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Country Study 12/06/01 Brazil Many years before the Europeans discovered Brazil, a large diverse native population inhabited the land. The Tupi-Guarani Indians were cousins to the Inca and Maya, although they were not as developed or centralized as their cousins. The Tupi-Guarani Indians can be classified as being nomadic and living a Stone Aged existence ( It is believed the population of the Indians was ranging from two to five million when the Europeans first reached Brazil.

The Spanish, French, Dutch and, Portuguese all landed on the coast in the 16th century. The first explorer to reach the coast of Brazil was Pedro Alvares Cabral, on April 22, 1500. He began his journey from Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Cabral?s intended destination was India, but he ?accidentally? came across Brazil. Several historians believe this was his plan from the beginning. It seems that Brazil was well known to mariners and this was no accident (

The first explorers brought back with them a certain kind of wood that produced red and purple dyes, pau-brasil, this is how Brazil received its name ( King Joao III sent the first settlers in 1531. Soon after the settlers first arrived, the king split the coast into 12 captaincies. The prominent, and friends to the king were given the titles to these large sections of land. This resulted from the king?s fear of other European countries colonizing the land.

It was soon discovered by the settlers that the land was perfect for growing sugar cane. By way of major demand for it in Europe, sugar became very important in trade. With the sugar cane trade booming, it became critical to find labor. Therefore, the Portuguese captured the remaining Indians and made them slaves. At first this worked well, but soon the Indians began to...