History of Brazil

ehind his five year old son and heir, who became Dom Pedro II. As the new emperor could not exert his constitutional powers until he reached maturity, a regency was created. Disputes between political factions led to rebellions and an unstable, almost anarchical, regency. The rebellious factions, however, were not in revolt against the monarchy, even though some declared the secession of the provinces as independent republics, but only so long as Pedro II was a minor. Because of this, he was prematurely declared of age and "Brazil was to enjoy nearly half a century of internal peace and rapid material progress."

Despite the loss of Cisplatina in 1828 when it became an independent nation known as Uruguay, Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II (the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the Paraguayan War) and witnessed the consolidation of representative democracy, mainly due to successive elections and unrestricted freedom of the press. Most importantly, slavery was extinguished after a slow but steady process that began with the end of the international traffic in slaves in 1850 and ended with the complete abolition of slavery in 1888. The slave population had been in decline since Brazil's independence: in 1823, 29% of the Brazilian population were slaves but by 1887 this had fallen to 5%. When the monarchy was overthrown on 15 November 1889 there was little desire in Brazil to change the form of government and Pedro II was at the height of his popularity among his subjects. However, he "bore prime, perhaps sole, responsibility for his own overthrow." After the death of his two sons, the Emperor believed that "the imperial regime was destined to end with him." He cared little for the regime's fate and so neither did anything, nor allowed anyone else to do anything, to prevent the military coup, backed by former slave owners who resented the abolition of slavery.

Early republic

The "early republican