Brazil


‘In the Green Hell of the Amazon:’ From the Rediscovered Notebooks of an Early Russian Explorer of Brazil

Grigori-langsdorff 2.jpgThe 2016 Olympic Games and mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus have drawn the world's attention to Brazil recently. Even the Russians attending the Rio games may not be aware that one of their illustrious forebears, Grigory Langsdorff, was present as the first Russian Consul General in that city over 200 years ago. The story of this important naturalist and explorer is told in “Russian Scientists in Brazil, A Forgotten Expedition,” published in 1963 in Nauka i Zhizn' (Science and Life), and found in English-language translation in Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports.

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Langsdorff served as consul in Rio from 1813-1820. By then he had already circumnavigated the world and spoke five languages including Portuguese, hence his appointment to the then-Portuguese colony of Brazil. His official duties in Rio were eclipsed by his scientific passion, however, and mosquito-borne complications from tropical diseases ultimately took his mind and ended his career.

Langsdorff returned to Russia in 1820, was granted 200,000 rubles for expeditionary support from Czar Alexander the First. He returned to Brazil in 1822 with a team of scientists and artists. Their three excursions along the coast and into the heart of the country extended over the next seven years.

‘In the Green Hell of the Amazon:’ From the Rediscovered Notebooks of an Early Russian Explorer of Brazil

The Father of Brazilian Soccer: Searching for Charles Miller in Latin American Newspapers

As a rising global power, Brazil has received a large share of international news coverage during the past few years. Now with the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off this month, the media spotlight has returned to the world’s fifth largest country, a land where soccer is the most popular sport and whose national team has won the most World Cup titles.

But where does all this football talent come from? How and why did soccer—or futebol as it is known there—become Brazil’s top sport? Although the full story of Brazil’s infatuation with football remains unclear, Miller’s major role in fostering interest is supported by a search of Latin American Newspapers, Series 1 and 2, 1805-1922.

Charles William Miller was born in São Paulo in 1874, son of John Miller, a Scottish railway engineer, and a Brazilian mother of English descent, Carlota Fox. At age ten he was sent to the Banister Court Public School in Southampton, England, to get a better education and where he learned to play cricket and football. A natural at both sports, Miller developed a particular passion for football. He returned to Brazil in 1894, carrying a Football Association rule book, two soccer balls, and lots of excitement. “What have you got there, Charles?” asked his father John when he saw him on the dockside for the first time. “My degree,” Charles replied. “Your son has graduated in football.”

Miller taught soccer to his friends and the game quickly became popular among not only the urban elite but also bands of poor children. Miller helped set up the football team of the São Paulo Athletic Club (SPAC) as well as Brazil’s first football league, Liga Paulista.

On December 21,1905, the Brazilian newspaper O Estado de São Paulo reported in this brief article on Miller’s extensive involvement in Brazil’s fledgling soccer leagues:


SPORT

Football

The Father of Brazilian Soccer: Searching for Charles Miller in Latin American Newspapers

Finding Fatalism and Overconfidence in a Cruel Port (by Ian Olivo Read)

Finding Fatalism and Overconfidence in a Cruel Port: The Bubonic Plague’s First Appearance in Brazil

By Ian Olivo Read, Assistant Professor of Latin American Studies, Soka University of America

Published by Stanford University Press on January 25, 2012

On October 18, 1899, Brazilian health officials declared that bubonic plague had arrived. Bacteriologists identified the bacteria in samples taken from sick patients in Santos, a port city that had grown rapidly due to Brazil’s coffee boom. For much of history, people reacted to the news of plague with panic, flight and violence. When plague struck Santos, however, the town did not empty of its residents, international ships were not quarantined outside the port, and authorities or militias did not form “rifle cordons” at roads leading out of town. In fact, according to one report, “the news that bubonic plague had broken out in Santos seems to have made an impression everywhere but here. Santistas are, as a rule, of a somewhat skeptic frame of mind and reports about sickness and epidemics do not frighten them unduly.”

Source: Latin American Newspapers, 1805-1922

Finding Fatalism and Overconfidence in a Cruel Port (by Ian Olivo Read)

World Newspaper Archive: A uniquely comprehensive collection spanning the globe

The World Newspaper Archive represents the largest searchable collection of historical newspapers from Asia, Africa and Latin America. Providing new opportunities for fresh insight across wide-ranging academic disciplines, this collection was created in partnership with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL)—one of the world's largest and most important newspaper repositories.

Every historical newspaper in the World Newspaper Archive has been carefully selected by CRL and its expert advisory boards. In addition, the World Newspaper Archive may be searched with America's Historical Newspapers for unprecedented coverage of local, national and global issues as well as daily life on four continents in the 19th and 20th centuries. 

World Newspaper Archive: A uniquely comprehensive collection spanning the globe

Latest Newsletter Available: The Readex Report (April 2011)

In our new issue, you’ll find the deliciously rich history of chocolate; cavalier attitudes toward a deadly plague in a Brazilian port; forgotten battles of the Revolutionary War; and the intriguing rise and demise of the advertising card.

Chocolate: A Readex Sampler

By Louis E. Grivetti

Professor of Nutrition, Emeritus, at the University of California, Davis, and co-editor of Chocolate: History, Culture, and Heritage (Wiley, 2009)

Finding Fatalism and Overconfidence in a Cruel Port: The Bubonic Plague’s First Appearance in Brazil

By Ian Olivo Read

Latest Newsletter Available: The Readex Report (April 2011)

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