The History of Brazil Presidency
The history of the Brazilian presidency is a complex and multifaceted journey that has seen significant political, social, and economic changes. Brazil’s presidency has been marked by periods of stability, democratic transitions, military coups, and struggles for power. Here is a detailed overview of the history of Brazil’s presidency:
Empire of Brazil (1822 until 1889)
- In 1822, Brazil declared its independence from Portugal and became the Empire of Brazil under Emperor Pedro I, who ruled as Pedro I until 1831 and was succeeded by his young son, Pedro II.
- Pedro II ruled as a constitutional monarch, but his rule faced challenges from political factions, regionalism, and slavery-related conflicts.
- The monarchy gradually lost support, and amidst economic difficulties, military officers staged a coup in 1889, leading to the end of the empire and the proclamation of the Brazilian Republic.
First Brazilian Republic (1889 until 1930)
- The republic was established with a provisional government in 1889, and a constitution was adopted in 1891.
- The presidency saw a series of revolving leaders, often with short terms and frequent changes due to political instability.
- Brazil faced social and economic challenges, including agrarian conflicts, labor struggles, and urbanization.
- Presidents during this period included Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca, Floriano Peixoto, and others.
The Vargas Era (1930 until 1945)
- In 1930, Getúlio Vargas led a military coup that brought him to power, ending the oligarchic rule of the “Café com Leite” political arrangement.
- Vargas initially ruled as a provisional president and later became an authoritarian leader, dissolving Congress, and ruling by decree.
- Vargas implemented significant reforms, including labor laws and social policies, but his rule faced opposition.
- In 1945, under pressure from various sectors, including the military, Vargas stepped down, leading to the restoration of democracy.
Second Brazilian Republic (1945 until 1964)
- Democratic elections were held, and a new constitution was adopted in 1946.
- Brazil experienced alternating periods of democratic stability and political turmoil.
- Presidents during this era included Eurico Gaspar Dutra, Juscelino Kubitschek, and João Goulart.
- Economic development and urbanization marked this period, but tensions between conservative and progressive forces persisted.
Military Dictatorship (1964 until 1985)
- In 1964, the military staged a coup and established a dictatorship that lasted until 1985.
- Civil rights were curtailed, and political repression was widespread.
- Presidents during this time were military officers, including Humberto Castelo Branco, Emílio Garrastazu Médici, and Ernesto Geisel.
- The economy initially grew but later faced challenges, and human rights abuses were rampant.
Return to Democracy (1985 until present)
- In the 1980s, public pressure and international isolation led to a transition back to democracy.
- The 1988 Constitution was adopted, outlining democratic principles and rights.
- Presidents in this period include Fernando Collor de Mello, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), Dilma Rousseff, Michel Temer, and Jair Bolsonaro.
Recent Years and Challenges
- In recent years, Brazil has faced political polarization, economic struggles, corruption scandals, and social unrest.
- Environmental issues, including deforestation of the Amazon rainforest, have gained international attention.
- The presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, has been marked by controversial policies and a polarizing leadership style.
Here is a detailed list of presidents of Brazil, along with their respective terms and key events during their presidencies
Emperor Pedro I (1822 until 1831)
- Pedro I was the founder and first ruler of the Empire of Brazil.
- He declared Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822 and became Emperor.
- His reign was marked by conflicts with political factions, including clashes with his son Dom Pedro II, who succeeded him.
Emperor Pedro II (1831 until 1889)
- Pedro II succeeded his father and ruled as Emperor of Brazil.
- His reign was characterized by relative stability and efforts to modernize the country.
- However, his rule also faced challenges from political factions, regionalism, and pressures to abolish slavery.
Marechal Deodoro da Fonseca (1889 until 1891)
- He led the military coup that ended the Brazilian Empire and proclaimed the republic.
- Deodoro da Fonseca became the first President of the new republic.
- His presidency faced political turmoil, and he stepped down after a short period in office.
Marechal Floriano Peixoto (1891 until 1894)
- He was Vice President under Deodoro da Fonseca and succeeded him as President.
- Peixoto’s presidency saw conflicts between federal and state authorities, as well as rebellions against his rule.
- He faced challenges in consolidating the new republic’s authority.
Prudente de Morais (1894 until 1898)
- Prudente de Morais was the first civilian president of Brazil.
- His presidency focused on economic stability, railway construction, and political consolidation.
- His administration worked to strengthen the federal government’s authority.
Campos Sales (1898 until 1902)
- Campos Sales implemented economic measures to address the country’s financial difficulties.
- His administration aimed to reduce inflation and attract foreign investments.
- The presidency also saw the consolidation of the coffee elite’s influence.
Rodrigues Alves (1902 until 1906)
- Rodrigues Alves focused on urban development and public works, especially in Rio de Janeiro.
- His administration sought to modernize the city’s infrastructure and sanitation systems.
- However, his second term was cut short due to health issues.
Afonso Pena (1906 until 1909)
- Afonso Pena continued the emphasis on economic stability and infrastructure development.
- His presidency promoted modernization in various sectors, including education and transportation.
Nilo Peçanha (1909 until 1910)
- Nilo Peçanha was Vice President and assumed the presidency after Rodrigues Alves’ death.
- His presidency focused on labor and education reforms.
- He advocated for workers’ rights and supported women’s participation in the workforce.
Hermes da Fonseca (1910 until 1914)
- Hermes da Fonseca continued the modernization efforts and infrastructure development.
- His presidency faced challenges from regional rebellions and political opposition.
- He aimed to strengthen the central government’s authority.
Venceslau Brás (1914 until 1918)
- Venceslau Brás led Brazil during World War I.
- His presidency was marked by political unrest and labor strikes.
- Brazil’s participation in the war had economic and social implications.
Delfim Moreira (1918 until 1919)
- Delfim Moreira served a short term as President after the resignation of Venceslau Brás.
- His presidency was marked by economic difficulties and political instability.
Epitácio Pessoa (1919 until 1922)
- Epitácio Pessoa focused on consolidating the central government’s authority.
- His administration worked on education reforms and economic development.
- Political conflicts and regional tensions continued during his presidency.
Artur Bernardes (1922 until 1926)
- Artur Bernardes’ presidency was marked by tensions between the central government and state governments.
- He faced multiple rebellions and uprisings during his term.
- His administration emphasized agricultural policies and rural development.
Washington Luís (1926 until 1930)
- Washington Luís faced challenges related to economic instability and political corruption.
- His presidency marked the end of the “República Velha” (Old Republic) period.
- His efforts to maintain political control led to widespread discontent and contributed to the 1930 Revolution.
Getúlio Vargas (1930 until 1945)
- Getúlio Vargas came to power after the 1930 Revolution and initially ruled as a provisional president.
- His rule shifted from a provisional government to an authoritarian regime.
- Vargas implemented labor reforms, social policies, and infrastructure projects.
- In 1937, he dissolved Congress and established a New State, a corporatist authoritarian regime.
- In 1945, under pressure from various sectors, he stepped down, leading to the restoration of democracy.
José Linhares (1945 until 1946)
- José Linhares served as an interim president during the transition to democracy.
- His presidency aimed to stabilize the political situation and organize democratic elections.
Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1946 until 1951)
- Eurico Gaspar Dutra was the first president elected after the restoration of democracy.
- His presidency focused on economic stability and development.
- He implemented economic reforms, including industrialization policies.
Getúlio Vargas (1951 until 1954)
- Vargas was elected president again, this time through a democratic process.
- His second presidency focused on economic and social reforms.
- His government faced political challenges and opposition from various sectors.
- In 1954, facing political pressure, Vargas committed suicide, leading to political turmoil.
Café Filho (1954 until 1955)
- Café Filho served as Vice President and assumed the presidency after Vargas’ death.
- His presidency aimed to maintain political stability and manage economic challenges.
Juscelino Kubitschek (1956 until 1961)
- Juscelino Kubitschek focused on economic development and modernization.
- His administration is known for the construction of Brasília, the new capital city.
- The “50 years of progress in 5 years” plan aimed to promote economic growth.
- His presidency faced criticism and accusations of corruption, but it also saw economic growth.
Jânio Quadros (1961)
- Jânio Quadros was elected president with a strong anti-corruption and anti-establishment stance.
- His presidency was marked by eccentric actions, including his unexpected resignation after only seven months in office.
João Goulart (1961 until 1964)
- João Goulart, also known as Jango, assumed the presidency after Quadros’ resignation.
- His administration faced opposition from conservative sectors and military officers.
- Economic difficulties, social tensions, and political polarization marked his presidency.
- In 1964, a military coup removed Goulart from power, leading to the establishment of a military dictatorship.
Marechal Humberto Castelo Branco (1964 until 1967)
- Humberto Castelo Branco led the military government that took power after the 1964 coup.
- His presidency marked the beginning of a military dictatorship characterized by repression and censorship.
- Castelo Branco implemented economic reforms and purged perceived leftist elements from the government.
Marechal Artur da Costa e Silva (1967 until 1969)
- Artur da Costa e Silva continued the military dictatorship’s rule.
- His presidency faced increased opposition and student protests.
- The government responded with repression, leading to further political unrest.
Emílio Garrastazu Médici (1969 until 1974)
- Emílio Garrastazu Médici’s presidency was marked by a period of intense political repression.
- The dictatorship’s focus was on economic growth, industrialization, and infrastructure projects.
- Human rights abuses, censorship, and persecution of political opponents were prevalent.
Ernesto Geisel (1974 until 1979)
- Ernesto Geisel initiated a process of political liberalization, known as “Abertura” (Opening).
- His presidency saw the loosening of some restrictions on civil rights and political participation.
- He also faced economic challenges, including inflation and external debt.
João Figueiredo (1979 until 1985)
- João Figueiredo’s presidency marked the final years of the military dictatorship.
- His administration continued the process of political opening and transition to democracy.
- He faced economic difficulties and ongoing human rights concerns.
José Sarney (1985 until 1990)
- José Sarney was the first civilian president after the military dictatorship.
- His presidency focused on stabilizing the economy and transitioning to democracy.
- The drafting and adoption of the 1988 Constitution were significant milestones during his term.
Fernando Collor de Mello (1990 until 1992)
- Fernando Collor de Mello was the first president elected by popular vote after the dictatorship.
- His presidency started with high expectations but faced allegations of corruption and economic mismanagement.
- Facing impeachment proceedings, he resigned in 1992 before a final vote.
Itamar Franco (1992 until 1995)
- Itamar Franco served as Vice President and assumed the presidency after Collor’s resignation.
- His presidency focused on economic stabilization and the implementation of the Real Plan, which controlled hyperinflation.
- The Real Plan laid the groundwork for future economic stability.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995 until 2002)
- Fernando Henrique Cardoso implemented economic reforms that helped stabilize Brazil’s economy.
- His administration focused on privatization, fiscal responsibility, and social programs.
- He was reelected for a second term and continued his economic and social policies.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) (2003 until 2010)
- Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a former labor leader, became Brazil’s first working-class president.
- His presidency emphasized social programs and poverty reduction.
- Lula’s administration saw economic growth and increased international prominence for Brazil.
Dilma Rousseff (2011 until 2016)
- Dilma Rousseff, a close ally of Lula, became Brazil’s first female president.
- Her presidency focused on social inclusion, poverty reduction, and infrastructure projects.
- Economic challenges, corruption scandals, and political polarization marked her second term.
Michel Temer (2016 until 2018)
- Michel Temer assumed the presidency after Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment.
- His administration faced economic challenges and political controversies.
- Temer’s presidency was marked by efforts to pass economic reforms and address corruption allegations.
Jair Bolsonaro (2019 until present)
- Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right politician, won the presidency with a populist and conservative agenda.
- His presidency has been marked by controversial policies on environment, indigenous rights, and social issues.
- Bolsonaro’s administration has faced criticism for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Brazil’s reputation.