DESK REVIEWS | 01.05.02. History

DESK REVIEW | 01.05.02. History

Brazil was colonised by Portugal from 22 April 1500 to 7 September 1822, when the country proclaimed independence. Brazil moved from monarchy to a republic on 15 November 1889. The country had a large influence (culturally, economically, socially, etc.) from African people who were made slaves by Europeans and were brought to Brazil to work on (mainly) coffee plantations. When slavery was abolished in Brazil (13 May 1888), Brazil received hundreds of thousands of Europeans immigrants who came to work (voluntarily) in the plantations.

The formal British rule in India was between 1857-1947. India gained independence on 15th August 1947.

Between 1670 and 1942 Indonesia was a Dutch colony. During the second World War (1942) Indonesia was occupied by Japan. Following Japanese surrender, Indonesia declared independence. After several years of guerrilla warfare, the Dutch recognised Indonesian independence in 1949.

In 1969 West Papua becomes the Indonesian province Irian Jaya. Six years later, in 1975, Indonesia invades and annexes East Timor after the country was given independence by Portugal. This lasts until 1999. In 1997, the Asian economic crisis has considerable consequences on Indonesian economic performance and development.

In 2002, the first major jihadist attack occurred in Bali. Others followed in 2011 and 2018. Military chief general Gatot Nurmantyo reported in 2017 that Islamic State groups were present in almost all provinces. As discussed previously, Indonesia, due to its location on the Ring of Fire, frequently experiences natural disasters causing substantial destruction and loss of lives (BBC, 2019).


BBC. (2019). Indonesia profile – Timeline. BBC.

There has been a noticeable change in governance and a reduction in ethnic tensions since the 2007 post-election violence and political instability in Kenya producing a political stability index of -1.08 in 2017 from -1.3 in 2007, compared to a range of -2.4 (weak) and 2.56 (strong) (The Global Economy, 2019). This measure indicates perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically motivated violence and terrorism. The index is an average of several other indexes from the Economist Intelligence Unit, the World Economic Forum, and the Political Risk Services, among others (The Global Economy, 2019). The governance score (measured on a scale of -2.5 to +2.5 with higher values corresponding to better governance) also increased since 2008 (-1.39) to -1.17 in 2013 and -1.16 in 2018 (Kaufmann & Kraay, 2019).


Kaufmann, D. & Kraay, A. (2019). Worldwide governance indicators.

The Global Economy. (2019). The Kenya Economic Indicators.

Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilisations such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, and Maya which preceded the Aztec empire, conquered in 1519–1521 by the Spanish. Spain ruled Mexico as part of the viceroyalty of New Spain for the next 300 years until Sept. 16, 1810, representing the first uprising of the country, and which led to independence from Spain in 1821.

The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterised by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes. The Mexican American War (1846–1848) led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. In the 19th century there were several armed conflicts such as The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, and the Porfiriato, named after President Porfirio Díaz who remained in power for almost 30 years (1876 to 1911). The year 1910 saw the beginning of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which lasted 7 years and gave way to the enactment of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country’s current political system as a federal, democratic republic which is currently maintained.