The Brazilian Belle Époque

The Belle Époque is a period between the end of the century. XIX and the beginning of World War I (1914).

It is a period of great cultural, scientific and technological evolution.

Belle Époque in Brazilian regions

In Brazil, economic cycles had a great impact on the Brazilian Belle Époque.

Historians have often associated periods of peace with times of development since ancient Greece.

  • Coffee Cycle (late 18th century to the first decades of the 20th century)
  • 1st Rubber Cycle (1879–1912)

The 2nd Rubber Cycle (1942–1945) was driven by World War II.

Many Brazilian regions were impacted by the Belle Époque, but thanks to these economic cycles there was an emphasis on the cities located in these regions of great economic growth during these periods.

Belle Époque in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo

In the century. XIX, the Southeast Region (SP, MG, RJ and ES) became an important cultural center. This region had already been more important for the economy of Brazil since the century. XVIII, benefited by the Gold Cycle (18th century) and then by the 1st Coffee Cycle.

Changes started at the beginning of the century. XX in Rio de Janeiro, in order to modernize and bring improvements in hygiene and health conditions in the city generated several conflicts, among them the Vaccine Revolt (1904). Find out more in Class 23 of Brazilian History.

Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, by Marc Ferrez.
Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, by Marc Ferrez.
Municipal Theater of Rio de Janeiro, by Marc Ferrez. Public domain

Following an international standard from the Belle Époque of international exhibitions, the city of Rio de Janeiro, the 1st capital of Brazil República, prepared to host, in 1922 one of these events — in commemoration of the 1st Centenary of the Independence of Brazil (1822).

Brazil held its International exhibition, in 1922, building pavilions and monuments to commemorate the 1st Centenary of the Independence of Brazil (1822), such as the Trianon Palace, in Rio de Janeiro.

The Petit Trianon do Brasil
The Petit Trianon do Brasil
In 1923, the Petit Trianon do Brasil was donated by the French government to host the Brazilian Academy of Letters

The building is a replica of the Petit Trianon de Versailles, built to house the flag of France at the International Exhibition commemorating the Centenary of Independence of Brazil, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1922.

In culture, the cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo underwent major changes, but it was in São Paulo, where the main cultural event of this period was held: the Week of Modern Art, in 1922.

Belle Époque in the Amazon

Teatro Amazonas is one of the most important theaters in Brazil and a building in the city of Manaus, opened in 1896. It was built to meet the wishes of the Amazonian elite of the time of the 1st Rubber Cycle, which idealized a city at the height of great cultural centers.

Teatro Amazonas

The Belle Époque in Fortaleza, Ceará

Between 1880 and 1925, people from Ceará appropriated customs, architecture and even the French language. Driven by the proximity to the maritime route, which brought wealth and development thanks to the cotton and textile production of Ceará, which sustained the state’s economy after the decline of charqueadas.

However, under Mayor Godofredo Maciel (1924–1928), some symbols of the Belle Époque of Ceará began to be demolished.


Professor de História, entusiasta de tecnologia, diagramador e usuário Linux e de software livre desde 2006.