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History of Brazil

Captaincies

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Brazil / Travel & Tours – Still in São Vicente, in a letter dated September 28, 1532, Martim Afonso de Sousa was informed that King John III of Portugal had decided to divide Brazil, east of the Tordesillas - line and parallel to the Equator, in 15 stripes of variable size, the so-called hereditary captaincies (capitanias hereditárias). Similar to the other Portuguese colonies, the administration of these captaincies was passed to 12 Portuguese noblemen, the so-called donatários ou capitães - mores.

In recognition of his services in Brazil from 1531 to 1533, Martim Afonso became donatário of the São Vicente captaincy (letter from January 20, 1532). It was divided into two sections, between Cananéia and Bertioga and between Caraguatatuba and Macaé. His younger brother, Pero Lopes de Sousa, received the intermediate part between Bertioga and Caraguatatuba, the captaincy of Santo Amaro.

With the exception of the two captaincies of São Vicente and Pernambuco, where the donatários, with the help of middlemen achieved to establish a reasonable relationship with the Indians, this administrative regime of Brazil's colonial history failed and King John III was forced to introduce an general government.

In 1549, Tomé de Sousa, the first of about 30 Brazilian general governors arrived in Salvador, the countries first capital, and with him the first Jesuits. The hereditary captaincies were transformed into general captaincies – Rainforest Tours / Brazil.

See also: History of Brazil