September 7, 2018


Volume 1 – Spirit of the Colonial Society, from the series of volumes by Pedro Calmon, Social History of Brazil, addresses, among other aspects of the principles of the colonization in Brazil, The Scholar. And who was the “scholar”, at the end of sixteenth century? The second son of moneyed families. The one who went to Coimbra to achieve bachelor’s degree and find a homeland dimension around him, among the incommunicable hereditary captaincies in Brazil, which also belonged to him. It was there that the scholars graduated in larger and larger crops aiming to politically evaluate Brazil.

He reserves a section that focuses “jealousy in the colony”. And the adultery revenges took the last consequences. The colonists would hurt or kill the lover and the wife, especially in Bahia, where the scarcity of white woman was higher, and the eighteen century was the most prodigal in murders of lovers and wives.

The section “The Traffic” allows the conclusion that perhaps the controversy around slavery persists because the very black men would have sold their black men, especially in Angola, that represented the beginning and the end of the commerce of slaves. If today the black people convict white people and vice-versa, the light of the debate may be in the fact that white and black people were both guilty and innocent in the colonization of Brazil; because the Angolan “sobas” and the Portuguese traders would have negotiated bilaterally.

In the section “The Independence”, of chapter 16 (The End of the Colonial Era), by reserving a moment to narrate D. John’s passage in Brazil, the opening of the ports, the prejudices of aristocracy, ennoblement of rich men (but these were commanders from the sertão [hinterlands], seaside workers, moneyed dealers, etc.) through titles, patents and commends, Pedro Calmon states that “in the beginning of fourth century of the Brazilian life, the political independence they dreamed would preserve the old individualism, the energetic human assertion, the historic tone of the initiative and the free strength of the colonist, that were – in their agropastoral primitivism – the supreme good.” [p. 185].

Even within conciseness, the historicist does not fail to elect Aleijadinho as the “tremendous fulfiller of the ultra-baroque art”. Art in Brazil hadn’t had its cradle in the mediocre and low level concern of reality”. He goes beyond and describes all kinds of art that melts the native and catholic confessions across Brazil up to the conclusion of chapter 21 that describes the art of Minas Gerais, which brings Portugal back.

[Calmon, Pedro. História Social do Brasil. Vol. 1: Espírito da Sociedade Colonial. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2002. 238 p.]

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