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Brazil, History

Brazilís history can be divided into two major parts: the colonial period from the arrival of the first Portuguese explorers in 1500 until independence in 1822, and the national period since independence from Portugal. During the colonial period Brazil became the first great plantation slave society in the Americas, producing sugar and later coffee on large agricultural estates worked by slaves. During the 1700s Brazil experienced the first major gold rush in the Americas after explorers discovered gold on frontier territory inland from the coast. After Brazil broke away from Portuguese rule in the 1820s, members of the Portuguese royal family ruled as emperors until 1889, in the only sustained monarchy in the western hemisphere. Since 1889 Brazil has been a republic, experiencing two periods of dictatorship: from 1937 to 1945 and from 1964 to 1985. The interaction of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans in Brazil has produced one of the most racially mixed societies in the world, and one with enormous economic and social inequalities.

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