I am Brazilian and many people do not even know that we were colonized by Portugal and we speak Portuguese. So before we start, I will give you a background of Brazil colony’s history. We are the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese that’s because we were ruled by Portugal.
In 1500, the navigator Pedro Álvares Cabra, trying to discover a faster route to the Indies, and discovered Brazil. Already at this point, there are many discordances since there were already people living in Brazil, who were called Indians – because they think they were in India. Thus, many people like to call this ‘the arrival of Portugal in Brazil’ and not as the discovery itself.
The soil of Brazil is extremely rich, naturally abundant and diverse and Portugal made a lot of money with Brazil. So, in 1808, the King of Portugal, D. João VI, fled from a Napolean invasion to Brazil. The escape was made during the night and the king brought with him all the Portuguese court and the riches of the country.
In 1821, due to the revolt of Porto, the king of Portugal had to return to Portugal in order not to lose his Portuguese reign. However, Brazil was ‘the apple of the eye’ of Portugal. When he left, Dom João left his son in Brazil, the then Dom Pedro IV. Pressed by rebellions proclaimed the independence of Brazil on September 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga River, in São Paulo. D. Pedro IV then became to be also called as D. Pedro I, the first emperor of Brazil.
These are facts, but the way we learn the history of Brazil colony in schools makes it seem that Portugal was a country that did everything to destroy Brazil. For that reason, Portugal was never on my list of places to visit. Interesting enough I noticed that many of my friends have this very same impression of Portugal. They consider anywhere in Europe to visit but rarely Portugal.
I remember my teacher saying: “Brazil was a colony of exploration, while countries like the United States were a settlement colony”. This is the Brazilian’s excuse for everything bad that happens in Brazil today. That we were colonized in the wrong way.
If that were true, Australia, which between 1788 and 1868 was practically the English jail, would be an absurdly insecure country. We all know that reality is quick different. Following this logic, Germany which was destroyed after the First World War (1914-1918), would never rise again. It would never have been strong enough to start World War II (1939-1945), be destroyed again, rise once more. The Germans, command the block that was created focused to prevent them from getting stronger once again. It seems that did not work very well. Or well enough to the Germans. LOL
Of course, I’ve used only countries that have managed to overcome, reinvent and succeed. Some might think ‘but Andrea, what about India, for example?’ Well, there are a few differences between Brazil and India, more than the routes, Portugal knows that now LOL. India was a very rich country until the arrival of the British. The result and the reflection of the English police are still there. However, India got independent of England in 1947, Brazil became independent from Portugal in 1822. Before being a colony of England, India was a colony of Portugal, Holland, and France. The first being Portugal in 1498. Do you see the difference?
Another point that people love to talk about the Brazil Colony period is exploration. They play blind to the fact that at this time there was no colony based on friendship, loyalty and fraternity. Exploration was a thing of the time and it is very easy to read history and blame the past.
They also say that D. João left Brazil with Brazilian money, but remember that he did the very same with Portugal in 1808. Does it make things right for the Brazilians? NO! But Brazil is not the poor, single and lonely victims within a sea of good deeds of the time.
In fact, some members of the crown were very fond of Brazil, excluding Carlota Joaquina who hated our land. There are some documents that lead the historians to believe that the crown was already considering moving to Brazil even before the Napoleonic threat.
Some Brazilians like to say they would rather have been ruled by the British. Oh well, Britain colonies were no better. The English of that time felt superior to all other races. In Ireland, the neighboring island, they treated the Irish as inferiors and killed those who speak in Gaelic Irish. In India, they were treated like animals. ‘Coincidentally’ all the countries that were dominated by England and that rebelled somehow suffered hunger and had the population considerably reduced. The Great Potato Hunger of Ireland, 1845-1849, killed 3/4 of the Irish population. And let’s not start with the wars… So, Portugal was not good for Brazil as they could have been, but could be worse.
A good book to read about the history of Brazil and Portugal is the trilogy of Laurentino Gomes that begins with D. João fled to Brazil. A book based on facts and without pulling sides. (Books: 1808, 1822 and 1889)
Much has changed since Brazil became independent. Many say that for the worse, many say it was for the best. The point is that something noticeable happens when you go to Portugal, when a country was ruled by another you expect that the colony consumes more of the rulers… It does not happen in Portugal.
The Portuguese consume the Brazilian culture much more than the Brazilians do the Portuguese. It is very easy to find Brazilian stores in Portugal, Brazilian food, soap operas, music, art…
But what makes me think how unfair we are when we think that they played us is that the Portuguese say Brazil and Portugal are brother countries! Do not mistake, from all the Portuguese colonies Brazil is the only one that has this kind of treatment. They have a certain admiration for Brazil.
In a way, even without knowing or affirming it loud and clear as the Portuguese do, we are brothers! Maybe we have not the entire population have aknowledged it yet. Portuguese love to meet in groups for barbecue. They like to drink beer outdoor with a lot of friends after work. They like coffee. They do not pretend feelings, they say what they think. They love sweet and fatty sweets, well-served and salty foods. They are very welcoming and friendly. They love receiving at home. All this we inherited from Portugal, these things do not happen in all countries.