The Formation of Economic History in Brazil

From the South Atlantic to South America

Authored by: Luiz Felipe de Alencastro

Routledge Handbook of Global Economic History

Print publication date:  December  2015
Online publication date:  December  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138838031
eBook ISBN: 9781315734736
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter discusses economic history in and about Brazil focusing upon the issues and works that mark the two centuries of Brazil’s emergence as an independent nation state. A sort of Brazilian exceptionalism could be suggested insofar as the country stands as the single colonial aggregate that was not fragmented after its Independence in 1822, as well as the only lusophone nation and long-standing constitutional monarchy in the Americas (1822–89). Encompassing the whole territory of Portugal’s vice-kingdom, trading directly with Portuguese Africa slave ports until 1850 and chief destination of Portuguese immigration until 1950, Brazil maintains a long relationship with Portuguese overseas history and historiography. Because Lisbon’s colonial policy tried to replicate in Angola the Brazilian plantation sector, economic debates during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the two countries were sometimes intermingled. Both Portuguese and Brazilian developmentalists, past and present, praised the Marquis of Pombal’s enlightened despotism, which encouraged a protected manufacturing sector in eighteenth-century Portugal, but their liberal adversaries in the two countries criticized that view. 1

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