When debating the instabilities of the regency period, much is said about the political disputes conceived at the time. The political differences between liberals and conservatives would be a fundamental point in promoting the uprisings that took place between 1831 and 1840. However, despite the relevance of political issues, we cannot fail to talk about the economic situation in Brazil at the time, which also influenced the upheavals that threatened the regency order.
The economic problems experienced in the Regency were closely linked to the catastrophic measures adopted during the Johannine and First Reign periods. About to return to his homeland, King Dom João VI took the financial resources available in the public coffers. Right after that, D. Pedro I spent fortunes to contain revolts and pay debts with our biggest creditor, England.
If, on the one hand, the misfortune of our political leaders impeded economic growth, other issues of an international order also made their due contribution. In the Northeast region, the sugar production suffered the impacts imposed by the Antillean competition and the sugar beet production in Europe. Therefore, Brazilian sugar sacks had their value depreciated, harming several northeastern economic regions.
The possibility of modernizing the industrial economy by importing machinery was also quite complicated. The crisis in the financial sector prevented the realization of credit lines for the creation of new industries. In addition, much of the available resources were spent on obtaining English products, which competed because of their affordable price and the visible quality of their goods.
The cotton economy also presented timid numbers due to the competition of the same product cultivated in North American lands. The same competitive situation equally harmed the export of other genres such as leather, tobacco, cocoa and rice. With this, we can see that the agricultural sector as a whole was going through a very complicated phase, allowing for the intensification of tempers against the political ineffectiveness of the central government in the economy.
The Brazilian economy only gave positive signs with the rapid rise of a product that began to be explored during the regency: coffee. The expansion of its consumer market formed an elite of large agricultural producers based on the use of large property and slave labor. In that first moment, the Paraíba Valley, between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, was the main area of coffee production.
By Rainer Sousa
Graduated in History
Brazil School Team
Governing Period - Brazil Monarchy
history of Brazil - Brazil School
Source: Brazil School - https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/historiab/economia-no-periodo-regencial.htm