Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter deals with characteristics of the Brazilian colonial period (from 1500 to independence from Portugal in 1822) that have exercised a significant influence on later developments. Three aspects of the institutional framework of Portuguese colonization are emphasized: the relations between the colonial government and the private sector; the pattern of access to land by colonists; and the widespread use of slave labor. It is argued that colonial policies were detrimental to private initiative, hampering access to productivity gains from industrialization in the eighteenth century. Distribution of land, in large tracts, to privileged individuals was instrumental in establishing a pattern of inequality in wealth, power, and political influence; the landless majority helped to bring about an elastic supply of labor in later periods. Slavery, which dominated the labor market from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth, was an element of the inequality in income distribution that persists to the present.

Keywords: Brazil, colonial period, land distribution, slavery, development, productivity

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.