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History of Brazil

PÍro Vaz de Caminha

pero vaz de caminha
Brazil Tours / Culture – The letter of PÍro Vaz de Caminha, secretary of Cabral's squadron, nowadays archived at the National Museum of Torre do Tombo (Lisbon), relates the official discovery of Terra da Vera Cruz (Brazil) by Pedro Ńlvares Cabral between April 22 and May 1, 1500.

According to this letter, on April 22, after 44 days on sea, Cabral's fleet sighted an isolated round hill, which, due to the easter time, they baptized Mount Pascoal. The fleet anchored 6 leagues (about 35 km) from the Brazilian coast.

On April 23, they anchored about 3 km from the mouth of the Frade river. Captain Nicolau Coelho was chosen to step on land in order to make the first contact with the Tupiniquim Indians already waiting for them on the beach.

On April 24, due to strong winds, the fleet sailed northwards in search for a safe haven. After 10 leages (45 km), they passed the mouth of river Buranhťm (today Porto Seguro) and spotted a sheltered reef north of present Coroa Vermelha islet south of CabrŠlia Bay.

On Easter Sunday, April 26, the Franciscan Father, Frei Henrique de Coimbra, celebrated the first mass in the new world, which was assisted by 200 Tupiniquim Indians.

Based on the Treaty of Tordesillas and in the name of the Portuguese crown, Cabral took officially possession of the new territory. On may 2, Gaspar de Lemos, captain of Cabral's supply ship, was ordered to return to Lisbon in order to deliver the Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha to King D. Manuel I of Portugal.

Cabral resumed his voyage on May 3, 1500. By the end of the month the fleet approached the Cape of Good Hope, where it was struck by a storm in which four vessels were lost. Cabral continued to India to trade for pepper and other spices, establishing a factory at Calicut, where he arrived on September 13. He started on the return voyage on January 16, 1501, and returned to Portugal, on June 23, 1501, with only 4 of the originally 13 ships – Cultural Tours / Brazil.

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