Timeline of Brazilian History

Taken from the Library of Congress Country Studies Project


Period Description
June 7, 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas divides the world between Spain and Portugal, giving Portugal claim to eastern portion of as yet undiscovered continent of South America.
1500-1815 Colonial Period
April 22, 1500 Pedro Álvares Cabral, en route to India, discovers Brazil.
1500-50 Logging of brazilwood.
1530 Expedition of Martim Afonso de Sousa, major captain of Brazil, to colonize and distribute land among captains (donatários ).
1530 Beginning of sugar era.
1532 Founding of first colonies at São Vicente and Piratininga.
1536 Crown divides Brazil into fifteen donatory captaincies.
1542 Francisco de Orellana descends the Amazon.
1549 King names Tomé de Sousa first governor general of Brazil (1549-53). De Sousa establishes his capital at São Salvador da Bahia.
  Evangelization begins with arrival of Jesuit priests.
1551 Bishopric of Brazil created.
1555 French establish colony in Guanabara Bay.
1565 Governor Mem de Sá founds São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro).
1567 Governor Mem de Sá expels French and occupies Guanabara Bay.
1580 Crown of Portugal passes to King Philip II of Spain, uniting Europe's two greatest empires under single ruler.
1603 Portuguese penetrate to Ceará.
1604 India Council established to oversee administration of Portuguese empire.
1615 Portuguese take over French town of São Luís do Maranhão.
1616 Portuguese found Belém.
1621 States of Maranhão (embracing the crown captaincies of Ceará, Maranhão, and Pará) and Brazil (centering on Salvador, Bahia) created.
1624-25 Dutch temporarily capture Salvador da Bahia.
1630 Dutch seize Recife, Pernambuco, and attempt unsuccessfully to conquer Northeast (Nordeste).
October 28, 1637-39 Captain Pedro Teixeira explores Amazon and founds Tabatinga.
1640 Portugal declares independence from Spain. Duke of Bragança takes throne as João IV.
1641 Victory of Jesuit-trained Guaraní in Battle of Mbororé.
1642 India Council renamed Overseas Council.
1654 Under Treaty of Taborda, Dutch withdraw from Brazil.
1680 Colônia do Sacramento founded by Portuguese on Río de la Plata, across from Buenos Aires.
1693 Era of gold and diamond mining begins.
1705 Under Treaty of Spanish Succession, Portuguese give up Colônia do Sacramento.
1708-09 War of Outsiders over control of gold-mining areas.
1710-14 War of the Mascates (merchant class of Recife defeats planter class of Olinda).
1720 Governors general of Brazil renamed viceroys.
1727 Coffee introduced into Brazil.
January 13, 1750 Treaty of Madrid replaces Treaty of Tordesillas, and uti possidetis adopted to settle boundaries. José I (king of Portugal, 1750-77) assumes the throne in Portugal. Marquês de Pombal assumes effective power as José I's secretary of state.
1756 Guaraní War leads to expulsion of Jesuits.
1759 Pombal expels Jesuits from the empire.
1761 Treaty of El Pardo annuls Treaty of Madrid.
1763 Viceregal capital moved from Salvador, Bahia, to Rio de Janeiro.
1777 Treaty of San Ildefonso confirms Spain's possession of Banda Oriental (Uruguay) and Portugal's possession of Amazon Basin. Pombal dismissed.
February 1777 King José I dies.
1789 Minas Conspiracy (Inconfidência Mineira), first attempt to establish a republic, exposed.
April 21, 1792 "Tiradentes," Minas Conspiracy leader, is executed in Rio de Janeiro.
1798 Bahian conspiracy against Portugal exposed.
1807 French invade Portugal. Pedro de Alcântara de Bragança e Bourbon (King João VI) and son Pedro flee to Brazil with British naval escort.
1808-21 Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil
March 7, 1808 João VI arrives in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil's ports open to foreign trade.
1810 João VI signs treaties with Britain, giving it trade preferences and privileges of extraterritoriality.
1815 Portugal confers kingdom status on Brazil.
1817 Pernambuccan revolution against British regency fails but deepens anti-British sentiment.
1821 Uruguay annexed as Cisplatine Province.
April 25, 1821 João VI sails for Lisbon.
September 1821 Côrtes in Portugal votes to abolish Kingdom of Brazil.
1822-31 The First Empire
January 1822 Declaring Brazil independent, Pedro I forms new government headed by José Bonifácio de Andrada e Silva.
September 7, 1822 Pedro proclaims Brazilian independence.
October 12, 1822 Brazilian independence proclaimed, with Pedro as constitutional emperor.
December 1, 1822 Pedro crowned emperor of Brazil.
1824 Pedro promulgates first constitution. United States recognizes Brazil.
1825-28 War with United Provinces of Río de la Plata (Cisplatine War).
August 29, 1825 Portugal recognizes Brazilian independence by signing treaty, and Britain follows suit.
1827 Britain consolidates commercial dominance of Brazil under Anglo-Brazilian Treaty.
1828 Argentina and Brazil agree to creation of Uruguay as independent nation.
1831-89 The Second Empire
April 7, 1831 Pedro I abdicates in favor of five-year-old son Pedro II. A three-man regency assumes control, ruling in Pedro II's name.
1834 Amendment of 1824 constitution institutes federalism (for six years) and one-man regency.
1835-37 Cabanagem rebellion in Pará.
1835-45 War of the Farrapos (ragamuffins), also known as the Farroupilha rebellion, in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul.
1837-38 Sabinada rebellion in Salvador, Bahia.
1838-41 Balaiada rebellion in Maranhão.
July 18, 1841 Coronation of Pedro II (emperor, 1840-89).
1842 Rebellions in Minas Gerais and São Paulo.
1844 Anglo-Brazilian Treaty expires and is not renewed.
1850 Land Law limits land acquisition to purchase. African slave trade outlawed.
1864-70 War of the Triple Alliance, allying Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay against Paraguay.
1869 Brazilian forces defeat Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López and occupy Paraguay until 1878.
1870 Triple Alliance defeats Paraguay.
May 13, 1888 Golden Law abolishes slavery.
November 15-16, 1889 Army deposes Pedro II. Republic proclaimed. Deodoro da Fonseca assumes office as president. Pedro leaves the country.
1889-1930 Old or First Republic
1890 Church and State separated.
February 24, 1891 First constitution promulgated.
November 1891 Deodoro da Fonseca dissolves Congress and is ousted.
1893 A civil war erupts in South (Sul).
November 1894 First civilian president, Prudente José de Morais Barros, takes office.
August 1914 Contestado rebellion in South challenges colonel-dominated system.
October 26, 1917 Brazil declares war on Germany and joins Allied powers.
July 5, 1922 Tenente (Lieutenants') Movement begins with Copacabana revolt.
1924-27 Prestes Column marches through backlands but fails to foment popular revolution.
1930-45 Transitional Republic
October 3, 1930 Revolts of 1930 bring Getúlio Dorneles Vargas to power.
July 9, 1932 São Paulo rebellion brings civil war.
July 16, 1934 A new constitution promulgated, and Congress elects Vargas to presidency.
November 10, 1937 Estado Novo (New State) established, and previously drafted constitution promulgated.
August 22, 1942 Brazil declares war on Axis powers.
1944 Brazilian Expeditionary Force sent to Italy. First steel mill opens.
October 29, 1945 Military deposes Vargas.
1946-64 1946 Republic
September 18, 1946 A new constitution promulgated.
October 1947 Brazil breaks diplomatic relations with Soviet Union.
January 1951 Vargas assumes office as reelected president.
August 24, 1954 Vargas commits suicide after armed forces and cabinet demand his resignation.
January 1956-January 1961 President Juscelino Kubitschek implements new economic strategy combining nationalist, developmentalist emphasis with openness to world economic system, creating economic boom.
1960 Capital moved inland to Brasília.
January 1961 Jânio Quadros assumes presidency.
September 2, 1961 A parliamentary system established.
August 1961 Quadros resigns presidency; replaced by João Goulart.
1963 National plebiscite ends parliamentary system and restores full presidential powers to Goulart.
March 31, 1964 Armed forces depose Goulart.
1964-85 Military Republic
April 1964 Marshal Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, elected by purged Congress, assumes presidency. First Institutional Act passed.
October 27, 1965 Second Institutional Act bans all existing political parties and imposes legal guidelines for new parties.
February 6, 1966 Third Institutional Act replaces direct election of governors with indirect elections by state assemblies and substitutes presidential appointees for mayors of capital cities.
March 1967 New constitution promulgated. General Artur da Costa e Silva inaugurated president.
September 1, 1967 Fourth Institutional Act gives military complete control over national security.
December 13, 1968 Fifth Institutional Act gives Costa e Silva dictatorial powers.
1975 Brazil signs nuclear energy accord with Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany).
1977 Divorce legalized.
April 1977 Brazil renounces military alliance with United States.
January 1979 Decree ends Fifth Institutional Act, grants political amnesty.
1985 Military steps down from political power. Democracy restored.
1985-Present New Republic
1988 "Citizen constitution" promulgated.
March 22, 1988 Presidential model reinstated.
November 15, 1989 First direct presidential election since 1960.
June 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED), known as Earth Summit or Eco-92, held in Rio de Janeiro.
September 1992 President Fernando Collor de Mello impeached.
April 21, 1993 National plebiscite reaffirms presidential republic.
March 9, 1994 Congress approves constitutional reform reducing presidential term of office to four years, making it coterminous with term of congressional deputies.
July 1, 1994 New currency, the real , introduced at parity with United States dollar.
October 3, 1994 Fernando Henrique Cardoso wins presidential election in first round.
December 12, 1994 Former president Collor acquitted of corruption.
January 1, 1995 Cardoso assumes office as president.

Data as of April 1997