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Soon after, in 1492, Spain also began to sail. The Spanish expelled the Arabs who dominated their territory and hired the great Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who intended to reach the Indies by another route.
Believing in the sphericity of the earth, Columbus intended to take the circumnavigation trip: he would go west to reach the east. This was the western cycle.
This trip was possible, but what Columbus did not know was that instead of arriving in the Indies, he would discover a new continent.
On October 12, 1492, after two months of travel, he reached mainland: it was the islands of Central America. He, however, thought he had arrived in the Indies.
Only more tare is that Amerigo Vespucci, another Italian navigator, found that it was not the Indies but a new continent, so the new land took its name from America.
When Columbus returned to Europe and communicated the outcome of his trip, Portugal coveted these lands and demanded from Spain a treaty to share the uncovered or undiscovered lands with him.
In order to resolve the dispute between the two countries, I called Pope Alexander VI, who made the Bull Inter Coetera:an imaginary meridian would be drawn 100 leagues from the islands of Cape Verde.
The lands to the west would belong to Spain and to the east to Portugal.
Portugal was severely damaged by the treaty: it did not own any stretch of land from the new continent. Therefore, he refused and demanded another. The new treaty, drawn up directly between the governments of Spain and Portugal, was named after Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). It established an imaginary meridian 370 leagues west of Cape Verde; the lands to the west would belong to Spain and to the east to Portugal.
Thus, Portugal had a part of Brazil even before its official discovery. The sector of the Brazilian territory that remained for Portugal went from the current city of Belém do Pará to Laguna, in Santa Catarina. It corresponds to approximately one third of current Brazil.
Brazil and the Indies
Although Portugal insisted on securing possession of the western lands, he was still interested in the trade of Asian products, and for that purpose it was necessary to continue the search for the sea route to the Indies.
In 1498, a new fleet was organized, commanded by Vasco da Gama. Following the path already determined by Bartolomeu Dias, Vasco da Gama reached the Indian Ocean and thus managed to reach the much sought after Indies. It landed in the Calicute region, the commercial center of spices. Thus the sea route to the Indies was discovered.
It was now necessary to establish trade with this region. For this reason, in 1500, King D. Manuel the Blunt organized the squad of Pedro Alvares Cabral, which aimed to:
- found a Portuguese shopping center in the Indies;
- officialize the discovery of Brazil.
Cabral left Portugal with his large squadron on March 9, 1500.
He crossed the Atlantic Ocean, which at that time was known as the Ocean Sea, and on April 21st saw the first signs of land: seagrass and birds. The next day, April 22, he spotted the land itself. The fleet then landed in a safe haven called Porto Seguro (today Cabrália Bay, in the present state of Bahia) and remained there for ten days.
As Caminha said in his letter: “… first a very tall, round hill with many lower mountain ranges to the south…”
The mountain was named after mount pascoal, by the proximity of the feast of Easter and the earth, Vera Cruz Island, in the name of the king of Portugal.
On April 26, the first Mass was celebrated by Friar Henrique Soares at the Coroa Vermelha Island.
On May 1st the second Mass was prayed, now on land, and with this ritual the official possession of the land for Portugal was also given.
On May 2, Cabral continued his journey to the Indies, leaving two deposed here.
Brazil had three names: initially, Vera Cruz Islandbecause it was supposed to be just an island and not a huge territory; proven the error, became Holy Cross Land. The current name, Brazil, is due to the red-colored wood, existing here, called redwood.