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The Brazilian Rubber Boom

How did foreign exploitation of Brazilian rubber impact the people of Brazil and its environment?

The Amazon environment as a result of the rubber booms changed drastically, with stark contrasts between the cities and plantations, capitalistic methods of production, irreversible effects on the Amazon natural environment, and devastating damage to the rubber gatherers on the successful rubber plantations.

History of the Rubber Boom

The Amazonian rubber booms experienced high margins of production and profit, leading to increased wealth of foreign powers involved, as well as the Amazonian cities which served as trade epicenters.

This picture displays an example of an American attorney that invested in Fordlandia. Holding a 1-year-old rubber tree.

United States Involvement

As shown in developments like Henry Ford’s Fordlandia and Belterra, United States imposed capitalistic techniques onto rubber plantations in the Amazon in order to extract economic and politcal benefits.

Impact on Workers and Environment

The Rubber Boom was a time in Brazilian history where workers were taken advantage of to the point of losing their lives. A vast amount of people moved to the Para region to have a new life. After the rubber boom such overpopulation will create an unexpected harm on the environment.

This video was done by Republica NA TV in Brazil. It displays several puppet shows that tell the story of the rubber boom. It includes Brazilian entrepreneurs having difficulty keeping up with the demand for rubber by the Europeans and the people from the United States.
Here is a short translation of the transcript.
In the 19th century, the use of Rubber by European and North American industries is increasing. This causes a rush to the Brazilian Amazon. Thousands of migrants, mainly from the Northeast, penetrate the forest and begin to work.
Export office of Belem 1911
Production still does not meet the demand of international buyers. They want more or more.
I am losing money too, as it can be a pain to keep everything due to the lack of people to extract rubber. The problem is also your seringueiros, how we are going to solve? It is hard to work because the Indians attack rubber tappers. Indians are almost nothing the important thing is that you find rubber. When I arrive we will bring the people from Ceará put the drought through hell Green at least here there is no shortage of water.
Hinterland is 1911:
it’s a long way and there’s a beautiful opportunity , and from the world it comes . At least I bring some money from there, then go with God on the Amazon River and its affluent known steam boats. how cages distribute European goods in the city’s commerce and in the barracks of rubber plantations ships to Europe loaded with rubber from Belém and Manaus. This are the golden years.