Until close to the end of the twentieth century, the slave trade was interpreted by Brazilian historians as yet another intrinsic mechanism of the colonial system responsible for transferring income from the colony to the Portuguese metropole and the United States—a dynamic that led inevitably to Brazilian underdevelopment and US growth. This was caused by Portuguese merchants' monopoly on the slave trade to Brazil, which was structured in two triangles: one connecting Brazil, Africa, and Portugal, the other Brazil, the Caribbean, and the United States. In the United States cotton fabrics were acquired and molasses, acquired in part in the Caribbean, was processed, products indispensable for purchasing slaves in Africa. This trade flow, according to Brazilian historians, irreversibly divided the Americas between a rich, progressive north and a poor and backward south.

The twenty-first century saw an unprecedented historiographic renovation in study...

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