In the 193 years since Brazil declared independence from Portugal, the exuberant and colorful country has experienced a number of transformations. Once a mysteriously secluded nation filled with indigenous tribes among the lush rainforest of the Amazon, the country has developed into a flourishing international utopia.
Portugal claimed Brazil in the year 1500, but the first settlers didn’t arrive until more than 30 years later. After more than 300 years of rule, and the establishment of Brazil as a main exporter of sugar and then later gold, Portugal’s grasp on the country began to unravel.
While independence was declared Sept. 7, 1822, it wasn’t until three years later, and after the Brazilian war of independence, that an official treaty was established declaring sovereignty.
Five facts about Brazil’s independence and the war with Portugal:
1. In 1807, the Portuguese royal family fled to Rio de Janeiro after Napoleon decided to invade Portugal for supporting Britain in its war with France. Had the royal family not moved to Brazil it's likely the South American country would have had a vastly different history.
2. Although it was an ocean away, Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Portgual from 1808 until 1822.
3. Brazil freed slaves so they could fight in the army and navy during the war with Portugal.
4. Scotsman Thomas Cochrane led Brazil’s war at sea. However, because of the numbers of Portuguese in the ranks, sabotage was an issue. Cochrane, who led the Chilean navy against the Spanish just the year before, gutted the navy and brought in a mixture of British and American mercenaries as well as Brazilian natives.
5. The Brazilian empire, which lasted from 1822 until 1889, when it was overthrown by a clique of military leaders, was the last monarchy in the country before it became a republic.