Brazil secured its independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822, having been a colony since 1500. Newly independent Brazil became a monarchy and was known as the Empire of Brazil under Emperor Pedro I and his son Pedro II. The new Empire started off with a population of 4 million, 29% of whom were slaves.
It became a republic in 1889, a year after the abolition of slavery in 1888. Apart from Cuba, Brazil has been the only country. The country had a population of 14½ million but only 20% could read and write.
There was a coup d’état in 1964 and the military remained in control until March 1985 and Brazil became a federal republic in 1967.
Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world and occupies almost half the land mass of South America. Today, it is the world’s 10th largest economy and reforms have imbued the country with an international perspective. It is also a founding member of the United Nations.
Last night’s celebration was well attended reflecting expanding ties between Ireland and Brazil. I met the Ambassadors to Ireland from Japan, Egypt and Malaysia. The Ambassadors from Germany and Russia were among the many other ambassadors attending.
I had an interesting chat with Jill Donoghue, the Director General of the Institute for International and European Affairs. She hosted two distinguished visitors at the Institute earlier yesterday – the President of the European Parliament and former Prime Minister of Poland, Jerzy Buzak. The Secretary-General of The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), Marc Perrin de Brichambaut also spoke at the Institute about the role of OSCE in the modern security context.