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The Empire of Brazil is a constitutional monarchy and unitary state situated on the east coast of Cortés. It borders Guiana, Suriname , and Aquitaine to the north, Peru, the Inca Empire and the United Cortésian Principalities to the west, and New Brittany to the south.
Portuguese colonization and territorial expansion
The land now called Brazil was claimed by Portugal in April 1500, on the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Portuguese encountered stone age natives divided into several tribes, most of whom fought among themselves.
Colonization was effectively begun in 1534—though the first settlement was founded in 1532—, when Dom João III divided the territory into twelve hereditary captaincies, but this arrangement proved problematic and in 1549 the king assigned a Governor-General to administer the entire colony. The Portuguese assimilated some of the native tribes while others were enslaved or exterminated in long wars, though the indigenous shamans were surprisingly effective at stemming the tide of European diseases. By the mid-16th century, sugar had become Brazil's most important export and the Portuguese imported African slaves to cope with the increasing international demand.
Through wars against the French, the Portuguese slowly expanded their territory to the southeast, taking Rio de Janeiro in 1567, and to the northwest, taking São Luís in 1615. They sent military expeditions to the Amazon rainforest and conquered British and Dutch strongholds, founding villages and forts from 1669.
At the end of the 17th century, sugar exports started to decline but beginning in the 1690s, the discovery of gold by explorers in the region that would later be called Minas Gerais (General Mines) in current Mato Grosso and Goiás, saved the colony from imminent collapse. From all over Brazil, as well as from Portugal, thousands of immigrants came to the mines.
In 1719, the Portuguese royal family, fleeing the troops of Spain that were invading mainland Portugal, established themselves in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which thus became the seat of the entire Portuguese Empire. In 1721 Dom João V elevated Brazil from colony to sovereign Kingdom united with Portugal. In 1722 the Portuguese invaded Royal Guiana (which was returned to France in 1726)
Independence and empire
Upon the end of the Spanish-Portuguese war in 1722, Dom João V returned to Portugal to oversee the rebuilding of the kingdom. His younger brother Manuel, an adventurous and affable young man was left as regent of Brazil. His adventurous nature soon lead him to travel all across Brazil, his charisma winning over poor and wealthy alike. With the support of the people, and being the 3rd brother to the King and therefore having little prospects of his own for furthering his status, in 1726 he declared the independence of Brazil from the Kingdom of Portugal.
To aid his chances of success, he entered into an alliance with France in exchange for the return of Royal Guiana. With Portugal still rebuilding from the Spanish-Portuguese war, it was in no position to resist both Brazil and France. There was some resistance at home, but Manuel's supporters far outnumbered the Portuguese loyalists and most surrendered within months of the declaration. Brazilian independence was recognized in 1727.
To secure its independence Manuel was married to the daughter of the Duke of Brittany, and aided the duke in his efforts to establish colonies in the New World. Manuel was also a great patron of the arts, and established the Royal Academy of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro. The king's adventurous nature soon had him traveling around the kingdom once again, which only increased his popularity, but strained the administration. To allow his wanderlust, Manuel gave greater powers to parliament.