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Brazil History Timeline

1500s - 1600s

  • (1500) Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil, claimed for Portugal
  • (1540) Cabeza de Vaca appointed governor of Rio de la Plata
  • (1550) African slaves worked in sugar plantations
  • (1624) Dutch conquered Salvador
  • (1636) General Henrique Dias won decisive battle against Dutch
  • (1661) Holland sold Brazil to Portugal for 8 million guilders
1700s - 1800s
  • (1763) Capital changed from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro
  • (1789) Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier initiated first Brazilian rebellion against Portugal
  • (1822) Brazil declared independence from Portugal
  • (1888) Slavery abolished, 4 million slaves were freed
  • (1889) Monarchy overthrown; republic established
1900s
  • (1930) Getulio Vargas head of provisional revolutionary government after revolt
  • (1931) Christ the Redeemer statue unveiled in Rio de Janeiro celebrating 100 years of independence
  • (1943) Brazil joined Allies in World War II
  • (1945) Vargas ousted in military coup; new constitution returned power to states
  • (1951) Vargas elected president
  • (1954) Vargas committed suicide after military gave him options of resigning or being overthrown
  • (1956-61) Juscelino Kubitschek became president, helped achieve rapid economic growth
  • (1960) Kubitschek moved capital to Brasilia
  • (1964-1985) Military dictatorship ruled Brazil
  • (1982) Brazil halted payment of main foreign debt; is among the world's largest
  • (1985) Tancredo Neves elected first civilian president
  • (1992) Earth Summit held in Rio
  • (1996) Police killed 19 Amazon peasants in Eldorado dos Carajas
  • (1997) Constitution changed to allow president to run for re-election
2000s
  • (2000) Brazil's 500th anniversary celebrations marred by protests by indigenous Indians
  • (2001) President Cardoso abolished two government development agencies for Amazon and country's northeast
  • (2002) Financial markets panic; Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva won presidential election; Brazil won 5th world cup
  • (2003) Alcantara rocket exploded, killed 21 people
  • (2004) Brazil applied for permanent seat on UN Security Council; first space rocket launched
  • (2005) Death squad killed 30 people; corruption allegations rocked the governing worker's party
  • (2006) President Lula re-elected
  • (2007) 1,000 people freed from sugar-cane plantation in the Amazon; country's worst air crash in San Paulo
  • (2008) Foot-and-mouth disease halted all imports of Brazilian beef
  • (2009) Brazil and France agreed to fight global warming
  • (2011) Dilma Vana Rousseff elected first female president of Brazil
  • (2011) Football (Soccer) player and three-time FIFA Player of the Year winner Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima retires

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This page was last updated on April 7, 2017.