The Economy at Independence, 1822
Despite Brazil's economic troubles, the early nineteenth century was a period of change. First, the Napoleonic Wars forced the Portuguese royal family to flee to Brazil in 1808, and for a short period the colony became the seat of the Portuguese empire (see The Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil, 1808-21, ch. 1). Moreover, in 1808 Britain persuaded Portugal to open the colony to trade with the rest of the world, and Portugal rescinded its prohibition against manufacturing. These events paved the way for Brazil's independence on September 7, 1822.
Brazil's early years as an independent nation were extremely difficult. Exports remained low, and the domestic economy was depressed. The only segment that expanded was the subsistence economy. Resources (land, slaves, and transport animals) made idle by the decline of the export economy were absorbed into mostly self-consumption activities.
|Country Studies main page | Brazil Country Studies main page|