May 19, 2010
Brazilian Stamp of the Week: The Opening of the Ports
A friend of mine found out I collected stamps and gave me this Brazilian piece from 1908. It commemorates the centennial of the opening of the ports.
What is the significance of the opening of the ports?
I'm glad you asked.
From 1500 to 1808 Portugal had a monopoly on Brazil's ports. Only Portuguese ships could do business in Brazil's harbor cities. On January 24th, 1808, the Portuguese royal family arrived in Brazil on British ships, having escaped Napoleon's invading forces in the homeland. Four days later the prince regent of Portugal declared the Brazilian ports open to friendly nations. By "friendly nations" he meant, specifically, the British.
This act had an enormous positive impact on Brazil's economy. The partnership with the British would such modern inventions as railroads and cotton-related technology to Brazil. It also paved the way for Brazil's abolition of slavery, which was based on the fact that Britain had outlawed the trade.
Ultimately, the opening of the ports paved the way for the Gospel, as the first Protestant missionaries to gain a permanent foothold in Brazil were British.
A couple details to note on the stamp: Notice that Brazil is spelled with a "z", whereas today it is spelled with an "s". Also, along the bottom edge you can read the name of the establishment that printed the stamp: "American Bank Note Co. N.Y."
Talk back to the missionary: If you can think of anything related to stamps or to the opening of ports, by all means share in the comments section.
May 8, 2010
Brazilian Stamp of the Week: Coastal Regions and Tidal Zones
This beautiful set of stamps draws attention to the coastal ecosystems (manguezais) and tidal zones. Due to rapid development many animals that live there currently find themselves on the endangered list.
Talk back to the missionary: I can't really think of a question to put at the end of this post. But if anybody feels like putting an answer in the comments section, feel free.
February 2, 2010
Brazilian Stamp of the Week: Dutch Influence in Brazil
Between 1630 and 1654 much of the Northeast part of Brazil--including the city of Recife, was under Dutch control. While the later Portuguese conquest of this region was total, several vestiges of the conquest remain, particularly in architecture seen in and around Recife.
Last year Brazil issued a set of stamps commemorating the Dutch influence on the country.
On the top left we see Mauricio de Nassau, influential Dutch governor of the region. Next to him is a Dutch ship from that time. The following stamps show archaelogical remnants of the Dutch occupation still present today.
In addition to smoking pipes and architecture, the Dutch had left a theological legacy on Brazil as well. The first translation of the Bible into Portuguese was done by a Portuguese man named João Ferreira de Almeida, who was converted by Dutch Reformed believers while in the Dutch colonies in what is now Indonesia.
Talk back to the missionary: The US also has a great Dutch heritage. Can you think of anything in American culture that comes to us via the Dutch colonization?
January 11, 2010
Brazilian Stamp of the Week: Garantido and Caprichoso
In light of our upcoming trip to the state of Maranhão I thought I would feature a stamp that reflects the culture of that state.
Now, truth be told, what the stamp is showing is actually a celebration that takes place in the Amazon city of Parintins. However, this is one of the many manifestations of a tradition that has it's origin in the state of Maranhão.
Rather than give you the background to the festival here, you can read about it in an article I wrote a few years ago. The video link is broken in that post, so here it is via YouTube:
Talk back to the missionary: Have you ever considered what guidelines missionaries could follow in deciding which cultural manifestations can be used for the Gospel and which are "off limits"? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
December 28, 2009
Brazilian Stamp of the Week: Brazil in WWII
In the interest of being more informative about Brazil and all things Brazilian--and in order to make the best use of my Christmas present--I am starting a new series on this blog. Once a week we will feature a Brazilian stamp (or stamp series) along with information related to the person or event it commemorates.
This first one is perhaps my favorite series of the entire collection. The stamp on the top left shows the participation of the Brazilian air force in the Italian campaign. The next one over pictures the Brazilian navy in the South Atlantic campaign. The bottom-left stamp shows the FEB (Força Expedicionária Brasileira, or Brazilian Expeditionary Force), once again in the Italian campaing. The final stamp shows the special participation of the Brazilian mail service in the war.
We have covered this part of Brazilian history before on this blog. You can read that entry here (it includes video and pictures, plus an expanation of the emblem featuring a snake smoking a pipe).
Talk back to the missionary: What interesting things have you learned from stamps?