*** Brazil


Brazilan carnival children
Figure 1.--Here we see a Brazilian boy in the 1940s. We think he is probably wearing a Carnival costume. Carnival is a hugely popular holiday in Brazil. I'm not sure what he is holding in his left hand.

Brazil is by far the the largest country in Latin America. About half of Latin America in area and population is Brazil. We have just begun to acquire information and images on Brazil. We are more familiar with some of the Spanish speaking countries, but hope to eventually persue Brazil in some detail. Brazil was like most countries powerfully shaped by geogrphy--especially the Amazon, although curiouly on a small part of the population loved within the Amazonian basin. Brail was of course significantly influenced by Portugal, the former colonial power. Portugal wa, however, the most backward o the european colonial powers and soon after founding Bral becme a European backwater. Another influnce was the Catholic Church. Brazil became independent somewhat later than neighboring countries and had one of the few Latin American monarchies. The Portuguese did not encounter an advanced Native American civilization, although there is growing debate about just what level of civilzation. Unable to enslave the Indians, they imported large numbedrs of African slaves. Hopefully our Brazilian readers will contribute some insights into fashions trends in their country.


Brazil is by farthest the largest country in Latin America. About half of South America in area and population is Brazil. The most prominant geographic feature of Brazil is the Amazon River and basin and the incredable rainforest it supports as well as vast ammounts oxygen. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world and the source of vast volumes of freshwater. It accounts for one-fifth of the world's total river flow. Brazil in the east faces the Atlantic Ocean, primarily the South Atlantic. There are 4,600 miles (7,400 km) of Atlantic coastline. The country has more than 9,750 miles (15,700 km) of inland borders with each South American country except Chile and Ecuador. Brazil is a vast country, stretching some 2,700 miles (4,350 km) from north to south and from east to west to form a kind of rough triangle. Within that triangle there are tropical and subtropical terraine, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. Brazil contains most of the Amazon River basin. The Amazon is the worldls largest river system by volume and creates the world's most-important virgin rainforest. The country is unique among the world's largest countries, not only because of the Amazon. It contains no desert, high-mountain, or arctic environments. While there is no desert, the northeast is very arid. The Andes only a few miles to the west, however, is wear the Amazon rises and play a major role in the creation of the Amazon and its rainforest environment. Brazil is rich in natural resources. These resources and climate supporting a range of troical agriculture (sugar, rubber, coffee, etc.) have played a major role in uts economy. The Amazonian rain forest in particular involved Brazil in important environmental issues like climate change.


Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, comprising half the area of South Aamerica. It is also has the largest population in Latin America and one of the largest in the world--about 150 million people. The population is still largely found along the coast where cities like Sao Paulo and Rio dominate the country. Brazilan history is less known than that of the more dramatic history of the former Spanish colonies. It was in Brazil that the Atlabtic slave trade began and Brzail was the final country in the mesisphere to abolish slavery. While the slave system was extrodinarily brutal, the racism underlying slavery was less pronounced in Brazil. As a result Brazil has the most racially mixed population in the hemisphere. The country does not have a long democratic tradition. There was a long period of military rule or rule by military-controlled civilian governments. There was also a bloody Communist insurection which was brutally supressed by the military. Brazil appears to be bebefitting from a combination of free-market reforms and democratic rule. The economy is now one of the fatest growing in the world. Given the country's size, its future will largely determine that of South America.


Brazil is half of South America, a huge country with enormous natural resources. Historians differ on the nature of the pre-Colombian Native American economy. Portuguese settlement was orimarily along the coast and focused on sugar plantations based on slavery. A large portion of the Africans transported by the trans-Atlantyic slave trade went to Brazil. After jndependence, coffe developed as a major commidity during the Imperial period. At the turn-of-the 20th century there was a rubber boom. The country gradually began to develop the enormous Amazonian basin. After a period of polituical instability, Marxist insurrection, and military rule, Brazil has adopted free market economics which has resulted in an extended period of economic growth. The country coverted from gasoline to sugar profuced alcohol, but is now finding oil off its coast. Brazil is a major exporter of raw materials, both mineral and agricultyural. Brazil in recent years as a result of the free market for the first time has developed manufacturing companies able to compete in the world market. Socialist parties who have won free and open elections have decioded to pursue free market policies to promote economic growth. President Lula was a controversial figure in Brazilian politics, but proved to be a masterful steward of the country's economy. There are very few examples in modern economics of countries converting resource wealth into a modern productive economy. Rare success stories are Australia, Canada, and Norway. Brazil seems well on its way to finally accomplishing this. There have, however, been a series of booms in Brazilian economic history )sugar, coffee, and rubber). Brazil is now electing a new president (2010). It will be up to the winner to continue President Lula's policies to fruition.


We have only limited information on Brazilian boys clothes at this time. Our archive of Brzilian images is still very limited. It looks like the styles for affluent families primarily followed Portugues and other European trends. This was mostly prevalent among relatively affuent dmilies in the majoe cities. This seems to have changed after Wold War II when American trends began to be more important. Styles by the 1960s were largely the same American-insired styles that had also become popular in Brazil.


Brail is of course significantly influenced bt Portugal, the European country which colonized Brazil. After World War II American styles become increasingly important.


We note Brazilian boys wearing a wide range of clothing. There have been enormous changes over time. Both economics and climate have been major drivers of children's clothing. Brazil was one of the last non-Moslem countries to end slavery (1870s). This meant that throughout the 19th century, larger numbers of black children were dressed very poorly. The country had a small Portuguese and criollo elite. They could afford to dress very well. The wore European styles. Poruhguese styles were a major influence. Often the oufits were otentirly suitable forthe Brazilian climate, although Portugal located in southern Europe had clothing more in une withBrazil than most of the rest of Europe. Most Brazilian children wore very basoc clothing, in mny cases tattered clothing. This did not begin to change until World War II and extensive American involvementboth during and after the War. It is at this time that Brazil begins to develop a modern economy. This has affected the differences between popukatin groups. We begin to see all classes Brazilian boys wearing casual Americam styles. The Equator cuts across Brazil. In the north as a result there is a tropical cimate, but even in the south there is a semi-tropical climate. Thus Brazikian children have tended to wear light-weight what Americas and Europeans might call simmer clothing. We note that the upper and middle classess were dressed similarly to comparable families in Portugal. They wear the same garments and styles. We note fancy styles like Fauntleroy suits and sailor suits at the turn of the 20th century. Many boys wore knee pants suits. We have less information on how the working class and rural poor dressed. After World War II, casual styles as in other countries becoming increasingly important. A reader tells us, "I frequently visited the southern region of Brazil during the 1980s. It was very common to see in the wealthy suburbs, well dressed and clean children (mainly boys) playing barefoot without shoes. Unlike Australia and New Zealand, bare feet were not part of the school protocol. But after schools hours, going barefoot seemed the way of life."


The activities boys engaged in and the appropriate clothing are another interesting topic. Some activities have costumes or uniforms. In other cases we see how boys dressed for a range of occassions, including casual, play and dress occassions. There are of course basic similarities around rhe world. We have very limited information, but have begun to collect some basic information on boys' activuties in Brazil. Religion is a traditional activity of some importance. We also have information on: choirs, holiday, schools, sports, and youth groups. We have almost no information on Brazilian choirs. Brazil was a Portuguese colony and unfortunately we have no information on the boy choir tradition in Portugal either. A HBC reader notes two choirs: Coral dos Canarinhos from Petropolis and Rouxinois de Reine. Most Brazilian holidays are observed nationwide, but each state and city can and do establish their own holidays. Most are holidays celebrated in Portugal, mostly Christian. Some of the Christian celebrationse not narional hoidays. There are also several Brazilian secular national holidays. The Brazilian holidays are noted for their small number. The most famous Brazilian holiday is of course Carnival. As in most Christian countries, Christmas is a favorite with the children. We know very little about Brazilian education at this time. The state systems has been woefully underfunded. The country's current economic sucess may enable the country to improve the state system. Brazilian private schools generally require uniforms, but they are generally simple uniforms with "T" shirts or polo shirts with the school logo and short pants in the school colors. Sports are a relatively new, but particularly popular in Brazil, especially footbol. Sports especially outdoor sports are very popular in Brazil and because of the climate can be practiced year round. We do know that sport is dominated by soccer (footbll), almost to the exclusion of many other sports. Futebol is more than a sport in Brazil, it is a cultural phenomenon. A factor in the development of football in Brazil is surely the fact that only a ball was needed--no expensive equipment. Brazil is the largest, most populous country in Latin America. Unlike most other Latin American countries, which speak Spanish, the Brazilians as a former Portuguese territory speak Portuguese. The only Brazilian youth group we know of is Scouting.


We have bedgun to collect images of Brazilian families so we can assess the clothing worn by the entire family over time. Here our archive is still very limited.


Brazil became independent somewhat later than neighboring countries and had one of the few Latin American monarchies. Portugal for a time was Britain's only ally on the continent. This made the country a target for the French. The British landed a small army comanded by Wellington, but it was not large enough to resist a French inbvasion forcehand had to be withdrawn. The French moved on Lisbon. The Prince Regent departed seeking refuge in VBrazil (1807). Dom Joao established Rio de Jneinro as the temporary capital of the Portuguese Empire. Napoleon's defeat in Russia (1812) fatally weakened France and the French had to withdraw from Iberia (1814). Napoleon was finally defeated at Waterloo (1815). Dom Joao did not return to POrtugal, however, until several years later (1821). Dom Joao left his son Dom Pedro in charge of Brazil when he returned to Portugal (1821). Dom Joao attempted to resume the traditional system of colonial rule. Dom Pedro decided to declare Brazuil's independence from Portugal and his independence from his father (1822). Brazil's economy changed significantly in the 19th century as coffee became an increasingly important crop. There was considerable Europeam immigratiin in the 19th century, especially from Italy.


The Portuguese did not encounter an advanced Native American civilization. Unable to enslave the Indians, they imported large numbedrs of African slaves. Many other Europeans have emmigrated to Brazil. Other than Poruguese, the largest European immigrant groyp is Italian. Large numbers of Itlians emigrated to Argentina and Brazil in the late 19th century. These two countries offfered cultural similarities (religion and language). Evventually Italian emifration sgifted to the United States because of the greater economic opportunities there. One reader tells us, "Brazil has a large German population, Especially in the southern states Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul thousands of Germans settled there in the 19th century. I have been to the Oktoberfest in Blumenau some years ago, the second largest after Munich. People come from all over Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay to celebrate. The telephone books are full with German names. I noticed that more people spoke German than English with foreigners. Famous German-Brazilians are Oscar Niemeyer, the architect of many government buildings in the capital Brasilia, tennis star Gustavo Kuerten and supermodel Gisele Buendchen, both from Rio Grande do Sul." There is also a Japanese community centered in São Paulo. There was even a group of Confederates that settled in Brazil after the Civil War. There are also Native American groups. One such tribe is Enawene-Nawe.


A reader writes, "The four 'gaucho' southern states of Brazil (Parana, Sao Paolo, Santa Catherine and Rio Grande do Sul) are heavily populated by the descendant of Germanic and northern Italian colonizers, together with prosperous Nisei Japanese. At one point, those four states the most prosperous states of a corrupt, third world Brazil. A move toward secession from Brazil got momentum (1980s). The Gaucho Pampa Republic was the proposed name for the 'new' country. They had registered many wanting the separation. The entire population for the new proposed country would have been about 22 million. Culturally,the inhabitants of those four Southern states, felt closely to their southern neighbors like Uruguay and Argentina, than their northeast black 'voodoo' primitive and un-Christian culture of their Brazilian compatriots. A flag was proposed which as an interesting comment looked very similar to the flag proposed for a 'new' Germany if the attempt to kill Hitler had succeeded."


We do not have much information on Brazilain institutions. We do have a page on orphanages.


Brazil is a huge country. About half of Latin America in population, area, and national economic output is Brazil. Thus it is not surprising that Brazil has the the largest film industry in latin America. The domestic economy easily can support a film industry, even though there are few other Portuguese speaking countries. Unlike Argentina and Mexico, Brazilian Portuguese-languafe films can not be as easily marketed in the neighboring Spanish-speaking countries. The Brazilain film industry has received Government support as well as enjoying a roubust national market. The number of films produced was very limited throughout the 20th-century. Actually the Brazilian film industry was once among the most active in Latin America. Filmakes were hampered by Government economic policy,including devaluations, hyperinflation, and a range of shifting government policies. In many years no films were produced and in others only one film despite the large domestic market. As recently as 1991 only 2 films were made. That was about the same time that Brazilian officials noting the success of free market capitalist reforms in Chile adopted similar measures in Brazil. The result in two decades was the virtual remaking of Brazil. The film industry is just one of many Brazilian success stories. The growth of the film industry has been phenomenal. Brazilian studios produced 90 films (2008). The first Brazilian film we have noted is 'Meu Pé de Laranja Lima' (1970). Perhaps the best known Brazilain film is 'Pixote' (1981) about an inderprivlidged street urchin. It is a rather brutal, but powerful film about the life homeless street children face in Brazil. A HBC reader has provided information on another film, 'Central Station' (1998). An excellent recent film is 'Drifting' (2008).


We have very little information about individual Brazilian boys at this time. One boy we have some information about is Alexander Schultz from São Paulo whose parents in 1962 took him to live with Amazonian Indians in the rain forest.


Related Chronolgy Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[The 1880s] [The 1890s]
[The 1900s] [The 1910s] [The 1920s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1930s] [The 1940s] [The 1950s] [The 1960s] [The 1970s] [The 1980s]

Related Style Pages in the Boys' Historical Web Site
[Smocks] [Long pants suits] [Knicker suits] [Short pants suits] [Socks] [Eton suits] [Jacket and trousers]
[Blazer] [School sandals] [School smocks] [Sailor suits] [Pinafores] [Long stockings]

Navigate the Boys' Historical Clothing Web Page
[Return to the Main South American page ]
[Return to the Main Latin American page]
[Return to the Main country page]
[Introduction] [Activities] [Biographies] [Chronology] [Clothing styles] [Countries]
[Bibliographies] [Contributions] [FAQs] [Portuguese glossaries] [Images] [Links] [Registration] [Tools]
[Boys' Clothing Home]

Created: 12:52 AM 11/27/2004
Last updated: 7:34 PM 7/24/2015