sábado, 13 de maio de 2017
129 years of the abolition of slavery in Brazil
On May 13, 1888, Princess Isabel signed the Golden Law, a legal provision of only two paragraphs that formally ended slavery in Brazil. Today, 129 years of liberation are completed, but the impacts of nearly four centuries of slavery continue to be present in Brazilian society.
The abolition of slavery was the outcome of a long process that, for political, economic and social reasons, led to the dismantling of slavery in Brazil. Before the promulgation of the Golden Law, three other laws began to make it more difficult and more expensive to maintain slave labor in the country.
In 1850, a law was passed that extinguished the international traffic of slaves to Brazil. Thus, the quantity of slaves available diminished and the then considered "commodity" became more expensive.
It is important to remember that these first steps towards the slave liberation in the country had strong pressure from England, not for humanitarian reasons, but for economic reasons. That country, an industrial power at the end of the nineteenth century, had an interest in expanding the Brazilian consumer market and, for that, it was interesting to convert the slaves into wage labor.
Twenty-one years later, in 1871, the Law of the Free-Womb was enacted, which freed the children of slaves who were born from that date. As early as 1885, the Saraiva-Cotegipe Act, also known as the Sexagenarian Law, brought to fruition blacks over 65 years of age.
Parallel to the reduction in the number of slaves, there was a growth in the use of the salaried labor of European immigrants, who came to live in colonies and work in coffee production. For large landowners, it was becoming more feasible and profitable to use cheap, abundant immigrant labor than to acquire slaves.