Guide to Brazil

The Getulio Vargas Era in Brazil

Getulio Vargas after seizing power, in 1930
Getulio Vargas after seizing power, in 1930

During the first few decades of the Brazilian Republic, oligarchs from São Paulo and Minas Gerais dominated the national political scene. They had a simple but effective deal: one state would work to elect their own President, and in the following election, it would be the other state’s turn to choose the President-to-be.

In 1930, São Paulo ignored the deal and launched its own successful presidential bid – and succeeded. Elites from Minas Gerais challenged the election and refused to accept the results. Meanwhile, groups from other states seized the opportunity to break the São Paulo-Minas Gerais monopoly over the...

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