• Ancient indigenous peoples live in Brazil for thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
  • In this era, the Tupi and Guarani people are among the largest and most advanced indigenous civilisations in Brazil.
  • They live in small, semi-nomadic communities and rely on hunting, fishing, and agriculture for survival.

Portuguese rule

  • 1500: Portuguese navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral claims Brazil for Portugal in 1500, despite resistance to colonisation by indigenous Brazilians. Over the next century, violence and disease (mainly smallpox) kill an estimated 90 percent of indigenous Brazilians.
  • 1535: Portuguese settlers begin to establish sugar plantations along the coast. Labour needs are initially filled by the enslavement of indigenous peoples.
  • 1539: Sugar plantations begin to import African slaves, marking the beginning of more than 300 years of the slave trade in Brazil.
  • 1549: The first Jesuit missions are established in the interior of Brazil, aimed at converting indigenous peoples to Christianity and civilising them.
  • 1600s: The Portuguese engage in conflicts with other European powers, including the Dutch and French, over control of Brazil.


  • 1882: Brazil declares independence from Portugal and becomes an empire, with Dom Pedro I as its first emperor.
  • 1888: Slavery is abolished, leading to mass migration from the countryside to cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
  • 1889: The monarchy is overthrown. A republic is established with a federal constitution and the presidency as the head of government.

20th century

  • 1939: During World War II, Brazil is initially a neutral country, but eventually joins the Allies in 1943. Throughout the war, Brazil's economy booms as a result of increased demand for its agricultural and industrial products. 
  • 1958: Brazil wins the FIFA World Cup. It will go on to win four more times: 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.
  • 1964: A military coup takes place, leading to a dictatorship that lasts until 1985. During this time, the government suppresses political opposition, censors the media, and commits human rights abuses. However, the dictatorship also sees significant economic growth, with Brazil becoming one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
  • 1985. Miltary rule is ended as Brazil begins to transition to a democracy. Since then, Brazil has continued to be a democratic country, with several presidents from different political parties occupying the office. 

21st century

  • In the early 21st century, Brazil experiences significant economic growth, but also struggles with income inequality and corruption.
  • 2013: Mass protests erupt across the country over issues such as poor public services, corruption, and police violence.
  • 2016: Former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is convicted of corruption, leading to the rise of far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2018.
  • 2020: The first Covid-19 case is detected in Brazil. To date, there have been more than 27 million infections of Covid-19 in Brazil and nearly 700,000 Covid-19-related deaths.
  • 2020: Bolsonaro's controversial policies and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic leads to widespread criticism and protests.
  • 2022: Brazilians re-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as president, with 50.9 percent of the vote, in the second round of the presidential election.