Brazil - Economy at Independence
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the world, and Portugal rescinded its prohibition against manufacturing.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
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.
Data as of April 1997