Brazil: key historical events
Page last modified 1/6/2019
See also South & Central America
Click here for image of Rio de Janeiro 1955
Click here for image of Rio de Janeiro 2007
28/10/2018, Jair Bolsano was elected as 38th President of Brazil, with 55.1% of the vote. He was a populist with nationalist policies.
10/2003, Da Silva (Lula) won the Presidential elections by a wide margin. He was a Leftist from a poor background. He inhertited an economy in trouble; due to rsing public debt the Brazilian currency, the real, had lost 40% of its value. However he curbed the more radical elements of his Party and promised to work with the IMF and not to default on this international debt.
12/6/1998, Transpetro, the largest oil and gas pipeline transportation company in Brazil, was established.
15/8/1993, Massacre of members of the Yanomami tribe in Brazil by gold and tin miners.
1992, Collor was forced to resign, his Presidency had been plagued by high levels of corruption.
3/6/1992. The Earth Summit began in Rio de Janeiro.
18/12/1991, The World Bank, the European Commission and the Group of Seven leading industrial nations granted Brazil US$ 250 million for conservation work in the Amazon rainforest. $ 100 million of that sum was for scientific research; the rest was for the establishment of national parks, tribal reserves, and promoting non-destructive use of Amazon Forest, such as rubber tapping and brazil-nut harvesting.
17/12/1989. Brazil held its first free elections in 29 years. Ferdinand Collor de Mello defeated Jose Sarney. Brazil faced a massive foreign debt burden; interest payments ate up 40% of export earnings. The IMF imposed austerity measures on Brazil, despite recent rapid growth in the economy, to guarantee loan repayments. Prices rose, wages were cut, and annual inflation stood at 700%. Economic problems increased calls for democracy.
22/9/1988, Brazil reached an agreement with its creditors to reschedule debts of US$62.1 billion.
15/3/1985, Brazil returned to civilian rule under President Jose Sarney, after 21 years of military rule.
6/12/1976, Joao Goulart, President of Brazil, died.
10/1969, President Costa e Silva fell ill, and was replaced by Emilio Garrastazu Medici. Medici’s rule, lasting for 5 years, was even more repressive than his predecessor, with press censorship and torture.
12/1968, President Costa e Silva introduced the A-15 Act, giving him dictatorial powers to dismiss the National Congress and remove politicians from office. It was the start of 12 years of oppressive rule in Brazil.
11/4/1964, Marshal Humberto Castello Branco became President of Brazil,
1/4/1964, President Goulart of Brazil was overthrown in a military coup, with US support. President Johnson of the USA had feared a socialist takeover of Brazil. Brazil now endured heavy-handed military rule for the next 21 years. The Brazilian Communist Party was banned, land reform cancelled, and trades unions were curbed. However the economy thrived with GDP growth rising from 4% a year to nearly 10% by the early 1970s. The oil crisis of 1973 put a halt to this growth, as did rising levels of foreign debt..
1961, The Xingu National Park was established to attempt to save the culture of the local Amazonian Indians. These were reported by the German explorer Karl von den Steinen to number 3,000 in 35 villages in 1884, but by 1962 numbered just 500, accoridng to the WHO.
1960, Kubitschek lost the Brazilian Presidential elections to Goulart. Goulart had more Leftist policies, promising land reform, greater enfranchisement of Brazil’s illiterate, paid for with tax reforms to increase government revenues. Goulart shifted foreign policy to a more neutral stance, increasing links with the USSR and legalising the Brazilian Communist Party. Goulart was strongly supported by the peasantry, but hated by the middle class and military. Goulart’s spending policies raised inflation, which eroded the savings of the middle clssses, further alienating them.
21/4/1960. Brasilia was inaugurated as the new capital of Brazil. The city was planned by Lucio Costa.
24/8/1954, President Vargas of Brazil resigned under pressure, and committed suicide. He was succeeded by Vice-President Filho.
1/11/1942, Brazil replaced the Millreis with the Cruzerio as its currency. One millreis = 1 cruzerio. The millreis was the old currency of Portugal.
11/3/1942, Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas reiterated his powers to declare war or a state of national emergency, clearing the way for the seizure of subjects and property of Axis countries.
1/11/1930, Vargas dissolved the Brazilian Congress and assumed dictatorial powers.
26/10/1930, Vargas became President of Brazil.
1927, Henry Ford founded the town of Fordlandia, in 6,000 square miles of the Amazon rainforest on the banks of the Tapajos River. It was 18 hours by riverboat from the nearest town. He aimed to provide living conditions similar to those at his North American car plants, and the Brazilian rubber plantation workers were paid 35 cents an hour, 10 cents more than workers on rubber plantations in south east Asia. Howerver the Brazilina workers disliked the food available, the strict laws on alcohol and relationships with women, and being forced to attend square dances. The housing was unsuitable as unlike traditional accommodation, it was not raised on stilts to keep out insects. Finally, the local soil was found unsuitable to growing rubber plants. In 1934 Fordlandia was abandoned and operations transferred to Belterra, 14 km away, a much larger operation. This too was abandoned in 1945 when it proved unprofitable. However whilst Fordlandia was left derelict, Belterra survives today as a tourist town.
12/6/1926. Brazil left the League of Nations.
1899, Brazil became a Republic.
1897, The original ‘favela’ was erected on the Morro de Castelo, Rio de Janiero, by soldiers returning from the Canudos Campaign, who had gone unpaid. It is now a generic word for shanty towns, especially in South America.
5/12/1891, Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, died.
15/11/1889, Dom Pedro was dethroned as Emperor of Brazil, and a Republic proclaimed.
1845, A ten-year effort by Rio Grande do Sul to break away from Brazil as an independent Republic ended in defeat.
24/9/1834, Pedro I, Emperor of Brazil, died.
2/12/1830, Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil, was born.
29/8/1825, Portugal formally recognised the independence of Brazil.
4/8/1824. The USA gave formal diplomatic recognition to the newly independent Brazil.
1/12/1822, Dom Pedro was crowned Emperor of newly independent Brazil.
7/9/1822, Brazil proclaimed its independence from Portugal, with Pedro I as Emperor.
16/1/1816, Brazil proclaimed its independence from Portugal, with the Portuguese Prince Regent Joao as Emperor.
1727, Coffee production began in Brazil.
1695, Gold was discovered in what is now the Minas Gerais region of Brazil.
6/2/1694, Portuguese forces in Brazil captured Macaco, the past stronghold of the Palmares, after a siege of 42 days. The Palmares were Africans, Mocambos, who had fled from the Brazilian plantations and established their own de-facto independent state in eastern Brazil in the early 1600s. The name Palmares derives from the palm trees of the area which provided food and shelter.
1674, The settlement of Manaus, Brazil, was founded, 1,601 km from the mouth of the Amazon.
4/1648, The Portuguese defeated the Dutch forces in Brazil.
1557, The Portuguese founded the city of Sao Paulo.
3/1549, Salvador da Bahia was established as Brazil’s forst colonial capital.
12/3/1537, The Portuguese founded the city of Recife, Brazil.
1534, The first African slaves were imported into Brazil by the Portuguese.
1530, The Portuguese established their first colony in Brazil.
22/4/1500. The Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral discovered the coast of Brazil. He claimed this territory for Portugal, which he named Vera Cruz or ‘true cross’ but which was to be called Brazil, after the red-coloured brazil-wood, which grew there.