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Five Centuries of Change

Third Edition

James Green and Thomas E. Skidmore

Publication Date - 01 June 2021

ISBN: 9780190068981

384 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock

Written by the foremost experts in the field, the new edition of this vivid and engaging history of Brazil offers unparalleled coverage of the twentieth century.


Revised for its third edition, Brazil: Five Centuries of Change vividly traces the development of Brazil over the last 500 years.

New to this Edition

  • The first two chapters on the colonial period (1500-1822) have been reorganized and expanded to offer a much more detailed chronological narrative.
  • Information about the indigenous people of Brazil during the colonial period, the Empire, and the Republic has been expanded
  • The role of women in the history of Brazil has been more emphasized throughout the volume.
  • Recent scholarship on race, slavery, and the lives of Afro-descendants has been woven into the text.
  • More information about the new social movements-feminist, Black, and LGBTQ, which emerged during the process of democratization in the 1970s and 80s has been included.
  • The economic influences on changes over time have been integrated more fully into the overall cultural, political, and social analyses of different historical periods.
  • The new edition elaborates in detail the contemporary political history of the country in order to provide the reader with a complex understanding of the changes and continuities in Brazil since the return to democracy in the 1980.
  • The images accompanying the chapters have been selected from a wide array of archives, and are mostly fresh new glimpses for illustrating the history of the country.
  • The list of Selections for Further Readings has been expanded significantly and updated to reflect the most up-to-date scholarship.
  • The volume now includes an annotated list of 100 films on Brazilian history and culture that can serve as helpful supplements for classroom instruction.


  • Covers all of Brazilian history from the precolonial period to the present
  • Authored by two of the preeminent scholars on the history of Brazil, and informed by the most recent scholarship
  • Complemented by numerous photographs, maps, tables, and charts
  • Available for the first time as an eBook

About the Author(s)

James Green is Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Modern Latin American History at Brown University

Thomas E. Skidmore was one of the foremost American scholars of Brazil and the former Carlos Manuel de Céspedes Professor of Latin American History at Brown University


"With clear and comprehensible explanations of the zigzag trajectory of Brazil's recent politics, this edition brings the story right up to the present, presenting information on mid-2021 pandemic conditions, and exposes the historical foundations of contemporary crises ... The book is an altogether fitting practical tribute to the work of the late Professor Skidmore." -- A. B. Cochran, CHOICE

Table of Contents

    List of Exhibits and Images
    Introduction Why Read a History of Brazil?

    Chapter 1 The Making of Colonial Brazil, 1500-1694
    The First Occupants of the Land
    Everyday Life, War, and Rituals
    Portuguese Overseas Expansion
    Early Consolidation of the Portuguese Monarchy
    Setting up a Global Trading Network
    The Portuguese Encounter Land to the West
    First European Impressions
    Portuguese Land Claims
    Brazilwood and Indigenous Slavery
    Imperial Reorganization
    French Claims
    The Sugar Industry
    Enslaved Africans
    Resistance to Slavery
    Unification of Spain and Portugal
    Dutch Occupation of the Northeast
    Emergence of the Myth of the Bandeirante
    Imperial Control

    Chapter 2 A New Colonial Order, 1695-1821
    Manumission of slaves
    Religious Orders
    Conflicts in the Mining Region
    Tensions in the Northeast
    Pombaline Reforms
    Indigenous Resistance
    The Influence of Enlightenment Ideas
    The Mineira Conspiracy
    Tailors' Revolt in Salvador
    The Portuguese Court Comes to Brazil
    Creating a New Portuguese America
    Indigenous Resistance
    Pernambuco Revolution, 1817
    A Portuguese Revolt and its Impact on Brazil

    Chapter 3 Independent Brazil and the Consolidation of a Nation, 1822-1850

    Brazilian Hierarchies
    A Constitution
    The Emperor's Tribulations
    The Regency
    Regional Revolts
    Pedro II as Emperor
    The Rise of Coffee
    Land Ownership
    Growing Challenges to Slavery
    Chapter 4 Late Imperial Brazil, 1851-1889

    Gradually Ending Slavery
    The Emperor and His Pedestal
    The Paraguayan War
    The Effects of the War
    The Viscount of Mauá
    The Great Drought and the Amazon Rubber Boom
    New Roles for Middle-class Women
    Positivism, Republicanism, and the Military Question
    The Move toward Abolition
    The End of the Empire

    Chapter 5 Republican Brazil, 1889-1929
    Modernizing Brazil"
    Whitening Brazil
    The Reality behind the Façade
    Indigenous Brazil
    Coffee Price Fluctuations and Emerging Industry
    The Roots of Industrialization
    Worker Organization and Employers' Strategy
    Evaporation of the Oligarchical Consensus
    A Message from Below
    Economic Strains
    The Shock of World War I
    The Economy after the War
    Brazil's Uneven Development
    Rebellion in the Army
    The Modern Woman and an Emerging Feminist Movement
    Modernism, Brazilian Style
    Rise of Anti-Liberal Thought
    The Disintegration of the Old Politics
    The Revolution of 1930

    Chapter 6 Getúlio Vargas in Power, 1930-45
    Swing toward Centralization
    Electoral rights
    Ideological Polarization
    Getúlio Vargas as Dictator
    The Vargas Style
    Corporatist Inroads
    A New Search for National Identity
    Juggling the International Options
    World War II and the Rise of U.S. Influence
    Brazil and the War Effort
    Collapse of the Dictatorship at Home

    Chapter 7 Experiments in Democracy, 1946-64
    The 1945 Election and the Dutra Period
    Vargas Returns
    From Oligarch to Populist
    Vargas's Legislative Program Runs into Trouble
    Vargas's Demise
    Population Growth, Regional Disequilibria, and Migration
    A New President, Juscelino Kubitschek, Elected
    Political Strategy
    The Economic Development Program
    A New Capital
    Dealing with the World Economy
    The Brief Presidency of Jânio Quadros
    The Succession of João Goulart
    Populists versus the Military
    Brazilian Culture
    The National Union of Students
    The Economic Crisis Escalates

    Chapter 8 Rule of the Military, 1964-1985
    The Generals in Power
    Growing Repression, Growing Opposition
    Strengthening the Military Regime
    Indigenous Policy under Military Rule
    Growing Opposition
    The Economic Miracle
    The Arrival of the Guerrillas
    Cultural Resistance
    Mass Media during the Dictatorship
    The Use of Torture
    An Economic Turn for the Worse
    The Winners and Losers
    The Road to Redemocratization
    Manipulating the Electoral System and Continued Repression
    New Social Movements
    The Working Class Takes Center Stage
    The Last General

    Chapter 9 The Return to Democracy, 1985-1994
    An Unintended Succession
    Sarney and the New Democracy
    The Cruzado Plan
    The Debt Crisis and the Economy
    Lost Investment and a Brain Drain
    Widening Gaps between Rich and Poor
    Education and Medical Care
    Roads and Communications
    Public Health: A Success Story
    Changes Affecting Women
    Race Relations
    The Political Spectrum in the New Democracy
    The Left
    The Right
    The Center
    The Armed Forces
    Presidential Elections
    New Policies
    The End
    Another Vice President in Command
    Back to Stabilization: The Plano Real
    The Presidential Election of 1994

    Chapter 10 Consolidating Democracy, 1994-2006
    The Cardoso Government's First Term
    More Economic Problems
    A Second Term in Office
    Social Justice Delayed
    On-going Challenges
    The Presidential Race
    Lula's Governmental Team
    The PT in Power
    Exports Take Center Stage
    Poverty Alleviation and Education Enhancement
    The PT Tastes Scandal
    The Last Year of Lula's First Term
    Prisons Riots
    2006 Elections

    Chapter 11 A Nation Polarized, 2006-present
    Lula Reaches New Heights
    Recognition Abroad
    Continuity at Home
    Presidenta in Power
    The 2013 Protests
    Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato)
    A Fourth PT Term
    A Conservative Tidal Wave
    The Impeachment of Dilma Rousseff
    Temer government
    Lula Ensnared
    The 2018 Election
    The Past Returns

    Suggestions for Further Reading
    Film, History, Culture, and Society

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