A New World with New Ideas - A Brazilian Timeline

A Saint for every Soul
Chapter I - A Saint for every Soul
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An old man looks to the sea, its majestical blue waters alongside the bright sky fill his eyes with joy and happiness, he stops for a bit and contemplates on how his life has changed, he was so far from home and yet so close to it, for in the land he now lives he made his house, he ate his daily bread and prayed to the almighty god, best of all his ideas helped define a nation and changed its course forever stamping his footprint in the history books, he had a name as all people do, revered and acclaimed by all the inhabitants of the land who knew him, his name was Bartolomé de Las Casas and as his looks further into the ocean more and more memories come afloat of how things got this way.


It was November 11th 1484, there in the Spanish city of Seville Bartolomé was born, he was the son of Pedro de Las Casas a merchant who descended from French migrants who came to rebuild Seville after its conquest in 1248, Las Casas childhood is a mystery however with little to no sources on his early years, what we know is that Las Casas studied in Salomanca getting his degree there, by 1502 we know that him and his father travelled to the New World settling in the island of Hispaniola with Bartolomé participating in the expedition of Nicolás de Ovando[1], following his services as a Conquistador Las Casas earned an Ecomienda[2] and became a landowner and a slaver, during those year he would treat his servants with brutality and indifference to their suffering, even in 1510 when he became the first Catholic priest ordained in the Americas he still exploited the natives for his own monetary gain, however soon after the was ordained something happened that would change his life.


In September 1510 a group of Dominican fryers arrived on the island, they were disgusted by the practices of the Encomiendas, the whipping, rapes and constant abuses horrified the holy men, who preached sermons condemning the system and even denying confession to slavers which included Las Casas, furious Bartolomé and the other colonists petitioned the King of Spain and had the Dominicans removed, however they had planted the seeds of doubt in his head, Bartolomé would become ever more confused about the morality of his actions and the more the thought about it the more guilt he felt, finally in 1514 he changed his mind and freed his slaves while simultaneously preaching other to do the same, the colonists of the island then turned on Las Casas and had him removed from the island.


Back in Spain he continued to preach against slavery and the Ecomiendas, the upper classes did not like this as the money gathered from the Americas filled Spanish coffers alongside with their own pockets, (POD) so in 1517 a group of armed thugs stroke Las Casas after he gave a sermon criticizing slavery, the would-be assassins left the man severely injured however by the grace of god Las Casas lived, he went into hiding for an year before finally realizing that his country was no longer safe for him, so in 1518 Las Casas departed from Seville and arrived to the neighboring Kingdom of Portugal, more specifically he went to the court of El Rei[3] D.Manuel I of which the priest quickly gained the favor and even became close to the King’s son João, in 1521 Manuel died and was succeeded by João now called João III, the priest lived on Lisbon while also continuously fighting for native rights, it would be in 1533 when a peculiar letter arrived at the hands of the king, this letter would latter prove to have the most important question regarding the history of Portugal’s biggest colony.





[1] The expedition consisted on the complete subjugation of the natives of Hispaniola
[2] For those who don’t know it’s a system on which the land of the Indigenous people were decided amongst the European conquerers with the natives living inside the Ecomiendas working without pay and becoming slaves
[3] This is how the Portuguese kings styled themselves the term comes from Galician-Portuguese and remained unchanged throughout the centuries
 
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The most important choice
Chapter II - The most important choice
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In the year of 1533 the court of the Lusitanian kingdom was shocked by the arrival of a letter, said latter came from the colony of Portuguese America, despite of the highs Brazil has reached over the past century back then the place was a backwater, it didn’t produce the immense wealth that the Feitorias[1] of the East Indies produced nor the Gold and Ivory acquired in Africa, Brazil was by all means just an extra and not the main show, trying to fix this Pero de Gois, Captain-Mor da Costa do Brazil, requested El-Rei, the shipment of 17 Ethiopians[2] to his Captaincy of São-Thomas (Parahyba)[3], D.João was inclined to accept this until a voice raised in opposition.

Bartolomé rose upon hearing about the proposition and with vigor told the monarch not to accept the request of the Captain, upon hearing this some nobles protested this as a mere priest trying to subvert the merit of the King, however D.João ordered both sides to quiet down before letting Bartolomé speak his mind about this and why he shouldn’t accept it, so Bartolomé said:


B - “My Lord, it is unjust and ungodly of us to condemn these people to suffer for our own benefit, as you know I lived in Hispaniola and was a slaver myself, I saw the brutal conditions that this system of slavery imposes and I think it is not right for us to damn these souls to earthly suffering”

Upon hearing this a Noble answered :

N - “What do you care? They are heathens and don’t deserve gods love, they are animals who live in huts and eat raw meat, we shouldn’t threat Indians like our kin much less the Ethiopians”

In a fit of rage Bartolomé responded:

B - “Who are you to claim who deserves gods love? Weren’t we Barbarians who lived in huts before the light of Rome and Christ blessed us? These folk have no fault of being so far from the word of god, they have no fault in being ignorant to civilization when they are so far from it[4], we shouldn’t exploit them from what they are, rather we should teach them about what they can become, be they Indian or Ethiopian it’s our mission as the warriors of Christ to spread his word far and wide.

“But what about the extra wealth?” Said an unidentified Noble.

“What about it?” Answered Bartolomé.

B - “My Lord… do not let worldly ideas of gold and spices cloud your rightful judgement, for centuries to come the people will speak about this meeting, about how D.João III either saved or condemned two races to slavery and suffering, please my king make the right choice and give those people and their souls the ability to pass to heaven free of mistreatment and cruelty, please… say no to the letter.

After pondering the question for many hours the King of the Portuguese gave his definitive answer.

“No”.

The Indians and Ethiopians would not be condemned into slavery in his American possessions, for the King was the ultimate overlord of his West Indian holdings, he then went to his quarters to write and official response to the Captains stating that both the Red and Black skinned people were under their suzerain’s protection.



[1] They have the same etymological origin as Factories and they mean “a place were things are made”
[2] The concept of Africa as the entire continent was not yet universal, some people called only the north of the continent as Africa while other called the Subsaharan part Ethiopia which literally means “Land of the Burned Face”
[3] Thomas was the Archaic Portuguese way of saying either Tomé or Tomás and also Parahyba was how it was written back then
[4] Despite how wholesome he is Las Casas still has some soft prejudice in the form of believing the Indians and Black weren’t really civilized and needed to be converted to be saved
 
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A hole new world
Chapter III - A hole new world​
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Since the “discovery” of Brazil by Pedro Álvares Cabral the it was never important, it didn’t have the mighty silver and gold deposits of Spanish America, nor the precious spices and fine crafts of the East, instead the colonies only export was the red coloured brazilwood, which allowed for the creation of red paint the main coloured used by the nobility of Portugal, but even then this amounted to nothing in comparison to what Portugal generated in its monopoly of the Spice trade, it fought various wars with the Ottomans and local Indian rulers to keep it that way and having a gigantic colony the wrong side of the Atlantic did little to change this… until the letter arrived.


The fierce debate about wether they should import Ethiopian slaves or degrade the Indians to slave status was ultimately won by Bartolomé, who defended the rights of the Natives and Bantus against such system and even tough the king agreed a replacement was needed, his plan, was to start a settlement scheme along Brazil and to go there personally to enforce the rights of both Natives and small colonists against the ruling elite, this plan was presented to João by the end of 1533 and put into action by 1534, first task would be to obtain settlers to develop the western colony, for that Las Casas ventured into the North of the kingdom more specifically the regions of Entre-Douro-e-Minho and Trás-os-Nontes which were poorer and less developed than the regions around Cõymbra and Lisbõa[1] and also presented a problem of overpopulation, so there was no shortage of volunteers, Las Casas also convinced some Galician families to come along the way, so on the 17th of June 1535 a fleet of 6 ships and 532 people left from Cõymbra and headed strait to Brazil, they arrived on the 10th of July at the city of São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos alongside these colonist also sailed Las Casas who came to exercise his duties as Guardião dos Índios Ocidentais[2].


Before the colonists left for Brazil Las Casas and João were negotiating for Las Casas to have a position of power in the Portuguese America to better enforce the will of the King there, of course this needed to be well crafted otherwise there was the danger of the elites trying to murder Las Casas and the locals resentful of the elites, despite all of this he was bestowed the title and left for the New World.


The arrival of the ships at Salvador was a game-changer if successful Las Casas would be able to prove that slavery was unnecessary and also prove that Brazil had a place on the Portuguese Empire, the new colonists were then sent to outside the city walls on farmland which was supposed to be used for slave-plantations but instead was being used by independent small farmers, Las Casas upon arrival went to speak directly to the Captain[3] and proclaimed his purposed and gave the governor a letter written by the king himself, the contents of the letter specified that Las Casas was to ensured that the colonists, elites and Indians all were satisfied and to let no one oppress the other, the message was then dispatched to all the other Captains, afterward he went to meet the Cacique[4] of the local Tupinambá tribe and established accords of mutual cooperation between Europeans and Natives, amongst these were accords upon commerce of goods and also the settlement of further Europeans, this particular part stipulated that the land needed to be bought from the tribe before settlers were able to come, within a few days Las Casas was able to make an ally securing the lives of the colonists and guaranteeing aid in the the Captains got some rebellious ideas.



[1] The old Portuguese way of referring to Coimbra and Lisboa
[2] Guardian of the West Indians
[3] Back then Brazil was divided into hereditary Captaincies and who ruled them was a Captain
[4] In Spanish at least it can mean someone who is powerful but in Portuguese (at least Brazilian Portuguese) it is simply a tribal chief
 
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The Capitanias did was a very well developed plan for colonization at the time. It even turned Madeira into the world best sugar and melasse exporter. The problem was that in order to it work in Brazil, the natives would have to "vanish" or at least be a lot less warring in order to be converted into... ahem... "mampower"...

Sincerely King Sebastian of House Aviz was the best planner when dealing with Brazilian development.

The man created the colonies first environmental laws to protect the forests (Mata Atlantica was a cash cow and the locals, both natives and landowners alike were destroying it for a fast non-renewable profit!), worked with the Jesuits hunting for local talented leadership (my hone City was taken from the French by a Brazilian Noble who was a entitled native named Arariboya), give Liberal reforms that permitted Brazilian ports export products to the best bidder rather than only to the metropole (and reinvest the surplus in their own local economy), and other cool things, like abolishing slavery for sure...


Too bad he died young and without heirs...
 
The Capitanias did was a very well developed plan for colonization at the time. It even turned Madeira into the world best sugar and melasse exporter. The problem was that in order to it work in Brazil, the natives would have to "vanish" or at least be a lot less warring in order to be converted into... ahem... "mampower"...

Sincerely King Sebastian of House Aviz was the best planner when dealing with Brazilian development.

The man created the colonies first environmental laws to protect the forests (Mata Atlantica was a cash cow and the locals, both natives and landowners alike were destroying it for a fast non-renewable profit!), worked with the Jesuits hunting for local talented leadership (my hone City was taken from the French by a Brazilian Noble who was a entitled native named Arariboya), give Liberal reforms that permitted Brazilian ports export products to the best bidder rather than only to the metropole (and reinvest the surplus in their own local economy), and other cool things, like abolishing slavery for sure...


Too bad he died young and without heirs...
Don’t worry Sebastian already has a nice place on TTL lore
 
Don’t worry Sebastian already has a nice place on TTL lore
A true Portuguese TL need to have a place to the guy.

His legend is almost Arcturian in its lore. Like the legend that says he entered the Tomb of King Alphonso Henry Khes and after dueling with the woken specter of the monarch he traded his blade to Alphonso's great sword.

Other says that he didn't die in the battle of the three kings, but was usurped and ended exiled like Napoleon in that cool movie "The Emperor's New Clothes"

And there was this Brazilian religious leader that once said Sebastian will be back with his knights from de deep of the ocean in the day that "O sertão vai virar Mar e o Mar vai virar Sertão." (The desert becomes Sea and the Sea becomes Desert). Tho greet the second coming of the Savior.
 
Olá Sertão

Chapter IV - Olá Sertão
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With the first fleet of colonists arriving in Salvador also came in new things, chief amongst these was that the Captains now had a new class of people to deal with, since they were Portuguese or Galician they couldn’t be enslaved nor forced into servitude, this would be a major headache for the Captains later on, for now they simply waited to see how things turned out.

After the success of the first fleet and their acquiring of new land more and more Portuguese and Galicians made the journey overseas, in 1536 up to 356 new colonists arrived, by 1537 some 419 got there and the number kept getting higher, these colonists for the most part avoided the cities as most of them were just farmers who wanted to gain bigger plots of land, if you were a free-migrant (aka if you came out of your own volition) 9 out of 10 times you would come from the two northernmost comarcas, there were also Galicians who lived close to the Portuguese border and traveled alongside other Lusos[1] they made the remainder of free-migrants, another group that came and were not well seen were the Conversos[2] who were sent to Brazil as a form of “punishment” for basically anything, this included being suspected of reading the Torah or just being deceitful (it was usually very petty stuff), these settlers didn’t come out of their own free will instead they were labeled as degredados[3] and found themselves in a harder time then their Luso counterparts but they only made around 10% of newcomers.

Bartolomé meanwhile was spending his time negotiating with Indian tribes and local Captains for peaceful coexistence, both sides had something to gain as the Natives were dwindling in population ever since the Europeans arrived, many had acquired Old World diseases and tribes perished in the tens of thousands, Las Casas which already experienced this phenomenon back in Hispaniola was keen on protecting the Indians, the Captains meanwhile lacked the men and material to push the Indians back and hoped that Las Casas could keep the “savages” at bay. Las Casas also spent time with the growing immigrant populations and helping them, during the 1550’s religious orders like the Jesuits and Dominicans arrived on the colony in great numbers, Bartolomé used those orders to not only baptize the Natives but to also offer education to the colonists[4] and also church service.

Keep in mind however that not all tribes saw this with good eyes, the Caeté and Tabajara tribes were not friendly to Las Casas nor the Portuguese and launched frequent raids against farms and small settlements of Pernambuco and Itamaracá, however these raids also brought back with them even more European diseases like typhus and the colera both of which devastated local communities with entires villages being deserted, once they were weakened they were subject to counter-raids by Portuguese forces or militias, however no slaves were taken as Las Casas was so insistent to not do so, it would also be around this time that a new group of people would emerge in Brazil, the Mestiços[5], who were the mix of European and Amerindians, these mixed families usually lived alongside normal Portuguese families and were well integrated into society, they usually spoke both a native and European language becoming excellent merchants with a vast knowledge of the Sertão[6] using this to become intermediaries between Europeans and Natives, this class of peoples would help to define Brazilian history.

By 1560 the Portuguese hold on Brazil was basically solidified, there were many Lusos living alongside the vast Brazilian coast, a new race of half-Europeans gave the Colonial authorities translators, merchants and warriors who would prove very useful in future conflicts and many big tribes of the northeast like the Tupinamba and Potiguara became allied to Portugal and the revenues of the Spice-Trade flooded Lisbon with riches solidifying the Portuguese Empire as a world power in every regard.



[1] This world will be used to refer to Portuguese and Galicians living in the new world before the term Mazombo appear
[2] Conversos were Jews forcefully converted to Christianity, they were usually of mixed European-Levantine backgrounds and were very persecuted even after converting
[3] A Portuguese word for criminal/guilty person
[4] Literacy Rates between the colonists were already kinda low since they usually came from humble backgrounds, literacy rates would drop even further as there was simply no incentive to learn how to read and write
[5] The mix between native women and white men, now while relations between native men and white women did exist they were extremely rare, as in many cases these relations were non-consensual
[6] Portuguese word which means Hinterland
 
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Great tl , this slow and steady trickle of people from portugal is really good for the development of the colony and it will shorely explode after the dicovery of the gold mines .
 
A true Portuguese TL need to have a place to the guy.

His legend is almost Arcturian in its lore. Like the legend that says he entered the Tomb of King Alphonso Henry Khes and after dueling with the woken specter of the monarch he traded his blade to Alphonso's great sword.

Other says that he didn't die in the battle of the three kings, but was usurped and ended exiled like Napoleon in that cool movie "The Emperor's New Clothes"

And there was this Brazilian religious leader that once said Sebastian will be back with his knights from de deep of the ocean in the day that "O sertão vai virar Mar e o Mar vai virar Sertão." (The desert becomes Sea and the Sea becomes Desert). Tho greet the second coming of the Savior.
There are different versions of the legend in Brazil that get even weirder. In my state, Maranhão, it is said he was turned into a immortal enchanted bull with a star in his/its forehead who haunts the Lençóis Island, and if someone dares to pierce the star in his forehead, he will become a human again, his army will be resurrected and entire state of Maranhão will be destroyed and replaced by his new kingdom.

He also became a entity of Encantaria, a local religion which syncretizes African, indigenous and European spirituality.
 
There are different versions of the legend in Brazil that get even weirder. In my state, Maranhão, it is said he was turned into a immortal enchanted bull with a star in his/its forehead who haunts the Lençóis Island, and if someone dares to pierce the star in his forehead, he will become a human again, his army will be resurrected and entire state of Maranhão will be destroyed and replaced by his new kingdom.

He also became a entity of Encantaria, a local religion which syncretizes African, indigenous and European spirituality.
Man this gives me some serious "King of Dragonpass" Heroquest storyline vibes!

This level of lore is awesome!
 
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Brazilian Feudalism

Chapter V - Brazilian Feudalism

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When people hear the word feudalism they think about medieval Europe with the nobles and their castles, this image sometimes is more romanticized then others, but at its core Feudalism is decentralization of power and in no place was this more the case than early Brazil, when Portugal created the system of Hereditary Captaincies they gave each Captaincy a lot of autonomy from the crown, they could create their own economic policies and enforce law the way they saw fit, they also held the absolute control of the land and those inhabitants, despite the accords Las Casas made with the local Indians the Captains would still exercise power in spite of what they thought as a “meddlesome priest”.

With the arrival of Portuguese and Galician colonists the system begun to evolve even further to a proto-feudalism, the colonists who migrated to the interior created vilas[1] and each new vila had to be approved by the Captain which would then send a Coronel[2] to oversee the community, he would provide the local Captaincy with tax money and also locally grown products and in turn the Coronel would have control over the community doing so in the name of then Captain, the local Coronel also had to provide religious service to the people and so each vila had a church where sermons were given, these sermons were conducted in Portuguese so as to allow for the peasantry who had very low literacy rates[3] to comprehend what they were being taught.

Thus this period of Brazilian history was fittingly known as Coronelismo, we even had an exact date to when it began, 12th of May 1550, on that day Joaquim Soares de Souza a minor noblemen born in Portugal travelled to the New World more specifically the Captaincy of Pernambuco, he was friends with then captain Duarte Coelho who gave him a plot of land surrounding Vila de Nova Esperança[4] and gave him the ability to do as he pleases there. This process would continue until 1748 and would be marked by its resemblance to medieval Europe, each village was their own country being in a lot of ways self-sufficient and isolated from central control.

However we must not assume that everything was an exact copy as Lusos, Índios and Mestiços could not be put to slavery nor servitude, Coronels could not stop people from leaving the vilas, they could not execute peasants without approval from the Captain, they couldn’t punish someone with more then 10 whips and they also couldn’t collect taxes beyond what the Captain allowed them to.

This however was only the case for settlements close to seats of power, the further you travelled from the capitals the more independent and autonomous were vilas, some didn’t even have Coronels and lived independently from any central authority, many times they didn’t even pay taxes, these isolated communities also had an even lower literacy rate, law was also much different from what was practiced along the bigger/costal settlements, laws were more of a set of customs and norms that were imposed by family groups who in a lot of occasions married amongst themselves[5], in distant vilas which had a Coronel things were much more feudal as there were no restrictions on their power, they could impose taxes and not send them to the Captain, impose their own laws, allow or break marriages and servitude also existed.

This system would continue like that for a long time before being ultimately dismantled, it left a mark on Brazilian culture which can be seen to this day when comparing rural communities to bigger cities and is a topic constantly studied by schools all over the country.


[1] Settlements of between 500 to 5,000 people
[2] AKA a Colonel
[3] Literacy rates actually fell in places like New France (which I’m trying to emulate) as people were mostly farmers and so literacy was not something deemed necessary
[4] Village of New Hope located in Rio Doce a neighborhood of the city of Olinda - PE
[5] I’m not just talking about marriages between 1st or 2nd degree cousins but also sibling marriages
 
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So folks I will write another post tomorrow but until then what do you think of this thread?

what are your suggestions, expectations and questions about this TL?
 
One colonial government could convince Portugal to let them manufacture their won weapons and defensive equipment in Brasil using the execuse that "it's too expensive and risky move equipment from Portugal, especially during war". This could jump start the iron mining industry in Brasil and boost portuguese interest on south america to more than just planting cash crops.
 
Good start--this looks to be an interesting Brazil, one that might avoid some of its OTL troubles (though there will be some, IMO)...
 
One colonial government could convince Portugal to let them manufacture their won weapons and defensive equipment in Brasil using the execuse that "it's too expensive and risky move equipment from Portugal, especially during war". This could jump start the iron mining industry in Brasil and boost portuguese interest on south america to more than just planting cash crops.
“you’re goddam right”
 
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