The Fate of the Brazilian Population



This exhibit demonstrates how the Atlantic Slave Trade played a significant role in changing the demographics and slowing the development of Brazil during the 19th century.

Overall Shift In Population Yields Shift in Demographics 

Source 1: Numbers (Statistics about topic) 

Source 2: Maps (a GIS map) 

First, one must understand just how influential the Atlantic Stave Trade was for life in Brazil. The overall population was drastically shifted by the sheer number of imported slaves. Brazil was heavily impacted by trade, with a vast number of ports along the coast of Brazil (Zoom out to see full map with ports in Brazil) receiving slaves in transport along the Atlantic from Africa. These ports take in some of the largest numbers of slave in the Americas, with some importing over a million slaves. One such port has received 4,238 ships and 1,211,055 slaves. Not only does Brazil take in a larger number of slaves, but they also continued to import them well after slavery was abolished. The voyages show the times when the slave trade in other countries began to slow, while Brazil carried on. By 1825 and onward, during the time of abolition, The Netherlands, Great Britain, the United States, France, and Denmark imported little to no slaves. On the other hand, still between 1825 and 1850, Brazil is importing over a million slaves. Countries such as the United States and European countries had reached a sufficient population of slaves which would be capable of reproducing and multiplying, ultimately replenishing the slave population. Despite passing this mark, Brazil continues to draw in more slaves. Not only were slaves reproducing, but they were being imported at an equal or higher rate than before. The numbers alone reveal the drastic reconfiguration of the population. The shift in population supports the idea that Brazil’s population and demographics are much more heavily impacted by the Slave trade.

Slaves in Bahia

Slaves performing labor in the “filthy” town

Demographics Altered Through Working Class and Living Conditions

Source 3: Time (a dated source) 

Source 4: Image (a picture) 

Furthermore, the large number of slaves entering Brazil alter the demographics by reshaping the workforce, and transforming the lifestyles to be centered around work. In a country with easy access to slaves from Africa, the many factories and towns are crying out for cheap units of labor. An image shows Brazilian slaves in Bahia carrying chairs over their shoulders. The description alongside the image reveals how the town has come to be known as “the filthiest thing.” One comes to realize how little Brazil is concerned with family life and enjoyment, and that the slaves, who are treated with little respect, have become the majority. With towns run down and unsanitary, it is evident that Brazilians have taken in far too many slaves to take care of. Their towns are no longer concerned with how many parks and schools for children, clean streets, and fresh water, but instead you see millions of slaves crammed into small areas with complete “[filth]” surrounding them. Although, the leaders of Brazil continue slave trade because they see temporal benefit in the slaves who work for next to nothing. Further, an image from The Empire of Cotton, by Sven Beckert pictures a very large building which is utilized by a large number of slaves in order to supply the work needed to keep the factory running. The shift from small buildings to large factories alone show the shift from family-centered lifestyles to work-centered. The buildings occupy large areas, and produce a lot of waste and pollution. With the sudden transition toward a lifestyle seeming to revolve around work, one can see the negative impact that the Atlantic Slave Trade had on Brazil.

Slaves serving tourists on a plantation in Brazil

Slaves serving tourists on a plantation in Brazil

The Change in Demographics has a Domino Effect and Lasting Impact

Source 5: Words (A Voyant Analysis of Text)

Source 6: Social Media (A Post about topic)

The effects of the slave trade on the Demographics of Brazil will last far longer than they expected. Abolishing slavery will take much longer and the majority of the population is now slaves (the minority group), and rapidly producing. With nearly all non-minority groups living as slave-owners, little change is bound to occur. The large wave of slaves instilled slavery into the population, and ultimately ate away at the development of Brazil. The non-minority groups saw easy access to profit, and free labor. The combination lured them into a vicious trap. An analysis of a scholarly article provided by Washington State University reveals the strong connection between “Brazil,” “slavery,” and “sugar”. As slaves pour in, the workforce grows, and industries plunge forward with success. Though factories are rising all around, and production is being maximized, the cities are growing in poverty and crime. No longer is the concern centered around a happy healthy family, but instead “during the late 19th century prostitution [became] part of the cultural landscape.” The change in focus of life during the 19th century produced a severe impact on the demographics of Brazil. Additionally, a social media post shares an experience where tourists travel to a Plantation in Brazil and are served by Blacks. Despite making up a whopping 70% of the population, slaves don’t have a solid foundation, and must fall to the smallest bits of work which is available to them simply so they can put dinner on the table for their families.

While slaves provided easy and cheap units of labor, this transformed the focus of the Brazilian population. The population became this work-driven, work-centered herd mass of people who were no longer primarily concerned with the landscape, safety, and sanitation of their town, nor the needs of their families, instead they focused on mass production, and what would help their economy get better and stronger. Despite the progress in the economy (increased production alongside cheap and even free labor), the population was quietly changing for the worse. The demographics were severely impacted. The population in the workforce skyrocketed, slaves became the majority, crime and “filth” became a part of the everyday life, and “prostitution became a part of the cultural landscape.”


Works Cited

Source 2: Maps (GIS map) Primary

Africa Map. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. <;.


Source 4: Image (A picture) Physical Book Primary

Beckert, Sven. Empire of cotton: a global history. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2015. Print.

Source 6: Social Media (A post about topic) Secondary

CeciliaOlliveira. “Tourists Visit Plantation in Brazil and are Served by Black.” The Intercept. N.p., 06 Dec.

  1. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. <>.

Source 1: Numbers (statistics about topic) Primary

Estimates. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. <;.


Source 3: Time (Dated Source) Secondary

“[Illustration showing two Brazilian slaves in Bahia carrying cloth covered sedan chair on shoulders with

woman inside, with surrounding text].” The Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2017. <>.

Extra Source

History of Slavery and Abolition in Brazil.” Exodus Cry. N.p., 03 Oct. 2013. Web. 09 May 2017.


Source 5: Words (A Voyant Analysis of text) Secondary

“Washington State University.” Spring 2016 Slavery in Brazil Continues Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr.

  1. <;. <>.

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