1. Education
  • Share

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:

http://historymedren.about.com/library/text/bltxtportugal23.htm

was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Portugal: Historical Setting
Library of Congress Country Study

Colonization of Brazil

The growth of Portuguese interests in the Americas was slow, the king being absorbed with establishing Portuguese hegemony in Asia. In addition, the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, arranged by Pope Alexander VI, divided the unexplored world between Spain and Portugal and forbade Portugal from exploring beyond a meridian drawn 1,600 kilometers miles west of the Cape Verde Islands. In 1502 Fernão Noronha was given a three-year commercial monopoly on dyewood in return for exploring 300 leagues (about 1,500 kilometers) of the Brazilian coast each year. During the last years of Manuel I's reign, the first colonists were sent to Brazil to establish a sugar industry. Additional colonists were sent during the reign of João III, and, in 1530, Martim Afonso de Sousa was named major captain of Brazil and invested with the power to distribute land among captains or donatários, much as had been done in Madeira when it was colonized a century before. These captaincies were large strips of land that extended from the coast into the interior. The captains settled colonists in their respective captaincies and were required to provide them protection and justice. As the captaincies were independent of one another, they were unable to defend themselves from foreign pirates. Consequently, João III appointed a governor general with authority over the captaincies. The first governor general, Tomé de Sousa, was appointed in 1549 and established his capital at São Salvador da Baía. He defeated French pirates in a naval engagement in the bay of Rio de Janeiro. Intensified colonization under de Sousa began in the form of coastal settlements and spread to the interior. The colonists cultivated indigenous crops, especially manioc, and introduced new ones such as wheat, rice, grapes, oranges, and sugarcane from Madeira and São Tomé. Sugar soon became Brazil's most important export.

 

Portugal: Historical Setting
Library of Congress Country Study

Empire in Asia <<< Contents >>> Counter-Reformation

Printer-friendly version

 


This document is in the public domain. You may copy, download, print and distribute this work as you see fit.

Every effort has been made to present this text accurately and cleanly, but no guarantees are made against errors. Neither Melissa Snell nor About.com may be held liable for any problems you experience with the text version or with any electronic form of the document.

 

More about Medieval Iberia

Index of Library of Congress Country Study Histories

Index of Electronic Texts

The Library of Congress Website

 

xnavibox

 

 

More at the Medieval History Site

FAQs
Quizzes
Today in Medieval History
Medieval Clip Art

Subscribe to the Newsletter
Name
Email

 

 

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.