Tag Archives: Brazil

Episode 10 – A Trans-Atlantic Game of Thrones (Quick History #6)

In this episode we explore the period from 1808 to 1831: how Brazil fared with the royal family in residence, the oblique path it took to independence, and the turbulent rule of its first emperor, Dom Pedro I.
 
For all their faults, without the royal family’s presence, Brazil could not have made the first steps toward economic independence so quickly nor likely remained a single country. The other side of this is that their tenure in Brazil made independence a prolonged process instead of a clean break. Although that break would be accomplished with less bloodshed than others in the Americas. At the same time tensions over the form of the government, the role of the emperor, successions issues, and resistance to independence itself would force Brazil’s firt leader to abdicate not one but two thrones.
 

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Episode 9 – Scandal a go-go (Current Events)

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Oh, how the mighty have fallen. A few years ago, Brazil was the darling of the BRICS countries: host of the World Cup and Olympics, 7% annual growth, lifting millions out of poverty…  now, inflation if up, growth is not just down but negative, joblessness is on the rise, the government is barely functioning, and people are questioning whether Brazil can manage the Olympics.

How did it all go so wrong so fast? It’s a complex question with a complex answer, and part of the answer has been brewing for longer than you might think.

Episode 7 – Gold in Them Thar Hills (Quick History #4)

The 18th century brings unforeseen prosperity to the Portuguese Empire and Brazil in particular. People, political power, economic power and attitudes would all soon be on the move.

Gold and diamonds spill from the backcountry. Much is smuggled, but much makes into the crown’s coffers. The crown takes barely a look at the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution and conservatively buries its head in precious minerals.

The riches are in the southeast, until this point little more than a hinterland. But they would draw people and slaves not only from Portugal and its empire, but from within Brazil itself. The shift was seismic and Brazil would be forever altered. As if to counter this, Lisbon used the windfall to remain as much the same as it could.

But change is the only constant.

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Episode 6 – The Dutch Strike Back and Brazil Strikes Gold (Quick History #3)

We cover the rest of the 17th century in this episode. The Dutch recover from their initial failures to conquer Portugal’s Atlantic colonies and conquer northern Brazil along with several other colonies, including Angola. The Dutch were pretty decent rulers, but there were too many cultural differences. In the midst of this, Portugal decides to reestablish its crown separate from Spain and must fight for its existence against Spanish, leaving Brazil and the colonies largely on their own in fighting the Dutch. Exciting times!

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Episode 5 – Crucifixions, Resurrections, and Conspiratorial Teeth-pullers

Three national holidays – Good Friday, Easter and Tiradentes – in one weekend? What craziness is this? Spend a few minutes learning about Easter in Brazil as well as how a martyr for independence earned the nickname Teeth-puller.

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Brazil’s Big Projects: more bust and fizzle than boom and fortune

Last year former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a contract with the New York Times as an op-ed columnist. So, it’s been with no small amount of interest that I’ve watched a steady stream of content critical of Brazil appear in The Times in recent months.

Much of it is fair criticism – Brazil can be fairly criticized for a great may things. Some is, of course, off the mark as well. In the former category is a pair of articles that appeared last week. Continue reading Brazil’s Big Projects: more bust and fizzle than boom and fortune

Episode 4 – Colonial Era, 1500-1630 (Quick History #2)

(This is a repost of episode 4, as the original had an issue with the audio file. My apologies for the problem.)

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Roberto Unger, Brazil’s Minister of Strategic Planning, interviewed on Philosophy Bites podcast

One of my favorite podcasts, Philosophy Bites, interviewed Roberto Unger, the minister of the Secretaria de Assuntos Estratégicos (Department of Strategic Planning, more or less). The SAE is a cabinet level department so this is a nice feather in the cap of the podcast. The interview is about Unger’s philosophy of what he calls “deep freedom”, but wanders into some political talk as well.

Enjoy it here.

 

Episode 3 – Carnaval, in the name of moderation

A short, impromptu episode about Carnaval that grew longer than I intended. It covers the origins of the holiday and its history in Brazil including the differences between Rio’s Carnaval and how Carnaval is celebrated further north in cities such as Salvador.

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Live Carnaval broadcast on YouTube this evening

Alert listener Olivia let me know that there will be a live broadcast of Carnaval in Salvador (the capital of the northeastern state of Bahia) on YouTube starting at 6pm my time, which is 4pm in the eastern US and 21:00 GMT.

The link is featured on YouTube’s front page though whether that’s only the case here or not I don’t know. In case it’s not, just click here.

Anyhow, the Salvador Carnaval is quite different from Rio de Janeiro’s and is (generally) considered to be more traditional as well as having a greater variety of music and dance styles.

In related news, I’m putting the finishing touches on an episode about Carnaval. I should have it read in a 2-3 hours.