Sample Brazil - History (Grades 6-8) Worksheet
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Brazil - History
By Ekaterina Zhdanova-Redman
  

1     Archeological discoveries show that people lived in the territory of what is now Brazil as long as 9,000 years ago. Tribes of farmers, gatherers, and hunters lived across the country. Their culture was not as developed as the Inca's or Maya's. They never developed a centralized state, and very little evidence of their existence is left to the modern days -- just some pottery, shell mounds and skeletons. By the time first Europeans (the Portuguese led by Pedro Álvares Cabral) arrived, there were from two to six million natives living in that country.
 
2     The country got its name from the brazilwood trees--a kind of redwood trees--found there. It was claimed by Portugal under the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which divided the New World between Portugal and Spain. Europeans brought thousands of slaves from Africa to work on their sugar plantations, and a very prosperous plantation society developed. But the cultivation of soil was so excessive by the 17th century that it finally damaged the country's economy.
 
3     At the end of the 17th century people found gold in Brazil in the central region called Minas Gerais. Today, it is one of the riches states in the country. Many of the country's sugar-cane planters joined the gold rush, taking all their slaves with them. Later, diamonds were found there, and Brazil for about a century became the world's major supplier of gold and diamonds. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Portugal settled in the country.

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