Frontier Goias, 1822-1889 by David McCreery

By David McCreery

This booklet examines the advance of the kingdom, the state, and the economic system at the a long way western frontier of Brazil through the interval of the Brazilian Empire. the writer argues that the province of Goiás, even though bodily within the heart of Brazil, used to be successfully the some distance fringe of the Empire, due to poverty and bad communications. Goiás hence presents an invaluable try case of the boundaries and effectiveness of nation-building and state-building and of financial integration into nationwide and foreign economies in the course of those years. The population of Goiás effectively struggled to enhance an interprovincial “export” exchange in livestock even as neighborhood elites negotiated a sturdy and mostly peaceable political compromise with the crucial executive. Smuggling and tax evasion have been key to the improvement of the economic climate, but politics remained “pro-government” and principally unruffled by means of partisan strife until eventually the decade of the Empire.

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Extra resources for Frontier Goias, 1822-1889

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Observing National Guard troops called to duty at Natividade in 1840 to repel a possible invasion of Balaiada guerrillas, a traveler found “a hundred and forty men, most armed with only their hunting shotguns, and without muskets, powder or shot. 61 Their preparedness, however, continued to inspire little confidence. Reflecting on the long-term failure to raise the effectiveness of the Guard, it is hard not to imagine that provincial and Crown elites had reservations about placing arms in the hands of the lower orders outside the framework of a more disciplined institution such as the regular army.

74 This did not happen in Goiás at this time precisely because the province’s links with the outside economy remained attenuated and second hand. Finally, there remains the question of how those who inhabited the sertão experienced their situation. As with most frontier inhabitants, those of nineteenth-century Goiás were not particularly self-reflective, at least not in print, but several elements of how they saw their condition stand out. For most among the elites, apart from occasional comments on the physical beauty of their surroundings, there was little that was positive about the sertão.

Delegados could expect support from provincial police or regular soldiers only exceptionally, and then with considerable delay, forcing them to rely instead on militia troops or, more broadly, on the powers that accrued to them by virtue of their local status or connections. The activities of the delegados and subdelegados were classic instances of reliance on “private” power to enforce “public” law, and as a result the individual and the position necessarily became caught up in all of the contradictions this implied.

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