Brazil: A Study of Economic Types

Brazil: A Study of Economic Types

Brazil: A Study of Economic Types

Brazil: A Study of Economic Types

Excerpt

The historiography of Brazil possesses a remarkable document. In the year 1843 Dr. Carl Friedrich Ph. von Martius from Munich, the famous German naturalist, co-author of Reise in Brasilien, who together with Spix and a large scientific expedition went to Brazil accompanying "Die Erlauchte Braut" Karolina Josepha Leopoldina and travelled there during the years 1817-1820, submitted to the Instituto Historico e Geographico Brasileiro in Rio de Janeiro an address under the title Como se deve escrever a Historia do Brasil ("How the History of Brazil should be written"). This address published in 1845 in the "Revista" of the Institute can be considered as a testament to the students of Brazilian history.

Martius combined the feeling of the grandeur of the country with an outstanding feeling of history. He understood history as an epos ("As every history which deserves this name has to be similar to an Epos!") and in the country he emphasized the local moments: "How different is Pará from Minas! Another nature, other men, other needs, and other passions, and consequently another historical conjunction."

The unusually broad, diversified, ingenious and still actual program painted by Martius is not yet fulfilled, in spite of some remarkable achievements in the modern Brazilian political historiography. But this neglects the fact that all history in new countries is economic history. In the special field of economic history we are still far from any possibility of creating an epos.

The time has not yet come to undertake the courageous task of a generalizing study of Latin American economic history, not even for one country. Very abundant, but often deplorably neglected and not always accessible, data have first to be col-

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