 9
1.4 Colonial Society 25
1.5 Economic Activities 34
1.6 The Iberian Union and Its Impact on Brazil 40
1.7 Colonization of the Periphery 44
1.8 Bandeira Expeditions and Paulista Society 47
1.9 The Crisis in the Colonial System 54
1.10 Rebel Movements and National Consciousness 59
1.11 Brazil at the End of the Colonial Period 72
2 Imperial Brazil (1822-1889) 76
2.1 Consolidating Independence and Building the State 76
2.2 The Second Empire 96
2.3 Socioeconomic Structure and Slavery 103
2.4 Modernization and the Expansion of Coffee 112
2.5 The Beginning of Large-Scale Immigration 117
2.6 The Paraguayan War 120
2.7 Crises of the Second Empire 126
2.8 The Republican Movement 133
2.9 The Fall of the Monarchy 141
2.10 Economy and Demography 142
3 The First Republic (1889-1930) 148
3.1 Years of Consolidation 148
3.2 Oligarchies and Colonels 158
3.3 Relations Between the States and the Union 160
3.4 Socioeconomic Changes 166
3.5 Social Movements 178
3.6 The Political Process During the 1920s 182
3.7 The 1930 Revolution 190
4 The Vargas State (1930-1945) 198
4.1 Government Action 198
4.2 The Political Process 203
4.3 The Estado Novo 216
4.4 The End of the Estado Novo 229
4.5 The Socioeconomic Situation 233
5 The Democratic Experiment (1945-1964) 237
5.1 The Elections and the New Constitution 237
5.2 The Return of Vargas 243
5.3 Vargas's Fall 248
5.4 From Nationalism to Developmentism 253
6 The Military Government and the Transition to Democracy (1964-1984) 280
6.1 Conservative Modernization 280
6.2 Political Closure and Armed Struggle 287
6.3 The Processes of Political Liberalization 296
6.4 The General Framework of the Period from 1950 to 1980 321
Epilogue 333
Bibliography 339
Index 347
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