Getúlio Vargas

Getúlio Vargas, uno de los presidentes más importantes de Brasil, con muchos niños en el Parque Quinta da Boa Vista de Río de Janeiro en 1943.

Hello, my friends! Ready for another history Dica? Quick question, do you know who was Getúlio Vargas? Have you heard about the Estado Novo (New State) in Brazil? Do you have any guesses what it could be? Let’s learn about it now and see some of the achievements!

Who is Getúlio Vargas?

Getúlio Vargas’ biography is very extensive, so let’s try to make it short! He was born on April 19th, 1882 in São Borja, Rio Grande do Sul, and was a Brazilian lawyer and politician who ended a period called República Velha (The Old Republic) and started the period called Estado Novo (The New State). Vargas was the president for two different periods, 1930 – 1945 and 1951 – 1954.

 First Government of Getúlio Vargas (1930 – 1945)

Who is Getúlio Vargas? Getúlio Vargas criou a CLT (Consolidação das Leis do Trabalho) .

Before Getúlio, the republic system in Brazil was only for the elite and consisted only of presidents elected from São Paulo and Minas Gerais, alternating back and forth. This was also called Política Café com Leite (Coffee and Milk Politics), since the economy in São Paulo was based on coffee production and the economy of Minas Gerais was based on dairy production. Getúlio led a movement to empower the population, the ordinary man, that gained force amongst the people and who eventually elected him president, creating a centralized government based on socialist values, populism and unfortunately ending in dictatorship. Let’s learn a bit about the Estado Novo in Brazil (the New State)!

The Estado Novo in Brazil created by Getúlio Vargas

We know that elections in Brazil take place every four years, but Getúlio Vargas was a much loved figure and he decided he deserved to stay in power longer, without the necessity for elections. Some historians say that the tactic used by him to stay in power was to create a political rumour (some very creative gossip lol) saying that there was a communist threat in Brazil called the “Cohen Plan”.

Yes, two years earlier the communist party did try to take power in Brazil, but the attempt was unsuccessful! But due to this, congress had given Vargas more powers and approved the creation of the “National Security Court”.

So Vargas declared a state of emergency and ended the Legislative area and changed the 1934 Constitution (almost ended it!) so that he could have all the power in his own hands, creating what we call the “New State” (Estado Novo). The Estado Novo in Brazil lasted for almost nine years (1937-1945) and nowadays it is seen by some as a coup d’état governed by an almost totalitarian constitution.

The Estado Novo and its achievements and controversies

Despite the fact that Getúlio was known as a “man of the people”, this period was also known for the censorship of the media and the arts, such as theatre, cinema and music, and the censorship of political and social manifestations.

But even with these issues, Getúlio Vargas is still admired by many in Brazil to this day, mainly for the creation of an infrastructure to help the population and labor laws introduced and still applicable today, which guarantee workers’ rights protecting the employees from exploitation. Previously these laws tended to be favorable to employers and ruling classes and not for the population.

Below are some of the main achievements of this period:

  • He created the Labor Justice system in 1939.
  • He promoted workers’ rights, such as minimum wage, paid vacations, fixed weekly working hours, etc.
  • Vargas also created the CSN (National Siderurgic Company) and Vale do Rio Doce Company, demonstrating his investments in national infrastructure.

He left the government due to a military coup in 1945. Even though he left the government at this time, he would return to the presidency in 1951, democratically elected by the people in elections.

Getúlio Vargas’ Second Government (1951 – 1954)

Who is Getúlio Vargas? A Petrobrás foi criada no segundo governo de Vargas em 1953.

After leaving the presidency in 1945, Getúlio Vargas was elected to be a senator for Rio Grande do Sul in 1946. In 1951, he ran for presidency again and had a landslide victory over his opponents. He kept his socialist politics, but remained and respected being a democratically elected president and this time not changing the laws to become a dictator.

He also created a campaign called O petróleo é nosso! (The oil is ours!) The campaign advocated for prohibiting foreign companies from drilling for oil on Brazilian territory. Right after this movement, Petrobrás, the national oil company, was created by his government.

The end of the Vargas Era and his suicide

In 1954, the political environment in Brazil was tense and problematic. There were strong critics in the press attacking the Vargas government. Military officers were also unhappy with some decisions that they considered a left wing  concern being made by Vargas. The people were also very unhappy because of the difficult economic situation that the country was facing.

Because of this, there was an enormous pressure on Vargas to resign, and conspiracy theories arose in the media. Vargas, unable to accept the criticism, committed suicide at his residence, Palácio do Catete, in 1954 by shooting himself in the chest and wrote a long letter explaining his sadness and dedicating his life, and death, to the Brazilian population.  Well, some people have their doubts about it…some say that he was murdered but it has never been proved. Crazy, right? What do you think?

Now that you’ve learned some important Brazilian history, are you ready to practice your Portuguese? Check this out!

Now it’s your turn!

Answer the questions below with the correct information about Getúlio Vargas:

  1. De qual estado era Getúlio Vargas?
  2. Quantas vezes ele foi presidente?
  3. Em qual governo ele foi eleito democraticamente?
  4. Cite três ações criadas por Getúlio Vargas?
  5. Em que ano a Petrobrás foi criada?
  6. Como Getúlio Vargas morreu?

That’s it, friends! Who is Getúlio Vargas? Now you know! Subscribe to A Dica do Dia for more Portuguese lessons or follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see more of our school.

Bye, bye!
Hugs from Rio de Janeiro!

Ler esta Dica em Português         Leer esta Dica en Español
Click here to see more related Dicas
Who is Chico Buarque?
Who is Paulo Coelho
Brazilian Singer Caetano Veloso
Job Market in Portuguese


  1. Rio Grande do Sul
  2. 2 vezes
  3. No segundo governo
  4. Direitos trabalhistas, Companhia Vale do Rio Doce e a Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional
  5. Em 1953
  6. Ele se suicidou


This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Search for Portuguese Dicas

Tell us which Portuguese lesson you would like to learn


Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Suscribe to A Dica do Dia.

Get free Portuguese lessons. Subscribe to A Dica do Dia and get short, daily lessons in Portuguese completely free.

Based on 321 reviews
I’ve just started online classes with Prof. Ana Carolina & she is the absolute best! It’s my first time learning Portuguese and I was speaking full sentences in the first class. Obrigada!
Katie Andrews
Katie Andrews
Small classes, diverse accents, and engaging professors make Rio & Learn Online a fantastic choice! I've been thrilled with my experience at Rio & Learn Online so far. The small class sizes (around 1-3 others students) allow for personalized attention and plenty of opportunities to practice speaking. What's more, having different professors throughout the program exposes you to various accents, preparing you for real-world interactions. I opted for the full-time program, which involves 2 hours of daily learning from Monday to Friday. After just over 12 weeks, I can confidently say my Portuguese has improved dramatically. The professors are incredibly engaging and encourage students to utilize real-life examples, solidifying the learning process. While I'm only halfway through the program, I'm confident in recommending Rio & Learn Online to anyone seeking to learn Portuguese in a supportive and effective environment. I've gone from being a complete beginner (only knowing hi and bye) to holding conversations - and I'm excited to see how much further I can progress! I'll be back with another review after completing the program, but for now: Rio & Learn Online - highly recommended!
Mona Hinamanu
Mona Hinamanu
I have been taking Portuguese classes with Rio and Learn for a few months. I appreciate their methodology. It is enjoyable and I am challenged and improving every day!
Bryan Beaver
Bryan Beaver
My teachers Lucas, Ana Paula and Paulo were all excellent as well as very friendly and funny. It was a really enjoyable experience and I met loads of interesting new people.
David Smith
David Smith
Rio & Learn e um novo jeito de ensinar a lingua portuguesa. Puro prazer e muito eficiente. Quanto mais alunos na aula mais vida. Eu aconselho voces escolher as aulas grupais por porque sao interativas: rir, falar, argumentar, compartir uma lingua!
Dominique Jacquin
Dominique Jacquin
Après 3 semaines que je suis dans cette école et je peux déjà parler portugais. Certe avec des erreurs mais j'ai fait des progrès fulgurant. En plus, du Lundi au Vendredi l'ecole propose des activitées qu'il appelle "Rio Live" ce qui permet de visiter en même temps Rio tout en parlant Portugais et de rencontrer des gens😃 Toute l'équipe est genial et est prêts à aider si besoin 😁
I've been taking the group online courses with Rio&Learn for 2 months. They offer a fantastic way to learn Portuguese and get speaking practice if you don't live in Brazil. The teachers are engaging and are able to adjust their level of Portuguese to whatever level you are at. Obrigado!
Jake H
Jake H
C'est vraiment fantastique...RioAndLearn. Les cours de portugais...ça vaut vraiment la peine. Les cours ont lieu du lundi au vendredi, (de 9h à 13h) et en après midi, ce sont des activités libres en groupe. (Soccer de plage, volleyball , excursions, visites des lieux touristiques, etc) Vendredi soir, on est allé à Lapa, un quartier nocturne de Rio. C'est quelque chose à voir! Des rues bondées de monde, des orchestres, des discothèques...Allô les décibels! L'apprentissage du portugais se fait en immersion, aussi bien en salle de classe que dans les activités extérieures organisées par Rio&Learn. On est plongé dans la langue portugaise et la culture Brésilienne.... Obligé de parler portugais....🫡 Je le recommande. Pierre Pedro, Montréal, Canada
M54 “M5454” 54
M54 “M5454” 54