History of Portugal

Discovery of Brazil
The 2nd Portuguese India Armada's landing in Brazil. ©Oscar Pereira da Silva
1500 Apr 22

Discovery of Brazil

Porto Seguro, State of Bahia,

In April 1500, the second Portuguese India Armada, headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral, with a crew of expert captains, including Bartolomeu Dias and Nicolau Coelho, encountered the Brazilian coast as it swung westward in the Atlantic while performing a large "volta do mar" to avoid becalming in the Gulf of Guinea. On 21 April 1500, a mountain was seen that was named Monte Pascoal, and on 22 April, Cabral landed on the coast, in Porto Seguro. Believing the land to be an island, he named it Ilha de Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross). The previous expedition of Vasco da Gama to India already recorded several signs of land near its western open Atlantic Ocean route, in 1497. It has also been suggested that Duarte Pacheco Pereira may have discovered the coasts of Brazil in 1498, possible its northeast, but the exact area of the expedition and the explored regions remain unclear. On the other hand, some historians have suggested that the Portuguese may have encountered the South American bulge earlier while sailing the "volta do mar" (in the Southwest Atlantic), hence the insistence of King John II in moving the line west of the line agreed upon in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494. From the east coast, the fleet then turned eastward to resume the journey to the southern tip of Africa and India. Landing in the New World and reaching Asia, the expedition connected four continents for the first time in history.

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Last Updated: Sat Jan 28 2023