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violence did in fact play a critical role in Brazil’s formative years of independence and monarchical rule.” identifying for instance as patria paulista or patria bahiana.1 This regional identification led to smaller scale rebellions and independence movements throughout the 18th century. 51. The historical context for the period will be provided. New York: Oxford University Press. 2010. regional identities had begun to emerge in Brazil. rather than an idealistic juxtaposition of Brazil and the rest of Latin America. Skidmore. with residents classifying themselves by patria or “regional homeland. the current English language literature on this historical period does little to provide an overview of the presence of violence. . The persistent myth of Brazil’s “bloodless” independence movement entirely devoid of 1 the chaos present in other Latin American states has led to a general idealization of this historical period in Brazil. and by the 1 Thomas E. Historical Context for the Period In order to analyze the historical occurrences of violence during the 1710-1822 Brazilian independence movements and the subsequent period of monarchical rule from 1822-1889 through a realistic lens. This research aims to fill the gap by analyzing the presence of violence in Brazil during the period of Brazilian independence movements from 1710-1822 and the subsequent period of Brazilian monarchy. the root causes of this violence. However. from 1822–1889. While the types and levels of violence were perhaps less severe than in other Latin American states. As early as 1710. the violent turmoil must be placed within the context of the historical period. Brazil: five centuries of change. O Império do Brasil. and the regions of the country where this violence was concentrated. followed by an analysis of the types of violence that existed. rather than identifying with Portugal.
3 Skidmore. 4 Ibid. 2 Earl Fitz. that hitherto Portugal existed only for England.”7 After the British moved the Portuguese royal court to Brazil. meaning primarily Britain. “Britain retained a tremendous competitive advantage in both price and variety of goods. residents of Brazil began to “think about separation from Portugal. led to his “decision to return [to Portugal] because he was afraid he would lose the throne if he stayed.D. Prince Dom João later Dom João VI. Williams wrote. 1750-1808. an incipient sense of Brazilidade or “Brazilianness” had emerged. J.”8 By the 1820s. as it were.. 7 Kenneth Maxwell. 43. 9 Ibid. Brazil: five centuries of change. “Pedro. 1. New York: Routledge. 2012. 52.” particularly by the military and powerful mercantile interests.2 In light of “the economic and political tensions between the Portuguese crown and its largest colony” and increasing Brazilian intellectual awareness of the American and French revolutions.. 5 Ibid. Brazil: five centuries of change. 8 Skidmore. entirely absorbed by her… it was for her that the sun of the Brazils hardened the diamond in the bowels of the earth. had already “opened Brazilian ports to ‘friendly’ nations. September 13. 44.. 43.”3 Pressures created by the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815) led to the development of a British mission to push the Portuguese royal court “to flee Portugal and establish a base of power in its New World colony. She was.”4 The Portuguese agreed to Britain’s strategy and effectively escaped Napoleon and became the first European monarchs to establish a “seat of power” in a colony. 6 Ibid.” 9 Dom João VI left behind his son. “Comparative Study: Portugal & Spain. 41.5 Even before the royal court was fully established in Rio de Janeiro.”6 In fact in 1822.” presented in LAS 202: Introduction to Brazil. Conflicts & conspiracies : Brazil and Portugal. 2004. “it might be said.. Vanderbilt University. the prince regent. 2 end of the century. 42. . “insistence for Dom João VI’s return from Brazil.
2008. Dom Pedro announced Brazilian Independence and was “crowned Emperor Pedro I at the age of 24. or the “Regeneration. 12 Jeffrey C. Mosher. to administer Brazil. 15 Ibid. the Cortes of Portugal had already met “and adopted an aggressive stance toward Brazil. as “Independent Brazil adopted a monarchical system of government” setting it apart from “most former colonial territories in the Western Hemisphere” because “Portuguese America.”13 On January 9.”15 This was a unique historical move. “I say to the people that I am staying!” (“Diga ao povo que fico!”). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.”16 Nonetheless. . Political Struggle. did not fragment into numerous separate states. “provincial juntas that claimed popular support began emerging across Brazil” and throughout Portuguese America “freedom of action” led to a clear competition between “Pedro’s government in Rio de Janeiro and the Lisbon Cortes” to gain support from the “far-flung provinces.. 1822. 3 whom he now named the prince regent. 16 Maxwell.” was meant “to update the institutions of the monarchy along constitutional lines” and “lead to the recovery of prosperity. and State Building: Pernambuco and the Construction of Brazil. 1750-1808. Brazil: five centuries of change. Ideology. 14 Skidmore. now known as the Dia do Fico.14 With the call “Independence or Death! (“Independência ou Morte!”). Brazil: five centuries of change.”12 By 1821. 1817-1850.11 This period of reform known as the Revolution of 1820. upon being petitioned by the residents of Rio de Janeiro to remain in Brazil Dom Pedro proclaimed. many of the distant provinces viewed Dom Pedro I and his plans for a centralized empire as being “too reminiscent of 10 Skidmore. with the intent of restoring it to subservient colonial status… revoking Brazil’s status as a co-kingdom with Portugal” and order the return of Dom Pedro to Portugal. xvii. 44-45. 13 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 44.. Conflicts & conspiracies : Brazil and Portugal. 42. 41. unlike Spanish America. 45.”10 Before the sovereign and his four thousand accompanying Portuguese delegates arrived in Portugal.
1988. Political Struggle. this did not preclude the newly independent state from experiencing regional turmoil.. 19 Roderick J. Levine. As is the case with the records about early nineteenth-century “criminality in the São Francisco region. violence was closely linked to racial and economic inequality and the bolstering of sociocultural identification with regionalism and the upholding of personal honor fueling rebellions and criminal engagement.” violence did in fact exist. Palgrave. 20 Ibid. Portuguese absolutism.”17 Though Brazil took a different path than its Spanish American counterparts. in Brazil. “the appeal of the nation-state” for residents of the colony “was the appeal of power. . Types of Violence and the Root Causes of this Violence While Independence and Empire in Brazil were in fact different from the “insurrections and civil wars in the name of independence that convulsed Spanish America. Barman. 43. it is difficult to determine how much violence truly existed. Stanford. New York. Levine claim “bloodshed occurred only in Bahia. where Portuguese troops resisted” and that “plots against the crown were few and far between. 18 Robert M.” violence was much more widespread. and State Building. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Brazilian experts like Robert M. as was the case in Spanish America. The History of Brazil. 2003.20 In 4 Brazil.”19 Although. 55-57. However. CA: Stanford University Press. it is important to note that due to inconsistent records and a lack of data recording from the time. Ideology. 5.” this type of violence “does not lend itself to precise quantification” because “police statistics are inconsistent and in many cases incomplete” and “marked discrepancies exist between municipal 17 Mosher. Brazil: The Forging of a Nation. 55.18 And.
and even after independence. they charted “a real rise in violent crime associated with elections” such that the imperial state actually led to an increase in violence. Power. Cambridge. complaints continued over inequality between the elites 21 Judy Bieber. 133. reports and figures generated by the provincial police. 1822-1889. rebellions. patronage. New York. patronage. 25 Boris Fausto. “the municipal elite reported increased levels of vagrancy. 133. and other similar situations of varying titles.”23 These “elite observations did not merely reflect a heightened awareness of 5 an endemic social problem. uprisings. violence continued in the form of “social deviance and criminality” which continued to change and grow as “the Brazilian state became more centralized”22 While records are often missing. and violent crime” that pointed toward an “overall awareness of social disorder that affected all levels of society. banditry. it was in the best interest of Portuguese colonial elites to withhold information about the violence involved since any concessions to “Brazilian” acts for independence would undermine the crown’s stronghold over their most profitable colony. 22 Bieber. UK. particularly in the sertão mineiro.”21 In the case of insurrections. 1999. NY. 1999. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.” but rather.” 25 Before independence. Even after independence from Portugal had been secured and O Império do Brasil had been firmly established. 24 Ibid. a variety of “complaints arising from economic conditions and the privileges given to the Portuguese” were present throughout the colony. 67. A concise history of Brazil. and political violence: state building on a Brazilian frontier. and political violence state building on a Brazilian frontier. Power. . 23 Ibid. USA: Cambridge University Press.24 This type of violence is often attributed to the fact that “there was a problem of inequality among Brazil’s regions.
27 Mosher. it can be reasonably assumed that such violence was not well recorded and did not often escalate into extended involvement due to its widespread acceptance.27 In terms of the overall socio-cultural identity of Brazilians. 133. “over time. indicate the widespread occurances of such anti-Portuguese movements in distant. particularly male Brazilians. 29 Ibid. and State Building. throughout this historical period. or economic goal. such as the working class and African slaves. and lower status individuals.”29 Thus. A concise history of Brazil. and political violence. 67. Ideology.”28 For this reason. “violence was an acceptable means to resolve minor disputes over small properties and personal challenges (desafios) to one’s courage and personal and 6 family honor” and as such. However. 42. Political Struggle.” whether regional or national in nature. “individual violence in defense of one’s honor… was not considered socially threatening but rather was an accepted masculine cultural norm. However. political. “captaincies across Brazil [maintained] a strong commitment to avoiding domination by any distant center of power” and hoped to secure a higher degree of autonomy. 26 Fausto. local representatives of the state were able to harness this propensity toward violence to affect electoral outcomes. these events are not often linked to the period as proof of a bloody independence.26 Overwhelming. all “anti-Portuguese conspiracies and attempts at independence. though regional consciousness in Brazil manifested itself before any semblance of national consciousness. Regions of Concentration Since many of the violent movements in Brazil’s formative years involved regional autonomy rather than national independence. 28 Bieber. patronage. far removed regions of the colony. . Power. the political strains of achieving independence and maintaining monarchy inevitably led to the leveraging of violence to fulfill a particular social.
that the 1798 Tailors’ Conspiracy in Salvador. Culture.”34 While this rebellion was brushed away by Portuguese officials as a simple unfulfilled and unjust conspiracy against the rightful monarchical government. 31 Refer to the appended map on page 12. the most amplified violent activity was geographically concentrated in the Brazilian provinces of Pernambuco.31 One of the earliest violent conflicts in the Brazilian colony was the pejoratively named the “Peddlers’ War” (Guerra dos Mascates) from 1710 to 1712.. 60. 1999. Amazonas. A concise history of Brazil. “on São Pedro eve… a riot by armed people descended from the hill of Ouro Preto” and after “another riot arose in the area of Padre Faria” both rioting groups joined together and “attacked the house of the ordinary ouvidor [a justice or magistrate]. The Latin America Readers. 32 The Brazil Reader: History. Pará. another major rebellion emerged in Ouro Preto: the Inconfidência Mineira.30 From colony to empire. this particular rebellion is still thought to have had symbolic force as an “example of how historical occurrences of seemingly limited scope can have an impact on a country’s history. Bahia. . 50.C. 45. Bahia. and Minas Gerais.” attempts for independence and grabs for power occurred throughout Brazil. Cambridge. Rio de Janeiro. and Rio de Janeiro. “the most important manifestation of rebellion in Brazil. Durham [N.”33 By 1788. 30 Skidmore. 35 Ibid. once “the most prosperous sugar-producing captaincy” with waning “profitability… owing to competition from the West Indies.]: Duke University Press. 33 Ibid. Politics. Brazil: five centuries of change. Minas Gerais was also subject to multiple rebellions. fought in the city of Recife in Pernambuco. In 1720. 121. 62.”32 Beginning with the 1720 rebellion of Felipe dos Santos. 7 Although political power in Brazil was primarily concentrated in the “centrally located provinces of São Paolo.. Minas Gerais.”35 It has been argued however. 34 Fausto.
Paraíba. artisans.40 Although these incidents in Pernambuco and Bahia did not led to bloody insurrections in and of themselves. “intellectuals. 1798. a “revolutionary explosion” known as the Suassuna Revolt erupted in Pernambuco. and Rio Grande do Norte” ultimately leading to a “generalized revolt in northeast Brazil” with “military success” that was fueled by “strong anti-Portuguese 36 Donald Ramos. most “conspirators” were arrested after the governor had already taken precautions to avoid outbreaks of violence. and a large number of priests. 85-86. while overlooked by historians was just as significant as the preceding Inconfidência Mineira. 38 Ramos. 1798. drawing together “a wide cross section of the population: military men. these symbolic plans for independence fueled future movements and gave the Portuguese government reason for concern. “Social Revolution Frustrated: The Conspiracy of the Tailors in Bahia. 40 Ibid.”38 Though it is true that in Salvador. 37 Ibid. 39 Ibid. “Social Revolution Frustrated: The Conspiracy of the Tailors in Bahia.36 In earlier attempts at independence. 67. .” 85.” Luso-Brazilian Review 13.” the Portuguese government did utilize “selective violence” to punish those involved in order to “discourage future conspirators. “representatives of the lowest social groups” played an 8 important part in the “Conspiracy of the Tailors. rural landowners. 41 Fausto.”37 In both Pernambuco and Bahia. 85. “the plan called for a minimum of violence.. merchants. the plans for rebellion were “never formulated coherently because the conspirators were compelled to act before they were ready. no.” whereas in Salvador.. poets or disaffected aristocrats played the leading roles.”41 This revolution had enormous scope. 1 (July 1. judges. By March of 1817. A concise history of Brazil.”39 After rushed confusion to speed up the start of the ill planned rebellion. beginning in Recife and spreading into “Alagoas. 1976): 74.
46 Portuguese military troops in Rio de Janeiro also lead an uprising on February 26. Ideology. 68. 1986. which was quieted by Dom João and his son Pedro.”42 This conflict “lasted over two months” as “battles raged in the hinterland. “civil and military protests” in Rio de Janeiro continued. 85. “Portuguese troops [took] Recife” and began the “sentencing and execution of the movement’s leaders. 67.47 But. over time the fighting “revealed despair and disagreement among the 9 revolutionaries. Political Struggle. 43. 1821. that in 1824 the governing junta in Pernambuco joined forces with neighboring provinces to attempt “a republican secessionist movement” known as the 42 Fausto. insurrections continued and on January 1.”45 This uprising in Pará was followed by opposition in Bahia. However. 46 Ibid. Durham: Duke University Press.”44 A tactic similar to that imposed after the earlier attempts in Pernambuca and Bahia: prevent revolutions by dramatically punishing revolutionaries. 45 Mosher. Pará “mounted an uprising and established a liberal governing junta. 44 Ibid. A concise history of Brazil. 69.”49 And.”43 In May of 1817. even after Dom Pedro I secured the Brazilian monarchy.48 On April 22. many provinces felt alienated. sentiment. 49 Neill Macaulay. . 48 Ibid. As Dom Pedro I began forging plans for his centralized empire. several people were reportedly killed inside the commercial exchange building and “many more were wounded” with some drowning after jumping out of windows “amidst great tumult and confusion.. conflict continued.. 68. where “Brazilian artillery officers” took up arms against the “old absolutist order” on February 10. so much so. 1821 Portuguese soldiers in Belém. 47 Ibid.. Dom Pedro: the struggle for liberty in Brazil and Portugal: 1798-1834. and State Building. 43 Ibid.” however.
. Confederation of the Equator. patronage. “rural dependents willing to engage in temporary violence to uphold their personal honor. 141. political conflict escalated and “military intervention was required” in some areas due to “corruption and conflict between 50 Mosher. New York: Cambridge University Press.50 The military quickly suppressed the Confederation of the Equator and predictably.56 And. 143. the Brazilian Amazon experienced “one of Brazil’s largest peasant and urban-poor insurrections. 105. known as the Cabanagem. 1798-1840. Political Struggle. 55 Bieber. Rebellion on the Amazon: the Cabanagem. 56 Ibid. and violent crime” led to a rise in theft.51 10 In the late 1830s. 43. a new type of violence emerged.”54 The São Francisco region of Minas Gerais between 1832 and 1879 truly reflects the way that “patronage politics. 51 Ibid. strong regional identity. and a political system that unequally favored Portuguese elite. 52 Mark Harris.” arose the cangaceiros. local. in light of the elections of 1849.”53 The peasant rebellion in Pará clearly emerged from the root causes of most rebellions in Brazil: economic difficulties.”52 In Pará. . 2010. 53 Harris. Ideology.55 By the end of the empire. and corruption associated with electoral fraud and violence. Rather than conform. and political violence. professional mercenaries. administrative corruption. 54 Ibid. Rebellion on the Amazon. Pará “remained stubbornly different. the monarchical government enforced “exemplary punishment for leaders” and power across the provinces was dealt out to Dom Pedro I’s allies. Power. and heterogeneous. “divergent notions of society at the heart of Portuguese Amazonia” became the “cultural momentum behind the rebel movement” led by “self-identified natives of Pará. and State Building. and popular culture in the north of Brazil. murder. race. In the place of the jagunços.
from Belém to Rio de Janeiro.” though. While the types of violence and the extremity of the violence were different and perhaps less severe than in other Latin American states. and political conflict. patronage. violence did play a critical role in Brazil’s formative years of independence and monarchical rule. economic strain. 57 Bieber. and political violence. 144. Power.57 Conclusions While the myth of Brazil’s “bloodless” independence and centralized monarchical 11 success continues to persist. Liberal and Conservative factions. revolutionary rebellions. from Pernambuco to Minas Gerais. crime. violence existed throughout Brazil. Though this historical period has been idealized in the past. . political upheaval did decrease in the following decade. and cultural identification with violence all led to occurrences of violence in the form of military insurrections. and proved that regional identity. this research proves that the periods of independence and monarchy were not at all devoid of chaos and violence.
a New World Experiment with Monarchy. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 12 Map of Brazil indicating Regions of Concentrated Violence and Rebellion58 58 Edited version of the map provided by Clarence Henry Haring in Empire in Brazil. . 1958.
Clarence Henry. 1988. Ideology. September 13. 1986. Dom Pedro : the struggle for liberty in Brazil and Portugal : 1798-1834. Order and Progress: Brazil from Monarchy to Republic. Earl. 1999. Maxwell. Durham [N. Empire in Brazil. “Social Revolution Frustrated: The Conspiracy of the Tailors in Bahia. 2004. Boris.C. and Moral Order: Pernambucan Political Ideology and the Brazilian Nation-State. “Independence. patronage. no. Durham: Duke University Press. New York: Cambridge University Press. Ramos. Palgrave. The Latin America Readers. UK. Cambridge.” A Contracorriente 7. 2008. Mark. Kenneth. Macaulay. Stanford. race. Brazil: The Forging of a Nation. New York. New York: Oxford University Press. Brazil: five centuries of change. 2012. Levine. Neill. Vanderbilt University. 1986. 1999. . New York: Routledge. CA: Stanford University Press. Gilberto. Freyre. 1817-1850.” Luso-Brazilian Review 13. Bieber. 1999. Fausto. Conflicts & conspiracies : Brazil and Portugal. 13 Barman. 1750-1808. 1958. The Brazil Reader: History. Donald. Haring. Skidmore. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Liberal Progress. Harvard University Press. a New World Experiment with Monarchy. USA: Cambridge University Press. Fitz. Culture. Harris. Robert M. 1 (September 2009). New York. Mosher. Power. Roderick J. Bibliography Barber. The History of Brazil. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2010. no. Political Struggle. and political violence state building on a Brazilian frontier. Cambridge. Justin. 1798. Jeffrey C. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. and State Building: Pernambuco and the Construction of Brazil. 1798-1840. and popular culture in the north of Brazil. 1976). NY. 1822-1889. 2010.” presented in LAS 202: Introduction to Brazil.]: Duke University Press. Judy. “Comparative Study: Portugal & Spain. 1 (July 1. Berkeley: University of California Press. Thomas E. A concise history of Brazil. 2003. Politics. Rebellion on the Amazon: the Cabanagem.
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