History and characteristics of Baía de Todos os Santos

All Saints Bay in 1625
All Saints Bay in 1625

Todos os Santos Bay is an indentation of the Brazilian coastline located in the state of Bahia.

It is the second largest bay in the world (after the Gulf of Bengal) and the largest in Brazil. Its extension is 1.233 km², with an average depth of 9,8 meters, reaching up to 42 meters, with diving visibility between 10 and 20 meters.

From it came the name of the captaincy, province and current Brazilian state. The federative unit, however, kept the letter 'h' in the noun, according to the spelling of the Portuguese language at the time.

See the map of Baía de Todos os Santos

To get an idea of ​​the size of this bay, it has approximately the area of ​​the municipality of Rio de Janeiro, the second largest metropolis in Brazil.

Documentary Video about the Bay of All Saints

Documentary about the Bay of All Saints

History of the Bay of All Saints

The wide and deep bay enchanted navigators, pirates and settlers, as well as aroused the interest of the Portuguese government for being an excellent natural anchorage, a strategic defensive site, with fishy waters and land with good fertility.

It was named in 1501 when a Portuguese expedition commanded by Gaspar de Lemos and accompanied by Américo Vespucci, Italian cartographer and writer, who would name the entire American continent, was sent to map the new lands, discovered a year earlier by Pedro Álvares Cabral.

Historic map of the Bay of All Saints from 1616.
Historic map of the Bay of All Saints from 1616.

It was the 1st of November, All Saints' Day in the tradition of the Catholic religion.

By custom, all geographic features were named according to the saints of the days where they were identified – the bay, therefore, having this name.

The strategic relevance of Baía de Todos os Santos, associated with the existence of hills and geographic features to the east (relief that would allow the medieval custom of fortifying cities), were decisive for Tomé de Sousa later to choose the region to found, by orders of the king of Portugal, the city that would be the seat of the first capital of the Portuguese colony – Salvador.

Cradle of Portuguese colonial civilization in the Americas, Todos os Santos Bay was home to the largest export port in the Southern Hemisphere in the XNUMXth century, from where Bolivian silver and Brazilian sugar were shipped to European cities. African slaves of the New World.

Characteristics of the Bay of All Saints

Penetrating 80 km into the continent, Baía de Todos os Santos has a coastline of 300 km, being in reality a small gulf composed of three bays, Aratu Bay which currently houses the facilities of the Port of Aratu and the Landulfo Refinery Alves. Its margins have one of the largest oil reserves in mainland Brazil.

From one bar to the other of the bay, the width is 14 meters, and from Ponta da Penha to Ponta de Itaparica we are approximately 9 km long.

The eastern edge of Todos os Santos Bay is marked by a straight and steep tectonic escarpment, the escarpment of Salvador, the most beautiful example of an ancient crystalline edge of a coastal tectonic trench existing in all of South America.

Due to its many panoramic views from the top of the escarpment, the city of Salvador is also known as the city-belvedere.

Islands in the Bay of All Saints

The Todos os Santos Bay was considered the target of a preservation measure, through State Decree 7.595 (of June 5, 1999), as an environmental protection area – APA Baía de Todos os Santos.

It includes the waters of the bay and its islands. Covers the municipalities of Cachoeira, Candeias, Itaparica, Jaguaripe, Madre de Deus, Maragogipe, Salinas da Margarida, Salvador, Santo Amaro, São Francisco do Conde, Saubara, Simões Filho and Vera Cruz.

Bahia.ws – Tourism and Travel Guide for Bahia, Salvador and Northeast


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