The paper provides historical perspectives on regional economic inequalities in Brazil making use of a database on Brazilian municipalities from 1872 to 2000. A suit of maps and graphs describe the geographic forces shaping the historical development of the Brazilian economy highlighting the role of transport costs, and its consequences for the spatial dynamics of income per capita and labor productivity. The next section estimates econometric models of growth convergence for municipal income per capita and labor. For the 20th century analyses are refined in two ways: first, by disaggregating the models for urban and rural activities; second, by enlarging the model to take account of the determinants of spatial growth convergence. Empirical results endorse the preeminence of geographic factors in contrast to institutional conditions. The final section summarizes the results and proposes research extensions. The Appendix describes the database.