Ok, so you guys know how much I like to read and write about the history of the places I go to ... you should also know by know that I had to leave my South American handbook behind to get on from New Zealand ... so here a brief entry which will be updated later.
The Portuguese were the first European settlers to arrive in the area (led by adventurous Pedro Cabral, who began the colonial period in 1500) ... very little is known about the indigenous tribes that used to live in, what is now known as Brazil ... a jump ahead to the good stuff:
In 1807-08, during the Napoleonic Wars, King John VI of Portugal took refuge in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil, now the seat of government for its mother country, witnessed tremendous economic growth. Life was so good in Rio, that after Napolean had been defeated, the Royal family stayed on until a threatened revolt in Portugal forced John VI to return to Lisbon.
His son, Dom Pedro stayed behind to lead the country .... history has it, that Dom was a bit of a lady's man and not very interested in the career his father had choosen for him ... annoyed by continues demands from the Portugal kingdom and popular pressure in Brazil compelled him to declare Brazil independent in 1822, and so Brazil became an Empire with a monarchy ( no blood split either) while the rest of North and South American became republics. Pedro's personality was enigmatic and his rule erratic. After a disastrous war (1825-28) with Argentina and a revolt in Rio de Janeiro, Pedro's abdicated (1831) in favor of son, Pedro II (who was in his teenage years at the time). He then returned to Portugal, where he was able to get his daughter to be crowned as queen ...
With the end of slavery Brazil also got ride of the monarchy ... but again without any blood being spilt ... my point: no blood=happy people ... so it make all the sense in the world to see Brazilians always happy ;)