Travels in Brazil

Travels in Brazil

Travels in Brazil

Travels in Brazil

Excerpt

In the opening decades of the nineteenth century, Brazil was a land of change, much of which transformation was stimulated by foreign travelers. The trip forced upon the Portuguese Court when onrushing hordes of Napoleonic soldiers dictated its swift removal from Lisbon to Brazil was quite possibly the most significant single factor. Beginning in 1808, a succession of decrees by João, the Prince Regent, not only liberalized Brazilian life in its economic and cultural realms, they also paved the way for those foreign contacts which included the wide-eyed traveler with pen in hand.

The first of the literate English travelers in this period, Thomas Lindley, master of a trading vessel, reached Brazil in 1802. Then the Portuguese colony was wallowing in a maze of restrictions aimed at maintaining the ancient mercantilist doctrine of mother-country supremacy. Lindley's goods were declared contraband; and the unwanted Englishman became a prisoner of the authorities. At best, Lindley's acquaintance with Brazil was limited to the port communities of Pôrto Seguro and Baía. His Narrative of a Voyage to Brasil (London, 1805)--with a German edition in 1806 and another English one in 1808--is essentially an account of his treatment as a prisoner in 1802-3, not an assessment of Brazilian life in any extended dimension.

Another Englishman, John Mawe, was in South America when Napoleon's machinations in the Iberian Peninsula landed João and the Court on the beach at Rio de Janeiro. By way of the Plata region, where Mawe and the ship and goods related to the commercial experiment to which he was a party fell into the hands of Spanish authorities--and he spent time in prison--the author of The Mineralogy of Derbyshire went to Rio de Janeiro. En route . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.