Discovery Coast of Brazil – History of Brazil

History of the Discovery Coast - Discovery of Brazil
History of the Discovery Coast

The history of the Discovery Coast can begin to be told from April 22, 1500, when Pedro Álvares Cabral’s squadron sighted a rounded elevation – the Monte Pascoal, which lies south of Bahia.

In search of a safe place to dock, the thirteen vessels sailed along the coast heading north and ended up anchoring, just before dusk on April 24, in a wide, deep-water cove that would later be called Cabrália Bay, in the present-day city of Santa Cruz Cabrália.

When he left on May 2, Cabral left two convicts there with the mission of learning the language and customs of the Tupiniquin Indians, as well as two grumetes who deserted to venture into the lush tropical forests.

View the map Costa do Descobrimento

View the map of Porto Seguro beaches

It was the beginning of the occupation of the new lands by white men.

Watch the videos about the Discovery of Brazil

It was the beginning of the occupation of the new lands by white men.

In 1532, when the Brazilian coast was already constantly plundered by corsairs in search of brazilwood and news circulated of the discovery of precious metals in Spanish America, Portugal decided to promote the occupation of the territory through the system of hereditary captaincies.

The Captaincy of Porto Seguro, whose domains extended from the right bank of the Jequitinhonha River to the left bank of the Doce River, was granted to Pero Campos de Tourinho, a Portuguese nobleman from Viana do Castelo.

In 1534, after selling everything he owned, he left for Brazil in two caravels and two ships, bringing his wife, his sons Fernão and André, relatives and settlers – 600 people in all.

In the same year, he orders the foundation of the village of Nossa Senhora da Pena, where today is the upper town of Porto Seguro, and the transfer of the village of Santa Cruz to an elevation near the mouth of the river João de Tiba, further north, in the current municipality of Santa Cruz Cabrália.

With the creation of the captaincy, the economy diversifies. The town became a base from which expeditions to the interior of the country were organized in search of stones and precious metals. Sugar mills were also set up in the region.

However, the village continued to be attacked by the Aimoré. This unstable situation was common to most captaincies. Portuguese settlers ended up dead, their houses destroyed and crops burned down.

The failure of the captaincies led Portugal to install a general government in Salvador in 1549. In addition to troops and ships prepared to defend the coast, the first governor-general, Tomé de Souza, brought with him the Jesuits to catechize the gentiles.

This religious order was instrumental in promoting colonization. The Jesuits arrived in the Porto Seguro region in the same year as the installation of the general government.

In addition to residences such as that of Salvador, located in the town of Nossa Senhora da Pena itself, they also founded Jesuit villages in other parts of the captaincy where they attracted Indians willing to be catechized in exchange for protection against slavery. This was the case of the villages of São João dos Índios, now Trancoso, and Ajuda.

The captaincy of Porto Seguro remained virtually undeveloped until the mid-18th century.

In 1760, the Marquis of Pombal inaugurated a new policy for the Portuguese colony, expelling the Jesuits and incorporating the captaincy into the Crown. This measure somewhat improved the situation of poverty that prevailed in those parts. In the 19th century, the village survived on fishing and boat building, as well as logging and agriculture.

In 1954, construction began on the Rio-Bahia highway, the BR-101. On the one hand, the highway brought some development to the region.

On the other hand, it created the conditions for the devastation of much of the forest that still existed there. With the completion of the BR-101 highway in 1972, Porto Seguro would begin a new period in its history by becoming one of the most sought-after Brazilian tourist destinations.

In addition to the monuments, churches and houses, the beautiful landscape that saw Cabral’s squadron pass through also evokes history. In 1976, the entire municipality was listed as a National Historic Site.

History of the Discovery Coast of Brazil

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hide picture