Brazil's Quest for Superpower Status

Brazil's Quest for Superpower Status

Brazil’s quest for superpower status has a long history. Initially, this was probably rooted in the Brazilian sense of size and uniqueness – a continental sized country, with immense natural resources and geographical and ethnic diversity; yet united by a common language, Portuguese – as opposed to Spanish in the rest of Latin America - and by a sense of a distinct history. Importantly, Brazil’s modern history, following 300 years of colonial neglect and exploitation, began in 1806 with the arrival of the Portuguese Court, escaping from Napoleonic Europe. The Portuguese Empire was ruled from Rio de Janeiro until 1821. Then in 1822 Dom Pedro famously decided not to follow his father back to Portugal, but to declare Brazilian independence, and himself the monarch of a Brazilian Empire! In no sense – except size - did Brazil deserve this title at that stage; certainly not in terms of being an economic or political power on the world stage, incorporated as it was in practice in the 19th century British Imperial system. However, the aspiration was there.

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