Since the second half of the 17th century, various riots have erupted in the colony, usually provoked by contradicted economic interests. In 1684, the Beckman revolt in Maranhão turned against the monopoly exercised by the Maranhão State Trading Company.
Already in the 18th century, the Emboabas war involved Paulistas and “outsiders” in the mine zone; the war of the peddlers opposed the merchants of Recife to the aristocratic planters of Olinda; and the Vila Rica revolt, led by Filipe dos Santos in 1720, fought the founding of foundry houses and the levying of new taxes on gold mining.
The most important revolting movements of this century were the conjuring of Minas Gerais and the conjuring of Bahia, which had, besides their economic character, a clear political connotation. The Minas conjuring, which took place in 1789, also in Vila Rica, was led by Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, the Tiradentes, who was arrested and hanged in 1792. He wanted, among other things, the independence and proclamation of a republic. The Bahian conjuration - also called the tailors' revolution, due to the participation of a large number of elements of the popular layers (artisans, soldiers, freed blacks) - occurred in 1798, and had very advanced ideas for the time, including the extinction of slavery. . Its main leaders were executed. Later, another important movement of republican and separatist character, known as Pernambuco revolution of 1817, broke out.
Independence. In 1808, the so-called “Brazilian inversion” took place, that is, Brazil became the seat of the Portuguese monarchy, with the transfer of the royal family and the court to Rio de Janeiro, fleeing the Napoleonic invasion of the Iberian peninsula. Still in Bahia, Prince Regent D. João signed the treaty of opening Brazilian ports to trade of friendly nations, benefiting mainly England. Thus ended the Portuguese monopoly on trade with Brazil and began free trade, which would last until 1846, when protectionism was established.
In addition to the introduction of several improvements (Royal Press, Public Library, Military Academy, Botanical Garden, medical schools of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia and others), in the government of Prince Regent D. João (which would have the title of D John VI from 1816, with the death of Queen D. Maria I) Brazil was elevated to the category of kingdom and had attached to its territory the French Guiana and the Eastern Band of Uruguay, which took the name of Cisplatina province.
From 1821, with the return of the king and the court to Portugal, Brazil was governed by Prince Regent D. Pedro. Given mainly the interests of the great landowners, contrary to the policy of the Portuguese Cortes, who wished to recolonize Brazil, as well as intending to free themselves from the protection of the metropolis, which aimed to diminish its authority, D. Pedro proclaimed the independence of Brazil, on September 7, 1822, on the banks of the Ipiranga Creek, in the province of São Paulo. It is important to highlight the role of José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva, at the head of the so-called Ministry of Independence, in articulating the separatist movement.
First reign. Acclaimed emperor of Brazil, D. Pedro I tried to give the country a constitution, granted in 1824. At the beginning of his reign, the so-called “war of independence” took place against the Portuguese garrisons based mainly in Bahia. In 1824, in Pernambuco, the confederation of Ecuador, a revolting republican and separatist movement, questioned the excessive centralization of political power in the hands of the emperor, but was promptly curbed. In 1828, after the war against the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, Brazil recognized Uruguay's independence.
After intense diplomatic struggle, in which the intervention of England was very important, Portugal recognized the independence of Brazil. Frequent conflicts with the Assembly and dynastic interests in Portugal led D. Pedro I, in 1831, to abdicate the throne of Brazil in favor of his five-year-old son D. Pedro.
Regency period. The reign of D. Pedro II began with a regency period, which lasted until 1840, when it was proclaimed the majority of the emperor, who was about fifteen years old. During the regencies, intense political struggles took place in various parts of the country, almost always caused by clashes between regional interests and the concentration of power in the Southeast (Rio de Janeiro). The most important was the war of the rags or the farroupilha revolution, a republican and separatist movement that took place in Rio Grande do Sul, in 1835, and which only ended in 1845. In addition, there were revolts in Bahia (Sabinada), Maranhão (Balaiada) and in Pará (Cabanagem).
Second reign. The personal rule of D. Pedro II began with intense military campaigns, under the responsibility of the general Luis Alves de Lima e Silva, who would later have the title of Duke of Caxias, with the purpose of ending the provincial revolts. From then on, the internal politics of the Brazilian empire lived a phase of relative stability until 1870.
The base of the economy was coffee agriculture, developed from 1830, in the Southeast, initially in the hills like Tijuca and then in the Paraíba fluminense valley (Rio de Janeiro province), advancing to São Paulo (Paraíba valley and west of São Paulo). Until 1930, the coffee cycle was the main generator of Brazilian wealth. From the 1850s, thanks to the undertakings of Irineu Evangelista de Sousa, the Baron and later Viscount of Mauá, among which stands out the construction of the first Brazilian railroad, a first surge of industrialization occurred in the country.
The social base of the empire was slavery. Since the colonial period, black slaves constituted the main, and almost exclusive, workforce in Brazil. Restrictions on slave trade began around 1830, under pressure from England, then in the midst of the industrial revolution. Finally, in 1888, after an intense abolitionist campaign, the so-called Golden Law declared slavery extinct in the country. During this period, there was a great immigration to Brazil, especially from Germans and Italians.
In foreign policy, the Silver Wars stood out, in which Brazil faced Uruguay and Argentina, and the Triple Alliance or Paraguay, which brought together Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay in a coalition against Paraguayan dictator Solano López. The Paraguay War (1864–1870), one of the bloodiest episodes in American history, ended with the Allied victory.
From 1870, the Brazilian monarchy faced successive crises (religious issue, military issue, abolition issue), which culminated in the military movement, led by Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, who deposed the emperor and proclaimed the republic on November 15. from 1889.
Old Republic The First Republic, or Old Republic, extended from 1889 to 1930. Under the leadership of Marshal Deodoro, a provisional government was installed, which convened a constituent assembly to draft the first republican constitution, promulgated in 1891. The governments of Marshal Deodoro and later Marshal Floriano Peixoto were full of conflicts with the legislature and rebellions, such as the two Armada revolts.
With the election of Prudente de Morais, the so-called “coffee with milk policy” begins, according to which the presidents of the Republic would be chosen from among the representatives of the richest and most populous states - São Paulo and Minas Gerais - a practice that was then almost without interruption until 1930.
The agrarian-export economy remained dominant. Coffee represented the main Brazilian wealth, and the São Paulo farmers were the most powerful oligarchy. The middle classes were small and an embryo of the proletariat began to exist. At the time of the First World War (1914–1918), there was a surge of industrialization due to the replacement of European imports by products made in Brazil.
From the 1920s, the discontent of the military exploded in a series of revolts, highlighting the march of the Prestes column, between 1924 and 1927, which ran through much of Brazil. The alienated oligarchies of central power were also dissatisfied. When the 1929 crisis - which began with the crash of the New York Stock Exchange - occurred, with its negative repercussions on coffee prices, the disorganization of the economy, the political-electoral divergences of the dominant oligarchies, and the broad change aspirations sectors of society provoked the outbreak of the 1930 revolution, which brought Getúlio Vargas to power.