Cover of An Economic and Demographic History of São Paulo, 1850-1950 by  Francisco Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein
An Economic and Demographic History of São Paulo, 1850-1950
Francisco Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein


February 2018
472 pages.

Cloth ISBN: 9781503602007



São Paulo, by far the most populated state in Brazil, has an economy to rival that of Colombia or Venezuela. Its capital city is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the world. How did São Paulo, once a frontier province of little importance, become one of the most vital agricultural and industrial regions of the world?

This volume explores the transformation of São Paulo through an economic lens. Francisco Vidal Luna and Herbert S. Klein provide a synthetic overview of the growth of São Paulo from 1850 to 1950, analyzing statistical data on demographics, agriculture, finance, trade, and infrastructure. Quantitative analysis of primary sources, including almanacs, censuses, newspapers, state and ministerial-level government documents, and annual government reports offers granular insight into state building, federalism, the coffee economy, early industrialization, urbanization, and demographic shifts. Luna and Klein compare São Paulo's transformation to other regions from the same period, making this an essential reference for understanding the impact of early periods of economic growth.

About the authors

Francisco Vidal Luna is Professor of Economics at Universidade de São Paulo.

Herbert S. Klein is the Gouveneur Morris Professor Emeritus at Columbia University and Research Fellow and Curator at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

They are co-authors of Slavery and the Economy of São Paolo, 1750–1850 (Stanford, 2003).

"A major undertaking by two eminent scholars on one of the most important regions in Latin America. Weaving together rich scholarship, original research, and extensive historical data, Luna and Klein offer a sorely-needed synthesis of the facets that contributed to São Paulo's evolution from modest agricultural province into Brazil's economic leader. This accessible volume offers an excellent case for comparative research on the developing world and areas of recent settlement, and will be welcomed by historians of Brazil and Latin America."

—Anne Hanley, Northern Illinois University