Entrenchment Of Slavery In Brazil Essay

1078 Words 5 Pages
As the turn of the twentieth century approached, millions of slaves continued to suffer under Brazil’s plantation economy and would not receive full emancipatory rights until 1888. The entrenchment of slavery in Brazilian society, is due in large part to the rise and consolidation of its plantation economy. The slave plantation system first emerged in the Canary Islands in the 1450’s. The Portuguese had previously colonized the Atlantic Islands in order to consolidate their expansion into African territory. The availability of land induced migrants and investors to the region. Afterward, the invention of sugarcane mills (engenhos) led to the expedition of sugar production. As sugar cultivation became extremely profitable for the region, the …show more content…
Enslaved Africans had been part of the plantation workforce since the initial phases of colonization. However, the population experienced limited growth because native labor was abundant and planters could not originally afford to import slaves from Africa. As the Portuguese continued to colonize the coastline and build engenhos, planter’s accumulated the necessary wealth to import African slaves to the region. They were also fortunate that the Portuguese continued to dominate the slave trade, subsequently allowing Brazilian planters to secure cheaper prices for enslaved peoples. African slaves came to be viewed by the Portuguese as superior than their enslaved Indian counterparts. They were seen as a more productive labor force because they had greater immunity to Old World diseases and could not flee into the interior. Most importantly, these groups derived from regions which practiced agricultural cultivation and already possessed the necessary skills to engage in sugar production. This effective, if forcefully coerced, labor force allowed Brazil to emerge as a major plantation economy, producing 8,000-9,000 metric tons of sugar in 1600 and 14,000 tons by 1620. By the mid-eighteenth century, the plantation system had become entrenched in Brazilian society; it was composed of 1.4 million slaves, about 40% of the …show more content…
The Portuguese utilized different coercive methods to secure a large Amerindian work force. They then capitalized on these people’s free labor and established successful sugar market economies in Brazil. However, as the native work force failed to meet the production levels the world market demanded, the Portuguese began to increase their importation of African slave labor. The exploitation of the black slave population allowed Brazil to emerge as the world’s biggest sugar producer. This plantation economy was propagated by the brutal treatment of enslaved labor forces. It is important re-emphasize some of the main fundamental spatial and temporal variations which contributed to the rise of a plantation economy in Brazil. First, the invention of the engenhos created a profitable sugar economy causing the Portuguese to create the plantation system. Second, Brazil’s rich soils and coastal climate was conducive to the production of sugar, making it an ideal region for colonization. And Third, Portuguese control of the slave trade allowed Brazilian planters to expand their labor force. Brazil’s reliance on slave labor would become so deeply fundamental to its culture and economy that the region would be the last slave holding power in the Western

Related Documents