Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937

By John D. Wirth | Go to book overview

CHAPTER ONE The Minas Mosaic

MINEIROS LIVING in their landlocked, France-sized state are known as the "mountain people," with a distinct regional identity that taps back to eighteenth-century roots. Yet recently, the traits for which Mineiros were famous seemed old-fashioned, especially to Brazilians from the Rio and São Paulo urban centers. Mineiros' conservatism strong sense of place were increasingly out of step with the new values of an industrializing Brazil. Minas played a central role in national politics after the Empire collapsed in 1889, but the limited results were viewed critically by many (including Mineiros) to whom economic development was becoming the criterion of success. That Minas Gerais did not participate fully in the modernizing trends sweeping southern Brazil after 1890 is a central dynamic of this region's recent history.

Neighboring São Paulo pulled ahead of Minas in the 1890's, after which the gap between their two economies widened. By 1920, São Paulo's gross agricultural and industrial output was double that of Minas. A neo-colonial relationship developed that Mineiros were unable to reverse: Minas sent out people and raw materials, São Paulo shipped back manufactures and processed food. By 1940, almost one- fifth of all native-born Mineiros had emigrated to greener pastures in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro, and increasingly to the Paraná frontier.

The 6.7 million Mineiros who stayed behind in 1940 lived mostly in the vast countryside, or else in small cities, towns, and hamlets. And whereas the pace of urbanization quickened after 1920--notably in

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Minas Gerais in the Brazilian Federation, 1889-1937
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • Figures and Tables xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • Chapter One - the Minas Mosaic 1
  • Chapter Two - the Economy 31
  • Chapter Three - Society and Culture 65
  • Chapter Four - State Politics: Men, Events, and Structures 97
  • Chapter Five - the Political Elite 140
  • Chapter Six - State and Nation: Political Dimensions 164
  • Chapter Seven - Toward Integration 185
  • Chapter Eight Fiscal Federalism 204
  • Conclusion 225
  • Appendixes 235
  • Notes 267
  • Bibliography 295
  • Index 309
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