Salvador was born as a strong city, or at least that was what King João III of Portugal wanted, and while it was the capital or Head of Brazil, there was constant concern to defend it.
The prominence of the fortifications in the landscape of the city of Salvador certainly represents the imposition of the tactical and strategic need to position them in an elevated location, with privileged visibility for the surrounding areas.
The history of Salvador began with its foundation in 1549 to be the capital of Brazil (it remained so until 1763, when the seat of the Viceroyalty was transferred to Rio de Janeiro).
The city of Salvador served as the stage for the most remarkable events of the first three centuries of our colonial history.
The main Atlantic port for the ships of the “return of the sea”, on the spice route to the Orient, it initially prospered with the export of sugar produced in the mills of the Recôncavo Baiano (the geographical area around the Baia de Todos os Santos) and later with trade between the Colony and Portugal.
Salvador’s history began in 1501, when the first expedition to reconnoiter the land discovered by Pedro Álvares Cabral came across a large and beautiful bay – named Baía de Todos os Santos by the navigator Américo Vespúcio because it was discovered on November 1st.
Videos about the Foundation and History of Salvador de Bahia
The great gulf then became a reference point for navigators, becoming one of the busiest ports on the American continent.
Some of Salvador’s historical records from the time relate facts that are relevant to the history of the City of Salvador da Bahia, such as the saga of the Portuguese castaway Diogo Álvares who, in 1509, was taken in by the Tupinambá tribe who lived on the coast of the lands that would later belong to Salvador.
Called Caramuru, Diogo Álvares married the daughter of the chief Taparica, the Indian Paraguaçu, baptized in 1528 in France with the name Catarina Alvares.
Caramuru played an important role in the construction of the city ordered by the King of Portugal João III, who appointed Captain Thomé de Souza to be the governor-general of Brazil.
The fleet, captained by the ship Conceição, carried more than a thousand people in six vessels: the ships Conceição, Salvador and Ajuda, two caravels and a bergantim. After a 56-day voyage, the squadron was greeted with celebrations by Caramuru and the Tupinambás.
Thomé de Souza remained in office until July 1553 and returned to Lisbon a month later, replaced by Governor-General Duarte da Costa.
With the arrival of African slaves at the end of the 16th century, the city prospered due to the economic influence of port activities and the production of sugar in the Recôncavo.
In 1583, Salvador had two squares, three streets and around 1600 inhabitants.
The wealth of the capital attracted the attention of foreigners, who launched expeditions to conquer it. Lootings and bombardments of Salvador’s port by privateers were frequent at the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century.
With the union of the Portuguese and Spanish crowns in 1580, the interests of foreign maritime trade were thwarted and, when the peace treaty between Spain and the Netherlands expired, the West India Company (formed by Jewish and European merchant capitals) attacked Salvador in May 1624, where it remained until April 1625, when its soldiers were expelled by the armada of 40 ships sent by Spain.
In 1638, another invasion attempt (this time led by Maurício de Nassau) was unsuccessful. Salvador remained the capital of Portuguese America until 1763, when the seat of the Viceroyalty was transferred to the city of Rio de Janeiro.
However, as the capital of the Province of Bahia, the city maintained its political and economic importance and, in 1808, welcomed the Portuguese royal family (fleeing Napoleon’s troops).
On that occasion, Prince Regent João VI opened the ports to friendly nations and founded the Medical-Surgical School of Bahia, in Terreiro de Jesus (Pelourinho), which was to become Brazil’s first medical school.
The libertarian conscience of the population of Salvador gave rise to various protest movements, most notably the Conjuration of the Tailors, in which a group of rebels, unhappy with Portuguese rule, tried to found the Bahian Republic.
In 1823, even after the proclamation of Brazilian independence, Bahia continued to be occupied by the Portuguese troops of Brigadier Madeira de Mello.
Even after the proclamation, patriotic militias entered the city via Estrada das Boiadas, now Rua Lima e Silva, in the Liberdade neighborhood.
The date became a civic reference for Bahians, celebrated annually with intense popular participation.
History of the Founding of Salvador de Bahia
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