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In 1500 Portuguese captain Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered western land by accident on his way to India. He found the natives were "between white and black" and naked. Two degredados (deported criminals) were left ashore, and two sailors jumped ship to stay with the nude natives. Amerigo Vespucci went there with Gonçalo Coelho in 1501 and claimed it was the same land he had discovered in 1499. The Portuguese began exporting its brazilwood. Fernao de Noronha (Loronha) was given an exclusive license to trade for three years, and he was required to send out six ships annually to explore 2,000 kilometers of coastline. In 1505 the Portuguese crown resumed responsibility for Brazil. The sailor Diogo Alvares became known as Caramuru and married the Tupinamba princess Paraguacu, and he presided over a village of a thousand warriors in Bahia. In 1511 Noronha and his associates sent the Bretoa back to Portugal with 5,000 logs of brazilwood, parrots, and 35 slaves, despite the Portuguese instructions that prohibited harming the natives. The French also traded there, and in 1516 King Manuel complained to King François (Francis) about the interlopers. By 1525 Normans were in Rio de Janeiro. The next year Sebastian Cabot visited Rio de la Plata and Pernambuco, which was just beginning to export sugar. Also in 1526 King Joao III sent Christovao Jacques with a fleet that sank three ships from Brittany at Bahia. According to French protests, 300 prisoners were taken to Pernambuco, where they were tortured and executed.
The Portuguese called the natives on the coast of Brazil that had similar languages the Tupi-Guarani and those inland with diverse languages the Tapuias. Exiled degradados were sent there. In 1532 Martim Afonso de Sousa with four hundred men founded a royal colony at Sao Vicente, a thousand miles south of Bahia; but no married Portuguese woman was known to have come until 1538. Joao Ramalho had been in Brazil for twenty years and had a large family of mamaluco (mixed race) children. He assumed the wife he left in Portugal was dead, and his main wife was the daughter of Chief Tibiriça. His sons were criticized for their promiscuity. Sousa appointed Ramalho capitao mor, and he became an important intermediary between the Portuguese and the natives. In 1532 Pero Lopes de Sousa captured two French ships at Pernambuco and took back a fort the French had occupied. The French accused him of hanging the commander and twenty others, and a lawsuit disputed the charges. In 1536 some shipwrecked Portuguese and Spanish castaways joined with native allies to capture Sao Vicente, but Chief Tibiriça of Piritininga helped the Portuguese suppress the rebellion. A new port was built in 1543, and Bras Cubas was appointed captain of the colony two years later. He founded a charitable organization and had a church and hospital built.
Brazil was divided into fourteen hereditary captaincies (feitorias) by lines parallel to the equator west to the line of the Tordesillas Treaty. The bureaucrats, merchants, and aristocrats granted these sesmarias were obligated to cultivate the land within five years; but few did, and only Pernambuco succeeded at first. Native resistance wiped out the Bahia colony in 1545 and Sao Tomé the next year when those in Espirito Santo and Porto Seguro were severely damaged. Sao Vicente, Ilhéus, Itamaraca, and Pernambuco were still intact. Duarte Coelho was captain of Pernambuco, which was several times the size of Portugal. He was so wealthy that he did not need government support and was exempt from inspections. His opposition to royal authority began a tradition that lasted centuries. In 1547 Caramuru was acting as an intermediary when a flotilla was shipwrecked; all the Europeans were killed and eaten except him. Caramuru did much to help the two cultures understand each other until his death in 1557. By 1548 Luis de Gois reported that Sao Vicente had six engenhos for processing sugar cane and six hundred colonists, who owned 3,000 slaves. That year the natives besieged Igaraçu and Olinda, but the captaincy of Itamaraca owned by Pero Lopes de Sousa sent supplies to relieve them the next year.
In 1549 Tomé de Sousa was appointed the first royal governor and with more than a thousand people established a capital at Salvador in Bahia. With him came the first six Jesuit missionaries in the new world led by Manuel da Nobrega, and they brought seven orphan boys to learn the Tupi language. Nobrega was upset that the priests had concubines and many of the Europeans multiple unions. He appealed for more white women to be sent. Some Jesuits opposed enslavement of the natives and came into conflict with the Portuguese settlers, who resented the natives working on the Jesuits' lands. Pero Fernandes Sardinha, the first bishop of Brazil, arrived in 1552 and two years later was forced to move from Bahia to Sao Vicente.
Nobrega wrote the Dialogue about the Conversion of the Heathen in 1556. At first he believed that the natives were morally superior to the Europeans in following natural laws, and many were easily converted to accept baptism and marriage ceremonies; but he found they were just as easily unconverted. One character in his dialogue complained, "We see they are dogs because they kill and eat one another, and pigs in their vices and way of life."1 Nobrega suggested sending boys back to Portugal to be educated, or Europeans might be given incentives to settle in the interior. These proved impractical, and he tried to educate the native boys there. Some of the boys then denounced the sins of their elders. Tribal leaders were especially reluctant to confine themselves to one wife. In 1553 he joined together three villages into what later became Sao Paulo. Nobrega became furious when the Caeté killed and ate Brazil's first bishop Sardinha after a shipwreck in 1556. He realized that converting by love was very difficult while the servile people would do anything from fear. He founded a larger aldeia (community) near the Jesuit college in 1559, and soon 34,000 natives lived in parishes near Bahia. His colleague Anchieta by 1563 cynically decided that the natives must be compelled to come into their faith.
Duarte da Costa succeeded Tomé de Sousa as governor at Bahia in 1553. He sent Francisco de Brusa with twelve soldiers and a Jesuit on an inland expedition, but they found neither the gold nor the silver they wanted. The Governor appointed his son Alvaro da Costa to command the troops, and he burned villages to recover cattle and rescue captives. This war started in 1554, and Chief Tibiriça almost reverted to cannibalism. Within three or four years a plague began killing many of the natives who had attacked the settlements.
Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon led six hundred French Protestants, Catholics, and ex-convicts that settled at Guanabara Bay (Rio de Janeiro) in 1555, and he called himself the king of Antarctic France. He wrote to John Calvin that he confined men to an island to keep them from cohabiting with native women. When he tried to force a Norman to marry his native concubine or give her up, a revolt threatened Villegagnon's life. However, his Scottish bodyguard executed some of the plotters. Twenty or more interpreters fled to live among the natives, and an epidemic spread that killed hundreds. Calvin sent more Huguenots from Geneva to join them two years later, but in 1558 the Portuguese attacked them. Frustrated by the Calvinists' resistance, Villegagnon reverted to Catholicism and sailed back to France in 1559. The next year Mem de Sa led a force that drove the French out of Guanabara Bay, but he did not have enough men to hold the fort and prevent the French from returning to the islands. His nephew Estacio de Sa led the fleet from Portugal that arrived in Bahia in 1563, and two years later he established the military base that eventually grew into Rio de Janeiro. Cristovao de Barros commanded a fleet that finally drove out the French, though Estacio de Sa died of his wounds.
Mem de Sa arrived at Bahia as governor-general in 1558 and pacified the local natives by burning sixty villages. He was more sympathetic to the missionaries and governed until his death in 1572. Pero Leitao became the second bishop in 1559, and he worked with Mem de Sa and the Jesuits to establish missionary villages (aldeias) for the natives. Mem de Sa sent three expeditions to punish the natives. In 1560 his troops forced the French to abandon Villegagnon Island. The next year the Jesuit Jose de Anchieta accompanied the expedition down the Tieté River that defeated the natives, and in July 1562 Chief Tibiriça helped save the town of Sao Paulo from an Indian attack. That year Mem de Sa declared a "just war" against the Caeté for having killed Bishop Sardinha six years before. European diseases such as measles, smallpox, and cold viruses began devastating the native population of Bahia in 1562, causing at least 60,000 deaths in two years. Famine caused starving natives to sell themselves into slavery. In 1563 Nobrega and Anchieta went to Iperoig and made themselves hostages to cannibals. Nobrega left two months later, but Anchieta stayed, talked with natives, and composed six thousand verses in Latin he memorized and dedicated to the Virgin. In the 1560s the sons of Duarte Coelho, Jorge de Albuquerque Coelho and Duarte Coelho de Albuquerque, led the military campaigns against the natives in Pernambuco. The younger Duarte Coelho used 20,000 Indian allies to conquer Cape St. Augustine by 1571.
In 1570 Portuguese king Sebastian decreed that only cannibals and captives in a just war could be enslaved; but the settlers complained so much that this was revoked four years later. The previously abused system of resgate was allowed again to justify "rescuing" or "ransoming" captives of inter-tribal warfare, though such Indians enslaved had to be registered at the custom house. Tribes with diminishing numbers withdrew inland. The labor shortage stimulated the importation of African slaves in the 1570s. Magalhaes de Gandavo estimated that there were between one thousand and two thousand African slaves in Brazil in 1570.
In 1571 Sebastian decreed that only Portuguese ships could trade with Brazil. The next year he divided Brazil into northern and southern administrative regions. Luis de Brito de Almeida governed (1572-78) the north at Salvador, Bahia, and it extended from Ilhéus to Pernambuco. The south had its capital at Rio de Janeiro, went from Porto Seguro to Sao Vicente, and was governed by Cristovao de Barros (1572-74) and Antonio de Salema (1574-78). Slave-raiding provoked a war in 1572. A royal decree in 1573 exempting Brazil's sugar from import duties in Portugal encouraged settlers to take more land. In the south in 1574 Governor Salema approved new laws to protect the natives while guaranteeing colonists the use of their labor. He also led an army that defeated the French and Tamoios, slaughtering and enslaving thousands. The next year the Tamoios raided sugar plantations near Rio de Janeiro. Salema organized a force with 700 Indian allies and negotiated the surrender of 500 archers for breaking the previous peace; but when he massacred and enslaved them, the Tamoios fought back but were defeated by the Portuguese firearms. In the north in 1575 Governor Almeida led an expedition that brought 1,200 captives to Bahia, where most of them died of measles and smallpox. Brazil was reunited under Governor-General Lourenço da Veiga in 1578. He increased the subsidy to the Jesuits; but after learning that Portugal had fallen under the rule of Spain, he died in 1581.
While Manuel Telles Barreto governed Brazil from 1583 to 1587, a judge named Martim Leitao recruited five hundred settlers and marched against a fortified camp of three thousand Indians in 1585, but the soldiers suffered dysentery and retreated. The next year the Potiguar were supported by allies from France and had only seventy or eighty men captured. The Portuguese burned the French brazilwood four years in a row.
Another interim government lasted from 1587 until 1591. Gabriel Soares de Sousa complained that the sugar mills in the Porto Seguro and Ilhéus captaincies had been destroyed by the Aimoré, who over a generation had killed 300 Portuguese and 3,000 slaves. The Aimoré took no prisoners and had been driven from the coast by the Tupi before the first Portuguese had arrived. Sousa also noted that most of the baptized natives had reverted to their heathen ways. A 1587 law prohibited attacking Indians, but Cristovao Cardoso de Barros led a "just war" using 20,000 natives to conquer Sergipe at the end of 1589, killing 1,600 and enslaving 4,000. Salvador Correa de Sa governed at Rio de Janeiro from 1578 to 1598. Sugar replaced brazilwood as the chief export in the 1580s, and many more African slaves were imported, mostly from Angola. By 1600 about 14,000 African slaves made up 70% of the plantation workers, though the European population was more than double that. Slave hunters called bandeiras began going into the jungle for years at a time. In the 1590s Captain-Major Jorge Correia of Sao Paulo and Jeronimo Leitao led slaving expeditions to Paranagua and then down the Tieté for six years that destroyed 300 villages and enslaved or killed 30,000 people according to the Spanish Jesuits.
Cunning Francisco de Sousa governed Brazil from 1591 until 1601. In 1591 foreign ships without a license were banned from Brazil, but that year Thomas Cavendish raided Santos, burning sugar mills. The Inquisitional Court arrived with Governor Sousa in 1591 and searched for "New Christians" (descendants of Jews who had been forced to convert to Catholicism in 1497) and those who practiced Jewish traditions. Many of those accused did not even know what they were doing was Jewish until they were told so. The Inquisition moved to Pernambuco in 1593 and departed two years later. In 1594 Spanish king Felipe II permitted the Dutch to send two fleets of twenty ships annually. In 1596 Felipe affirmed the freedom of the Indians and entrusted their care in the aldeias (communities) to the Jesuits. The next year the French and the Potiguar attacked the Portuguese fort on the Paraiba River but failed. Paraiba's governor Feliciano Coelho led a campaign that was devastated by smallpox but built a fort on the Potengi River. Finally a peace treaty was signed at Paraiba in June 1599. The Potiguar attacked the Reis Magos fort with 40,000 men, but they were defeated and came under Portuguese control in 1601.
Slave hunters called bandeiras went into the jungle for years at a time, especially in the early 17th century when the Dutch closed Angola to the Portuguese, blocking their slave trade to Brazil. Governor Francisco de Souza authorized the expedition led by Andre Leao in 1601 that crossed the Mantiqueira Mountains to the Sao Francisco River and the prospecting the next year by Nicolau Barreto down the Parana River. Barreto found no precious metals but returned with 3,000 Temimino captives that were sold at Sao Paulo with the usual third going to the crown. Spaniards in Paraguay protested the raids, but three more raids captured slaves in 1606 and 1607.
Felipe III (Philip) decreed a law in 1609 that protected the natives, both those who were baptized and those who lived according to their own traditions, and those employing them on their estates must pay for their labor. The Relacao of Bahia instituted an appeals court to enforce the laws. All illegally captured Indians were declared free, and any legal documents attesting to their enslavement were made null and void. When the Relacao was presented to the Bahia council in June 1610, the opposition vehemently blamed the Jesuits and surrounded their college and the governor's residence. The Jesuits refused to condemn the law but agreed that legally captured Indians could be held, and the Jesuits promised not to employ natives. Governor Diogo de Meneses (1608-12) requested that the Spanish crown modify the law, and in 1611 a new statute allowed captures during "just wars" to be made slaves for ten years. Five more slave raids were organized between 1610 and 1615. In 1626 secular and ecclesiastical authorities decided at Maranhao that slaves costing more than five axes should be slaves for life.
Jesuits organized the province of Paraguay in 1607 and three years later founded new missions at Loreto and Inacio in Guaira. Manoel Preto led an attack on a Guaira settlement in 1616 and again in 1619. In 1623 he and Antonio Raposo Tavares captured a thousand Christian Indians from the missions of Guaira. In 1629 Raposo Tavares and 69 Paulistas led the largest bandeira so far with 900 mamelucos (offspring of Portuguese and natives) and 2,000 natives; they captured at least 5,500 Indians in Guaira and took them to Sao Paulo. After two more raids on three villages in the next two years, the Jesuits decided to move ten thousand Indians down the Parana River; but in 1632 Villa Rica and Ciudad Real were abandoned as the Guaira fled farther into the interior. The Jesuits fled south, and in 1636 Raposo Tavares raided the Jesuits' Tapia settlements. A large bandeira took thousands of Indians from the Jesuits' new villages on the Ibicui in 1637 and 1638, but that year Paraguay governor Pedro de Lugo y Navarra helped the Jesuits defeat them at Casapaguacu.
In 1639 Spanish authorities in Asuncion allowed the Jesuits to arm their Indians, and the Guarani even made their own guns out of heavy bamboo and ox-hides. Bishop Bernardo de Cardenas became acting governor of Paraguay in 1640 and approved attacks on the Jesuit missions, but in March 1641 a large bandeira was defeated in the Mboreré territory. The missionaries retreated to the Uruguay and Parana rivers. Bandeirante Francisco Bueno died in 1644. These raids had diminishing returns as the African slaves brought prices four times higher than the natives. Raposo Tavares led his last raid in 1648 but continued on a journey of 8,000 miles that explored the Paraguay and Amazon watersheds.
The prelate Matéus da Costa Aborim imposed penance on those who abused the natives; he was sharply criticized and died of poisoning in 1629. His successors were also threatened or poisoned. The Jesuits were eventually driven out of Sao Paulo and did not return until 1653. Slave hunters in the Amazon region claimed they only seized Indians who had already been enslaved by others. Pedro Teixeira took possession of the valley by the Napo for Portugal in 1639, and this became Brazil's basis for claiming all of Amazonia. In Rio de Janeiro, Governor Salvador Correia de Sa e Benevides was a large landowner with many slaves, and he mediated an agreement with the Jesuits in 1640. He also recaptured Angola for Portugal in 1648, making African slaves more available for the sugar plantations.
In northern Brazil the French had been living among the natives of Maranhao since the shipwreck of 1594. Pero Coelho de Soares began an effort to conquer this territory in 1603; but he was repulsed by the French and Indians, and a drought devastated the population in 1606. The next year two Jesuits joined the expedition that reached Serra de Ibiapaba in 1608; but the Tacarijus natives killed Francisco Pinto, and Luis Figueira retreated. The Portuguese were given reinforcements, and finally in 1615 La Ravardiere and the French agreed to withdraw from Maranhao. The Portuguese pushed on and the next year built Forte do Presepio by the Para River. In 1623 Luis Aranha de Vasconcellos captured the Dutch settlements at the mouth of the Xingu River, and two years later Bento Maciel Parente drove the English from the Amazon and established Noss Senhora do Desterro.
The Dutch East India Company reached the coast between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Vicente in 1614. As the twelve-year Dutch-Portuguese truce was ending, the Dutch West India Company was chartered on June 3, 1621 with a monopoly over trade in the Americas and part of Africa for two dozen years. By then Amsterdam had 25 sugar refineries. In 1624 Jan Andries Moerbeeck published the pamphlet "Why the West India Company should attempt to Conquer Brazil from the king of Spain, without delay." In May of that year a Dutch fleet of 26 ships captured the Bahia capital at Salvador as the inhabitants fled; but a Spanish-Portuguese fleet of 52 warships was organized under Fadrique de Toledo with 12,000 men. The Dutch were besieged at Salvador and suffered guerrilla attacks, and in April 1625 they surrendered to the Spanish-Portuguese fleet, which returned to Europe in 1627. The next year Dutch commander Piet Heyn with a fleet of 31 ships carrying 4,000 men captured a lucrative Spanish fleet worth 12 million guilders that gave WIC stockholders a 75% dividend. During the struggle with the Dutch the Relacao was ignored as too expensive from 1626 until 1652.
Dutch merchants were already at Recife in Pernambuco, and in 1630 the Dutch fleet occupied Recife and Olinda. They conquered Arraial do Bom Jesus, Paraibe, and the Nazaré fort in 1635 during the Sugar War as the Portuguese Brazilians and the Dutch tried to destroy each other's sugar mills. Count Johan Maurits (Maurice) of Nassau arrived in 1637 and took over Pernambuco. Conde da Torre led an armada of 46 ships and went to Salvador for supplies in 1639, but the next year he was unable to take Recife. A Dutch fleet arrived that year and destroyed 27 engenhos (sugar mills) in Reconcavo. In December 1640 the Portuguese line of kings was restored with Joao IV, but the Portuguese had to fight for their independence from Spain until 1668. In Brazil even those who had Spanish relatives tended to side with the Portuguese. In March 1641 Maurits celebrated the news of Joao IV's restoration with festivals, plays, sports, and contests, and in June the Dutch leaders agreed to a ten-year truce with Portugal. In 1642 the English signed a treaty with Portugal in January, and Sweden did so in July. That year the Marques de Montalvao became the first president of the Conselho Ultramarino that governed overseas affairs.
Count Maurits sold the abandoned sugar mills at auction on credit and established a council and courts of justice. He approved returning to their masters fugitive slaves who had fled after their masters submitted to the Dutch; but he would not give back those who had deserted to the Dutch earlier. In a debate over free trade he maintained the Company's monopoly on African slaves, dyewoods, and munitions but he allowed free trade on other goods to Dutch stockholders in the West India Company. Maurits tolerated Catholic worship and Jews even though he was criticized by zealous Calvinists. Of the three thousand Europeans in Recife, more than a thousand of them were Jews; but most of them left when the Dutch surrendered in 1654. When so much sugar was being grown that the food supply was short, in 1638 Maurits ordered all landlords to plant two hundred hills of manioc (cassava) for each slave. During his government (1637-44) sugar production was estimated at 218,220 chests worth 28 million florins. Maurits made Recife his capital and improved the city. He created a museum and patronized artists. His physician Willem Piso made a comprehensive study of the diseases of Brazil. Maurits made his last conquest by occupying Sao Luis de Maranhao in November 1641, extending his government to seven of the fourteen captaincies. Before he left in 1644, he wrote that he knew from experience that the Portuguese valued courtesy and consideration more than money and property. A crowd of Indians wanted to go with him to Holland, and in April 1645 the Dutch organized an unusual conference of chiefs from twenty aldeias.
Fires in 1640, floods and epidemics in 1641 and 1642, and a drought in 1644 caused the price of sugar to go down so that by 1645 it was below the cost of production. Indians attacked the Dutch at Ceara in 1643. After Count Maurits was recalled the next year, Governor-General Antonio Teles da Silva and King Joao IV secretly began encouraging a revolt against Dutch rule. A plot to arrest the top Dutch officials at a banquet was discovered. In order to maintain his alliance with the Dutch against the Spanish, Joao gave little military aid to the Brazilians, who won some victories but in 1645 were besieged at Recife. In 1647 and 1648 Brazil lost 249 out of 300 merchant ships to Dutch privateers. In 1648 the Estates General in the Netherlands sent an army of 5,000 mercenaries led by the German general Sigismund von Schoppe, but in April they were defeated by 2,200 men commanded by Francisco Barreto at Guararapes, where the Dutch suffered another defeat in February 1649. That month King Joao IV allowed the property of New Christians condemned by the Inquisition to be invested in Brazil's new company, and the Companhia Geral do Comércio do Brazil was incorporated as 1,255,000 cruzados were raised. The Brazil Company financed a fleet of sixty ships that fought Haulthain's eight warships by Recife in 1652. Joao IV sent a fleet 77 ships commanded by Pedro Jaques de Magalhaes that forced the Dutch to surrender Recife in January 1654, ending the Dutch domination of Brazil.
Antonio Vieira was born February 6, 1608 in Lisbon and came to Brazil with his parents when he was six. He was educated at the Jesuit college in Bahia. Vieira was ordained in 1635 and became the most popular preacher in Brazil. He urged all races to join the Portuguese in defending Brazil from Dutch invaders. While working to help Indians and African slaves, he learned Tupi-Guarani and other Amazon languages and Kimbundu, which was used by slaves from Angola. In 1641 he went to Portugal and became King Joao's closest advisor. Even after Joao's death in 1656, he prophesied that the King would return and bring about a golden age of peace.
Vieira made enemies because he advocated tolerance of converted Jews and ceding Pernambuco to make peace with the Dutch. He returned as a missionary to Brazil and arrived at Maranhao in January 1653. Vieira could not even borrow Indians for a journey because they were working on the Governor's tobacco plantations. Frustrated, he sailed to the slave-trading base at Belem do Para in October. Observing the abusive capturing of Indians, he wrote the court urging that Jesuits be put in control of them as was done in Paraguay; but in October 1653 King Joao IV had decided that it was impossible to free all the slaves, and the justifications for taking captives were greatly relaxed and even included disobedience when called upon to work. Vieira preached to the settlers that they were endangering their souls, saying, "Break the chains of injustice and free those whom you hold captive and oppressed!"2 In January 1654 colonists signed a petition complaining that the Jesuits' preaching to Indians about their "legal freedom" was provoking uprisings against the whites. The Europeans did not want to do their own work. Vieira went on a "missionary" expedition but discovered that the Governor of Para was more intent on capturing slaves than on saving souls. When the eight hundred captives were mistreated, Vieira left the expedition.
Vieira visited Portugal, and in 1655 Joao IV granted his request and ordered the Jesuits put in control of all the Indian villages; but the Jesuit priests could authorize ransom expeditions, and life-long slavery continued. Vieira assigned Jesuits to 54 aldeias (communities) in northern Brazil over an estimated 200,000 souls. In 1657 he sent a letter to the King opposing for the first time the slavery of Africans. He continued to criticize the treatment of the natives, and the settlers complained they did not have enough workers. Smallpox struck Maranhao in 1660 and spread. In May 1661 the city council of Sao Luis forced Vieira to give up his administration of the Indians, and the next month citizens of Belem invaded the Colégio Santo Alexandre, captured Vieira and other Jesuits, and sent them to Sao Luis. Later they were shipped back to Lisbon. Vieira was expelled from Brazil in 1661, and he was imprisoned by the Inquisition in Portugal until 1668 for writing the Quinto Império. He wrote 25 articles in his defense but was banished to Coimbra and Oporto. In 1663 a law put the natives under the town councils of the settlers. In 1669 Vieira wrote,
The so-called expeditions into the sertao
must be totally prohibited and stopped,
so that the injustice and tyranny cloaked with the name of “ransom” cease.
Under it many thousands of innocent Indians
have been enslaved, killed and extinguished.
It is the primary origin and cause of all the ruin of that State.3
Vieira spent six years in Rome as confessor to Queen Kristina of Sweden, and he secured some toleration for the Jews. In 1680 he influenced a law that punished with exile those who captured natives. The next year Vieira was permitted to return to Brazil, where he championed Indian rights until he died in 1697. His regulations for conducting aldeias missions written in 1686 were influential for the next century. By 1710 all of his collected sermons had been published in 14 volumes.
After Joao IV died in 1656, the Conselho da Fazenda advised Portugal to take over the Brazil Company. In 1658 Queen-Regent Luisa decreed an end to the monopoly and reduced the fleet to one annual sailing. The Company was compensated by a tax on sugar, and in 1662 the crown took over its administration. In 1661 the English mediated a treaty between Portugal and Holland that was ratified in 1662. The Portuguese agreed to pay the Dutch four million cruzados indemnity over sixteen years and restored captured Dutch artillery, and the Dutch were allowed to trade with Portugal and Brazil.
In 1660 Jeronimo Barbalho led a tax revolt in Rio de Janeiro against Governor Salvador Correia de Sa e Benevides. Sa returned to Rio, and a convoy from Portugal helped him arrest them. He executed Barbalho in 1661 and sentenced others to long prison terms in Lisbon and Bahia. However, the court replaced Sa with the rebel's moderate brother, Agostinho Barbalho Bezerra, who was also given administration of the mines of Sao Paul in 1664. The peace treaty between Spain and Portugal in 1668 opened up trade between the two nations under licenses.
Pedro became prince regent of Portugal in January 1668, and that year two major expeditions explored the interior and fought the natives. The next year Governor Alexandre de Sousa Freire declared a "just war" that led to several inland settlements by 1673, when a thousand natives were captured. The Sesmarias governor Fernao Dias Pais led a bandeira from Sao Paulo looking for gold, silver, and emeralds in 1674 that lasted seven years. Others established numerous cattle ranches. In 1670 Pedro ordered Governor-General Afonso Furtado de Mendonça and the Pernambuco governor to investigate corrupt officials manipulating elections to engage in commerce and the collection of tithes, and Governor-General Roque de Costa Barreto implemented the Regimento Novo in January 1677. A month before that, the Pope issued a bull that extended the boundaries of Rio de Janeiro and designated Rio and Pernambuco as bishoprics with Bahia elevated to an archbishopric. In 1679 the new governor of Rio, Manuel Lobo, sent Jorge Soares de Macedo to establish a fort on the island of Sao Gabriel opposite to Buenos Aires, but Macedo and his men were shipwrecked and captured by two Jesuits and 800 mission Indians and were taken to Buenos Aires. Governor Lobo arrived and began building a fort on the mainland at Colonia in January 1680, but in August the Spaniards with Guarani allies captured Colonia. A treaty in 1681 restored Colonia to the Portuguese, but it remained a point of contention for a century.
In 1682 the state of Maranhao organized a commercial company that was given a monopoly for twenty years to import 500 African slaves annually. The historian Joao Francisco Lisboa criticized the company for excessive "robbery and vexations" and for selling materials and food of bad quality.
Many African slaves escaped into the interior and lived in quilombos, the most famous being Palmares with as many as 30,000 inhabitants. In 1662 Governor-General Francisco Barreto ordered an attack on the quilombos in Sergipe del-Rei. Zumbi was born at Palmares in 1655, but he was captured by a military expedition and was educated by the priest Antonio Melo. At the age of fifteen he ran away and returned to Palmares. In 1673 Zumbi led a force that defeated the expedition of Antonio Jacome Bezerra, and in 1676 he was wounded while fighting the attack led by Manuel Lopes, who burned two thousand houses. Zumbi was wounded again the next year defending against the expedition led by Fernao Carrilho. Chief Ganga Zumba was blamed for this defeat, but Zumbi's opposition failed to remove him. The next year Ganga Zamba made a treaty recognizing Palmares as free vassals of Portugal and agreeing to return runaways. Only a few hundred people joined Zamba in a new community at Cucau under Portuguese protection. The Great Council of Palmares then elected Zumbi. White colonists made incursions into Cucau seeking fugitive slaves, and in 1680 Zumbi's supporters seized weapons, poisoned Ganga Zumba, and killed his advisors. The Portuguese then executed four of Zumbi's men and enslaved 200 others. In the 1680s six expensive expeditions marched against Palmares without accomplishing much of anything, but in 1694 forces led by Domingos Jorge Velho attacked Palmares and killed King Zumbi and his staff the following year. The Jesuit Jorge Benci wrote Economia Crista dos senhores no governo dos escravos in 1700 to call for better treatment of slaves in Brazil. He urged the masters to set a better example by not keeping concubines in the house and by not enriching themselves at the expense of others.
In the early 1680s a drought devastated sugar production, and three years of smallpox were followed by two years of yellow fever which struck Recife in 1685. In 1684 Manuel Beckman led a revolt by colonists while the governor was away from Sao Luis. The new governor, Gomes Freire de Andrada, arrived the next year and put the leaders on trial. Beckman and Jorge Sampaio were hanged, and others were imprisoned or exiled. However, the new governor did ask the King to abolish the company, and the Jesuits returned. A new rule for the missions was established in 1686. The Indians were to be taught Portuguese and trades and were required to work. Royal decrees over the next generation assigned various tribes to the Franciscans, the Jesuits, the Carmelites, the Franciscans da Piedade, and the Mercedarians. As cattle ranching spread in the interior, natives fought back. In 1687 Antonio de Albuquerque led 300 men from Pernambuco, but they were decimated by a force of 3,000 native warriors. The next year Governor-General Mathias da Cunha complained that the "barbarians of the Rio Grande" had killed more than a hundred people and destroyed over 30,000 cattle. The American disease of yellow fever took the lives of many Europeans, including the Governor-General in October 1688. The next year King Pedro II authorized private groups to bring back Indians from the interior at their own expense. They were supposed to persuade them, but within two years the King realized the abuse and pardoned the enslaved natives while fining their masters.
In 1691 measles ravaged the natives in the camp of Matias Cardoso, and the European troops mutinied because of lack of pay and supplies. The Jesuits appealed to Cardoso, and his men killed 600 Tapuia. Finally in 1691 Cristovao de Mendonça captured the Janduin chief, who had previously been baptized and surrendered with 2,500 people. A letter from the King Pedro II of Portugal written in January 1691 arrived ordering that Indians captured in the Rio Grande war be freed, and he accepted the Governor's proposal of shipping them to aldeias near Rio de Janeiro. Finally in April 1692 a treaty was signed at Salvador da Bahia between Pedro II and King Canindé of Janduin, promising perpetual peace and conversion to Christianity by 22 villages. The tribes of Paiacu, Janduin, and Ico helped the settlers pacify the other natives to create mission villages, and in 1697 the town council of Natal commended Captain-Major Bernardo Vieira de Mello for three years of success for having "reduced all the heathens to a universal peace." However, in 1699 the Paulista commander Manoel Alvares de Morais Navarro persuaded 200 Janduin to help him attack the Paiacu, and Navarro's men massacred 250 people while the Janduin watched. Missionaries complained, and King Pedro ordered Navarro arrested in 1701; but he was freed two years later. The French extended their territory from Guiana, but the Portuguese recaptured Macapa in 1697.
Carlos Pedro da Silveira showed Governor Sebastiao de Castro Caldas samples of gold from Itaverava in 1695, and by 1698 people from Sao Paulo were going to Ouro Preto. Many new strikes were made in the early 1700s, and King Pedro II put up his claims for auction, granting owners fifteen feet of land for each slave. In 1701 Joao de Lencastre decreed that no one could go to the gold fields without a passport signed by a governor, but this was unenforceable. Also that year the Crown prohibited cattle ranches within eighty kilometers of the coast. A new mining code was decreed in 1702 to assure that the King got one fifth, but illegal and fraudulent practices were common. He prohibited foreigners to emigrate to Brazil and ordered those near the mines expelled. Governor-General Rodrigo da Costa (1702-05) complained that agriculture was suffering in the north because landowners were selling their slaves in the mining regions, though tobacco farming in Bahia helped the slave trade. Portugal gained protection on the seas by signing three treaties with England in 1703. So many clerics and friars were refusing to pay the fifth that the government excluded them from the mines. They preached that people should not pay the tax to the King.
Wealthy landowner Manuel Nunes Viana exploited the contraband trade, and in October 1708 Borba Gato ordered him to leave Minas and wrote to the governor of Rio de Janeiro. Frei Meneses asked Governor Lencastre for a monopoly on fresh meat. He refused and ordered Borba Gato to prevent price gouging on necessary articles. Meneses appealed to Viana for support, and a civil war broke out between these Emboabas (Portuguese) and the Paulistas (of Sao Paulo). Lawlessness was rampant, and the rich hired their own troops and even armed slaves. Antonio de Albuquerque Coelho de Carvalho became governor of Rio de Janeiro in June 1709 and got Viana to retire. In November he issued a pardon that helped restore order, and in 1711 the Paulistas got back much of their property taken by the Emboabas. In 1710 Governor Carvalho ordered gold confiscated, if the fifth was not paid, with one-third going to the informer. Brazil's gold production increased during the first half of the 18th century and then declined in the second half. Carvalho instituted law and order by declaring three mining camps municipalities in 1711 and others in succeeding years. Jacobina had 532 firearms deaths between 1710 and 1721, but in four years after it became a vila the only two murders were by a sword and a knife.
In 1711 Joao Antonil published The Culture and Opulence of Brazil as Revealed by Its Products and Its Mines in which he described the wealth that could be obtained from the sugar and gold industries. By then 528 sugar mills were producing 1,285,000 arrobas annually. Hides, tobacco, cattle, and other products also were doing well. Many thousands went seeking gold in Minas Geraes while 30,000 African slaves per year were imported into Bahia and Rio de Janeiro to do most of the hard work.
In 1710 Governor Castro de Caldas established a city council in Recife that favored the merchants over the landowners of Olinda. In October he escaped an assassination attempt with only minor wounds; but Olinda citizens disguised as Indians attacked Recife, and the Governor fled to Bahia. A year later a riot broke out in Bahia because the Governor refused to expel the French. A bishop had been made governor at Recife, but in June 1711 he was captured, restored the previous government, and escaped to Olinda. Felix Jose Machado de Mendonça arrived as the new governor of Recife in October empowered to issue a general pardon, but instead he punished the Olinda partisans. King Joao V stopped this in 1714, and the new viceroy, Marques de Angenja, favored Olinda but kept the government at Recife, helping the merchants. The King tried to stop illegal trade in 1715, but it continued despite the hanging of thirty "pirates" taken from Rio de Janeiro to Bahia.
Rio de Janeiro was a city of about 12,000 people when Jean François Duclerc with five French warships attacked in 1710. Duclerc and about 650 men were captured, but he was allowed to meet the ladies and was assassinated in March 1711. The French sent 17 ships with 5,800 men and captured Rio in September, losing 300 men while freeing about 200 prisoners. Rio governor Francisco de Castro Morais retreated to Iguaçu and ransomed so much to the French that he was hated, tried, and imprisoned in India for life.
In 1702 the captain of Ceara illegally sent Colonel Leonardo de Sa up the Parnaiba River to capture the Vidal and Axemi tribes; they in turn attacked ranches, but they were exterminated by the end of 1705. Piaui commander Antonio da Cunha Souto-Maior led a campaign against the Anaperu tribe, but a mameluco led the retaliation that killed soldiers and six Carmelite missionaries. In 1708 King Joao V ordered the Anaperu tribes of Maranhao destroyed, and Cunha's atrocities against the settled tribes in his camp provoked a major rebellion that killed Cunha and most of his officers. The rebel chief Mandu Ladino got his name because he had been taught Latin by the Jesuits. They seized 300 firearms and attacked settlers in Piaui and Ceara while sparing missionaries. Maranhao governor Christovao da Costa Freire led an unsuccessful punitive campaign against Mandu's tribes. In 1716 the rebels destroyed an armed convoy of cattle going to Maranhao, and by 1718 over a hundred ranches had been destroyed or abandoned. The Tupi were enemies of the inland Tapuia, and Tobajara chief Dom Jacob de Sousa e Castro defeated the Tapuia in the forest without European help and killed Mandu Ladino and four other chiefs in 1719. The Portuguese estimated their losses from the seven-year rebellion at 500,000 cruzados. Piaui captain-major Bernardo Carvalho de Aguiar claimed that he had destroyed "four nations of barbarians" with little cost, but he was still fighting them in 1725.
Cattle, horses, and other domesticated animals were brought to South America by the Europeans, and they multiplied in wild herds and were hunted before there were ranches. In 1711 a Jesuit estimated that 500,000 cattle were in the interior of Bahia and 800,000 in Pernambuco.
In 1718 King Joao V (r. 1706-50) decreed that the city of Sao Luis could sell 200 ransomed Indians to raise money to rebuild the cathedral. Authorities also demanded Indians for royal service. Minas Gerais became a captaincy in 1720. Joao da Maia da Gama governed Maranhao and Para 1722-28. He tended to side with the Jesuits against the settlers' demands, but he admitted that he and his predecessors often allowed the six-month limit on an Indian's labor to be exceeded. His successor Alexandre de Sousa Freire (1728-32) removed the limits on this exploitation, and even sick Indians were made to work. In 1721 Joao V urged localities to provide schools. In 1724 Viceroy Vasco Fernandes Cesar de Meneses founded the Brazilian Academy of the Forgotten, named because the Royal Academy of History in Lisbon had not invited any Brazilians to join. In 1732 legislation was enacted to prohibit women from leaving Brazil without approval by the crown, but this was modified the next year to allow wives to accompany their husbands. Rio de Janeiro started the Academia dos Felizes in 1736. In 1737 Jose da Silva Pais financed an expedition that took possession of Rio Grande.
During the annual monsoons flotillas of gold-miners traveled the bloated rivers, but in 1725 the Paiagua annihilated a convoy of two hundred people near the mouth of the Chanes River. They continued to attack each year, and a major battle took place in June 1730 when 400 people from Cuiaba transporting 60 arrobas (900 kilos) of gold were ambushed by hundreds of Paiagua; the battle lasted 29 hours, and most in the flotilla were killed. King Joao V issued proclamations of a just war and authorized the enslavement of captives, and in 1734 Manoel Ruiz de Carvalho led 842 men in 28 war-canoes from Cuiaba. After killing forty Paiagua sentries in their camp, they ambushed the Paiagua using 200 muskets. They slaughtered 600 Paiagua and sent 240 captives to be slaves in the mines. Yet during the 1735 monsoon the Paiagua killed or captured all but four people in a convoy of fifty canoes. The attacks became less frequent, but they went on until the 1780s when a few remaining Paiaguas took refuge with the Spaniards on an island reservation near Asuncion.
In 1726 Minas Gerais governor Lourenço de Almeida acquired some diamonds and, having lived in Goa, he knew what they were; but he did not report this to King Joao V until 1729. The next year Almeida promulgated the first regulations for diamond mining with a capitation tax on each slave and miner. In January 1732 he expelled all free Africans and mulattoes from the diamond region. By the late 1730s about 9,000 slaves were working in the diamond mines of Serro do Frio, and one European or mulatto supervised every eight slaves to prevent smuggling. In 1740 a four-year private contract was given to Joao Fernandes de Oliveira and Francisco Ferreira da Silva that limited diamond mining to the Jequitinhonha River area with no more than 600 slaves. Eventually bankruptcies became more frequent, and in 1771 the crown took over the diamond mines.
In 1741 Joao V persuaded Pope Benedict XIV to issue an encyclical to the bishops of Brazil, forbidding "enslaving, selling, buying, exchanging or giving Indians, separating them from their wives and children, despoiling them of their goods, leading them to strange places," and "depriving them of liberty in any way."4 The penalty for keeping Indian slaves was excommunication, but the Bishop of Para did not publish it for sixteen years.
The printing press set up in Rio Grande do Sul by Antonio Isidoro da Fonseca in 1747 was immediately closed down by the government. Portugal’s King Joao V (r. 1706-50) was ill and dying when he ended the official “ransom” expeditions in Brazil in 1748 and declared that all Indians should be freed. That year the new captaincies of Goias and Mato Grosso were carved out of the large captaincy of Sao Paulo. In January 1750 Portugal and Spain agreed to the Treaty of Madrid that established the borders of Brazil as nearly half of South America. During the first half of the 18th century Brazil imported 790,200 slaves from Angola and Costa da Mina in Africa. During the same period the Portuguese were immigrating at the rate of about ten thousand per year. Between 1734 and 1769 Rio de Janeiro imported 156,638 slaves from Luanda. By the middle of the 18th century the native population, which had been about 2.5 million in 1500, had been reduced to less than 1.5 million. An epidemic of measles and dysentery struck in 1749 and was followed by smallpox the next year that caused the death of 40,000 people around Belem.
The Uruguay River was recognized as the southern border of Brazil. In 1682 Spanish Jesuits had crossed the river and established missions for the Seven Peoples, which became the home for 30,000 Guaranis. To avoid promiscuity the Jesuits approved of early marriages for the Indians. After the treaty of 1750 the Spaniards insisted on the tribes moving across the river to their territory, but in 1752 the natives resisted. In 1754 the Jesuits surrendered their missions, but the Indians refused to comply during the Guarani War (1754-56). A Spanish army of 2,000 tried to force them to move but was badly supplied and had to retreat. In November 1754 some of the Indian chiefs made a treaty with the Portuguese and Gomes Freire de Andrade, Governor of Rio de Janeiro 1735-63, but in February 1756 a combined Spanish-Portuguese army demanded that the seven missions surrender to the Portuguese. Both armies together had about 1,800 men. After waiting one day the Europeans opened fire and killed 1,400 while suffering only three deaths. By June all seven missions had surrendered. Finally in 1758 Pedro de Cevallos, the new viceroy of La Plata, moved the remaining Indians across the Uruguay. Jose Basilio da Gama published his epic poem O Uraguai about this in 1769. He celebrated the heroism of the native chiefs Cepé and Cacambo and the Portuguese conquerors while treating the Jesuits as “ignorant, envious, hypocritical, and sowers of discord.”
Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado was the step-brother of the politically powerful Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Mello, who was named the Marques of Pombal in 1770 and advised the new King Jose I (r. 1750-77) from 1750 and was dictatorial from 1755 to 1777. Reforms began in 1751. A board was formed to oversee the inspection of the quality of sugar and tobacco, and a high court was established at Rio de Janeiro with ten judges and jurisdiction over thirteen districts. In 1754 the Portuguese and Spanish secretly agreed to push the Dutch and French colonies out of South America. That year Pombal passed legislation to provide stipends for magistrates and other officers in order to reduce corruption. Mendonça Furtado was governor from 1751 to 1759 and was given royal orders to end Indian slavery. In 1754 he went on an expedition up the Amazon and Negro rivers, and he came to believe that the mission Indians and those working on the cattle ranches of the Jesuits were virtual slaves. In 1755 Pombal persuaded King Jose to issue two laws that restored the rights of the Indians, prohibited racial discrimination against them, and encouraged marriages between the Portuguese and natives. When the Jesuits tried to avoid the emancipation law by transferring the titles of their aldeias to the Pope, the Crown took away their temporal power over the mission villages.
A commercial company for Greater Para and Maranhao was chartered in 1755, and between 1757 and 1778 they imported 25,365 African slaves. The cities of Sao Luis and Belem increased to about 10,000 inhabitants each. Tobacco in the Amazon was easily taxed and was a royal monopoly. The Crown also chartered a company for Pernambuco and Paraiba in 1759. Indian slavery was abolished in 1757. King Jose and Pombal persuaded Pope Benedict XIV to issue a bull in 1758 that forbade Jesuits from engaging in commerce, hearing confessions, or preaching. The following year even their right to teach was removed, and another law expelled the Jesuits from all of Portugal’s dominions. In 1757 the missions were put under directors, and in 1760 about six hundred Jesuits were forced to leave Brazil.
Bahia founded the Brazilian Academy of the Reborn in 1759, and it met fifteen times to write a history of Portuguese America but closed within a year. In 1761 the Treaty of Pardo cancelled the 1750 treaty between Spain and Portugal, and border skirmishes occurred in Brazil during the Seven Years War (1756-63). The Spanish general Pedro de Cevallos besieged Colonia in 1762 and challenged Portuguese rights in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The price of sugar went up during the Seven Years War.
The capital of Brazil was transferred from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro in 1763. Severe epidemics broke out periodically and were especially bad from 1762 to 1772. Portuguese Governor Jose Custodia attacked the Spaniards without authorization in 1767 in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Two years later Luis de Almeida, the Marques do Lavradio, arrived as the new viceroy, and he sent Francisco Jose da Rocha to investigate in 1771. He found that Governor Antonio de Veiga e Andrade was giving land to favorites, but the Crown would not give Lavradio permission to use military force in Rio Grande do Sul to end corruption. In 1771 the Crown took over the diamond mines. Martinho de Melo e Castro was Secretary of State for the Navy and Overseas Territories 1770-95.
In 1773 Pope Clement XIV abolished the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). After observing two years of Indian freedom, Mendonça Furtado decided that they must be controlled. The Tupi-Guarani language, which had been used by the Jesuits, was now forbidden as they were taught the Portuguese language and culture. In exchange the Portuguese took seventeen percent of all gross income from sales plus ten percent tax for the government. All male Indians between the ages of 13 and 60 were required to work half of each year for the colonists. After much protest the Directorio was abolished in 1798.
After the Spanish allowed Juan Vertiz to enter the area to attack rustlers in 1773, Pombal sent reinforcements to Rio Grande. Rocha was made commander of Colonia in 1775, but he realized it was indefensible and was ordered to pull out. Cevallos took possession of Santa Catarina Island in 1777. Portugal’s King Jose died on February 24. Maria I (r. 1777-92) became queen, and Pombal lost his power on March 5. Spain and Portugal signed an armistice in June and the Treaty of San Ildefonso in October. Spain retained Colonia and the Seven Peoples. The two state-owned commercial companies were abolished by 1779 in order to allow free trade between Portugal and northern Brazil.
In 1778 Para’s Governor Joao Pereira Caldas organized a military campaign against the Mura and Munduruku tribes of the Tapajos. The Muru feared the hostility of the fierce Munduruku and surrendered to the Portuguese in 1785. The Munduruku with two thousand warriors moved east and threatened Maranhao, but half of them were killed by Portuguese firearms. Two captured men persuaded the Munduruku to make peace, and they settled on the lower Tapajos River.
The sale of beef did not increase greatly until they learned how to dry it in charquis in 1780. Mixed with beans and rice, the feijoada became a standard meal. By 1800 Rio Grande do Sul was exporting an average of 600,000 arrobas (9 million kilos) of beef annually. The cowboys were called vaqueiros and the outlaws gauchos. During the last part of the 18th century cotton made Maranhao the most prosperous part of Brazil.
In 1772 Viceroy Marques do Lavradio sponsored the Scientific Academy in Rio de Janeiro. Music was popular in Brazil, especially among the mulattoes. Ouro Preto had a theater in the 1740s and an opera house by 1770. Population data from Minas Gerais showed that in 1776 Africans were 52 percent, mulattoes 26 percent, and Europeans 22 percent. Slaves could only work in the mines for about ten years, and by 1786 freed slaves made up 34 percent of all the people in Minas Gerais. Jose Joaquim da Maia had studied at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and went to medical school in Montpelier, France in 1786. He met with the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson and asked for support for the revolution in Brazil
Luis de Cunha Meneses governed Minas Gerais erratically, and in July 1788 the new Governor Luis Antonio Furtado de Mendonça ordered a head tax (derrama) to make up for the accumulated deficit of 384 arrobas of gold from back taxes owed. Gold had been diminishing, and the people were alarmed. Joachim Jose de Silva Xavier became known as Tiradentes because he could pull teeth. He lost his salary as a cavalry officer, and a mining attempt with four slaves increased his debt. He was also an engineer and went to Rio de Janeiro for a license to build water mills. There he met Jose Alvares Maciel, who had just returned from Portugal; he had studied philosophy and natural history in Coimbra and manufacturing in England. Tiradentes and Maciel talked about the possibility of a revolution in Brazil.
Tiradentes, while on his way back to Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, began a campaign for independence because Portugal was keeping Brazil poor. He persuaded Lt. Col. Francisco de Paula Freire de Andrada, who was second in command to Governor Furtado and Maciel’s brother-in-law, that he could help lead the revolt. In December 1788 they met in Andrada’s home with the influential cleric Carlos Correia de Toledo e Melo and other prominent men. They looked to the United States as their model and hoped that Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo would join. The United States Constitution was banned, but Tiradentes got a copy and translated it into Portuguese. He talked about it to anyone who disliked Portuguese rule. Some had read Guillaume Raynal’s philosophical history on European commerce in the two Indies that described the revolt in North America. They wanted restrictions on diamond mining removed, debts to the Crown forgiven, incentives for setting up factories, the permanent army replaced by citizen militia, and the freeing of all slaves born in Brazil.
However, Col. Silverio dos Reis informed Viscount de Barbacena on 15 March 1789 and got his debts canceled. Other denunciations followed in April. Tiradentes tried to escape and was arrested on May 10; others were detained later that month. The Crown’s tax called derrama was canceled, and the agitation calmed down. The conspiracy was called “Inconfidencia Mineira,” meaning the miners’ failure of duty. During the trial Tiradentes took responsibility for the idea of the revolution “without inspiration from anyone.” Several conspirators were given the death sentence, but all the others had their sentences commuted, some to exile for life. Tiradentes was hanged on 21 April 1792; his head was nailed to a pole, and the four quarters of his body were displayed as a warning to others. Yet Tiradentes became a famous martyr, and April 21 later became a national holiday.
Francisco de Sousa Coutinho was Governor-general of Para from 1790 to 1803, and in 1797 he wrote a report on how to civilize the natives there. He blamed the directors for subjugating the Indians in order to maintain their power and wealth. The next year Prince Regent Joao abolished the directorate; but the new decree forced the natives to sell their communal land, and Indians without a “fixed occupation” had to work for the government or private settlers. Outsiders were allowed to exploit the natural resources. Worst of all, the natives were put under the military discipline of non-commissioned officers selected from chiefs and local colonists.
In 1792 Queen Maria I was considered mentally incapacitated, and her 25-year-old son Joao began ruling Portugal as Prince Regent. In 1794 a Jacobin plot inspired by the French Revolution was aborted in Rio de Janeiro. Rodrigo de Souza Coutinho became Secretary of State for the Navy and for the Overseas Territories in 1796. He was influenced by Adam Smith and tried to promote economic progress in Brazil by introducing hemp and developing cinnamon, pepper, cochineal, and other products. He promoted the ox-drawn plow and disseminated instruction for improving techniques for processing cotton, coffee, and sugar, though Prince Regent Joao was slow to implement his ideas. In 1797 in Salvador Illuministas formed the Cavaleiros da Luz (Knights of the Light), and this led to Masonic lodges being founded in Brazil by the French starting in 1801. Bahia was influenced by the French Revolution, but their “Conspiracy of the Tailors” revolt that started in Salvador, where two-thirds of the population was black, was suppressed in August 1798 by the Portuguese. Four leaders were hanged, and six were banished to Africa.
Rio de Janeiro’s exports of sugar doubled between 1790 and 1807, and its coffee exports of 1798 increased seven-fold by 1807. The salt and whaling monopolies were abolished in 1801. That year the British Foreign Secretary Hawkesbury instructed the ambassador in Lisbon to offer assistance if the Prince Regent wanted to move his dominions to Brazil. Brazil was providing 80% of Portugal’s imports from its colonies, and its re-exports were 60% of Portugal’s exports. On 12 August 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio de Araujo de Azevedo to close their ports to British ships and imprison English residents and confiscate their property, or France would invade Portugal. In October the British Foreign Secretary George Canning offered British protection if the Prince Regent withdrew to Brazil. Souza Coutinho urged the Prince Regent to move there. The French began marching toward Portugal in early November, and a British fleet arrived off Tagus on November 23. Prince Regent Joao with his family and more than 10,000 nobles, officials, and others sailed from Tagus by November 29. Joao brought with him the royal treasury, government records, a printing press, and several libraries. They were welcomed at Bahia on 22 January 1808. While in Salvador on January 28 he opened Brazil’s ports to friendly nations, ending the old Portuguese monopoly.
Prince Regent Joao arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 7 March 1808 and was welcomed by the Brazilians. He quickly decreed significant reforms that made Brazil the center of the Portuguese empire. On April 1 he cancelled the decrees that blocked setting up factories in Brazil, and he exempted tariffs on raw materials imported for industry. In the next six months Portugal’s governmental institutions were established in Rio de Janeiro. Souza Coutinho became Minister of Foreign Relations and War, and he dominated until he died in 1812. The French occupied Portugal, and the Portuguese opened Brazil’s ports to the English in exchange for British protection. On June 12 Dom Joao limited free trade to the ports of Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Sao Luis, Recife, and Salvador. The tariff on imported goods was reduced from 24% to 16% for goods in Portuguese ships. Several British trading companies established offices in Rio de Janeiro, and by August there were about 175 British merchants and agents. In 1808 British goods imported in Brazil were worth more than £2,000,000, and the Bank of Brazil was chartered to finance government debt.
Rio de Janeiro became the capital with a ministry of four portfolios and a council of state, the supreme court of justice, the royal treasury, the royal mint, the Bank of Brazil, and the royal printing office. They founded a royal library, a military academy, and medical and law schools. The government encouraged industries, welcomed foreign scholars and artists, and funded immigrants from northern Europe. In the thirteen years Dom Joao was in Rio de Janeiro its population of 50,000 more than doubled. Many of the immigrants were Spanish, French, and British. The Royal Press began in March 1808, and they published Brazil’s first newspaper, the Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro twice a week. Salvador’s first newspaper Idade d’Ouro do Brasil began in 1811. That year Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in a Portuguese translation. From June 1808 until 1822 Hipolito Jose da Costa criticized Portuguese tyranny in the influential liberal newspaper Correio Brasiliense in London, and it circulated openly in Brazil.
The Ministry of War and Foreign Affairs was also set up in Rio de Janeiro. Troops were brought from Portugal and were garrisoned in Brazil’s main cities. Taxes were increased because Brazil had to pay the court’s expenses and military costs. In 1811 Dom Joao sent a military expedition to try to annex the Banda Oriental to Brazil and another for the same purpose in 1816. They defeated the Uruguayan independence movement led by Jose Artigas. Because of the 8,000 warriors who had been shipped to Salvador in the five years after the Fulani jihad, the Governor of Bahia had to use the militia to put down slave rebellions in 1807, 1814, and 1816. In the towns the Brazilians kept their slaves locked up at night so that they would not try to escape.
João, Pedro, and the Portuguese royal family had been living in Rio de Janeiro since 1808. The British Ambassador Strangford negotiated the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce that was signed in February 1810. The tariff on British merchandise exported to Brazil was reduced to 15%. The Treaty of Alliance and Friendship signed at the same time the British agreed to protect Portugal’s colonies while the Portuguese crown promised to limit the slave trade to its own territories and to restrict the internal slave trade. The English were given the right to have their own judges in Brazilian ports. In 1811 their Royal Navy seized 17 out of 32 slaving ships trading from Salvador. During the War of 1812 the exports of cotton from Pernambuco increased their profits by 500%. At the Congress of Vienna on 22 January 1815 the Portuguese agreed to stop the slave trade north of the equator, and the British were given permission to board ships suspected of transporting slaves. In exchange the British expunged the claims for damages on an indemnity of £300,000. However, these agreements were not effective as the Portuguese slave trade increased. By 1815 Bahia had a sugar mill using steam power, and Pernambuco got a steam engine two years later.
On 16 December 1815 the empire was decreed the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. When Queen Maria I died on 20 March 1816, the Prince Regent became King Joao VI.
On 9 January 1817 King Joao VI’s son Dom Pedro was made Prince Royal of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. That month Portuguese troops led by General Carlos Frederico Lecor occupied Montevideo. On 6 March 1817 in Pernambuco a revolt broke out that was called the “priests’ revolution” because they took a leading role along with the military, landowners, judges, artisans, and merchants. The revolt began in Recife and spread to the backlands of Alagoas, Paraiba, and Rio Grande do Norte in northeast Brazil. The rebels captured Governor Caetano Pinto and sent him to Rio de Janeiro where he was arrested for having capitulated to the rebels. They declared Pernambuco a republic and on March 9 set up a provisional government in Recife of five men representing the military, the judiciary, agriculture, religion, and commerce. Many of the revolutionary leaders had studied in the seminary of Bishop Azeredo Coutinho.
King João VI sent to Lisbon for Peninsular volunteers, and regular soldiers were recalled from Minas Gerais and São Paulo. He ordered the Bank of Brazil to lend his government one million cruzados (£60,000). On April 16 Admiral Rodrigo Lobo demanded that the junta in Recife surrender or be shot. Militia-Captain Silva Pedroso for the revolution had deserters found in the jails shot in public executions. Many people fled the city while the hungry poor looted shops. On May 11 Portuguese merchants joined together and offered the junta 500,000 francs to depart. The cotton factor José Domingos Martins met with the loyalist militia on the 17th and was captured. Indians who had been colonized arrived on May 22 and helped pacify this rebellion. Most of the Indians in the coastal and Amazon regions spoke the Tupi lingua geral, but the literate Portuguese speakers did not know this language. On May 26 General Gomes Freire de Andrade was convicted of lese-majesty and was hanged with eleven others without any appeal to the King. The new governor Luiz do Rego arrived in Recife on June 29.
On 3 March 1818 João VI banned all Masonic societies in both Brazil and Portugal, and in April magistrates and merchants in the city of Porto began the secret Sanhedrin to regenerate Portugal. João put a tax on the importation of slaves and decreed that half the revenue must be spent on European colonization. In 1818 Brazil had 1,040,000 Europeans, 1,930,000 slaves, 585,000 freedmen, and 250,000 Indians for a total of 3,805,000 people living mostly in the northern provinces of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, Pernambuco, and Paraiba. Brazil’s first pig-iron mill began operating in Ipanema. Portuguese ships going to Rio de Janeiro decreased from 810 in 1810 to 57 in 1820. In 1818 Swiss and Germans began receiving land grants in Brazil. Rio became the largest city with 113,000 residents by 1819.
After the French left in 1814, Portugal was governed by a regency council headed by the British Field Marshal William Carr Beresford until 1820 when a revolution replaced the regency with the Cortes that had not met for a century. Portugal had 100 deputies to 69 for Brazil. They drew up a constitution but retained the monarchy and demanded that the King return to Portugal. Beresford came to Rio in May and tried to persuade João VI to go back to Portugal. They set up juntas in the captaincies of Brazil which were to be called provinces. João and his son Pedro refused to leave; but the British minister to Rio, Edward Thornton, persuaded João to send Beresford to Lisbon, and he left on August 13. The revolution in Portugal began on the 24th at Oporto and spread. When Beresford arrived in Portugal on 10 October, the revolutionary junta refused to let him land. He and other British officers were expelled from the Portuguese army, and the junta planned elections to a Cortes in December. João learned of the revolution on 17 October.
Portuguese troops rebelled in Belém on the first day of 1821 and set up a liberal junta for Para which was joined by Maranhao on April 3 and Piaui on May 24. On February 10 liberal troops in Salvador began a conspiracy that removed the Governor of Bahia, the Conde de Palma, and established a provisional junta favoring a liberal constitution. Radical members of the Masonic lodges advocated independence. Antonio Carlos de Andrade had participated in the Pernambucan revolt of 1817 and was imprisoned in Bahia where he taught fellow inmates law and politics until the uprising freed him in February 1821. He went back to São Paulo and helped his brothers establish a Paulist junta.
A majority of the Cortes met at Lisbon in January 1821. With only 46 of the 72 Brazilian deputies present and all the other 109 seats filled they voted to reduce Brazil once more to a colony. They abolished all crown agencies and courts of law created in Brazil after 1807, and its provinces were subordinated to Lisbon. They cancelled João VI’s reforms and ordered his son Dom Pedro to return to Portugal. On February 24-26 Portuguese troops gathered in Rio de Janeiro and forced a reorganization of the ministry. João published a decree to convoke a Cortes in Rio, and he promised to accept a constitution to be drafted by the Cortes. João finally agreed to return to Portugal, and on March 7 his royal decree appointed Prince Pedro regent for the provisional government of Brazil with instructions to elect Brazilian deputies to the Portuguese Cortes. The new government ended the prior censorship of manuscripts before printing. The Brazilians elected many radicals who had been born in Brazil and favored independence. On April 21 the first 160 representatives elected by the parishes of Rio de Janeiro met in the new Exchange. The seven deputies from Pernambuco were the first to arrive in Lisbon on August 29, but most of the Brazilian deputies had not arrived until the spring of 1822. Cipriano Barata of Bahia, Muniz Tavares of Pernambuco, and Antonio Carlos Ribeiro de Andrada of São Paulo had participated in the 1817 revolution.
On 22 April 1821 João VI confirmed his son Dom Pedro as regent, and four days later he sailed for Lisbon with 4,000 Portuguese. Pedro lived with his mistress Domitila de Castro who bore him five children.
The Banda Oriental was a border region between the Brazil and the Rio de la Plata which it had joined as the Oriental Province in 1813. Brazilians invaded in August 1816 and took over Montevideo on 20 January 1817. Two days later at Tacuarembó they defeated those fighting for independence, and the Portuguese annexed the territory. By June 1821 all of the Banda Oriental (now Uruguay) had been incorporated into Brazil as the Cisplatine province, and on July 18 an assembly of eastern notables acclaimed this.
The Cortes brought back to Lisbon important government offices, and they sent more troops to Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco. General Jorge de Avilez took power in June at Rio de Janeiro. Cortes deputies were chosen by July, and the remaining royal governors shared power or were replaced by juntas in most of Brazil’s provinces. Representatives of four Uruguayan cities met in Montevideo with Portuguese General Carlos Federico Lecor and voted to be annexed by the kingdom of Brazil; but the Portuguese Cortes annulled this, and in September the Portuguese loyalists forced Lecor and his supporters to flee to the town Canelones. For more than a year 8,000 troops on both sides of independence struggled in Montevideo.
On 28 August Prince Regent Pedro decreed freedom of the press based on the constitution. On September 1 the Cortes in Portugal annulled the appointment of Dom Pedro as regent, and on the 30th they subordinated the provincial governments in Brazil to Portugal by ordering the provinces to replace their governors with elected juntas under the Cortes. On October 18 they required the Prince Regent to return to Lisbon. In November the Portuguese garrison at Recife was forced to embark, and three months later an expedition to relieve General Avilez was prevented from landing troops in Pernambuco.
On December 9 Dom Pedro received the decree ordering him to leave Brazil, and two days later his agreement was published. Brazilian radicals, liberals, and conservatives joined together in support of Pedro, and by the end of the year governing juntas were installed in three-quarters of the provinces. In Rio de Janeiro the newspaper A Malagueta urged the Prince to defy the Cortes and stay in Brazil, and on 1 January 1822 he received a petition from São Paulo written by José Bonifacio and signed by the entire provincial junta arguing that the Portuguese Cortes had violated the constitution and stating that they would sacrifice their possessions and shed their blood to support him staying in Brazil. Pedro published this in Rio’s Gazeta on January 8, and the Rio city council’s president José Clemente Pereira presented their petition with 8,000 signatures on January 9. He asserted that the Prince must remain in Brazil to prevent its separation from Portugal.
On 9 January 1822 Dom Pedro made his famous fico declaration that he was staying in Brazil. Two days later the higher courts and administration offices in Rio were abolished. Pedro went to the theater, and that night word spread that Portuguese troops were rampaging in the streets. Pedro spoke calmly from his royal box and ordered that peace be restored. Early the next morning General Jorge de Avilez commanded the mutineers into the Morro do Castelo. General Curado dispatched Brazilian forces, and they surrounded the Portuguese garrison with 8,000 troops. Avilez met with Dom Pedro who ordered him to leave Brazil. Avilez agreed if they could take their arms. Pedro promised to pay the troops, but any soldiers wishing to remain could stay. In January the deputies from Minas also decided to remain in Brazil.
José Bonifacio de Andrada had presided over the junta in São Paulo since March 1821 and came to São Cristovao on 16 January 1822. Pedro appointed him Minister of Home and Foreign Affairs. Bonifacio demanded that Pedro promise he would not leave Brazil. Pedro also ordered military and naval operations to force the Portuguese out of Niteroi. On January 21 the ministry declared that no law made in Portugal could be enforced in Brazil without the approval of the prince regent. Brazil imposed a blockade on Niteroi on February 5, and ten days later the Portuguese had departed without one shot having been fired in the confrontation. On February 16 the Cortes was officially notified that Pedro was staying in Brazil, and José Bonifacio persuaded him to convene the Council of Procurators of the provinces.
On 19 February 1822 the Portuguese Col. Ignacio Luis Madeira de Mello was appointed military governor of Bahia. The governing junta, Brazilian army officers, the Reconcavo, and urban radicals resisted but lost. The Portuguese troops forced to leave Rio in January came to Salvador in March, giving Madeira de Mello 2,000 regulars and 1,500 militia; but on the 23rd the soldiers were sent back to Portugal.
José Bonifacio de Andrada supported agrarian reform, free immigration, and the gradual abolition of slavery, but he was conservative in favoring monarchy and opposing democracy. On March 25 Dom Pedro left Rio de Janeiro to visit Minas Gerais and appeal to the people. The Junta at Ouro Preto accepted his rule, and he entered the capital city in triumph.
Antonio Carlos of the São Paulo Junta presented Brazilian demands for political and economic equality to Portugal in March 1822, but it was too late for reconciliation with Portugal. Radicals called for independence, and in April the Reverbero Constitucional Fluminense urged Pedro to found a new empire. They proposed a constitutional convention, and to serve in the government they had to swear to support the union and Brazil’s independence. On May 4 they decided that no decree of the Portuguese Cortes could be implemented in Brazil without the approval of the Prince Regent Pedro.
On May 13 Dom Pedro was acclaimed as “perpetual defender of Brazil.” One week later the Rio City Council petitioned for a constitutional convention, and Pedro presented it to the Council of Procurators when they met for the first time on June 2. They voted unanimously, and the next day Pedro decreed the convocation of the constituent assembly which would meet the next year. On May 28 the Freemasons had created the Great Orient Lodge of Brazil and dedicated themselves to independence, and they elected José Bonifacio their grand master.
On 23 May 1822 a delegation had urged Dom Pedro to call a general assembly of the provinces of Brazil, and the Cortes voted to send reinforcements to Salvador. On June 3 Pedro signed a decree calling for the election of deputies for the Constituent and Legislature General Assembly, but at first only Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais cooperated. Pernambuco and Ceara could not decide, but the others remained loyal to the Cortes in Lisbon for a while. On June 19 the liberals failed in their attempt to get direct elections to the Assembly, and the radical leaders were imprisoned or driven into exile.
On July 12 Dom Pedro proclaimed Brazil independent. Bonifacio wrote the “Manifestation to Friendly Governments and Nations,” and Pedro signed it on August 6. That month Pedro declared that troops from Portugal were to be considered enemies. On August 20 the Grand Orient Lodge of the Masonic Order proclaimed the complete separation of Brazil from Portugal.
A draft constitution based on the Spanish constitution of 1812 was presented to the Assembly on 2 September 1822. While near São Paulo on the plain of Ipiranga on September 7 Dom Pedro received letters from Lisbon that his power had been reduced, but a week later he returned to Rio and proclaimed Brazil independent. On the 22nd he made the separation official by writing a letter to João VI. On his 24th birthday on October 12 in the Field of Santana he was acclaimed Pedro I, Constitutional Emperor and Perpetual Defender of Brazil. Seven deputies from São Paulo and Bahia refused to swear allegiance to the new Constitution and fled from Lisbon to Brazil. On October 27 José Bonifacio and his brother Martim Francisco, the treasury minister, resigned and demanded that Joaquim Gonçalves Ledo, José Clemente, and two others be arrested and deported. Arrest warrants were issued, and the brothers returned to their positions three days later. Ledo escaped to Buenos Aires, and Clemente was shipped to France. The Andrada brothers used their power to harass, jail, and exile their enemies in Rio, São Paulo, and other provinces. The radical Masonic lodges were closed for the remainder of Pedro’s reign. On December 1 Pedro was consecrated and crowned Emperor of Brazil. He was the first king of the Braganza House.
On 22 June 1822 at Santo Amaro the sugar barons of the Reconcavo had rebelled against the Portuguese troops and João VI along with Brazilians, and they were able to halt the colonialism. On the 25th Madeira had proclaimed Dom Pedro regent on behalf of the people of Bahia. They besieged the Portuguese army at Salvador, and Madeira de Mello failed to break the siege on November 8 and on 6 January 1823.
Dom Pedro appointed the French officer Pierre Labatut to command the forces fighting the Portuguese, and he arrived in late October 1822 but was replaced in a mutiny in May 1823 by José Joaquim de Lima e Silva who led an army of 14,000 men. The Portuguese dominated the sea, but English officers led by Thomas Cochrane had arrived in Rio de Janeiro on 23 March 1823 and organized a Brazilian squadron of nine ships that convinced the Portuguese to leave Bahia. On 2 July General Lima e Silva led the Brazilian army back into the city, and the Portuguese left Bahia the next day. The landowners of the Reconcavo had directed a conservative revolution against Portuguese colonialism in Bahia.
After elections Brazil’s Constituent Assembly opened on 3 May 1823 with 90 deputies that included 26 lawyers, 22 judges, 19 priests, and 7 military officers. The Portuguese garrisons were sent back to Europe. They resisted in the Cisplatine Province but left in November. Treasury Minister Martim Francisco refused to borrow from foreign nations and floated domestic bonds but avoided issuing new bank notes. The public was urged to make gifts, and 64 contos was raised for the navy in 1823. The next year the deficit increased by only 15%. Dom Pedro ordered the justice minister to release all those in São Paul who had been arrested for their political views. José Bonifacio insisted that he withdraw the order and then resigned with his brother on July 16. He lost his position as chief minister because he had blocked access of critical liberals and conservatives to the throne.
On 26 July 1823 Cochrane persuaded a small Portuguese garrison at São Luis to surrender the northern province of Maranhao which joined the Brazilian empire two days later. Dom Pedro made Cochrane the Marques do Maranhao, the first patent of nobility in the new empire. The provinces of Belem and Para brought Amazonia into the empire. On August 10 crowds in Belem began looting warehouses of the Portuguese merchants. The seditious Paraenses could not be held in the jails and were put in the hold of a ship in the harbor. Nervous guards fired shots, and 255 patriots were killed.
On August 12 the Andradas and their associates started the newspaper O Tamoyo, named after an Indian tribe that had fought to the death and had been exterminated by the Portuguese occupation of Rio de Janeiro. The Assembly passed only six laws before Pedro formed a new cabinet and sent soldiers to dissolve them on November 11. In two months of debate the Assembly had only voted on 24 of the 272 articles in the draft of the constitution. Dom Pedro promised a practical constitution that would be “twice as liberal.” The Andrada brothers were deported on November 20 and were given an annual pension of $1,250. José Bonifacio lived in France. In Rio the pro-Andrada newspapers folded, and Malagueta stopped publishing in July 1824.
On 13 November 1823 Emperor Pedro appointed a Council of State to draft a constitution, and on December 11 he gave them a charter that protected religious freedom and abolished privileges except from office and citizenship for all free-born Brazilian and Portuguese who had lived in Brazil for 12 years. Rights included habeas corpus, trial by jury, and constitutional review of the criminal and civil codes. Torture was abolished. By the end of 1823 Brazil’s navy had overcome opposition to its independence. The last Portuguese troops left Brazil from Montevideo in March 1824 after the Cisplatine province joined independent Brazil.
After more than half of the municipal councils of the provinces ratified the new liberal constitution, Emperor Pedro promulgated it on 25 March 1824. The new government of Brazil had four branches including a moderating branch that gave the Emperor authority to settle disputes between the other branches. The concept of moderating power came from the French writer Benjamin Constant. Executive power was exercised by the ministers while imperial power was held to be neutral and moderate. The King was not to intervene in daily politics, but he settled disputes according to the “nation’s will and interests.” He could veto any legislation and could convoke or dissolve the Assembly and call for new elections. He appointed the provincial presidents, ministers, bishops, and senators. He could confer titles on people, but they were not hereditary.
The General Assembly had a Senate with senators appointed for life from the three nominees the provinces elected. Brazilian men with an annual income of at least 100 milreis voted for electors whose income had to be 200 milreis, and they elected the Chamber of Deputies who had to be Catholic with an income of 400 milreis. The Emperor appointed those on the Council of State for life, and they had to be 40 years old with an income of 800 milreis. Rights included equal treatment before the law and freedom of thought and assembly, but slaves had no rights. The Roman Catholic church continued to be the official religion. In 1823 Brazil had 1,147,525 slaves, and the average number imported annually during the early 1820s was 30,000.
The American Secretary of State John Quincy Adams advised President Monroe to meet with the Brazilian ambassador José Silvestre Rebello, and the United States became the first government to recognize Brazil as a nation on 26 May 1824. That year a revolt in Pernambuco was suppressed. Friar Joaquim do Amor Divino criticized the empire, and he was called Frei Caneca or Friar Mug. The councils of Olinda and Recife in Pernambuco rejected the provincial president appointed by Emperor Pedro and the constitution, but they remained loyal to the Emperor. Pedro sent the Imperial Navy at the end of March to blockade Recife; but President Mayrink was resisted and resigned at the end of May. Captain John Taylor then lifted the blockade and returned to Rio. Manuel da Carvalho led the urban revolt. He had married an American and had communicated with Secretary of State Adams, asking for a squadron to be sent to Recife to defend against British and French battleships to fulfill the recent Monroe Doctrine. Carvalho proclaimed the independence of Pernambuco on July 2 and urged the northeastern provinces of Brazil to form the Equatorial Confederation which was intended to include the provinces of Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceara, and possibly Paiui and Para in a republic. Dom Pedro sent more forces, and the revolution in Pernambuco collapsed on September 17. Thomas Cochrane led marines that secured the city of Fortaleza in rebellious Ceara for the empire on October 17. The rebels were defeated militarily in the northeast provinces by November. The Emperor persuaded a court to sentence the leaders to death, but the executioner refused to hang Frei Caneca who was then shot by a firing squad in Recife on 13 January 1825.
Brazilians imported more than they exported, increasing the trade debt. The British delayed recognition because they wanted Brazil to end the slave trade immediately. England sent Charles Stuart to mediate with King João VI, and he went to Rio de Janeiro and signed a treaty recognizing Brazil’s independence on 29 August 1825 that went into effect when João ratified it on November 15. Brazil agreed to take over Portugal’s £1,400,000 debt to the British and pay João VI £600,000 for private property in Brazil. As Britain’s third largest foreign market Brazil became financially dependent on England and put no restrictions on their commerce. Emperor Pedro granted 104 titles of nobility on 12 October 1825. On 26 January 1826 he selected the senators from a lists made by electors from each province. After João VI’s death on March 10, his son Pedro was likely to become King of Portugal, but on May 6 he opened the first General Assembly with a speech. He abdicated the Portuguese throne in May but acted as if he was still King. In 1827 justices of the peace and elected magistrates were introduced in every parish to handle administrative and police functions as well as judicial ones, and law schools were founded in Olinda and São Paulo.
In September 1823 the envoy Valentín Gómez of the Argentine President Rivadavia had written a memorandum in Rio de Janeiro claiming that the Eastern Province had always been part of the United Rio de la Plata, but Brazilians refused to negotiate about their Cisplatine Province. The 33 Easterners led by Juan Antonio Lavalle began the fight for independence in April 1825. On August 25 they declared the province independent, and they were supported by the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata. The Cisplatine War between Brazil and the Argentines went on with many skirmishes, and both sides suffered as 14,000 men fought a major battle at Ituzaingó on 20 February 1827. That month the Brazilians lost a naval battle at Juncal Island, but they defeated the Argentine navy in the battle of Monte Santiago by the Ensenada coast in April. They negotiated a peace treaty signed on 27 August 1828 that established the independence of Uruguay and allowed Brazil navigation rights on the Plata River.
In June 1828 several thousand Irish and German mercenaries mutinied at Rio de Janeiro, and Brazil had to call in the aid of the British and French navies. Mule and cattle prices went up for a decade. Coffee exports from Brazil tripled from 1822 to 1831, but other exports fell during the 1820s. Sugar was about a third of Brazil’s exports and did not increase. In a commercial treaty with the British made in August 1827 limited tariffs on British imports to 15% while the British could impose duties of 180% on Brazilian sugar and 300% on its coffee. Britain loaned Brazil £3 million with 80% interest in 1824 and £400,000 with 52% servicing in 1829. In 1821 when he left for Portugal, King João VI withdrew the gold he had deposited in the Bank of Brazil. From 1822 to 1829 Brazil’s money supplies increased 10% per year, raising the cost of living in cities. By 1829 paper money in São Paulo was worth only 57% of its nominal value, and Brazil’s bank had to close. People in Rio and other coastal cities demanded the deportation of the Portuguese. In 1830 Brazil adopted a liberal criminal code influenced by utilitarian ethics.
Brazil’s main products—sugar, cotton, and coffee—were more than 75% of their exports. Brazil struggled with the anti-slave-trade treaty of 1826 and the commercial treaty of 1827 that they had made with Britain. For three years before the anti-slave trade treaty went into effect in March 1830 Brazil imported 175,000 slaves.
France’s revolution that replaced King Charles X with a liberal king in July 1830 influenced Brazil. The partido desorganizador criticized the policies of Dom Pedro and his government, and he replied with a proclamation on 22 February 1831. People protested in mid-March with five Noites das Garrafadas (Nights of Bottle Throwing). On April 5 Pedro made his cabinet more Portuguese and reactionary. More than 3,000 people gathered, and justices of the peace urged him to reinstate his Brazilian cabinet. The Emperor’s battalion commanded by his brother followed by two artillery corps and a battalion of grenadiers joined the people.
On April 7 Emperor Pedro abdicated in favor of his 5-year-old son Pedro II, and Brazil would be under a regency until he barely came of age in 1840. The crowd acclaimed the new Emperor, and the Legislature selected a regency of General Francisco de Lima e Silva, the liberal senator Verguerio from São Paulo, and the conservative former Justice Minister, the Marques de Caravelas. Pedro I and his family left for Europe on April 13. Masons formed the first Sociedade Defensora da Libertade e Independência Nacional in São Paulo, and radicals organized Sociedas Federais in several provinces by the end of 1831. Evaristo da Veiga had begun publishing the liberal Aurora Fluminense newspaper in November 1827, and Mineiro Teofilo Ottoni helped him bring about liberal reforms between 1831 and 1835. In August 1831 Brazil implemented laws similar to those being adopted in France, and the National Guard replaced the militias. All male citizens aged from 21 to 60 could vote but had to serve in the National Guard.
In 1832 the Code of Criminal Procedures increased the police and judicial powers of the justices of the peace. With a new Emperor born in Brazil, the young nation broke its ties to Portugal, though restorationists were not repressed until 1832. Four other uprisings were led by radicals such as Major Frias de Vasconcelos and the revolutionary Cipriano Barata. In September slaves joined a larger riot that took over Rio de Janeiro and looted 42 shops and 25 taverns. The government called out the militia and armed civilians to suppress the revolt in which about a hundred rebels and 30 soldiers and loyal citizens were killed as more than a thousand were arrested. In April 1832 those fighting to restore Pedro I rebelled in Recife as well as in Rio. This was called the War of Cabanos, and it was most serious in Pará which wanted independence. The O Homem de Cor became the first newspaper for blacks in Brazil in 1833. After Pedro I’s death in September 1834, the war wound down.
In August 1834 the Additional Act had amended the 1824 constitution by eliminating the Council of State and increasing the power of provincial assemblies. The three-man regency was replaced when the native-born liberal priest and Minister of Justice Diogo Feijó was elected Regent in April 1835 and took office on October 12.
The biggest urban slave uprising of the century was in Bahia on 24-25 January 1835; it was violently suppressed, and hundreds were punished. The death penalty was enacted for slaves who killed or seriously injured their masters, and juries needed only a two-thirds majority for conviction.
In 1835 Cabanagem revolts broke out in northern Para and in Rio Grande do Sul in the south. Many Portuguese were killed in Para, and others left the province. In January 1835 radicals killed Para’s president and the military commander. They made one of their leaders president and declared Para independent. The regents in Rio sent an elderly marshal to be president, but he arrived with only 120 men. In August a rebel army of mostly blacks and mestizos called tapuios attacked the capital Belém and in nine days killed about 180 whites. The president and about 5,000 people fled. The rebel president was killed in the fighting, and 21-year-old Eduardo Angelim replaced him. He organized an army, and the rebellion spread in the interior. Rebels raided towns and farms. General Andreia arrived as the new president with an army as Angelim and 5,000 people abandoned Belém. Andreia had rebels arrested and ordered those resisting shot. Angelim was arrested in October 1836, and the last rebels gave up during a general amnesty in 1840. Slavery had not been abolished, and Angelim had even had a slave insurrection put down.
The province of Rio Grande do Sul had changed from agriculture to livestock. The president suspected the secessionists, and armed gaúchos (cowboys) overthrew him in Porto Alegre on 19 September 1835. A rich estancieiro (rancher) became president, and war erupted in February 1836. The liberal revolutionaries called farroupilhas declared independence in September. They invaded the province of Santa Catarina which was proclaimed a republic. This Ragamuffin War went on until the armistice in March 1845 as the cattle business declined. The central government began sharing revenue with the provinces in 1836.
In the years 1837-39 about 40,000 slaves per year were illegally imported into Brazil mostly from the Congo, Angola, and Mozambique.
The rebellion in Bahia was named Sabinada after its leader, the physician and journalist Sabino Barroso, but it began in an army barracks at the capital Salvador on 6 November 1837 and quickly gained support. About 5,000 rebels were defeated by some 4,000 government forces in Salvador on 13-15 March 1838 as about 1,200 rebels and 600 loyalists were killed. The amnesty in 1840 prevented the execution of seven leaders.
The fourth revolt was called “Balaida” after the rebel leader who was a basket-maker. The province of Maranhão had more than 200,000 people, and more than half were slaves. The conservative president had transferred power from the justices of the peace to the mayors (prefeitos), and he began appointing the officers in the national guard. The cafuso (mixed Indian and black) cowboy Raimundo Gomes freed his jailed brother and others, and in December 1838 he became the leader of a revolt. The basket-maker Balaio joined, and the black Cosme led 3,000 escaped slaves. In August 1839 about 11,000 balaios occupied the city of Caxias. Brazil’s government sent 8,000 troops who suppressed the rebellion by 1841. Amnesty was declared except for Cosme who was hanged.
After Veiga’s death in 1837 Regent Feijó lost support in the press and the parliament, and he resigned on September 18. The conservative party led by Vasconcelos gained a majority. Senator Pedro de Araújo Lima was elected Regent, and he organized a government in 1838 and appointed as Minister of Justice and of the Empire Vasconcelos who was supported by Coimbra graduates and promoted education. They were supported by magistrates and the sugar and coffee planters.
The “Brazilian Molière,” Martins Pena had his first comedy, O Juiz de Paz na Roça, performed in 1838 about a guardsman who is threatened with arrest and demands constitutional rights. Justices of the peace and juries were letting impunity increase as crimes against slaves and women were considered private.
Vasconcelos and Paulino de Sousa worked to reform the liberal laws, and in June 1839 they introduced into the Senate a bill to give the central government control over the administration of law. The “interpretation” law passed in May 1840 reduced the power of provincial assemblies. The liberals decided to promote 14-year-old Emperor Pedro II to his majority, and on 23 July 1840 they managed to end the Regency to initiate the Second Empire of Brazil.
Conflict caused the cabinet to collapse on 31 March 1841, and it was reorganized with Aureliano Coutinho, Paulino Soares de Sousa as Minister of Justice, and others. Vasconcelos helped Paulino establish the Council of State by law on November 23 and a reformed Code of Criminal Procedures on December 3. This regressive code gave the central government more control over the empire with judges appointed by the Minister of Justice. Anyone traveling in the empire had to carry a passport to avoid interrogation. On 1 May 1842 the conservative government dissolved the Chamber of Deputies and called new elections. That month São Paulo rebelled with arms followed by Minas Gerais in June, and the liberal rebellion moved into the Paraiba valley.
Brazil’s liberals regained power in January 1844 and granted amnesty to Paulista and Mineiro rebels. That caused the Conservative cabinet to resign on February 2. The liberals used the regressive laws to govern, gain patrons, and win elections. The Council of Ministers was given a president on 20 July 1847. Liberal cabinets ruled until September 1848 when the conservatives led by Pedro Araújo Lima, Visconde de Olinda, took power. In November an uprising broke out in Pernambuco called “Praieria” from the liberal Rua da Praia newspaper. Their defeat in 1849 consolidated conservative control over Brazil. By the 1840s Brazil was producing more than 40% of the world’s coffee. Rio de Janeiro’s population reached 200,000 in 1850.
The Palmerston Act in 1839 allowed the British Navy to intercept slave ships, and this helped decrease slave imports to a total of 50,000 in 1841-43. In August 1845 Brazil’s Aberdeen Slave Trade Act approved the British Navy treating slave ships as pirates, and in the next five years more than 400 ships were captured to vice-admiralty courts. Yet Brazil’s slave imports averaged more than 55,000 per year in 1846-49. Brazil finally enacted a strong anti-slave-trade law on 4 September 1850.
Guiana is west of the Amazon River and was populated by the
Caribs and Arawaks. Alonso de Ojeda and Amerigo Vespucci explored
the coast in 1499. Pedro Malaver da Silva led an expedition to
Guiana between the Essequibo and the Wiapoco (Oyapock) rivers
about 1530, but Caribs killed them all except one man. Juan Martinez
claimed he was captured and visited a golden city called Manoa
with a gilded king (El Dorado). Antonio de Berrio was the Spanish
governor of Guiana and Trinidad, and he went looking for El Dorado
in 1584, 1585, and 1591. He sent his lieutenant Domingo de Vera
In 1594 Walter Raleigh led an expedition to explore the Orinoco River in Guiana, looking for El Dorado. In revenge for eight Englishmen killed at Trinidad, he burned the town of San Josef and captured Governor Berrio. After Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, Raleigh was imprisoned for treason. In 1604 Captain Charles Leigh led an expedition to the Wiapoco River, but he and others died of illness. The relief ship was lost in the West Indies, and the rest abandoned the settlement. In 1609 Robert Harcourt brought three ships to the Wiapoco to look for gold, and 1613 King James gave him a patent for Guiana between the Amazon and Essequibo rivers. Raleigh was released in 1616 in order to seek gold in Guiana on the understanding that if he harmed the Spanish he would be executed. Raleigh was ill, and his son Walter led about four hundred men into a fight at San Thomé; the young Raleigh and one other Englishman were killed. After Raleigh returned to England, King James had him executed on October 29, 1618 to satisfy Spain. Small groups of Dutch, English, and Irish planters and traders occupied the coast of Guiana. Roger North and the Amazon Company came in 1620; Harcourt failed again in 1627; and the Guiana Company arrived in 1628. However, the Portuguese destroyed most of the settlements in 1623, 1625, and 1630. Captain Marshall started a settlement that grew tobacco by the Surinam River in 1630.
After earlier Dutch failures the Zeelander Adrian Groenewegen established a settlement called Kykoveral on the Essequibo River in 1616. He learned the native languages and even married the daughter of a Carib chief to balance the influence of the Arawaks. Jan van der Goes brought more Zeelanders to Kykoveral in 1624, and they were supported by the Dutch West Indies Company until 1632. The trader Abraham van Pere settled on the Berbice River in 1627, and Fort Nassau was built about fifty miles upriver. With native allies Groenewegen destroyed the Spanish fort at San Thomé in 1637 and continued to look for gold until 1661. Because of financial losses, the Company abandoned Essequibo colony in 1657, but three Zeeland towns held on and founded a new settlement by the Pomeroon River called Nova Zeelandia. The Jewish merchant David Nassy agreed to transport Jews from the Netherlands and African slaves for 150 guilders each. The Dutch sent cane juice to Holland for refining into sugar, and they had only one sugar mill in Guiana by 1664.
The French founded Cayenne in 1637, but they did not get along with the natives, especially in 1643 when the Sieur de Brétigny was so tyrannical and cruel that most of the three or four hundred French took refuge with the Indians until he was killed while attacking the Indians. The settlement was abandoned, and some went to the new colony at St. Kitts. Chevalier De Royville led eight hundred people in 1652; but he was killed in a mutiny at sea, and the Rouen Company got to Cayenne before them. They quarreled with each other, and after suffering famine and disease they abandoned the colony. Dutch and Portuguese Jews from Brazil began settling by the Surinam River as early as 1639. The Dutch and Jews occupied Cayenne in 1656, but the French Equinoctial Company led by Lefevre de la Barre took it back in 1664 and drove out the experienced Jews. Nassy had arrived that year and led many Jews to the Surinam colony, which had more than forty sugar plantations and 4,000 people (counting slaves) the next year.
Wealthy Governor Willoughby of Barbados backed the first successful English colony to Guiana in 1651. Anthony Rowse made peace with the natives, and the English learned from the Jews at Surinam. Lord Willoughby had been granted land in 1663, and in late 1665 he sent Major John Scott with three hundred men and some Caribs to take over Essequibo and Nova Zeelandia. They did so, but most of the English soon left. Berbice commander Matthys Bergenaar was guided overland by Indians and recaptured Kykoveral. The small English garrison had brought in two hundred slaves but surrendered. Admiral Crynssen had already taken over the English colony at Surinam, where Governor Byam surrendered after being bombarded. In June 1667 John Harman recaptured Surinam for the English, who gave it back to the Dutch in the 1667 Treaty of Breda in exchange for New Netherlands (New York). After the end of the Anglo-Dutch war in 1674, the English were permitted to leave Surinam, and many went to Jamaica.
Admiral Binkes took over Cayenne from De Lezy in March 1676, and for a few months the Dutch possessed all of Guiana. However, in October the French sent fifteen ships to retake Cayenne. In 1683 the province of Zeeland sold Surinam in equal shares to the West India Company, the city of Amsterdam, and Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijk. The latter arrived in November and put the garrison to work digging a canal. In 1688 the workers went on strike for larger rations, and the soldiers killed Sommelsdijk and mortally wounded their commander Verboom. In 1686 the Dutch West India Company tried to limit the purchase of Indian slaves to those who had already been enslaved by Indian tribes.
The privateer Jean Baptiste du Casse attacked Surinam and Berbice in 1689. The French were defeated at Surinam, and Casse reduced the ransom he demanded from Berbice commander De Feer from 20,000 guilders to 6,000 because of the French prisoners. French buccaneers and three hundred Caribs destroyed the settlement at Pomeroon the same year. In 1708 three French privateers with three hundred men sailed up the Essequibo and raided Kykoveral as Commander Van der Heyden Resen kept his garrison of about fifty men in the fort. Captain Antoine Ferry left after receiving a ransom of 50,000 guilders, paid mostly in slaves and merchandise. The next year two French privateers did more damage, carried off 500 hogsheads of sugar, and left only two working sugar mills. Postholder Blake successfully defended Pomeroon from the French in 1709, killing many of them without suffering any casualties.
Blake repulsed French buccaneers again in 1712. In November about 3,000 men in 38 ships directed by Jacques Cassard attacked Surinam and Berbice. Cassard accepted 747,350 guilders worth of sugar, slaves, and other merchandise. Baron de Mouans bombarded Fort Nassau and demanded 10,000 guilders for the private estates and 300,000 guilders for the fort and estates of Van Peres. The Dutch commander De Waterman could only raise 118,024 guilders from Van Peres. Mouans accepted this and credit, and merchants led by Nicolaas van Hoorn later paid 108,000 guilders and took over the colony. In 1730 a slave revolt broke out in Surinam that spread and lasted three years.
In 1746 the Dutch opened the Demerara River area in their Guiana colony to British immigrants. Laurens Storm van’s Gravesande governed the colony of Essequibo from 1742 to 1750 when he went home to Zeeland on leave. He returned in 1752 as Director-General of Essequibo and Demerara. In 1754 Spain and Portugal made a secret agreement to push the Dutch and French colonies out of South America by taking hinterland and sending agents to incite slave rebellions. Gravesande organized defense, and his son Jonathan Gravesande arrived to be Commander of Demerara in 1755. He wanted to make Borsselen the capital of Demerara, but Gedney Clarke, who was a wealthy planter from Barbados, led many English settlers, making them the majority in Demerara by 1760. Sugar was the main crop in Guiana by 1750, and its high price during the Seven Years War (1756-63) stimulated cultivation. Coffee was first shipped from Demerara in 1759, and coffee plantations increased in the 1760s.
In 1762 Berbice in Guiana had 3,833 African slaves, 346 Europeans, 244 Indian slaves, and uncounted free Indians. In July of that year Governor Wolfert Simon van Hoogenheim managed to capture and punish 36 slaves who had burned the master’s house and run into the bush. The major slave rebellion in Berbice began on 23 February 1763 when the Canje River slaves revolted and began plundering and killing Europeans. A thousand rebels organized under chiefs. Europeans went into Fort Nassau and then fled from Berbice. Appeals for help brought a ship with a hundred English soldiers from Surinam. On March 3 about 600 Africans attacked the Peerboom plantation and made the house a fortress. They set up a government with Coffy as governor of Berbice with Akara as his general. When Gravesande learned of the uprising, he instructed the Commander of Demerara to send a militia officer to the chiefs of the Caribs, Arawaks, and Akawois promising them gifts if they would attack the Africans from the rear. Gravesande’s pleas for help also brought two armed ships with 158 soldiers to Berbice. They were joined by several hundred Africans who did not like the rebel chief Coffy.
On May 13 Coffy approved an attack on Dageraad with 2,000 Africans against 150 Europeans who used heavy guns from ships in the river. After five hours of fighting eight Europeans and 58 Africans had been killed. Coffy lost a power struggle to Atta and shot himself. Ships arrived from Holland during the summer, and on December 19 the Europeans sent a flotilla up the river while attacking from Upper Demerara. The Africans were caught in between and fled or surrendered. Loyal slaves were used to hunt down the rebels. By March 1764 a reported 2,600 had been captured or returned. In early April a court sentenced 40 Africans to be hanged, 24 to be broken on a wheel, and 24 to be burned. In July leaders of the Dutch mutineers were tortured and executed. A third of the Europeans had left, and only half the Africans remained in the ruined colony.
In 1769 Capuchin Fathers led Spanish soldiers and Indians and overcame the Moruka post and removed some Indian slaves who had taken refuge there with the excuse that they were Christians. Gravesande sent a report to the Prince of Orange and appealed to the Ten, and in August the States General sent a Remonstrance to the Spanish government. Capuchin missionaries attacked Moruka again in 1774, and the States General confirmed Dutch claims the next year. The Dutch controlled the warlike Caribs, but the Spanish Capuchins were associated with weaker tribes. The Caribs were hostile to Spaniards and burned their missions.
Essequibo and Demerara did not yet have many slaves, and from 1745 to 1765 only four ships brought slaves to the Two Rivers; but from 1766 to 1786 slaves from 47 ships improved the colonists’ economic prosperity. The capable Pieter Hendrik Koppiers became governor in 1777. Holland tried to remain neutral during the American Revolution, but they went to war against England in 1780. The next year four English privateers captured Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, but the English occupation lasted less than a year. Lt. Col. Kingston ordered Dutch construction completed, and he resided in Demerara which by then had become more prosperous than Essequibo. In February 1782 Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice surrendered to Comte de Kerssaint and his eight French ships and nearly 2,000 men. The French arrived as allies of the Dutch, but their governing made them unpopular. In March 1784 France gave Demerara and Essequibo back to the Dutch who moved the capital to Longchamps which they renamed Stabroek. Koppiers became governor again.
The planters in Guiana were in conflict with the Dutch West India Company and were concerned about an increased slave tax and less representation in two councils. Led by Joseph Bourda, they petitioned the Dutch government which appointed a committee that recommended the Concept Plan of Redress. The Ten accepted this and appointed two commissioners to implement the plan, and they arrived in Guiana on 26 May 1789. The first Court met three days later, and the settlers were satisfied. Willem van Sirtima was one of the commissioners. The Company’s charter had expired in 1791 and was not renewed, and the States General took control and appointed Sirtima as the new Governor of the Two Rivers in 1793. The next year shipping from Demerara doubled over what it had been under the Company’s rule even though Europe was at war.
In April 1795 they learned that the French had invaded Holland and changed the country to the Batavian Republic. As an ally of France they were at war against England, but the Court of Policy decided that Demerara-Essequibo could not defend itself and would not do so against a superior enemy. The Prince of Orange had fled to England, and he ordered the Dutch colonies to accept British protection sent to them. On 3 May 1795 the British frigate Zebra came to Demerara with this directive and to reinforce British troops. Governor van Sirtima could not persuade the Court of Policy to give up the Batavian Republic. So he resigned and left on the Zebra and was eventually succeeded by Antony Beaujon. The republicans outnumbered the royalists. When three British frigates and six brigantines arrived, the Court of Policy rejected their protection, and the British commander had them withdraw. However, news that the African Victor Hugues had been appointed Commissioner for the West Indies, made colonists fear a slave rebellion, and in the summer of 1795 an expedition suppressed the Bush Negroes with the help of Indians. The debts to British merchants were so high that in 1795 Guiana sent ten million pounds of cotton, fifteen million pounds of coffee, and fifteen million pounds of sugar to England.
In April 1796 a British naval force with 1,200 men arrived, and Guiana surrendered with the guarantee that their persons and property would be secure, and they would have freedom of religion. Governor Beaujon changed his allegiance to the British and stayed in office. The Royal Essequibo and Demerary Gazette became the first newspaper in the colony. Capital came to Guiana from England, and land values rose. By 1802 the number of slaves in Guiana had more than doubled in the previous six years. British property was estimated at £15,000,000, and seven-eighths of the estates in Demerara-Essequibo were held by the English.
When the Treaty of Amiens was signed in March 1802, the British gave Guiana back to the Batavian Republic. They appointed Antony Meertens governor, and he arrived on December 2. He ordered the English planters to sell their property and leave Guiana, and he prohibited shipping goods to British possessions. Meertens had been on the side of the Dutch West India Company and was disliked. After the war between France and England resumed, the British invaded Guiana on 17 September 1803. Most of the colonists welcomed them. In 1805 an Order in Council ended the slave trade to Guiana and Trinidad, and in 1807 the slave trade was abolished in the British Empire.
The Dutch Governor Bentinck in March 1807 told the Court of Police that the British Government wanted that Court and the College of Kiezers to have persons favorable to the British and that the Governor could replace members. This began the policy of Anglicisation. In April 1808 the Court of Policy resolved that no petitions in Dutch would be accepted without English translations, and in 1812 English became the language of legal proceedings. That year Major-General Hugh Carmichael became acting Governor. He changed the name of Stabroek to Georgetown, and in 1813 the English lawyer Jabez Henry was appointed President of the Court of Justice. Carmichael diluted the influence of the Dutch in the College of Kiezers by combining it with the Financial Representatives. Major-General John Murray became governor in 1813. Finally in August 1814 Britain and Holland signed the London Convention that ceded Demerara-Essequibo and Berbice to Britain. This encouraged more immigration, and slaves could still be traded from other British colonies. In 1816 Demerara-Essequibo had 77,163 slaves and Berbice 24,549 while the free population was only about 8,000.
In March 1817 the Demerara-Essequibo colony in British Guiana passed an ordinance to register slaves, and by 1820 all the British colonies in the West Indies had passed such acts. In 1823 several missionary societies worked together with Quakers to form the Anti-Slavery Society, and Thomas Fowell Buxton introduced resolutions in the House of Commons in May to improve the conditions of slaves by allowing them to marry and purchase their freedom. The Government’s George Canning proposed alternative resolutions to abolish flogging of women, allow slave evidence in court, encourage manumission, and protect slave property; this resulted in flogging being abolished in August. On the 17th slaves gathered on Plantation Success to plan an uprising. The African Quamina was a deacon in Rev. John Smith’s chapel at Le Resouvenir, and he urged a nonviolent strike instead. The house-slave Joseph Packard betrayed the plot to his master who informed the Governor. He ordered them to lay down their arms. They refused, and the next night they put managers and overseers in the stocks. These Africans had become Christians and used less violence. Smith was arrested on August 21 and was charged with rebellion. The government declared martial law and suppressed the rebellion on the East Coast as troops led by Col. Leahy dispersed 2,000 Africans at Bachelor’s Adventure. Natives killed Quamina as a runaway, and the African leader Jack Gladstone was hanged. After a trial 27 were executed. Yet soldiers had killed even more, though very few Europeans died. Smith died in prison in February 1824.
In 1825 Britain passed slavery reforms that limited working hours, permitted marriage and the rights to hold property and buy freedom. The colonies of Demerara-Essequibo and Berbice united to become the colony of British Guiana in 1831. That year Demerara-Essequibo passed the Consolidated Slave Ordinance that mandated manumission which was to become law in August 1833 and end slavery on 1 August 1834. Planters were to be compensated with $21.5 million for 84,915 slaves. However, there was to be a transition to freedom by requiring six years of apprenticeship with field-slaves working 45 hours a week in exchange for food, clothing, and allowances. Africans led by Damon in the Trinity parish refused to work and took refuge in the Holy Trinity Church. The Governor had the leaders arrested. Four were transported; 31 others were imprisoned and flogged, and Damon was hanged.
Voting qualifications still enabled planters and merchants to control the government. Following the example of West Indian colonies, the planters agreed to free the apprentices on 1 August 1838. They began importing immigrants with 430 Portuguese arriving in 1835, but most soon died. About 5,000 laborers came from the West Indies 1835-38. Immigration from India began with 396 in May 1838. In 1841 they used public money to bring in 4,297 Portuguese, 2,745 from the West Indies, and 1,102 Africans. Between 1846 and 1848 more than 11,000 from India and 10,000 from Madeira were imported. So many died that immigration from Madeira was suspended. They banned Portuguese immigration in 1848, though some would be allowed after 1850.
1. Red Gold: The Conquest of the Brazilian Indians
by John Hemming, p. 103.
2. Ibid., p. 319.
3. Ibid., p. 343.
4. Ibid., p. 451.
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