Modern History of Brazil

Pedro I was replaced by Pedro II in 1931. His political inclinations pleased both liberals and conservatives, leaving him no choice but to step down. Until 1940 the country was led by regents. Although Pedro II was officially king, he took the throne aged 5 and was therefore not deemed of a suitable age until he was 14. This period was one of huge instability, punctuated by rebel movements. Pedro II brought about a certain level of stability, but was ousted in 1889 by republican factions.

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Republic State Emblem
Brazil then became a republic state
, where it established a democratic system (with the exclusion of voting rights for women until later). It became intensely isolationist, and rarely reached out to international economic partners, apart from a few rare incidents.

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Getúlio Dornelles VargasFrom 1930 to 1945, Brazil was under the command of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas. This period marked the end of the old republic, and the establishment of the Vargas Era. By the end of the Vargas Era, the president had effectively closed down all parliamentary procedures and had begun ruling Brazil as a dictator. Initially he exalted populist rhetoric and appealed greatly to the middle classes, but he was incredibly conservative when it came to rural production, and his interference in the north of Brazil arguably cost the area the rich economic growth we can see in the south today.
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From 1945, after the dictatorship was overthrown, a period of democracy prevailed until 1964 (although Vargas was elected democratically and only lost power in 1950).
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=> In the 1950s Brazil experienced an economic boom and the capital was moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brazilia.

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1964 would bring a coup d’ètat led by the Armed Forces. João Goulart was ousted by Josè Sarney and Brazil’s period of Military rule began. The regime justified their actions by claiming to act in the interest of national security during a time of crisis - a claim that was bolstered by the Paraguayan War. They reached the height of their powers during the 1970s. Media was censored and dissidents disappeared without trace.

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Come the 1980s the regime began to decline. The Brazilian economy began to fail and the masses began to favour democracy. The power of the military subsided thanks to a loosening of laws and eventually the introduction of an election to democratically decide the party in power. Since this occasion, in 1985, no military presence has made it to government.
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Lula da Silva


This new period became known as the New Republic. Many presidents have come and gone, but one of the most significant of these was undoubtedly Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who served the 4th and 5th presidential terms in Brazil’s new democratic systems.
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Lula’s policies led to the expansion of the economy and of employment opportunities, leading to what many see today as the emergence of Brazil onto the world’s mainstage. Because of this Lula remains popular in Brazil, despite his left-wing critics.

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Brazil’s current president is Dilma Rousseff - a key member of the Lula administration. She is the first female President of Brazil. She has ambitiously set herself the task of reducing absolute poverty in Brazil by the end of her term; a target she calls ‘Brasil Sem Miséria’. Her other targets include protecting the Brazilian economy amid a worldwide global crisis and to successfully manage the upcoming events in the country, namely the FIFA World Cup 2014 and the Olympic Games in 2016.

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=> Know more about what happens before
in our History of Brazil article
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