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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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Prior to the coming of the king (1), the total population of Rio consisted of some fifty thousand souls, surpassing in importance, in fact, the number of black and colored inhabitants over white. In 1817, by contrast, the city counted, as they supposed, over one hundred and ten thousand inhabitants. It must be believed that from 1808 onwards some twenty-four thousand Portuguese came here from Europe. This considerable immigration in addition to the coming of a good number of English, French, Dutch, German and Italians, who, after the opening of the ports, settled here, whether as traders or workers, had to by itself, changed things considerably. For this reason, this would change the characteristics of the inhabitants, so that the existing quantitative relation of whites to blacks and mesticos was reversed. But especially in regard to the wealthy traders of the capital and even from the interior of the neighboring provinces of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, civilization as well as the necessities of life and industries have taken on new development with immigrants. Brazil did not exactly have its nobility; the religious, the clerks, and the wealthy families of the interior, that is, farmers and landowners, had, before the king's coming, as it were, the primacy of all rights and distinctions of nobility. The granting of titles and offices donated by the king attracted a part of them to the capital, where, taking a taste for the luxury and way of life of the European, they began to influence the classes whose customs were very diverse. Also the provinces far from the new kingdom, whose inhabitants came to Rio for curiosity or private interests, became accustomed to consider this city as the capital, and to adopt their ways of life, which, after the coming of the court, were the same as Europeans. The influence of the royal court in Brazil was incalculable, in every way.

Ministers of the Royal court

The presence of the supreme head of state should ignite in all Brazilians the feeling of patriotism, which until now was indifferent to him, while, as a colony, they had been ruled by delegates of the king. Brazil has assumed in every respect a new dignity; the king was already here negotiating diplomatic relations overseas, so he was already entering the group of the European nations. The sovereign himself learned to know ever better both the advantages of the country and the imperfections of the government; he used the advantages to thereby ensure the stability of all civil and property relations. The private credit

(I) In 1808 (Rev. note, Ed. Melh.).

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