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The cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais, Brazil: Beginnings and early development, 1868-1906

Versiani, MTRO; (1991) The cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais, Brazil: Beginnings and early development, 1868-1906. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This dissertation investigates for the first time the beginnings and early development of a cotton textile industry in a non-export area within an economy specializing in the production of primary goods for the international market: the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The general explanations offered in the secondary literature for the early stages of Brazilian industrialization - based on the experience of industrialization in export areas - are shown to be inadequate in accounting for the beginnings of industry in a region where handicraft production of cloth was still a flourishing activity and where most of the population was engaged in production for the internal market and for home consumption. Among other things, the cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais was protected from outside competition and did not require for its establishment and early development additional protection from tariffs on imports or from devaluation of the exchange rate. The investigation is centred on the period 1868 to 1906. A partnership formed in 1868 was the first successful attempt at establishing a cotton mill in Minas Gerais. From then until the mid 1890s investment flowed into the industrial production of cloth. By the mid nineties, however, the first signs that supply was increasing at a faster pace than demand manifested themselves in the market. Yet, as a result of decisions to invest taken in previous periods, new cotton mills entered the market. As no compensatory changes in demand took place, difficulties in relation to sales intensified. During the first years of the twentieth century, the general performance of the cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais, and especially that located in the central areas of the state around the new capital, Belo Horizonte, began to improve, revealing an increase in local demand. In 1905 and 1906, after a long period of stagnation, new textile companies were once more constituted. A public convention leading to the creation of an organization of textile entrepreneurs in December,1906, can be taken to demonstrate that the cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais was by then firmly established. On the eve of the First World War the cotton mills established in the period 1868¬1906 were responsible for most of the productive capacity of the cotton textile industry in Minas Gerais.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The cotton textile industry of Minas Gerais, Brazil: Beginnings and early development, 1868-1906
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10125113
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