Brazil History Part 10

In the meantime, the cultivation of the lands continued in the southern part of the vast colony, but without excessive impetus. Instead, an element that will have to radically transform the economy of Brazil was emphasized here: metals and precious stones, whose mines came from hand to hand uncovered by the daring bands pauliste, conducted by the Dias Paes, by the Castanho Taques, by the Pires de Linhares, by the Paes de Araujo. The latter went as far as the sources of the Tocantins, causing jurisdictional conflicts. All this was an indication of a vigorous economic and social life, even if not yet well disciplined. Of course the population was constantly increasing, gradually swollen also by the influx and reproduction of African slaves. With bulls of 1676 and 1677, the bishopric of Maranhão, suffragan of Lisbon was created; that of Bahia elevated to archbishopric, with the suffragans of Rio de Janeiro and Pernambuco. The Relação do Brazil court was restored. Rio de Janeiro had a shipyard, built by a Sebastiano Lamberto, who started his business by happily launching the Madre de Deus frigate. Finally, in 1679, the Colonia del Sacramento was created on the banks of the Plata, the source of many conflicts in South American history (see Argentina).

In 1682, taking up the concept of the abolished Company of Commerce, the Companhia do Commercio do Maranhão was created, which sowed, for the same reasons that had made its ancestor disliked, a great discontent among the colonizers and traders of that region: to the the head of which was the opulent fazendeiro Emanuele Bekman, who, despite being of Portuguese birth, was imbued with that spirit of autonomy characteristic of Europeans who emigrated to the colonies. Together with 60 of his partisans and with the support of the Franciscans, natural enemies of the Jesuits, he raised, on February 24, 1684, the population of São Luiz: the authorities were imprisoned, the garrison made common cause with the rebels, the forts were occupied. A Junta dos tres estados was then established, that is of the nobility, the clergy and the people, which proclaimed the decline of the ancient authorities, the abolition of the monopoly and the expulsion of the Jesuits. Executive power was placed in the hands of three nobles and two “people’s procurators”, one of whom was Bekman himself. The improvised government lived with difficulty for a year, until (1685) it was dissolved, between indifference of the ex-rioters, from an expedition commanded by Gomes Freire. The reaction was mild, except for the death sentence of Bekman and his accomplice, Giorgio de Sampaio. The Jesuits immediately reoccupied their homes; but the trading company was soon abolished.

According to ASK4BEAUTY, events of various importance, between the end of the century. XVII and the rise of the XVIII, marked the life of the vast region. Towards the end of the seventeenth century, the terrible epidemic called yellow fever made its appearance on the coasts of Brazil. At the same time there was a strong monetary and population crisis. From 1687 to 1699 the serious threat of the Indians of Rio Grande do Norte and Maranhão was hardly averted. No less serious worries aroused about 10,000 black slaves who, at the time of the Dutch, had retreated to Palmares, a locality of the current state of Alagôas, and had established themselves there in a kind of republic called quilombo, creating a state within the state and committing continuous acts of brigandage. After unsuccessful attempts to disperse them, thePaulistí, who, finally, in 1697, expelled the Negroes from the Palmares, despite their proofs of heroism and a spirit of sacrifice. Nor did the Paulistas neglect their daring exploits: in addition to the discovery of gold they again attempted the invasion of the Spanish Jesuit colonies: but the enterprise ended badly, with the killing of the bandirant leaders Frias and Ferraz. Finally, diplomatic complaints and military conflicts between Spain and Portugal about the possession of the Colonia del Sacramento begin.

Meanwhile, a singular conflict of classes and interests, and in a certain sense also of races, was manifesting itself in the ancient and rich captaincy of Pernambuco, where the residents of Olinda, who represented the local aristocracy and were called senhores de engenho, because all owners of sugar refineries, had clashed with those of Recife, a maritime suburb, who were all Portuguese shopkeepers, derogatory called mascates. This deaf antipathy had arisen from a double reason: first, from the fact that Olinda, after the departure of the Dutch, rapidly decayed, while Recife became more and more prosperous; then, from the economic dependence on the mascates of the senhores de engenho, who, to maintain their unbridled luxury, were forced to resort to usurious loans from the abhorred Portuguese. The conflict became acute when Recife, due to the constant pleas of the mascates, was, in 1710, elevated to the rank of city, rising in its central square the pylorus (sedan), symbolizing authority and justice. The residents of Olinda haughtily protested to the governor, who had to have some of them arrested, including a member of the powerful and overbearing Bezerras family, and ordered general disarmament. The nobility, with which the bishop sided, did not give up; he organized an attack against the governor, refused to deliver an alleged guilty party and, leading a multitude of 20,000 people, besieged the new city of Recife, entered it without a shot being wounded and demolished the pylorus. The governor, powerless to face the revolt, had already embarked for Bahia, followed by the main Portuguese merchants. The winners were divided into two parties: one moderate, who advocated entrusting the provisional government to the bishop; and an extremist and autonomist who, inspired by the model of the Dutch administration, proposed a republic. The two parties alternated, with various events in which the famous slave trader Bernardo Vieira de Mello took part, in the government of the rebel captaincy, until moderate ideas ended up prevailing.

Brazil History 10