The Invention Of Brazil

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Misha Glenny presents a history of Brazil from 1500 to the end of the Second World War.

Forget the beach volleyball, carnival, and the rest - here's the truth about Brazil. The murder rate is among the highest in the world. The economic inequality is visible wherever you go. Behind the happy cultural imagery there lies a much darker Brazil, the result of an extremely dark colonial history when this land was little more than a giant farm worked by slaves.

In The Invention of Brazil, Misha Glenny traces the gaps between the image and reality, beginning with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500. More slaves were transported to Brazil than anywhere else, more than the United States, more than anywhere.

"There were many Africans who served as interpreters," Joao Reis explains, "who could tell the slaves: 'You are not going to be eaten by those whites'. And that was the African fear - that they were being brought to an unknown world by whites where they would be eaten."

Misha Glenny and producer Miles Warde travel from the favela of Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro up the coast to Salvador, the first capital of Brazil, and then back to Sao Paulo, economic powerhouse of the south. On the way they meet contributors including the anthropologist Peter Fry; Americo Martins of Rede TV; historian Lilia Schwarz; and bestselling author Laurentino Gomez. Further contributions from Luciana Martins, David Brookshaw and Patrick Wilcken, author of Empire Adrift.

From the team behind The Invention of Germany and The Invention of Spain.

02Episode 2: The British2014051120140512

02Episode 2: The British2014051120140512

Misha Glenny on how, in 1808, the entire Portuguese court moved across the Atlantic.

02Episode 2: The British20140511

02Episode 2: The British20140511

Misha Glenny continues his exploration of the little known but extraordinary events that have shaped Brazil. This week, two unexpected events in Brazil's path to independence. The first occurred in 1808, when the entire Portuguese court moved across the Atlantic to escape Napoleon. They lived in Rio de Janeiro, which they enjoyed so much that they stayed on for another 13 years. The second occurred in 1822 when the King of Portugal's son, Dom Pedro, declared 'Independence or Death', breaking Brazil free from her European overlords. We reveal that the British were heavily involved in both events.

"As quid pro quo for escorting the Portuguese across the Atlantic, the British ended up arm twisting the Portuguese royal court into signing a very one sided treaty, which in fact ended up giving the British more rights than the Brazilians themselves." Patrick Wilcken, author Empire Adrift.

A fast paced and astounding story of war and slavery, featuring Luciana Martins of Birkbeck College, Emeritus Professor David Brookshaw, and the best-selling Brazilian author Laurentino Gomez, author of 1808: How a Weak Prince, A Mad Queen, and the British Navy Tricked Napoleon and Changed the World.

Presenter: Misha Glenny

Producer: Miles Warde.

02The British2014051120140512

Misha Glenny on how, in 1808, the entire Portuguese court moved across the Atlantic.

Misha Glenny continues his exploration of the little known but extraordinary events that have shaped Brazil. This week, two unexpected events in Brazil's path to independence. The first occurred in 1808, when the entire Portuguese court moved across the Atlantic to escape Napoleon. They lived in Rio de Janeiro, which they enjoyed so much that they stayed on for another 13 years. The second occurred in 1822 when the King of Portugal's son, Dom Pedro, declared 'Independence or Death', breaking Brazil free from her European overlords. We reveal that the British were heavily involved in both events.

"As quid pro quo for escorting the Portuguese across the Atlantic, the British ended up arm twisting the Portuguese royal court into signing a very one sided treaty, which in fact ended up giving the British more rights than the Brazilians themselves." Patrick Wilcken, author Empire Adrift.

A fast paced and astounding story of war and slavery, featuring Luciana Martins of Birkbeck College, Emeritus Professor David Brookshaw, and the best-selling Brazilian author Laurentino Gomez, author of 1808: How a Weak Prince, A Mad Queen, and the British Navy Tricked Napoleon and Changed the World.

Presenter: Misha Glenny

Producer: Miles Warde

03 LASTGetulio Vargas And The Usa2014051820140519

Misha Glenny explores the life of Getulio Vargas, the man who changed Brazil.

From giant factory farm for Europeans to modern BRIC economy, the story of Brazil's transformation is captured in this final programme in the life of Getulio Vargas - moderniser, dictator, and finally democratically elected president. In the final part of the Invention of Brazil, Misha Glenny explores the life of Vargas, the man who changed Brazil.

"I was struck by how short he was... the crowd went wild with adulation, an enormous mass of people. Their spontaneous shouts made me think I was in Italy, watching one of those fascist rallies." Unnamed public official, seeing Vargas for the first time.

Vargas came to power in 1930 and proved an expert at keeping himself in power. Initially he styled himself on Mussolini - the story of why he took Brazil into the Second World War on the side of the Allies is central here. As also are the events leading up to his suicide while still in power. With contributions from anthropologist Lilia Schwarz, Professor David Brookshaw, Peter Fry, and author Ana Maria Machado whose father was arrested by Vargas several times.

Presenter: Misha Glenny

Producer: Miles Warde.