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by The Impeccably Arranged Snark of The West Pacific Master Dispatch. . 355 reads.

The Western Post - September 2022

Announcements!

  • New Members of the Hall, check out the forum thread for the LinkThe New HoN Member Challenge! Participating in the Challenge is easier than ever and it's still just as rewarding as before, and if you aren't a citizen, Linkapply today!

  • LinkCommend Dalimbar continues being drafted, with the Draft 2 now available! All Hall of Nations members are invited to contribute to the process of drafting the most recent Regional Commendation!

  • Stay tuned for Hall of Nations Elections for the Hall of Nations Speaker and Guardian positions very soon, and think of your candidacy!

Card Club Update
By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West

It is time for another Card Club Update! There are some interesting things to announce, and you can read them right here.

Firstly, of course, we talk about Punday Monday card awards! There were five of them in August, and the winners of the month are The Holy Principality of Saint Mark, Dilber, Infinite Star, Ulfrik and Bhang Bhang Duc! The cards received by each of them are the Season 2 legendary cards of Szczuropolis, Despoticania, The Bruce, Frisbeeteria, and Draconis Nightcrawlis respectively.

If you want to try your luck and get some cards, I note once more that the key is to participate in upcoming Punday Mondays! Your pun will be added to our Big Book of Puns and you will win a legendary card if I choose it as the winner. Participate in this strong regional tradition spanning back 6 years!

Meanwhile, the other major happening related to cards this month was the TWP Delegates' Card Contest! This great card collection contest happened from the 1st to the 31st of August, with entrants tasked to create a collection that best represented TWP Delegates through our regional history. Creativity was also encouraged, for example not naming a delegate directly but instead putting together cards that relate to them in other ways, such as their personality, hobbies, things they like, and so on.

In the end, great collections were submitted by the two participants Mediobogdum and Montrandec! After the end of the month, Montrandec's collection was chosen as the winner, having chosen a creative approach of picking cards related to key characteristics of myself, while Medio's collection of cards about old delegates was declared runner-up. As for the prizes, Montrandec won Season 1 Menta Lee-IL and Medio won Season 2 Elejamie, both valuable legendary cards.

Furthermore, as part of the week of The Wild West Pacific, the Card Club is also hosting Wild Card Scavenger Hunt from September 5th to the 12th! This event works a bit differently than other contests we've done—this time we're having a simple contest of who can find and obtain the most Wild West themed cards, hence the scavenger hunt name. It's ongoing, and a copy of Season 2 New Texas is reserved for the winner, so I'd definitely recommend participating!

These are all the major card-related news in TWP for now. Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for another update next month!

Night Owl Writer Assures Team Lead Things Are "Under Control"; Aren't
By Nervoss Chukkel of Podium

After weeks of unexplained absence from the many recommended group meetings, an Eighburn writer (who will remain anonymous) has promised their Giovannilandian team lead that they shouldn't be concerned about the total radio silence for the month, and that everything was completely fine on their end. "Really, I just don't get what all the fuss is about," said the unnamed journalist, who claimed to work for one of the biggest publishers in the whole of the West Pacific in an exclusive interview with our staff. "Sure, I may have blown off all attempts at communication, failed to notice the notifications for said attempts, and even completely forgotten about my obligations to the team at one point, but I'm telling you, everything will work out fine! Just you wait!" Reportedly, when pressed by the team lead as to what in particular would cause such a significant lapse in attendance, the writer dodged the question so hard that they are currently considering no less than 6 competing offers from major regional sportsball teams at publishing time.

"Some may say my long-standing habit of leaving things to the last minute by inventing small, unimportant tasks that I claim I need to complete right this second had gradually degraded my ability to work cohesively in a team setting, an affliction which I have only recently been able to make steps towards overcoming, but I say that's hogwash! My work/life ethic is impeccable, anyone saying otherwise is just a hater trying to put a literary genius down," continued the journalist with bloodshot eyes, writing late into the night before a week-long obligation that really should have been done a month ago was due to start, "and if you try to read into this quote as some kind of meta-ironic commentary and/or cry for help on the physical and mental well-being of the author, then you're hogwash, too!" The writer then dropped an imaginary microphone, did a sick kickflip using a dirty cutting board they hadn't gotten around to cleaning, then tried to jump through the window into an open cart of hay on the street below all cool-like, only to bounce right back since they hadn't opened the window to let in some fresh air like a friend had suggested the week before.

Government AMA Highlights
By the citizens of the Hall of Nations

Following the 1 year anniversary of Nrevyw's ascendance to the leadership of TWPAF, the Commander agreed to receive questions in the form of a Government Ask Me Anything event from 4th August to 21st August 2022! This is the eleventh session of questions and answers with government, a practice started during Delegate Dilber's reign. Without further ado, here are some highlights from the AMA:

Q: Throughout your 3-4 years in TWPAF, which operation/series of operations was/were your favourite (if any), and why?Santos-Dominius

A: Oddly enough, may favorite operations would probably be training new recruits right after I became an officer and could do that sort of thing. There's a great sense of accomplishment and validation to passing on what you know and seeing those same people succeed. Since that's not really specific, I'll say the night preceding/following the ban wave of all Nazi/Reich regions and nations. The Antifa discord at the time was popping off and it was just great.

Q: Other than your current position of TWPAF Commander, which position did you enjoy working in the most?Santos-Dominius

A: I probably enjoyed being the editor of the West Pacifican the most after being Commander.

Q: What would you say was the best time for you on NS and why?Haetonia

A: It would probably be during Altino's time as Commander. I was still in highschool so I had a lot more time for NS at the time. It was also kind of a time when everything was brand new to me and exciting.

Q: I love hearing about regional history from different people's perspectives. What's the biggest change that's happened in TWP/NS in general since you joined?So long

A: The biggest change, in TWP at least, has probably got to do with our foreign policies. TWP was much more... isolationist for lack of a better word under Badger and Davelands. The attitude then, as I saw it, was a mix of "If you aren't with us, you're against us." It wasn't until Halo and Bran Astor's delegacies that friendlier relations would be developed with regions that in previous terms would have been unacceptable to pursue. That may not be as much be due solely to their influence on the region as delegates, but also the change in our (previous) allies governments. To sum up, we used to be on great terms with Osiris and TEP, and rivals with TSP, and its almost entirely flipped.

Q: Is there anything you miss about the early days?So long

A: Of course there's things I miss about the early days. Mostly its the people. In no particular order: Altino, Khanter, Maria, Grey, Yuno, Bedebao, Dan, Benjabobaria, Laururana/Flayme, Rigel, Momo, Mghnb, Levi, Lucifer, Elfine, Atlae, Syl, Lynxi, WaRlorder, Cher, Ark, Rizorien, Tretrid, Emvee, Badger... yeah.

Q: What is your favorite part of being Commander, and what do you consider the most important lesson you've learned in this job?Giovanniland

A: My favorite part is probably coordinating with others to make big joint ops. Most important lesson is probably how to delegate stuff so you don't burn out.

Q: What do you consider as your favorite thing about TWPAF?Giovanniland

A: My favorite thing about TWPAF is probably as corny as it sounds, the friendships you make along the way.

Musique Ouest: Jump Rope Gazers - The Beths
By Fujai

I’ve wanted to write this column for a long time. About a year ago I stumbled onto an indie rock band from Auckland, New Zealand called The Beths. The first song of theirs that I had heard was Dying to Believe, lead track off their sophomore album Jump Rope Gazers. As I heard it, probably served to me by one all-consuming algorithm or another, it was exactly the kind of song that I like. A strong guitar riff right out the gate then playing right under the earnest lyrics of the titular Elizabeth Stokes. I’m not much of a lyrics person, mind you, but I do enjoy how I usually cannot for the life of me put together the exact meaning of the words—the sentiment is always conveyed efficiently, but the words? I have no idea how each one connects to the other in a truly delightful way—I’m sure you all will have an easier time piecing it together, so I wish you luck!

On the whole, Jump Rope Gazers has been one of my go-to albums for easy listening this year—I put it on and it’s just straight vibes for 39 minutes. From the fast pace of I’m Not Getting Excited and Mars, the God of War to the calm of You Are a Beam of Light and Do You Want Me Now, to the mid-tones of Acrid and Just Shy of Sure, this album has a lot of hits for me. The Beths are releasing their third album, Expert in a Dying Field, next Friday and I for one am super excited. The singles, especially Silence is Golden and the non-album single A Real Thing from earlier in the year. Whatever comes on the new album, I’m sure it’ll be fantastic, so check it out!


Delegate's Fifth Speech
By Giovanniland, Delegate of the West

Eight months already... how time flies! For the September 2022 edition of the newspaper, I've written another speech, continuing the trend of the First Speech in January, the Second Speech in March, the Third Speech in May, and the Fourth Speech in July. The speech is a rundown of the highlights within the West for these past two months, and serves not only as an encouragement for everyone that has contributed in any way, but also as an invite to continue their work or even do more!

In my opinion, our Foreign Affairs performance recently has been one of the strongest I've ever seen, as our region has diligently answered to challenges coming across our way while also expanding our friendships. July started with the ratification of the Pax Polaris Occidens Treaty, strengthening our friendship with the The Pacific (NPO) and a starting a new, great chapter of relations with The North Pacific. A step further was taken in August with the Modern Gameplay Compact between TWP, TNP, NPO, Balder, and Europeia, meaning that our region has solidified itself as an unaligned power working with other regions that think alike, and cemented the great flexibility in the network of relations we always care to maintain. These four regions are great allies to TWP, and the exciting news is that we already have several future plans for what's next!

The current scenario of gameplay means that our region has also been tested, for example in the wake of revelations about a BoM plot against our treaty allies Balder. When our former allies in Osiris failed to condemn this nefarious action by their BoM allies, we unfortunately dissolved the alliance with Osiris that had been ongoing for almost 6 years. Talks were also held with the South Pacific after an incident from four years ago was brought up by anonymous actors with a clear intent of causing division between Feeders, with both regions showing through diplomacy that any endeavors of the type are doomed to fail. Of course, our FA successes wouldn't have been possible without the leadership of Dilber and then Varanius, promoted to Minister when Dilber resigned due to real life reasons in July. I give my heartfelt thanks to both of them, and look forward to Vara's term as minister while our FA internal roster continues strong and new ideas are implemented.

Another key area of the region that has excelled recently is our Cultural Trust! The Roleplay Community is one example, with key changes enacted to make applying for a place in the map easier for new members, and recruitment drives that saw many new arrivals to the continent of Nur. This, of course, wouldn't be possible without the leadership of Worldbuilder Emeritus Bran Astor and Worldbuilders Fujai and Nieubasria. In the West Pacific Gaming, the amount of multiplayer game events has greatly increased since July, becoming a staple of our gaming scene through hosts like myself and Fauthur, and regular participation from several community members. Also worth mentioning are the Card Club, which has recently overseen several contests you can read about in its update, and this very Western Post, which now marks 3 years since the revival as I speak.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of World Assembly Recruitment has seen some great changes under new leadership! During this two-month period, former Minister Teralyon and Deputy United Adaikes sadly had to depart from their positions due to real life, but I am glad to say that Overthinkers has accepted the challenge of taking the position in an interim manner as the ministry seeks new talent. Already, OT has taken over the maintenance of our standard operations like the Masses and the Western Endorsement Sovereign Trust, as well as started recruitment efforts with the goal of getting new staff integrated into the ministry. This all comes in a good moment for the region in terms of statistics, averaging over 640 endorsements due to an influx of nations while our ratio of endorsements/WA nations continues at over 85% (with a record of 89%), the highest of all GCRs. To all citizens reading this, the Ministry of WAR is actively seeking you to join and help increase our operations, so don't miss out on this chance of potentially becoming a future leader!

Speaking of revamping, in the last speech I mentioned future changes to the Regional Guides. I have worked closely with Head Guide Blue Bubble and Deputy Zoran on these, and results have already started to appear! We've created the tasks of RMB-based Rangers that welcome new nations, Discord and Forums-focused Aiders that guide players through getting involved, and the omnipresent Creators, who take care of Today in the West and encourage activity in regional events. It's worth noting, however, that these aren't roles that one must choose, but rather specific niches within the Guides that staff can focus on. Another important creation are the Themed Weeks, and we're already seeing nice results of that during the week of the Wild West Pacific! Furthermore, the Guides have also welcomed new members recently, albeit at a slower pace, because we seek that anyone interested has some fair knowledge about how our region works.

In the Hall of Nations, the Speaker Hertfordshire and Jammbo has spearheaded the drafting of Commend Dalimbar, after an interesting debate in the thread for choosing a nominee, and has also overseen an AMA with TWPAF Commander Nrevyw last month. These Hall activities are complemented by the New Hall of Nations Member Challenge created by Santos-Dominius (iOctagon), a great way for any citizen, especially newer ones, to rise through the ranks of the West! The Challenge arose from the input of many government members, and recently achieved some improvements such as a new forum thread for easier accountability. Both the Speaker and Guardian positions will see another election very soon, so I take this opportunity to thank both Herts and iOctagon for their great work.

Overall, the region has thrived during these past two months, and I am confident that we can continue in this path for the remaining time of my Delegacy! I have chosen the 8th of September, the day officially marking eight months, to reach out to all citizens about their plans within TWP and NationStates overall—as a way to not only guide them through becoming great TWPers, but also keeping important contact with everyone in the region. For those starting in the game, I invite you to apply for LinkHall of Nations Citizenship and to check How to Get Involved in TWP. I look forward to the next months of my reign, and reiterate that my inbox is open for any ideas and suggestions people may have. See you in two months for another address!

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The Western Post is 2 (and actually 3 and 7) years old!
By Santos-Dominius and Fujai

Month after month, people of different skills throughout the West Pacific come together in joint effort after joint effort to write, organise and publish The Western Post, our cherished regional newspaper containing all the latest news and interesting features in the region—whether it be happenings in the Hall of Nations, major celebrations or festivals, witty satire, or excellent art. This month, we celebrate the fact that this labour of love has now reached its 2nd birthday under its current name, and not only that, but 3 years of continuous publication as a whole since the revival of the newspaper itself under its former name, The West Pacifican. As we celebrate this joyous occasion, let us look back on the past 3 years of the paper and how numerous people have helped make this milestone happen.

Publication of the Post first began in seven years ago in 2015 under the name The West Pacifican, serving primarily as a vector for governmental communication with various other articles in its first few years. Unfortunately, publication was only semi-regular and eventually slowed at the end of 2019, with a six-month gap between the publications of Volumes 16 and 17. In the fall of 2019, now under the leadership of then-Minister of Internal Affairs and soon-to-be-Delegate, Bran Astor, publication resumed. Most important with this restart, however, was the restoration of a will to make sure the newspaper published regularly every single month. Since that date, the paper has never missed a month. The next year, taking a step into the future, The West Pacifican would rebrand and rename to become The Western Post that you all know, love and read today—hence why we are celebrating two years of The Western Post and three years of continuous publication.

Over the last year, the format of the Post has continued approximately the same as it has since the beginning of monthly publication. The character count of each issue has averaged around 50,000 for the entirety of 2022. We have found that a paper around this length tends to give us the most bang for our buck—not too short that has too little substance, but not too long that people don’t bother reading and our staff burns out. Monthly reads this year are also stable between 500 and 650. What has seen a marked increase, however, is upvotes per issue. The six month average of upvotes on our issues was 54.3 for the months prior to September 2022, while at the same time last year the average was only 43.5—that’s a nearly 25% increase! Much of this, we believe, is simply due to reminding folks that it’s worth their time to upvote our issues as a sign of appreciation! A new statistic this year tracks the increase in reads and upvotes from last year. As you can see from the chart, according to last year’s data, between 10% and 20% of our reads come from 3+ months after the publication, a very interesting statistic. One of our goals for the next year is consistent tracking of statistics at regular intervals for each issue, giving us a better sense of how our readership works!

While the team running the printing press over the months and years are to thank for the countless contributions they have made to the continued publication and success of The Western Post, it is undeniable that our loyal readers have played an absolutely massive part in keeping this effort going. You all motivate us to continue to produce issues of the best quality that we can—informative, interesting, and sometimes a bit goofy. So on this great occasion, we turn to you—our readers—and invite you to join us in our celebration through your own means!

We invite all of you, both longtime readers and new fans, to join us on TWP’s RMB and share your favorite article! Take a walk through history in our back catalog to remember your favorite bits! It could be a funny satirical piece, a snarky but hilarious comic strip, an entertaining retrospective of a TWP event, or your favorite governmental update if that’s your thing! We could spend years trying to make the best newspaper in NationStates (and we have!), but it would be nothing without the support of TWPers and readers who month after month mirror the same dedication we put into our work by reading and upvoting issues. Happy 2nd (3rd) (re)birthday to The Western Post!!

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Star & Cutless Travelling Carnival of Curiosities!
By Giovanniland, Delegate of the West


The poster of the Star & Cutless Travelling Carnival of Curiosities, designed by Fujai.

March 2022 saw the signing of the Anteria-TWP Declaration of Friendship, the first treaty signed during my reign, after two months of talks between the delegations of TWP and Anteria. Our partnership has been strong ever since then, for example through TWP's support of the resolution that commended Anteria's founder Emiline. More recently, the two regions have celebrated six months of the alliance through a festival, Star & Cutless Travelling Carnival of Curiosities, that happened from August 27th to 30th.

Planning for the festival started in late July, with various theme ideas raised, including Fujai's own suggestion to make a circus-themed festival. Fujai suggested several possible activities that could take place together with the circus theme, most of which were adopted for the event, and later designed all the artwork for the event—not only the festival poster described above, but also the icon for the festival's Discord server, section headers for the welcome channel, and special emojis. Besides Fujai, festival planning also had the help of myself and our Minister of Foreign Affairs Varanius from TWP; and founder Emi, Prime Minister Foxomexra, Director of Internal Affairs Aramos (Trisk), and Director of Foreign Affairs Shadoveil (Foxclaw) from Anteria. Thanks to everyone's hard work, the festival was done and dusted for the event date, ready to open and featuring several attractions.

A total of fifty festivalgoers from both regions showed their ticket and passed through the circus entrance, a fairly high number. Once in the circus, the Ringmasters' Megaphone stood out for important announcements, as the participants arrived, picked their seats in The Audience, and started getting to know others. While several people decided to watch, others joined the Dressing Room to pick their ideal circus role and search for the best costume! There was Blue Bubble the Fortune Teller, The Holy Principality of Saint Mark (Halo) the Magician, Zoran the Elephant Trainer, Giovanniland the Flying Trapeze Artist, Ulfrik the Acrobat, Overthinkers the Unicorn, Khirmania the Pug, Hertfordshire and Jammbo the "???" Cannonball, and Haetonia the weight-lifting Penguin. In a separate channel, some of these circus artists made spectacular performances of their respective roles, to the examples of myself, Haetonia, Blue, and H&J.

Besides performances, many other activities stood out. The first of them was Things From Beyond, where festivalgoers could strange animals, weird plants, unsettling artwork, and more in order to make the oddity section of the circus—one of the hits was the AI image maker LinkCraiyon, used for circus-related prompts. Secondly, we had the Terrible Faux Tarot Readings hosted by Aramos! During the last two days of the event, Trisk gave tarot readings for the nations of anyone who wished to join. Three cards would be revealed, one for the past, one for the present and one for the future. Haetonia, Blue, myself, H&J, Fauthur, Franpsot, and Halo all had the fortunes from our nations told, with very interesting results. Furthermore, the Drawing Plaza saw three circus drawing prompts posted each day! Participants such as Ulfrik, OT and H&J all painted at least one of the drawing sheets, with Ulfrik contributing with the most drawings, thus receiving the Card Award of a Season 2 Free Socialism legendary card.

Last but not least, the Midway Gaming was arguably the most successful part of the Star & Cutless Travelling Carnival of Curiosities! Four games were hosted by myself, one for each event day, with a diversity of times in order to reach out to more people as well. Firstly, we started with Skribbl.io, mixing circus-themed and usual prompts for people to draw and others to guess. Secondly there was Gartic Phone, with members having fun as they described pictures and drew new ones according to a sentence, many of them themed after circuses and the two regions. The two last days featured Monopoly, for all to see who would be the best at building up properties and driving others to bankruptcy. Thank you all to Cyrylic, Fauthur, Foxomexra, Gombaland (Franpsot), GIW, Hatshepsut, Hertfordshire and Jammbo, Khirmania, La Riojania, Montrandec, Overthinkers, Tevoler, The Demoractic Peoples Republic Of TNET (Void Blob), and Zona Umida for participating in games!

On the whole, a wonderful time was had by all! The recent friendship between TWP and Anteria is likely to continue in the future, and this festival will certainly be one to be remembered, while we wait for the next one in the coming years. This is it for this article, but stay tuned about more articles about our interregional events in future editions of the Western Post!

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History in Focus: Brazil
By Giovanniland, Delegate of the West

Introduction

Hello there, dear reader! In the June 2022 edition of the Western Post, iOctagon (Santos-Dominius) inaugurated a brand new column called History in Focus, focusing on the histories of various countries that our TWP residents hail from in real life, as a companion column to the Culture in Focus column featured in previous issues. They wrote about the History of Hong Kong and called for other use this space to talk about their own country's history. Three months later, I decided to take the invite, namely because the day of 7th September this year marks 200 years of Brazilian independence and I find writing this article a great way to celebrate!

Humans arrived in what is now Brazil at least 11,000 years ago, as evidenced by archeological findings such as the skeleton of the Luzia Woman, and thousands of indigenous ethnic groups had developed by the time of the European Age of Discovery. Although the Brazilian natives didn't build great empires like the Aztecs or Incas, there were certainly advanced civilizations such as the Marajó culture, that flourished between 800 and 1400 AD on the island of same name that is located on the mouth of the Amazon River. It supported a population of as much as 100 thousand inhabitants, and developed characteristic artwork in the forms of burial urns and potteries. Other groups like them were present along the Brazilian coast, like the Tupis, Guaranis and Jês. These groups were the first people met by the Portuguese invaders at the dawn of the 16th century, when they numbered several millions, but sadly most of them perished due to wars and diseases brought by the Europeans. Nowadays, around 1 million indigenous people live across Brazilian territory, with many rich cultures.

European Colony

After the signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas on 1494 by the Spanish and Portuguese crowns, Pedro Álvares Cabral arrived on Brazil on the day of 22nd April 1500, claiming the land for the nascent Portuguese Empire. The colonizers' first interest was the plant called brazilwood that gives its name to the country, exploring little more than that in the first few decades, because the Portuguese spice trade in Asia was much more profitable. It wasn't until 1530 that a proper colonial administration was formed, both due to a decline in commerce and to threats that other European nations made to the territory. Unlike their Spanish counterparts that saw gold and silver abound in their American colonies, however, Portuguese efforts to do the same failed. Instead, the first driver of the Brazilian economy was the sugarcane plantation centered in the Northeast, with Salvador as the first capital. This economic activity firstly relied on enslaving native peoples, and later black people brought in the Atlantic slave trade, a stain in the country's history lasting until 1888.

Meanwhile, in Europe, an unexpected end to the Portuguese royal family's direct line in the year of 1580 caused the king of Spain to take the country, and with it, its colonies as well. Portugal and Brazil stayed under Spanish control for the next 60 years, and there were two main consequences from this happening. Firstly, this added a new chapter in the Spanish conflict with the Netherlands, and the Dutch invaded northeastern Brazil to take control of the prosperous sugar production. Dutch control of parts of the colony happened from 1630 until 1654, when the Portuguese-Brazilian army expelled them. Despite that, the Dutch brought their expertise and capital to the Caribbean instead, and the competition that ensued marked the decline of the Brazilian sugar production. Meanwhile, the Spanish control of all South America also meant that the Treaty of Tordesillas was de facto inactive, prompting Brazilian explorers (bandeirantes) to move towards the interior and discover something...

In the 1690s, gold was found in the state of Minas Gerais, starting the Brazilian Gold Rush and moving the economic center of the country from the Northeast to the Southeast, where it has stayed ever since. The faltering economy was recovered once more, alongside a population boom. Other consequences of the gold rush were a boost in production of food for local consumption and in the internal commerce, developing merchant communities across the country, and the move of the capital to the coastal city of Rio de Janeiro. Once more, however, slavery was the main workforce used for mining, greatly increasing the presence of black people in Brazil. Naturally, one of the consequences was the often occurence of slave rebellions in both mining and agricultural lands. These rebellions formed communities called quilombos, the most famous of them being the Quilombo dos Palmares. It lasted from 1605 to 1694 with a population of over 10 thousand escaped slaves, when Portuguese troops destroyed it. Their most known leader is Zumbi, who fiercely resisted until the end of the community, and is revered to this day.

By the end of the 18th century, the gold rush started to diminish amid fewer findings, with Portugal also using most of the gold to pay debts with the United Kingdom. Adding to this economic decline and instability were movements for independences, such as the Inconfidência Mineira in the very center of the gold rush. However, no other happening changed the course of Brazilian history as much as Napoleon's invasion of Portugal—the Portuguese were great trade partners with the British, contrary to French plans—prompting the royal family to escape to Brazil and raise its status from a colony to a kingdom equal to Portugal. John VI of Portugal brought modernizing reforms to Brazil, opening trade to all nations and building various institutions in the capital Rio. After Napoleon was defeated, the King was forced against his will to move back to Europe, but not before leaving his son Pedro as regent of Brazil, fearing that the country would become a colony without this action. Amid the independence of other American countries and tensions between Brazil and Portugal, Pedro declared independence on 7th September of 1822 and became the Brazilian Empire's first monarch.

Imperial Years

Pedro I's reign was promising at the start, with the drafting of a constitution that would allow for greater regional governance and freedoms. However, unsatisfied with this result, he decided to act in an authoritarian way and impose his own constitution with a centralized government ruled by him. These measures started to create friction between him and the bourgeois liberal elite, added to the fact he also wanted to take the throne of Portugal when his father died. He resigned in 1831, but given the fact his 5-year-old son wasn't able to rule the nation yet, a Regency was formed. These years were very unstable for Brazil, with several regional revolts seeking establish separate countries, for example the Farroupilha in my home state of Rio Grande do Sul, that lasted from 1835 to 1845. Luckily, the instability gradually faded away with Pedro II's ascension in 1840.

Pedro II reigned for 59 years until the Republican coup of 1889, and his reign saw great progress in organizing the country and creating a national identity. A new economic spotlight was found, the coffee, and by 1850 Brazil was producing half of the world's coffee. This economic progress made investments in the modernization of Brazil possible, such as better integration for the national transport, and solidified the position of São Paulo as the country's most economically important state. An important point in the coffee production is the gradual switch from slavery to free labor, caused by the end of the Atlantic slave trade in the 1840s, with pressure from the UK, and the abolition of slavery in 1888 with the signing of the Golden Law. Meanwhile, in regards to foreign affairs, Brazil shaped itself as a leader in the region, intervening several times in Uruguay and Argentina to topple unfriendly governments, and defeating together with these two countries the attempt from Paraguay of gaining sea access and regional prestige, a conflict known as the Paraguayan War, the bloodiest and most expensive war in South American history.

Modern Republic

Another economic decline caused by debts with the Paraguayan War, alongside the abolition of slavery, caused Pedro II to become unpopular with the military elites (despite being very popular with the overall Brazilian people), who launched a coup in 1889 led by Deodoro da Fonseca, the first President of Brazil. Unfortunately, this first republican period kept the social inequality from before, for example by restricting the vote to rich, white, and Catholic men. The presidency was alternately occupied by coffee oligarchs from São Paulo and Minas Gerais, who used their own power to control the votes of population in return for favors. One of the few positive achievements from this period was the confirmation of Brazil's frontiers, who were often dubious in remote areas like the Amazon, which resulted in Brazil gaining, for example, the state of Acre from former Bolivian territory.

The Old Republic was ended by Getúlio Vargas' coup, which ruled the country from 1930 to 1945, including a repressive dictatorial regime in the final years. Getúlio overthrew the coffee oligarchy and brought to power an urban middle class with business interests that promoted the industrialization of Brazil. The country's foreign policy at the time also favored closer ties with the United States, in a bid to counter Argentine influence in the region, which was seen by Brazil as a threat. Closely related to this was Brazil's own participation in World War II, sending its military to Europe to fight together with the Allies. A revolution in 1945 reinstated democratic rule, curiously including Getúlio himself as one of the democratically elected presidents during his period. He and others continued the focus on industrialization, conneciton between the different regions. An important example of this was Juscelino Kubitschek's presidency, during which the capital was moved from coastal Rio de Janeiro to inland Brasília, a symbol of internal integration, as well as vast economic growth and infrastructure projects across the country.

Unfortunately, a military coup sponsored by the US happened in 1964 against the presidency of left-wing João Goulart, installing the military dictatorship until 1985 and starting one of the darkest periods in Brazilian history. The military government's 1967 constitution stifled freedom of speech and political opposition, with the Cold War-style guidelines of nationalism and anti-communism. Some economic growth happened in the 1970s, called the Brazilian Miracle, in which the country averaged 10% annual GDP growth. These good prospects, aligned with Brazilian sporting successes in World Cups, were often used by the dictatorship to divert attention from media censure and torture of dissidents. However, as the military regime progressed, inequality and economic instability replaced the earlier growth—caused by an enormous debt that also stopped further industrial advances and produced long-term economic disadvantages—and popular movements successfully achieved the return of democracy.

Democratic rule was officially reinstated with the current constitution approved in 1988. Free and direct elections happened in 1989 saw the victory of Fernando Collor de Mello, but he was unable to stop soaring inflation and was later impeached. His successor Fernando Henrique Cardoso was able to overcome this issue with the Plano Real that mandated the creation of the modern Brazilian currency, the Real. Concerns about the continuation of social inequality, however, were the key for the election of the leftist president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula) in 2002. Lula not only managed to decrease many social issues in Brazil, such as poverty, hunger, and crime; but also continued his predecessor's economic policies and saw Brazil rise to the position of 6th largest economy in the world during his presidency, leaving in 2010 with the highest approval rate.

Comparatively, the subsequent decades has been worse so far for Brazilians. Dilma Rousseff, from the same party as Lula, was also elected twice but sadly oversaw the start of an economic recession in 2014, leading to her impeachment in 2016 for these reasons and accusations of corruption. Unfortunately, under the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, elected in 2018, the quality of life has decreased and many social welfare policies have been diminished or reversed completely, causing the increase of hunger and social inequality once more. Other disadvantages of the current government are the mismanagement during the COVID-19 pandemic causing a very high death rate, and threats to democracy. Nevertheless, despite the current situation, it is fair to say that our country has greatly developed throughout its history. It is today the largest, most populous and richest nation in South America, with an unique multicultural society and a vast environmental diversity, and will hopefully overcome its current troubles, especially with elections this year.

I would have a lot more details to talk about Brazilian history if I really wanted to, but in order to keep this article succinct I will finish it here. Therefore, I hope you learned something new about my country by reading this article, and if you are interested in this topic feel free to telegram me or search about it in the internet. And now I remind you about the special aspect of this column—if you liked this concept, then I invite YOU to talk about your own real life country's culture, which will then be featured in upcoming editions of the Western Post. We invite you to contact Fujai by telegram or Discord at Smithy876#6074 to volunteer! Any TWP resident is welcome to guest-write an article, which may get featured in future issues of the Western Post.

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