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History of Brazil

The Official Discovery

pedro álvares de cabral
Historical Tours / Brazil – Despite the arrival of other Europeans at the Brazilian coast prior to 1500 (see real discovery), the Ilha de Vera Cruz (Brazil) was officially discovered by the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral.

Six years after the Treaty of Tordesillas and two years after the discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco da Gama, King D. Manuel I determined Pedro Álvares Cabral to command a second expedition to India.

With the objective to strengthen Portugal's presence in that region, the (until than) largest Portuguese naval expedition, composed of 13 vessels and 1.200 to 1.500 men was organized.

The Armada left Belém (Lisboa) on March 9, 1500, arriving at the Canarian Islands on March 14. On March 23, the fleet passed the archipelago of Cape Verde where they lost their first ship.

End of March and for unknown reasons, the fleet abandoned its official route to India, changing the course to southwest. Until today, this unexpected change lead to speculations among the historians about the intentionality (or not) of Brazil's discovery by Cabral.

During Easter, on April 22, 1500, after 44 days of sailing, his fleet sighted Mount Pascoal, on the so-called Discovery Coast, 50 km south of the present city of Porto Seguro (South Bahia).

The details of the discovery, including the first contact with the Tupiniquim Indians are related in the famous letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha, secretary of Cabral's fleet, to Portuguese King D. Manuel I – Brazil Tours / Culture.

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