Introduced by Francisco de Melo Palheta in the eighteenth century – from seeds smuggled in from French Guiana – coffee was Brazil’s greatest economy booster from the early nineteenth century until the 1930s. Concentrated in the Paraíba Valley between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, and later around the red soil areas of the countryside of São Paulo and Paraná, it was the country’s main export for almost 100 years.
Large coffee plantations
In the beginning, coffee plantations were small, isolated worlds of their own. They sat on expansive properties and incorporated slave work, which was later replaced by regular employees and immigrants. Today, coffee is produced in more factory-type farms, and these traditional plantations are no longer operational. They can, however, still be visited in the São Paulo countryside. The visits can provide a trip back in history, as traditional architecture, machinery and slaves’ barracks can still be seen on the properties…
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