Chapters of Brazil's Colonial History 1500-1800 / Edition 1

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In Chapters in Brazil's Colonial History, Capistrano de Abreu created an integrated history of Brazil in a landmark work of scholarship that is also a literary masterpiece. Abreu offers a startlingly modern analysis of the past, based on the role of the economy, settlement, and the occupation of the interior. In these pages, he combines sharp portraits of dramatic events--close fought battles against Dutch occupation in the 1650s, Indian resistance to often brutal internal expansion--with insightful social history. A master of Brazil's ethnographic landscape, he provides detailed sketches of daily life for Brazilians of all stripes.
Superbly translated by Arthur A. Brakel and edited by Stuart Schwartz and Fernando Novais, this Brazilian classic has never before available in English. Chapters in Brazil's Colonial History opens Brazil's rich, fascinating past to the general reader, and offers scholars access to a great turning point in historical scholarship.
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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal
De Abreu's eye for the telling detail and ability to keep the sweep of history present in the reader's mind has a symphonic effect.
Library Journal
Capistrano de Abreu was one of Brazil's most influential historians and scholars. This volume, published in Brazil in 1907, still has an impact on the writing of Brazilian history. In it, Capistrano de Abreu questioned many of the assumptions of earlier histories of the country and took a surprisingly modern and literary approach to Brazil's colonial past. One of the first books in Oxford's "Library of Latin America" series, which will make important Latin American works available in English, this first translation of Capistrano de Abreu's work is long overdue. It includes an important essay by Stuart Schwartz (history, Yale) on the author's place in Brazilian historiography. An important volume for libraries with even small collections on Latin America.Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, Utah
Kirkus Reviews
A surprisingly fresh and acerbic review of Brazil's early history, first published in 1907 and now translated into English for the first time.

Capistrano de Abreu was one of Brazil's earliest historians of note, and he has remained an influential figure in Brazil down to the present time. A variety of events conspired to keep him from completing the major revisionist history of his country that he had planned. Chapters is the closest he came to a lengthy narrative history, and it is some testament to Capistrano de Abreu's considerable accomplishments as a historian that it remains a deeply persuasive work. After a brief survey of Brazil's geography, Capistrano de Abreu plunges with zest into the complex and often very bloody history of the long battle among European nations for control of Brazil's considerable resources. First claimed by Portuguese explorers (in 1500), Brazil soon became a pawn caught between Portugal and France. When France finally ceded control to Portugal, the Dutch attempted to seize considerable terrain. For almost two centuries Brazil was the site of invasions, sieges and countersieges, ambushes and battles. Caught in the middle, and generally getting the worst of events, were the indigenous tribes. Capistrano de Abreu does an admirable job of piecing together, from very incomplete records, the likely course of the many campaigns. He's equally good in tracing the sporadic pattern of settlement in the Brazilian interior, and surprisingly modern in his interests: There's a sensitivity to the fate of the Indian and a subtle stress on the transformation of the environment by farming. His angry descriptions of the destruction of the villages created by Indians who had been converted to Christianity by Jesuits, to supply additional product for Portuguese slavers, is memorable, as are his vivid portraits of life of the Brazilian frontier in the late 18th century.

More a collection of independent essays than a thorough review, Chapters is nonetheless a lively portrait of Brazil's harsh, violent genesis.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195103021
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1998
  • Series: Library of Latin America Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Brakel is the translator of Cyro do Anjo's Diary of a Civil Servant and João Reis's Slave Rebellion in Brazil. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Stuart B. Schwartz is George Burton Adams Professor of History at Yale University.
Fernando Novais is a Brazilian scholar currently teaching at the University of Campinas, Brazil.

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Table of Contents

Series Editors' General Introduction
A House Built on Sand: Capistrano de Abreu and the History of Brazil
1 Indigenous Antecedents 3
2 Exotic Elements 14
3 The Discoverers 20
4 The First Conflicts 30
5 Hereditary Captaincies 35
6 Crown Captaincies 43
7 Frenchmen and Spaniards 52
8 Fighting the Dutch 69
9 The Backlands 91
10 Setting Boundaries 166
11 Three Centuries Later 181
Notes 203
Bibliography 215
Index 221
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