Brazil


The similarities between the societies found in Brazil and

those found in the Andean Highlands are relatively few. The

Andean Highland dwellers were mostly Incas, found in

greatest numbers in Peru. The inhabitants of Brazil were

mainly concentrated around the Amazon River Basin area.

The Andean Highland people consisted in large part of the

Inca civilization (the name of the ruling family, not an

ethnicity). However, the geographic location of these

societies is not the only disparity that exist between these

groups of people. Perhaps the most striking of the

differences is the characteristics of these societies and the

advancements, or lack of, that where achieved in each. With

each group having distinct characteristics in the way of life,

government, and labor, this affected the colonizing groups in

significantly different ways and ultimately lead to the

prosperity or decline of the colony at that specific time. The

forms of rule in the Amazon Basin and the Andean Highlands

were of great contrast. At the time of European discovery of

the New World, there existed very little political hierarchy in

the areas of the Amazon River Basin. At most, and this was

fairly uncommon, there was a local tribal chief. However, the

government did not extend any further. There was no

network of higher ruling. This may have stemmed from the

fact that villages were scattered around the Amazon, divided

by dense forest. The tribal chiefs would make some village

decisions and be a liaison with other local villages. Still,

territorial war was a major aspect of the Amazon Basin

dwellers' lives. This is in sharp contrast to the political system

that existed in the Inca civilization. The Inca had a

profoundly intricate political system that was based on rule

that was inherited through blood lines. There were local,

regional, and empire ruling leaders. These statesmen

demanded tribute from the lower classes and also force

labor upon them, but they did provide services for the good

of the people and the empire. The leaderships had relatively

few physical duties other than overseeing the domain that he

ruled. Territorial war was also a characteristic of the Inca

society. This society has often been labeled either a socialist

empire or a welfare state. Specifically, the people of the

Amazon Basin lived in small villages around the Amazon

River and relocated often (when the soil became fallow).

They were a tribal society maintained itself through shifting

agriculture and hunting and gathering. The staple of their diet

was of the tuber variety, a kind of potato. The society had

no classes that differentiated between the rich and poor

because the people had very little or no private property.

However, gift giving was very common in this culture. The

Inca had communities that ranged all the way from small

villages to thriving cities. The main city of political and civil

culture was called Cuzco. This is where the ruler of the entire

empire lived. Much like the dwellers of the Amazon Basin,

communities were often formed among groups of relatives,

which was known as ayllu. In contrast with those of Brazil,

the Inca were divided by classes and individuals did own

property. The lower classes were essentially often used as

slave labor and they also paid taxes and tribute to their local

and regional rulers through food, materials, and general gifts

that were not reciprocated. Land and human labor power

was a main source of wealth in the Inca civilization. The

types of labor that took place was vastly different between

these societies. In Brazil, the labor was very much

communal. Everyone worked together for the good of the

village and its people. They worked together to build

dwellings as well as for the cultivation and care of the crops.

They used a slash-and-burn style of farming and relocated

once the nutrients of the land were used up. The Incas were

much more advanced. In many areas, labor specialization

was common, especially in the large densely-populated

areas like Cuzco. Many of the people were forced to work

building or repairing paved roads, irrigation channels,

fortresses, and mines in a system called mita. The Inca took

part in labor-intensive agriculture. They employed much

more advanced agricultural production methods also. They

developed irrigation systems, terracing, and other advanced

agricultural techniques. With the arrival of the European

colonists, many of these existing institutions and practices

were destroyed and replaced with the Europeans' system of

rule and social customs. However, these clashed with what

was practiced before the arrival of the Europeans and this

soon became evident. The was much turbulence and revolt

against the European ways. In the Andean Highlands, the

Incas' power was totally lost to the Spanish through force.

Every pre-existing class was driven into slavery. The Spanish

also employed the