Nivi's Adventures

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Independance Day

Brazilian Coat of Arms

On the 7th Sept 1822, Brasil declared inpedenance from Portugal, after approx 300yrs of Portuguese control. As Brasilians seem to be quite a patriotic peoples I was expecting it to be a day full of fun filled celebration, parades, fireworks and general festivities but unfortunately it didn't eventuate. It seems that locals, at least in Salvador, just treat it as another day off work, which means they usually head for the beach.

However, as is always the way on public holidays, the day was completely miserable - it rained, quite heavily, almost the whole day. So as the beach was off the menu, I went out for lunch with some guys from work instead. We had Carne do Sol which lonely planet describes as "tasty, salted meat, grilled and served with beans, rice and vegetables". Was definitely yummy :) One thing I've noticed is Brasil is not the place for vegetarians, if a dish isn't almost exclusively meat, it will have little bits of meat in it. Oh well, good thing I'm not veggie then eh?

Well as I dont have any photos to post, I thought that I would write a bit of a history of Brasil, perhaps fitting as it is Indendance Day.

The Portuguese 'discovered' Brasil way back in 1500, and the major export from Brasil in it's early days was a tree with very hard wood, known as Pau brasil, which is how Brasil got her name. But as is the way with European colonising countries, they soon depleted the most accessible trees and so switched to sugarcane (from which they have never looked back) as well as gold and coffee beans.

Life continued on in Brasil for the next hundred years or so, the Portuguese staving off attempts on Brasil by France and Holland. However in 1808 the Portuguese royal family fled to Rio de Janeiro to escape Napolean's advancing armies. They rather understandably fell in love with Brasil and eventually declared Rio the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal - the only recorded trans-continental relocation of a Royal family!

Independance was declared in 1822 and obviously a bit more happened in the next 216 years but I think that's enough a history lesson for today - I'm impressed if you even got this far :) Promise I'll put photos in my next post, tchau!


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