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Brazilian history, provided that it bears the topic of race in some way - Research Paper Example

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Topic: Brazilian History and the African Slave Trade Abstract: The process of colonization in Brazil led to the importation of slaves from Africa, forming a unique aspect of Brazilian culture in the way that African slaves preserved, transmitted, and shared their traditional heritage with other indigenous and foreign ethnic groups in the country…
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Brazilian history, provided that it bears the topic of race in some way
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Download file to see previous pages In “The Transatlantic Slave Trade: A History,” James A. Rawley and Stephen D. Behrendt write: "The Brazilian's appetite for slaves was insatiable. For three centuries Brazil would consume more African slaves than would any of the Atlantic world. Planters, sugar mill owners, white artisans, and in time mine operators clamored for slaves. Three coastal regions - Pernambuco, Bahia, and Rio de Janeiro - required slave labor for their economies."1 (Rawley & Behrendt, 2005) The Sugar Revolution was promoted by European colonists in Brazil along with other economic enterprises relating to farming, mining, timber, and natural resources. The Portuguese received the primary colonial interest in Brazil due to the Papal Line of Demarcation which recognized Spain’s colonial sovereignty in other parts of the New World. In building a colonial administration, the Portuguese were a minority and their methods were foreign to the indigenous population based mostly in subsistence farming. The rise of the plantation system provided two main advantages to the colonists. The first was a legal recognition of their land ownership, which claimed huge tracts of the best indigenous traditional lands for their own personal ownership, building a hierarchy of wealth and power on this basis. The second advantage was in economic exploitation, as the plantations were designed as early forms of agricultural mass-production in order to enable surplus production and export. In farming many more products than needed by local consumption, the colonists could sell mass quantities of sugar and other products to traders who would sell them in other colonies and Europe. This created the flow of wealth, status, and power that fueled colonialism economically. Nevertheless, the Brazilian colonists relied on African slave labor to a much higher degree than other colonies. One reason for this is Brazil’s natural proximity to Africa which reduced costs for slave traders and could be traversed much quicker for a profit. "In the first half of the seventeenth century more than one-half of all slaves imported into the Americas were carried to Brazil. The close relationship between sugar and slavery was established early; and in the 'sugar revolution' that saw the explosion of sugar cultivation in the British and French Caribbean in the second half of the century, Brazil continued to be the leading New World importer of enslaved Africans."2 These slaves were forced to work in the heat of Brazil’s environment in hard labor under threat of death, but struggled and managed to maintain the dignity and culture of their African traditions in the new country. Slaves even inter-married with the indigenous and European populations to create a new generation of descendents that can be considered native Brazilians, and representative of the country’s historical evolution. The result of this process of colonization and slave trade was that millions of African slaves were brought to Brazil by traders for work on colonial plantations from the 16th to 19th century. UNESCO estimates over the course of this period, nearly four million Africans were brought to Brazil in economic slavery. “The blacks, bought in Africa, traversed the Atlantic Ocean in terrible conditions in vessels called 'black ships'. As ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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