Host of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the fifth largest country in the world is the perfect topic for the next title in the Short History series
Discovered by Portuguese sailor and explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral more than 500 years ago, Brazil's history since then has been turbulent, blighted by rebellion, cruelty, dictatorship, and poverty. But, it is also a vibrant, exciting, and ethnically diverse nation that has, in the face of great adversity, emerged as one of the world's fastest growing major economies. This book examines the events that have led to Brazil's ascendancy, looking at the indigenous peoples who populated the territory until its discovery in 1500 and chronicling the tempestuous years since, leading to the economic miracle of recent years. It covers the three centuries of Portuguese colonial rule when sugar became the main export, produced with the help of around three million slaves who were forced to make the deadly crossing of the Atlantic from Africa. It describes how Brazil declared independence from Portugal as a monarchy in 1822, the monarchy being replaced by a republic in 1889, and details the pattern of boom and bust in the Brazilian economy since then, covering the lives of some of the authoritarian rulers that seized power along the way. Finally, it looks at the many difficulties Brazil faces in the 21st century—the devastating social problems resulting from its dramatic economic inequality and the often ruthless exploitation of the country's natural resources. With the eyes of the world currently focused on this immense South American country, there could be no better time to examine the dramatic and fascinating history that has brought it to this point.
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Gordon Kerr is the author of A Short History of Africa, A Short History of China, A Short History of Europe, and A Short History of the First World War.
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