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Imperial Science of Brazil

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Brazil Imperial Science

Imperial Science
The "imperial science" period lasted from 1808, when the seat of the Portuguese crown moved to Rio de Janeiro because of the Napoleonic Wars, until the beginning of the republican period in 1889. The first higher education schools--a military academy in Rio de Janeiro, two medical schools, and two law schools--were created in the first years of the "imperial science" period, and a few scientific institutions started to appear. The search for new mineral riches and the effort to adapt agricultural products known in Europe and other regions to Brazil led to the creation of the first botanical gardens and mineralogical collections.

Brazil became independent formally in 1822 and enjoyed a period of political stability between 1840 and 1889, during the reign of Emperor Pedro II (1840-89). New scientific institutions were created in this post-independence period, such as the Museum of Natural History, the Astronomical Observatory of Rio de Janeiro, and the Imperial Geological Commission. Foreign scientists were invited to head these institutions, and Pedro II himself was very active not only in creating Brazilian institutions but also in supporting science in Europe. The kind of science being developed in Brazil in those years, although similar to that being developed in Europe, was not subject to the same standards of quality as its European model. The main economic activity in Brazil was the production of coffee for the international market, based on slave labor. After the 1850s, slave labor was replaced gradually by European and Japanese immigrants, and a domestic market for food, textiles, and other basic products started to develop.

Data as of April 1997



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