History Summarized: Brazil

This video is brought to you by Squarespace. It’s a website, and so can you! I messed that up. With all of my talk of empires throughout world history I messed that up. With all of my talk of empires throughout world history, it’s easy to forget that colonies have feelings too. Not only is it those guys who do all of the legwork to make empire possible in the first place, but they’re also fascinating in their own right with purpose-driven economies, distinct local cultures, and unique political relationships with the rest of the world. I’ve talked before about the seafaring history of Portugal, but today I’d like to pivot across a hemisphere or two to discuss the growth of its colossal colony of Brazil. To figure out why the South American territory became so instrumental and even grew to eclipse the power of its former parents, let’s do some history. South American history actually goes back way farther than the 1500’s as thousands of indigenous groups called the continent home in the millennia before colonization. Some are still around, and several remain uncontacted to this day. But for the purposes of the Portuguese Empire our story begins with a Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. With Columbus coming back to Spain all smug about “totally finding India you guys” Portugal worried that its budding colonial aspirations were doomed. After a long talk with the Pope they agreed to bisect the globe for ease of empire building. Spain and Portugal both got the freedom to claim any non-european land west and east of a specified line respectively; however, a Portuguese fleet bound for India in 1500 got blown hilariously off-course to discover, to everyone’s surprise, a substantial landmass just east of that demarcation line. Lucky day. Portugal named it after the abundant supply of reddish-orange brazilwood trees which were later used for dyes among other things. Brazil, as it came to be known, just kind of sat there for the early 16th century, as the big money was being made along Indian spice routes in the east. While Portugal seems to not really have cared all that much for Brazil at first, they got real defensive when France tried to muscle in on their territory and clandestinely export brazilwood. As a result, King João the 3rd made an active effort to centralize the Brazilian government, better guard the ports to stop those pesky French, and attract new colonists to move there. Things moved along at a typical colonial pace, making very tenuous contacts with local native groups while exporting natural resources back to Portugal. Indigenous peoples who got captured for labor typically ran away inland which might as well have been like jumping off the edge of the earth, because to this day the coastal mountains have been a colossal barrier to inland development in Brazil. In the absence of a stable local work force, Brazil… imported one. Yeah, so the Brazilian economy single-handedly kick-started the transatlantic slave trade, which was supplied by regular Portuguese contact with coastal African populations and oh, man, was it bad. Of the over 10 million people taken from Africa, over 4 million were brought into Brazilian slavery. That’s about 10 times that of North America. Yeah. And worse yet, the brutality of their treatment in Brazil meant that turnover was very high and slaves were almost constantly imported into Brazil until they were finally outlawed in the very late 1800’s. To make matters worse, the trade itself had a catastrophic and centuries-long effect on coastal African populations and economies. It’s just a really bad time. So with that very depressing sidebar addressed, you may see why the Portuguese treated Brazil as more of a side hustle than its imperial priorities along the Indian spice routes. That all changed when who else but the French snuck over to capture the harbour city of Rio de Janeiro in 1555 because, whoops, Brazil never bothered to fortify it. Someone’s getting fired for that. And in other things that make very little sense, apparently Rio de Janeiro is supposed to be pronounced “hugh de janeiro,” and to that, I ask one question and that is: what did the letter R ever do to you guys? But while I could confusedly stare at linguistics all day, we should probably move on to the early and mid 1600’s, when Portugal’s unwelcome participation in the Iberian Union with Spain meant that they had to deal with all of Spain’s enemies, and in this case that entailed the Dutch trying to yoink Brazil from Brazil. After Portugal broke off its 60-year marriage with Spain, Brazil ultimately ousted the Dutch by themselves in 1654, which got people thinking “Hey, maybe these Portuguese guys care more about spices than us Brazilians” and they would keep thinking exactly that for another 150 years until that train of thought came to its logical conclusion. So yeah, stay tuned for the inevitable independence movement. Since getting glomped by the Iberian Union, Brazil expanded outwards and a bit inlands though three of the four biggest cities, Recife, Salvador, and Rio, were still coastal. Strengthening economic ties and a lasting linguistic bridge kept Brazil looking eastward to their increasingly responsible parent-state rather than mingling with their spanish-speaking neighbors. It also helped that there was a metric Amazon in the way. Speaking of economics, sugar later joined brazilwood as a key export and soon, Brazilians would finally have a motivation for making the trek over the mountains and inland, because somebody discovered gold Along with demographics and economics, the political weight of Brazil shifted to gold adjacent Rio de Janeiro Which became the capital of the colony in 1763. Admittedly, this switch happened over half a century after the gold was first discovered, but given the gold rush continued on for another century after this, I figure better late than never. Coincidentally, this ludicrously lucrative resource rush around Rio had a considerable effect back in Lisbon as well. With British and Dutch traders squeezing Portugal out of their old Indian Ocean trade routes, Brazil’s newfound wealth made an Atlantic imperial pivot the logical choice. Back on the Iberian Peninsula losing the spice monopoly wasn’t even the worst of it. In 1755, a triple disaster in the form of earthquake, tidal wave, and fires leveled most of Lisbon and set Portugal on a long and painful rebuilding process. To make matters worse, along came Napoleon to throw everyone for a loop at the turn of the century, and in attempts to blockade England from the Mediterranean and South Atlantic, Napoleon brought the Bona party into Iberia. In 1807, Queen Maria and her son Dom João booked it right the hell out of Portugal with a British escort to establish a new government in exile in Brazil. The royals, very thankful to be alive, opened up the Brazilian economy to foreign powers, but really mostly England, whereas the colony had previously been trading exclusively with Portugal. Though Maria was still technically the monarch, her son João did a lot of the governing, establishing a slew of official offices, councils, and agencies in their new home of Rio. In 1816, Dom João became King João VI, three years after Napoleon withdrew from Portugal, and one year after he got Waterloo’d, but despite Portugal being safe, João insisted on staying in Brazil on the basis of “Lisbon sucks and this place is a tropical paradise,” which when you’re comparing post-earthquake to post Gold Rush, yeah, that makes sense to me; however, in 1821, revolts of monarchical dissatisfaction in Lisbon meant that João sadly had to leave Brazil to go be King of Portugal, whatever that means, but he left his kiddo Don Pedro behind to keep charge. Portugal, having some post-war problems, wanted to undo the reforms of João and restore Brazil to subservient colony status, but when the Portuguese parliament asked Pedro to return to Lisbon to stop him from getting crazy ideas of forming an independent empire, Pedro said “Yo, dude. I should totally form an independent empire,” and in 1822, he did exactly that, declaring a new constitutional monarchy with the help of the Brazilian Independence Party. New King Pedro even gave a famous speech known as the “I am staying” speech that clearly articulated his best wishes for the Parliament of Portugal to kindly pack it in and mind their own damn business. After a brief run of nation-planning between 1822 and 1824 other powers recognized Brazilian independence, and the newly minted empire got to work. Compared to other independence movements in South America during the early 19th century, Brazil’s was doing all right. Gold was still plentiful, and compared to the sprawling size of the empire, there wasn’t too much per capita revolting. One notable kerfuffle pitted the Emperor against the Constituent Assembly, and in the end Pedro forced a new Constitution that strengthened his hand over government; however, as far as the citizenry was concerned, provisions for civil rights and freedom of speech made Brazil surprisingly liberal and progressive for its time. With the main exception of the Emperor sitting atop the rest of government, it was similarly styled to other Republican Constitutions, with a judicial, executive, and legislative branch and Pedro largely respected the institutions he presided over. However, Pedro I was eventually forced to abdicate in 1831, after having his pants handed to him in a war against Argentina and attempting a series of highly unpopular reforms. He left his five-year-old son Pedro II in line for the throne, and the next decade saw three different regions attempt to rule over Brazil (poorly I should add) while the royal tween got up to speed on “how to empire.” Eventually, the National Assembly got sick of waiting, and crowned the fourteen-year-old as emperor of one of the Earth’s largest contiguous territories. No pressure. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Hey Blue, we literally just saw this go to hell in the China video. How soon until South America completely implodes with the teenager in charge? But surprise surprise, Pedro II turned out to be a smart, compassionate, and almost consistently competent ruler, and that is the absolute last time I ever buy into the office monarch madness pool. To use the basketball parlance, your boy Blue got dunked on. Anyway, reigning for almost 60 years Pedro oversaw Brazil’s transformation into a true international super power. Along with substantial exports and a stable government, Pedro is said to have wanted to be a teacher, so a strong education program was central to his administration. He also oversaw the abolition of slavery against the vehement wishes of the aristocratic slave-owning class. He had taken a series of provisional steps such as the outlawing of birthright slavery to gradually eliminate the institution, but it was his daughter Isabel who brought the hammer down, declaring it abolished while Pedro was out in Europe in 1888. Given the long and gruesome history of the Portuguese slave trade and the fact that Brazil was pretty much the last major power to outlaw slavery, it didn’t happen a moment too soon. As time went on though, Pedro became increasingly wary of Brazil’s future, as he resented the role of the Emperor after almost 60 years in power, and didn’t see a good option for his successor, but after his daughter put the final nail in the coffin of slavery, the military and land-owning aristocracy were just miffed enough to take care of that problem for him. A coup in 1889 ousted poor Pedro exiling him to Europe to live alone on very little money before dying two years later in Paris. Back in Brazil, the empire had been overthrown in favor of a new republic that historians referred to as the Old Republic, which in addition to being declared non-canon by Disney, saw elections serially manipulated by powerful politicians and landowners for decades. Subsequently Brazil went through an absolute carousel of governments through the 1900’s. You can honestly set your watches by the military dictatorships. One bright spot in the middle of the century came under the tenure of Juscelino Kubitschek, who moved the capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília, established inland in the middle of nowhere and constructed out of basically nothing but the purpose of shifting the country’s political economic center of gravity away from the coast. But at the risk of falling down the dictatorial rabbit-hole, I’m calling it here. Brazil has a fascinating history, in large part because its success looked unlikely from the very start. Discovered basically by accident and long ignored in favor of other prospects, Brazil is a clear case of getting out what you put in. To mix my metaphors here, the grass is greener over in the Indian Ocean until you start tending your own garden and suddenly discover an el Dorado’s worth of gold. In history and in our own lives, just because things take a while to get started, doesn’t mean they won’t go anywhere. While Brazil is off building its empire, you can be building your brand new website with Squarespace. If you have a project or business you want to promote online, a website is like your own personal spice route to the Indian Ocean, and Squarespace makes the whole process simple and affordable especially if you start a free Squarespace trial at squarespace.com/overlysarcastic and use code “OVERLYSARCASTIC” to get 10% off your first purchase. I personally have zero skill at coding, but Red and I were able to build a killer website for OSP without worrying about code, plugins, or updates. Seriously, we just kind of sat down thought “hmmm what should this thing look like,” and then we whipped it right up. And yeah, maybe I’m incredibly biased, but I think it’s a pretty slick website, but still nothing’s perfect, so we’d love to hear your thoughts on what you think we should add to our website in the future. To get started on your website though head over to squarespace.com/overlysarcastic and use code “OVERLYSARCASTIC” for 10% off.

Comments 100

  • You speak too fast for my Brazilian Portuguese ears… 👀

    But I didn't use any subtitles or slowed the video down as a way for better understanding because I already know what's about Brazil.


  • you
    just jumped through GETULIO VARGAS?

  • a bit exaggerated on “Brazil was good” but accurate, boa corno

  • It was going great, such a pity u guys basically summarized all 20th century in few seconds, a hell lot of stuff happened

  • For those interested in Brazilian history, the best general book about it : https://www.amazon.com/Brazil-Biography-Lilia-M-Schwarcz/dp/0374280495 Pra quem nunca leu tmb recomendo.

  • Ok so this is full of myth about brazils discovery. it has been established that portuguese who had the greates concetration of technology and knowledge about ocean sailing in europe knew what they were doing , perhaps not the exact size of the american continent but they didnt blunder towards american shores. Also you forgot to talk about the templars. I guess most of this info is in portuguese but just look at this list of members: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_Christ_(Portugal)

  • Also you give the impression that there was just trees and beaches over at the coast, but actually there were many different tribes of natives ( the ones friendly to Europeans and to anybody really were part of the Tupi group) and Europeans, mostly french, established themselves in Brazil by marrying into native families and using the existing infrastructure of commerce and labor and knowledge their new relatives had to trade with Europe. The reason Portugal and Spain's interest piqued was the discovery of silver by some explorer in the land of the white king (most likely the incan empire) using a network of roads and pathways used by the Guarani people that connected the atlantic to the andes . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleixo_Garcia

  • Legal ouvi falar que os americanos ficaram independentes por causa de…..CHA

  • Um monte de MERDA!!!! Esse gringo não conhece a História do Brasil.

  • Rabbit hole? You COWARD!

  • The map is missing Rio Grande do Sul

  • A better way to summarize is : The Portuguese "discovered" Brazil, after that is a fucking mess, like, literally no fucking sense

  • some corrections: we had a lot of regional fights after the independence. At 19th century our gold rush was finished, Brazil never was in war with Argentina. The portuguese domain here was not so bad if you look what the others european kingdoms done in your "colonies". Other interesting fact: the distances are so big, that a lot of provinces learned about the new republic and the imperial exile about two or three years late.

  • The difference between Brasil’s old republic and Star Wars’ is that the latter was declared non canon by Disney, and the first one by the military

  • "lucky day"
    Many historians claim that Portugal already knew about the existence of brazilian lands when they stretched the meridian that separated the spanish territory from the portuguese, so now we don't even call it "discovery" of Brazil, we call it the "arrival" of Pedro Álvares Cabral, because actually Duarte Pacheco Pereira "discovered" our country 2 years before Pedro Álvares Cabral.

  • This contains NLP

  • Dom Pedro II 💚💛

  • Some futurologist predicted that the Brazilians will inherit the earth!

  • It's very good to point out that princess Isabel didn't abolish slavery out of her sheer kindness, she did it because of the pressure of the English government who wanted to expand their business due to the Industrial Revolution that had happened a couple of decades before. So having more people working for a salary instead of slaving them equals more people buying the manufactured products England sold to the rest of the world at that time period. So basically it was all about money (as it usually is) not kindness.

  • Awwww I wanted to see the Native History

  • The capital was shifted to Brasilia to get away from the coast, thus, away from the people…

  • holy sauceWHY I JUST SEEING THIS NOW???

  • Why couldn’t Brazilians paint? Like Jesus fuck 8:13 those people are ugly as hell

  • I think the most of the people here are Brazilians (such as me) making some Brazilian jokes in english

  • A lesson for you "gringos" João is pronounced jo-a-um

  • Oh meu Deus, socorro kkkkk

  • Anyone brave enough to mention
    That Brazilians are a bit eccentric.
    Love and kind regards from Ireland 🍀

  • digam ao povo que eu fico

  • Americans romantizing the Brazilian history haha I cant

  • Bruh how you gon diss the way we say a name of a city in our language?

  • Im Brazilian , thank you , now I don’t have to study for my test!

  • Wow, Blue really got me with this last thought

  • Não é o R que é diferente é a sua língua que é embolada a língua inglesa tem essa característica o portuquês também tem só que menos.

  • jo-al

  • “Found by accident” my ass.
    That was the story they went with for a long time, but:
    The Treaty of Tordesilhas basically said that Spain could have whatever was West of the line and Portugal could have the stuff East of the line, but there had been some debate over where the line actually was. The actual document said it was a certain amount of maritime miles West of a certain archipelago just off the coast of northern Africa, but measurements varied. By Spanish measurements, the line would have been juuuussst off the Brazilian coast, but by Portuguese measurements – surprise, surprise – they actually got to keep a chunk of land, small as it was in comparison to the Spanish bit.

  • Honestly, the Brazilian monarchy is God tier and it should come back.

  • God save the emperor!

  • Question: what is modern Brazil’s opinion on Pedro II.

  • Ahem.

  • me being Brasilian cringed so hard when he pronounced João.

  • Can y’all do Ecuador?

  • How could I not recognize that background music! Love you blue!

  • This video is actually very accurate and fun keep up the good work!

  • You can set your watch by the military dictatorships. Oh boy is this true to this day (looks over to Bolivia)

  • Ehh, I think focusing too much on gold was not a good idea. Gold was a source of money for a short amount of time. Aside from gold, things that got us moving and kept Portugal and other countries interested in us were pau-brasil, sugar, coffee and then oil. Also, skipping over the political mess we went through felt kinda rushed, but overall it was a nice video. I get that you wanted to focus on Brazil while it was still deeply connected to Portugal. We're more than that though.

  • Damn, Brazil got a great start up as independant colonial empire. How the fuck they turn into a shit hole they are today?

  • The three constants in life are death, taxes, and aristocrats overthrowing leaders who abolish slavery.

  • The Republic ruined Brazil forever.

  • Why do you still spread misinformation about columbus? Thought this was a history video…

  • too many mistakes. unfortunately even though this story has been tought even officially it’s almost completely wrong. from where the name Brazil came from to how and why the Portuguese settled in.

  • Idk why English speaking people don’t just put ão in google translate saying ão would be much more confortable for them then saying “Ááwo”

  • Alguém falou em Brasil?

    Laughs in portuguese

    But seriosly, its cool to see an outsider's perspective on the history of my country

  • I like their Orgy videos.

  • R has two possible pronounces, and H has no sound by itself but it can make a difference when coming after N and L.

  • The republic is overrated, long live the Empire.

  • Gente eu acho incrível que qualquer vídeo gringo que apenas CITE O BRASIL todos os comentários são de brasileiros. todos.
    Gringos, if you want some good exotic attention just say something about brazil

  • I have to ask you back what did the letter R (erre) did to you guys to make it sound like a pirate (aaawrrrrr)?

  • I'm pretty ashamed that no one it's praising the best joke of the millennium, when he says that the old republic was make non Canon by Disney LoL

    s a l v i a

  • the r in english is the weird one not ours

  • Please, tell me what is the name of this painting in 7:08.

  • Seriouslly? You think that Tordesillas was about luck?

  • The territory in the thumbnail looks like my grandma floor

  • This guy can't even say "João" properly and want to do a video about Brazil's history lmao

  • I love your videos! But as a brazilian historian, I should say there are some mistakes in this one. Could we talk about it?

  • This vídeo is stopping all the time. Is it my Youtube or is the same for everyone?

  • Blue trying to pronounce Rio de Janeiro and JoÃo
    ((laughs in carioca))

  • os brasileiros vêm correndo

  • Nice video! But actually the pronunciation of Rio de Janeiro is even harder than you tried there, the first R is the sound of H just like you said, in "Rio", but the second R in "Janeiro" is a tongue trill, I think you don't have those in American English, but you can find a reference to that sound in a singing exercise called exactly "Tongue Trill", there are videos teaching to do the sound all around YouTube

  • At the start of a word the ‘r’ is pronounced like an ‘h’. In the middle of a word it’s pronounced like a normal ‘r’. For it to have the ‘h’ sound in the middle of a word there are 2 ‘r’s.

    Carro. c-A-ho
    Porta pór-tA
    Rato. hA-to

  • I think that is wrong to thing about Treaty of Tordesillas only in terms of american lands, because Portugal could claim lands in africa and asia, so it was not so bad for them.

  • I wish the brazillians who ousted their monarchy would know what to come as a repuplic….

  • I was really hoping to hear the history of the indigenous rather than those assholes who came over unwelcomed.

  • oversimplified
    overly sarcastic
    how have you not done a collab

  • What is the name of the painting with the port at 0:13?

  • I heard an hypothesis saying that Portugal discovered Brazil before 1494, hence why they wanted to push back the line of the treaty so further west ^^'

  • Brasileiros não tem alto estima mesmo, puta que pariu.

  • Hey, Just one misconception. Brazil wasn't discovered by accident. Actually, Portugal was one of the most successful empires when you're talking about keeping secrets. And at that time Portugal was pioneers at exploring the new world.

    If you make a good research you'll see that there're evidences that Portugal already knew what they were treating. Of course they didn't know the entirety of America. However they wouldn't make a treaty with the spanish blindly.

  • This man: "brasil" in a very good portuguese accent
    Also this man: " J O A L "

  • What if instead of temporary moving to Brazil, Portugal decided to straight up abandon Iberia all together and perhaps give Spain the rest of Iberia.

  • Ayyyy foreigners are talking about us!

  • 4:26 É Minas Gerais galerinha, pelo menos os estados brasileiros são em português

  • COLOMBUS. DIDNT. CLAIM. TO FIND. INDIA. stop repeating this false "fact". He wanted to find a route to india. He thought he found a secret continent based off of Marco polo's adventures that were east of india. They knew the world was round but had bad information on were things were.

  • some real
    wrong info. the americanized view. 🙁

  • Good job! It's a miracle when you get a lot of Brazilians commenting in English 😉

  • Loved the video, it really find the history summarized videos very entertaining, I love the way that information is not made boring the way that this channel places it.

  • "What did the letter R ever do to you guys? " Bitch you guys are not entitled to the letter R to say anything

    People: discover gold in Minas Gerais
    Mineiros: It's free real state

    Also, dude, JOAL
    I fucking LOVE this channel

  • The letter “R” did nothing to us, it is how it is pronounced in portuguese, if you want to talk about another country that’s not yours, first learn to respect their language. Then you can start to respect culture and other stuff.

  • Brasiliens Geschichte ist faszinierend

  • I am Brazilian and I think Brazil suck.

    The 1947 dictator Julio Vargas controlled the unions, organized an aggressive propaganda campaign, and even take inspiration from facism. (To be honest, that's why he left power. Because Vargas supported the Allies but maintained a fascism-inspired regime, many people, especially students, began to criticize his regime. The contradiction ruined his government.)

    The 1964 civil-military dictatorship had a lot of police repression, censorship, and other kinds of limits to our political rights and fundamental freedoms. During this period, the purchasing power of the minimum wage diminished, violent torture was employed by the regime, and multipartism was abolished. The regime was responsible for the so-called 'institutional act 5' (or AI 5, for short), which basically abolishes congresses and allows the legislative power to create laws on whatever it wants.

    After the dictatorship, President Fernando Collor de Mello emerged. He is known for destroying the constitution called the "constituição cidadã" (it contained many achievements of social movements). Brazilian ex-president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is known to be suspected of participating in a broad corruption scheme called "Lava-jato."

    Today, Brazil's right-wing political leader, Jair Bolsonario, has carried out many environmentally destructive actions. Proof of this are the fires in the Amazon, which can literally be seen from SPACE. Our environment minister does not believe in global warming. Our agriculture minister passed a pesticide law so bad that we calls it a "Pacote do veneno" (meaning poison pack). Funai (an organization that protects the Indians) has lost lot of its powers its powers and as a result hundreds of natives have their lives at risk.

    Basically, Brazil sucks.

  • As a Brazilian
    Brazil history is Just bootleg América history

  • Cool, you pronounced Rio de Janeiro rightly, but now say pão.


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