Was there ever a Manifest Destiny-style desire among Brazilians to expand up to the Pacific?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,713
SoCal
#1
Was there ever a Manifest Destiny-style desire among Brazilians to expand up to the Pacific like there was among Americans? Also, if not, why not?
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,970
Brazil
#2
You are comparing diferent situations, USA managed to buy territories from other colonial powers, and the territory taken from Mexico, was full of american colonists and also were peripherical regions of Mexico, for Brasil to move he would need to conquer great and important parts of other countries, or the whole country, with no brazilians living there full of local citizens that dont wanted to be part of Brasil, also USA never had to cross the Andes or the Amazon rainforest, or the Altiplano plateau. I dont doubt that someone in the ruling classes of Brasil thought of something like that, but it was an infeasible dream, not worth even rationalizing about it, altrought diferent that most people think, Brasil expanded his territory at the expense of other countries
The only similar situation betwen USA and Brasil was brazilian colonists revolt in Bolivia and later, the incorporation of this territory that today is brazilian state of Acre.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
18,713
SoCal
#3
You are comparing diferent situations, USA managed to buy territories from other colonial powers, and the territory taken from Mexico, was full of american colonists
I wouldn't necessarily say "full" of American colonists. Even in Texas, the number of American colonists was, what, several tens of thousands? That's not that much in the grand scheme of things--though possibly enough to form a majority of the total population in Texas back then.

I think that California had even less American colonists than that before 1848. Also, I'm unsure if American colonists ever actually made up a majority of the total population in California before 1848.

and also were peripherical regions of Mexico,
Yep.

for Brasil to move he would need to conquer great and important parts of other countries, or the whole country, with no brazilians living there full of local citizens that dont wanted to be part of Brasil,
That's a good point; after all, it was easy for the US to demographically overwhelm its western territories due to the extreme scarcity of people living there. Brazil might have very well not been so lucky.

also USA never had to cross the Andes or the Amazon rainforest, or the Altiplano plateau.
True, but the US did have to cross the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Cascade Mountains.

I dont doubt that someone in the ruling classes of Brasil thought of something like that, but it was an infeasible dream, not worth even rationalizing about it, altrought diferent that most people think, Brasil expanded his territory at the expense of other countries
Which countries and when?

Also, could Brazil have realistically expanded even further--and if so, where?

The only similar situation betwen USA and Brasil was brazilian colonists revolt in Bolivia and later, the incorporation of this territory that today is brazilian state of Acre.
Why did a lot of Brazilians settle in Acre and why did they rebel against Bolivian rule?
 
Jan 2016
18
Brasil
#4
No. Brazil didn't have any of the main advantages that folstered American expansion westwards.

Portugal had by the early 19th century expanded Brazil near the farthest it could feasibly go, annexing yet Uruguay and the French Guyana. The USA did easily reach the Pacific through a complex of fortunate circumstances. The geographical space comprising central and eastern USA is mostly flat and presented no major obstructions. On the contrary, some of these territories were highly favorable to settlement, such as the Mississippi River Basin, which holds some of the most fertile lands in the world. On the other hand, the very core of the Brazilian territory is highly irregular (with the exception of the Pampas) and, in the 19th century, very hard to travel through. Not even the pre-existing roads were quite developed, due to Portugal's long-lasting trick of splitting the provinces. The vast majority of the transport was done by sea. To the west, Brazil's meaningful contact with neighboring countries in the north was essentially impossible, owing to the denseness and extent of the Amazon Rainforest. This massive territory was mostly unknown and could only be traveled through rivers. Comprised by unexplored forests until the 20th century and swamps, Brazil's frontier was hardly favorable to territorial expansion and even farther west lies the largest mountain range in the world. Geography hasn't been kind to Brazil.

The US government actively sought to expand westwards buying Louisiana, supporting the Republic of Texas and going at war with Mexico. The territory conquered was sparsely populated and only claimed by a weakened state unable to resist the rising power of the US. The US encouraged the arrival and naturalization of a massive number of European immigrants through the 19th century and the easy acquisition of land. The foremost preoccupation of the political elite in the early years of Brazil as an independent polity was to secure the unity of the pre-existing territory. This quest would last until the early 1840s, when Brazil was properly pacified. The Cisplatine War greatly burdened the treasury and there was no wish to expand the territory further, but to ensure Brazil's unity and international projection, specially over the Plate Basin. Besides the geographical deterrents, the territories to the west of Brazil comprised the centre of Spanish colonial power in South America - the Viceroyalty of Peru. The economic foundations of Brazil also greatly obstructed the settlement of the interior. With its dependence on slavery, there was no incentive to the importation of free labourers and resulted in the failure of nearly all ventures of European colonization. In addition, the land distribution in Brazil was essentially feudal, and the nearly entirety of the territory was owned by a few landlords. The politicians wrongly hampered the acquisition of land and the rural peasantry lived of from lands not owned by them. The Brazilian government only launched a program of extensive settlement of the central territories in the 1930s and Amazon in the 1960s. The US and Brazil entered the 19th century with populations of a similar size (~4-5 million). But by the end of this century, there were only 14 million Brazilians, in contrast with America's 70 million people.

Nevertheless Brazil continued to expand where its borders were dully established, acquiring territory from Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, France, Peru and Venezuela through the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The only regions lost were the Pirara and Cisplatina (Uruguay). The Acrean crisis was the result of Brazilians fleeing from drought and famine seeking land in the Amazon basin. The only easy pathway to Acre was through Brazilian rivers. When Bolivia tried to assert its rule over the region, the Brazilians revolted. This quasi war was averted by the Baron of Rio Branco. I say we expanded as far as we could realistically go. In the Empire, there was a certain ideology among the elites of superiority over the Hispanic neighboring countries. The thought that Brazil, as a stable empire, should have preeminence over them. Pedro I conceived a continental masterplan to turn the Hispanic republics into imperial satellite states, a dream cut short by his defeat in Cisplatina and untimely abdication. The Empire managed to project power over the continent when the dictator of Buenos Aires Juan Manuel Rosas was overthrown in 1851 and Brazil achieved hegemony over the Plate River. But a projection soon to be shadowed by the rising Argentine republic. Thus, with a rough geography, lack of political will, obsolete economic institutions, and burdened by the circumstances, Brazil couldn't expanded into the Pacific the way America managed to do.

But there was one occasion when Brazil might have possessed a stretch in the Pacific, if for a brief time. Amid the chaos of the Hispanic revolutions, in 1822, the three governors of Alto Peru (present-day Bolivia) felt threatened by the growing power of Bolívar and his ally Sucre and asked the governor of the Portuguese Mato Grosso to annex their departments to the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves. The soon-to-be Bolivia comprised a small strip of land in the Pacific, which would be annexed by Chile in 1881. Mato Grosso was an isolated territory in Brazil only accessible through rivers, comprising the present-day states of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul. Portugal had been settling this territory to check Spanish expansion into central South America. The governor promptly sent troops to Alto Peru and a letter informing the prince of Brazil and future emperor Pedro of his move. Such letter only reached Pedro after independence, and the emperor wisely rejected the proposal. Alto Peru ended up being conquered by Sucre. Later, amid the Cisplatine War, some Platine leaders sought to bring Bolivar's Gran Colombia to their war against Brazil. The governor of Mato Grosso launched a preemptive strike, occupying the regions of Chiquito and Moxos, without the knowledge of the emperor. When news reached Dom Pedro, he again ordered the withdrawal of the troops from the region and Bolívar committed himself to neutrality.

I'll give you a lame map I made showing Brazil's historical expansion into the west, so you can have clearer view.
 

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