Brazil is the largest country in South America and one of the most populous nations in the world. It has a rich and complex political history, with over 30 presidents serving since its independence from Portugal in 1822. Let’s take a look at all the presidents who have ruled Brazil.
1. Emperor Pedro I (1822-1831) – Pedro I became the first emperor of Brazil when the country gained independence from Portugal in 1822. He abdicated the throne in 1831 due to intense domestic pressure.
2. Pedro II (1831-1889) – Pedro II succeeded his father as emperor when he was just five years old. He ruled for almost 50 years and oversaw major modernization and industrialization efforts in Brazil. He was deposed in a military coup in 1889.
3. Deodoro da Fonseca (1889-1891) – Fonseca was a military leader who played a key role in the overthrow of Pedro II. He served as Brazil’s first president after the monarchy was abolished in 1889.
4. Floriano Peixoto (1891-1894) – Peixoto was also a military leader and served as vice-president under Fonseca. He became president when Fonseca resigned amid controversy.
5. Prudente de Morais (1894-1898) – Morais was Brazil’s first civilian president and the first to be elected by popular vote. He focused his presidency on modernizing Brazil’s economy and infrastructure.
6. Campos Sales (1898-1902) – Sales continued many of the economic policies of Morais and helped to stabilize Brazil’s finances after a period of instability.
7. Rodrigues Alves (1902-1906) – Alves was re-elected for a second term but faced a major public health crisis in 1904 when the bubonic plague broke out in Rio de Janeiro.
8. Afonso Pena (1906-1909) – Pena continued to modernize Brazil’s economy and infrastructure during his presidency.
9. Nilo Peçanha (1909-1910) – Peçanha served as vice-president under Afonso Pena and assumed the presidency after Pena’s death.
10. Hermes da Fonseca (1910-1914) – Fonseca was a military leader who was elected president in 1910. He oversaw the construction of several new railways and improved Brazil’s transportation network.
11. Venceslau Brás (1914-1918) – Brás was the last president of the First Brazilian Republic, which lasted from 1889 to 1930. He led Brazil through World War I.
12. Delfim Moreira (1918-1919) – Moreira served as vice-president under Brás and assumed the presidency when Brás resigned due to illness.
13. Epitácio Pessoa (1919-1922) – Pessoa was the first president of the Second Brazilian Republic, which began in 1930. He was known for his efforts to modernize Brazil’s legal system.
14. Artur Bernardes (1922-1926) – Bernardes was a lawyer and journalist who served as Brazil’s president during a period of political unrest and economic crisis.
15. Washington Luís (1926-1930) – Luís’s presidency was marked by economic growth and increased foreign investment in Brazil. He was overthrown in a coup led by Getúlio Vargas in 1930.
16. Getúlio Vargas (1930-1945) – Vargas was a populist leader who governed Brazil as a dictator for most of his time in office. He implemented a series of policies designed to improve the lives of Brazil’s poor and working-class citizens.
17. José Linhares (1945) – Linhares served as interim president following Vargas’s resignation in 1945.
18. Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1946-1951) – Dutra was Brazil’s first democratically elected president since Vargas seized power in 1930. He focused on promoting economic growth and stability.
19. Getúlio Vargas (1951-1954) – Vargas was once again elected president in 1951, this time through democratic means. His second presidency was marked by controversy, including a suicide attempt in 1954 amid allegations of corruption.
20. Café Filho (1954-1955) – Filho was Vargas’s vice-president and assumed the presidency after Vargas’s resignation in 1954.
21. Juscelino Kubitschek (1956-1961) – Kubitschek was a popular president who oversaw major infrastructure projects that transformed Brazil’s economy. He is best known for his “Fifty Years in Five” plan, which aimed to bring rapid development to Brazil.
22. Jânio Quadros (1961) – Quadros was a charismatic leader who won the presidency
Brazil is known for its colorful history that is filled with prominent figures and a series of political upheavals. The country’s presidents have played an essential role in shaping Brazil’s future, from promoting economic growth to dealing with social unrest, and navigating through some of the most significant crises. In this article, we delve into the leaders who have presided over Brazil after 1961.
João Goulart (1961-1964)
After the resignation of Brazilian President Jânio Quadros in 1961, his vice president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency. Goulart was seen as a leftist politician who aimed to promote reforms such as agrarian reform, a higher minimum wage, and labor rights. However, his policies were seen as too radical, which led to a coup by the military in 1964, and Goulart was exiled.
General Castelo Branco (1964-1967)
Following the coup d’état that ousted Goulart, a military junta took over, led by General Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco, who became the first president of the Brazilian military regime. He focused on economic stability and modernization, implementing a series of liberal economic policies that helped to drive economic growth, but left social issues unattended.
General Artur da Costa e Silva (1967-1969)
In 1967, Costa e Silva, also a general, became Brazil’s second military president. Ruling through a state of emergency, his tenure was marked by suppression of civil liberties and an increase in police brutality. He attempted to implement moderate policies that allowed for greater public participation in the economy, but these were overshadowed by his authoritarianism.
General Emílio Garrastazu Médici (1969-1974)
Médici succeeded Costa e Silva and was one of the most oppressive military rulers in Brazil’s history. Under his leadership, the government engaged in brutal tactics to suppress opposition, including torture and disappearances. However, his administration also witnessed significant economic growth and industrial development, referred to as the “Brazilian miracle.”
General Ernesto Geisel (1974-1979)
Ernesto Geisel, another military general, became Brazil’s president in 1974. He implemented policies aimed at opening up the country’s political system, which led to some freedom of the press, amnesty for political prisoners, and free elections. However, the military still held significant power, and the government continued to use repression to suppress opposition.
João Figueiredo (1979-1985)
João Figueiredo became the final military president of Brazil, succeeding Ernesto Geisel in 1979. During his mandate, Figueiredo implemented political reforms that led to the end of Brazil’s military dictatorship, including amnesties for political exiles, the establishment of multiple political parties, and the return of civilian rule.
José Sarney became Brazil’s first civilian president after the end of the military regime. Despite facing immense economic challenges, he maintained market-oriented policies and made significant strides in reforming the country’s financial institutions.
Fernando Collor (1990-1992)
Fernando Collor was the first directly elected president after the end of the military regime in Brazil. His administration was marred by corruption charges, which led to his impeachment by Congress in 1992.
Itamar Franco (1992-1995)
After Fernando Collor’s impeachment, Itamar Franco served as Brazil’s president, leading the country through a challenging phase marked by high inflation and an economic recession. He implemented economic reforms that paved the way for Brazil’s economic prosperity in the following years.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002)
Fernando Henrique Cardoso became Brazil’s president in 1995, and his administration was marked by economic stability, market-oriented policies, and significant social reforms. He introduced various social programs that contributed to reducing poverty and improving living standards.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (2003-2010)
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, popularly known as Lula, was Brazil’s first working-class president. His administration was focused on reducing inequality, improving social welfare programs, and promoting economic growth. Lula’s leadership was praised for lifting millions out of poverty and implementing progressive social policies.
Dilma Rousseff (2011-2016)
Dilma Rousseff succeeded Lula as Brazil’s president in 2011, becoming the country’s first female president. Her administration faced economic and political uncertainties, which ultimately led to her impeachment in 2016 after allegations of illegal budget manipulations.
Michel Temer (2016-2018)
Michel Temer served as Brazil’s president after Dilma Rousseff was impeached. His administration focused on liberal economic policies and sought to address political corruption scandals. However, his tenure was marked by controversy, including a massive truck drivers’ strike and accusations
Jair Bolsonaro: 2019- current
Jair Bolsonaro was declared the winner of the presidential election in 2018. He assumed office on January 1, 2019, and has since been serving as the President of Brazil. Bolsonaro is known for his conservative views on various issues, including social, economic, and environmental policies.
Lula da Silva:2022-2023
Lula da Silva, also known as Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is a former president of Brazil. He served two terms as president from 2003 to 2010. Lula da Silva was born on October 27, 1945, in Pernambuco, Brazil. He grew up poor and worked as a shoeshine boy and factory worker before becoming a union leader and politician. Lula da Silva was a member of the Workers’ Party (PT) and became the party’s presidential candidate in 2002. He won the election with 61% of the vote and was re-elected in 2006 with 60% of the vote. During his presidency, Lula da Silva implemented social welfare programs, increased the minimum wage, and helped Brazil become a major player in global politics and economics. However, his legacy has been clouded by corruption allegations and a conviction for accepting bribes.