The Rothschilds had been involved in the development of railways around the world and Brazil was no exception. As early as 1858 they issued their first loans to Brazilian railway companies, the Bahia and San Francisco Railway Company and the Don Pedro Segundo Railway Company, followed by the São Paulo (Brazilian) Railway Company in 1859. Further loans were issued to these companies over the years, and the Western of Minas Railroad was added to their number in 1893. The railways opened up Brazil's interior: immigrants poured in and coffee planting expanded enormously.
The map shown here accompanied a loan prospectus for the Bahia and San Francisco Railway Company, issued in 1884 to raise around £300,000 to fund a branch line. The products - and potential products - of the interior that could be brought to the port of Bahia by the railway are marked on the map.