Bahia is where the Portuguese first landed in Brazil in 1500. Bahia was one of the main areas for large sugar plantations and an important port for the Atlantic slave traffic. From a position of importance during early colonial times, Bahia started to lose political and economic significance. The moving of the Portuguese administrative center to Rio, the abolition of slavery and the entry of other countries into the trade of sugar contributed to the state’s political isolation and economic decline. Bahia’s reaction to its decline was slow. Only in the 1950s did politicians and some entrepreneurs became aware of the need to pursue a change in Bahia’s economic base.
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