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History of Brazil

The Real Discovery

Brazil Travel / History – Brazil was officially discovered by Portuguese navigator and explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral. During Easter, on April 22, 1500, his squadron sighted Mount Pascoal on the so-called Discovery Coast, 50 km south of Porto Seguro (Bahia). His journey is related in the famous letter of Pêro Vaz de Caminha. Until today it is unclear when, where and, above all, who really discovered Brazil.

The notes in the manuscript Esmeraldo De Situ Orbis of Portuguese cosmographer Duarte Pacheco Pereira (signer of the Treaty of Tordesillas) indicate that he himself, by orders of king D. Manuel I, had explored already the Brazilian coast in 1498.

Other documents proove that in January and March 1500, the Spanish explorer Vincente Yáñez Pinzón, who in 1492 together with Christopher Columbus discovered America and his cousin Diego de Lepe had reached the Brazilian coast at today's state of Pernambuco. As these territories, according to the Treaty of Tordesillas, belonged officially to Portugal, these expeditions don´t appear in the mayority of documentations regarding Brazil's discovery.

The description of the first geographical features of Brazil's coastline only occurred during the second official expedition to Brazil (May 1501 - September 1502) and are documented in the Lettera of Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Depending on the historian, either Gaspar de Lemos, captain of one of the supply ships of Cabral's fleet and bearer of Pero Vaz de Caminha's letter to king D. Manuel I, or Gonçalo Coelho are quoted as commanders of this expedition.

The exact route of this expedition can easily be reconstructed by the help of the Roman catholic calendar of saints: Cabo de São Roque (16.08.1501), Rio São Francisco (04.10.1501), Baía de Todos os Santos / Salvador (01.11.1501), Baía de Guanabara / Rio de Janeiro (01.01.1502), Angra dos Reis / Ilha Grande (06.01.1502), Ilha de São Sebastião (20.01.1502), São Vicente (22.01.1502) – Rainforest Tours / Brazil.

See also: History of Brazil / Tour Porto Seguro - Salvador