When did people stop using the term "the Brazils"?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Chris S, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. Chris S Member

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    This question has been bugging me ever since I first read about "the Brazils" in Robinson Crusoe.

    So why was Brazil called "the Brazils" originally and when did people stop referring to the area in the plural and why?

    In this article both the singular and the plural are used and this is from 1843. So evidently the change didn't occur until relatively recently in the hundreds of years of Brazilian history (from the time it acquired the moniker "Brazil" that is).

    Also, I can't recall exactly where I read it (and it may be erroneous) but I also recall that Brazil changed it's name to "Brasil" at some point (I know it is called "Brasil" in Portuguese, but I got the impression that this change was as a result of some kind of early spelling reform). Does anyone have any access to any documents in the original Portuguese from the 1800s showing how they spelt the name of the country in Portuguese back then?
     
  2. Gonzaga Well-Known Member

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    The link isn't working for me.:(

    Anyway, "Brazils", in the plural, was used as reference both to the lands of Brazil or to the natives that lived in the lands. For example, in the XVII century Father Antonio Vieira in one of his sermons talks about "os brazis" as the various native nations from the colony, but in other one he makes a comment about the Portuguese colonial lands as "Nos Brasis, nas Angolas, nas Goas, nas Malacas, nos Macaus..." showing that at that time wasn't strange to pluralize names of regions, even was clear that there weren't more than one Goa or Macau in the world.

    I think the use of it in the plural only came with the elevation of Brazil to a united kingdom with Portugal, when finally there was officially "one" Brazil. Before that, despite the fact there was a Vice-Kingdom of Brazil, every captaincy was considered more or less as an separated colony, and so there was some sense in using the term "Brazils" or "lands of Brazils". Well, even nowadays isn't wrong to use the word in the plural - as for example "Brazil isn't only samba, soccer and rainforests, there many different Brazils..." - but it is odd to read or hear it.

    About the use of Z or S, in the XVI century both spelling were used, but by XIX century the correct form was "Brazil". The early Imperial government even requested the Frech government to stop using Brésil and addopt the spelling Brézil -of course, it didn't work. The spelling with S only started in 1916, after an orthographic dispute between Brazil and Portugal. In 1911 the Portuguese government approved a spelling reform in Portugal without consulting the Brazilians first. The Brazilian Academy of Letters became offended by this, and started to defend a spelling reform for Brazil different from that of Portugal. It included to change the spelling of "Brazil" to "Brasil", and such change started in 1916, when the first official document with the name "Brasil" on it (the Civil Code of 1916) was printed. But both spellings were used for the next 15 years, and it was only in 1931 that "Brasil" was made official by the Luso-Brazilian Orthographic Agreement.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  3. Cook Support iCAN Gone Fishin'

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    There is plenty of use of Brazilians lately. But that’s anatomical, not geographical.
    :D:p
     
  4. Zuvarq Pinche pendejo güey

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    The Brazils from The Ukraine.
     
  5. Cook Support iCAN Gone Fishin'

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    I can’t comment. I’ve never seen a waxed Ukraine.
    :D
     
  6. Cook Support iCAN Gone Fishin'

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    Sorry.
    I'll stop now.
    :)
     
  7. Chris S Member

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    Mar 12, 2005
    It doesn't?

    Well, here try this google search. It should be the very first link/result on the page. It's an economist article (from the first edition of the Economist).

    If that doesn't work, then just type "the Brazils" (with the quotation marks) in google and it should be the first link.

    Browsing through though I've found other links which have "the Brazils" being used in the 1860s and even in 1897.

    Thanks! That's even more than I expected.


    Did you mean to say "I think the use of it in the singular only came with the elevation of Brazil to a united kingdom with Portugal, when finally there was officially "one" Brazil. Before that..."?

    That would make sense, but then the united kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and Algarves was from 1815 until 1822, but in the first link I gave the article in the 1843 Economist refers to "the Brazils" at least 5 times in the article and there are other references in the 1860s and in 1897 which used "the Brazils", so what happened there? A case of the English language term not catching up with the Portuguese language term until decades later?
     
  8. Gonzaga Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, now I could read it!:)


    Yes, that what I meant! Sorry, I wrote it too fast and too sleepy. :eek:

    I think it's probably the case. I couldn't find any document in Portuguese from around 1843 that used the name in the plural - only from before the elevation to kingdom - but my guess is that by that time "the Brazils" was already considered arcaic.
     
  9. Chris S Member

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    Mar 12, 2005
    Well it seems that it was definitely true for the Portuguese language. I suppose the question now is when did it fall out of favour in English, given that I have seen references to it in documents in 1860 (a newspaper - see first link and quote below) and 1897 (a book actually - see second link and quote below):

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9405E7DC153FEE34BC4E52DFB166838B679FDE

    http://www.archive.org/stream/ypirangaaloveta00markgoog/ypirangaaloveta00markgoog_djvu.txt

    (note that Google's digitization isn't that great as originally the last part of the quote had said:


     
  10. JedidiahStott The last real Tory

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    By analogy from Las Espanas, perhaps?
     
  11. Colonel Troutstrangler Soldier of the Queen. CMII.

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