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Purposes of Land Law: immigration, slavery and land property in Imperial Brazil

This paper analyzes the first decades of the transition process from slavery to paid labor in Brazil (1840-1870). Two factors marked the period: the extinction of the slaves' transatlantic traffic and the need for ever larger numbers of laborers for the Brazilian coffee plantations. Among the solutions found for this impasse, the experiences that sought to use free foreign workers, such as as partnership contracts and the enganchado ones. Complaints and European farmers' revolts against mistreatments in the coffee plantations resulted in prohibition of the continuity of hiring workers to Brazil. The promulgation of the Lei Eusébio of Queirós (Eusébio de Queirós Act), that put an end to the slaves' traffic, happened two weeks before the promulgation of the Lands Act, restrictive of small farmers' access to land ownership. The obtaining of lots started happening through purchase and sale, no more for squatting and cession, as had happened since the colonial times. The measure hindered the access to small rural property and stimulated the expansion of the ownership of large tracts of land in the whole country.

work; legislation; immigration; riots; coffee; Brazilian Empire


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