KidZone History: Brazil

Life as a Colony

Christ the Redeemer Statue

Photographed by Raphael Nogueira on Unsplash

Before its 'discovery' by Portuguese sailors in 1500, Brazil as it is now known was an area populated by many different indigenous tribes. Originally, as the Portuguese sailors arrived, they encountered the Tupinamba people. For a time the two peoples attempted to get along. However, Brazil was soon colonised by Portugal.

As Portugal colonised the Brazilian indigenous peoples, they were forced into extreme labour conditions and exposed to various diseases that they had no resistance to. This resulted in a large amount of deaths in the indigenous population. The main reason for this forced labour was for the Portuguese to exploit the woodland in Brazil to create a red dye that was extremely sought after in Europe. After many years, slavery was eventually abolished in 1888, releasing about 4 million people into freedom.