The Empire of Brazil achieved early political stability and largely avoided the civil wars the plagued the rest of the continent. Economically, the export of coffee, sugar, cacao, and rubber allowed Brazil to modernize with the construction of railroads, sewage treatment, and telephone service. Education was focused on preparing the elite for positions in government and the literacy rate was a dismal 23% for males (even less for females). In foreign policy, Brazil became one of the strongest nations on the continent through expansion and fought the successful Triple Alliance War against Paraguay in the 1860s. Massive European immigration from Italy, Germany, and Spain would also be the norm throughout the century. The proportion of slaves also decreased as time progressed and was a fa...
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... the poor access to cheap and easily available food. At the same time, Brazil’s economy was growing very strongly and was grouped with Russia, China, and India as one of the BRIC economies. President Lula also began to take a more neutral role in world affairs: while keeping close relations with the United States and the Western world it also made agreements with the staunchly anti-US Hugo Chavez in Venezuela and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran. Unlike President Collor, Lula also survived a corruption scandal that gripped his Worker’s Party in 2005. His high popularity allowed President Dilma Rouseff to win elections in 2010. Despite her success tackling the corruption of the previous regime, she has faced opposition from the mass spending on the World Cup and a slowdown in the Brazilian economy. This has led to mass protests and has reduced her former popularity.
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