4402 - "Coffee in Brazil, 1870-1960: Plantation or Peasant Crop?".

“Brazil is Coffee” was a famous 19th century saying because coffee was crucial to Brazil and Brazil so dominated the world coffee economy. It continues to this day to be the world leader. But this apparent continuity masks great underlying transformations. From the largest African slave plantations in the world, Brazil evolved to small scale agriculture using the greatest influx of European immigrants to work in the tropics. Then after World War I it and turned to wage-earning native Brazilian workers. From a liberal, fragmented, laissez faire state, the regime became the most interventionist in the world coffee market, instituting after 1906 valorização, the first time a Third World country controlled a major world commodity market. Foreign capital was essential to the running of the economy, but the land continued to belong mostly to Brazilians. Gradually the state nationalized major railroads and banks. And contrary to the predictions of dependency theory, cities and factories bloomed. My paper will discuss how and why these changes occurred in Brazil and make some comparisons with other Latin American coffee economies.

Palabras claves: coffee, slavery, immigrants, state policy

Autores: Topik, Steven (University of California Irvine, Ud States of Am / USA)


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