BCHP 004 - Colonial Era, 1500-1630 (Quick History #2)

November 18, 2015

As I mentioned in the show, this doesn't cover nearly as much as I had naively planned when first setting the podcast up. I suspect this is a trend that will continue with the rest of the (not so) quick history episodes. So it goes. I'd rather cover things at an appropriate level of detail than slavishly stick to a schedule. I hope you agree.

My guess is that we will not finish the colonial period with the next episode, but who knows. I have most of the reading I want to do for the colonial period done, but have not started writing. Regardless of how far we get in the next episode, I should be able to turn it around fairly quickly, since I have almost no research to do for it.



Below are a few maps to accompany the show as well as a timeline, list of Portuguese terms I used and the longer list of names, places, and events that are mention. This lists should be complete, but if I missed something, let me know and I'll add it.


The approximate locations of the Spain-Portugal dividing line according to Pope Alexander and later the Treaty of Tordesilhas. Also includes the Saragossa line, which in essence defined the location of the Tordesilhas line on the other side of the world.



A rough map of the locations of the various tribes inhabiting the coast around 1600. Of course the boundaries were not so sharp and many territories overlapped and intermingled, so I'm certain one could find inaccuracies if they want. 



A summary of the various holdings at various times (i.e. it's not a snapshot in time) of the Portuguese Empire


Hans Staden account links

As mentioned in the show, links to the story of Hans Staden, a German gunner who worked for the Portuguese and was captured by Indians and later ransomed by the French.

As aventuras de Hans Staden, Portuguese introduction accompanying a facsimile of the 1557 German edition

The Captivity of Hans Staden of Hesse, in A.D. 1547-1555, Among the Wild Tribes of Eastern Brazil, the only English translation I could find. Published in 1874 and includes annotations by Sir Richard Francis Burton (!).

Viagem ao Brasil na Biblioteca Nacional Digital, in Portuguese in case you hadn't guessed.


Dates, Places, People, Terms


1492 - Columbus reaches the Americas.

1498 - Vasco de Gama reaches India.

1500 - Pedro Álvares Cabral leading a 2nd voyage to India veers far to the west and arrives at the coast of Brazil on April 22nd then claims it for Portugal.

1501 - Gonçalo Coelho's voyage, explores coast in Rio-SP area.

1502-1530 - Feitoria (trading fort) phase, traded with Indians for Brazilwood.

1532 - Donataria of São Vicente founded in the present-day state of São Paulo by Martim Afonso de Sousa and 400 colonists.

1532-???? - Settlement/colonization phase.

1540c - majority of the donatarias have been abandoned or are struggling.

1549 - Tomé de Sousa appointed 1st governor-general of Brazil.

1550-1600 - Portuguese and French expansion triggers conflict with various Indians tribes.

1553 - São Paulo founded.

1555 - Frenchman Nicolas Durand de Villegaignon founds France Antarctique near the site of present-day Rio de Janeiro.

1558 - Mem de Sá becomes governor-general.

1565-67 - Rio de Janeiro is founded and French expelled.

1581 - Crowns of Portugal & Spain are united when Felipe II of Spain becomes Filipe I of Portugal

1600c - European Population Portuguese America reaches 30,000, the vast majority in Bahia and Pernambuco.

1615 - French fort of St. Louis is taken by the Portuguese, effectively ending French presence in Brazil.

1616 - Belém founded at mouth of Amazon.

1621 - Dutch West Indies Company (WIC) founded.

1624 - WIC captures Salvador, but it is retaken by the Portuguese the next year.

1630 - In Pernambuco, WIC forces capture Olinda and Recife.


Portuguese terms

donataria - large area of land granted by the crown to a donatário, also known as a captaincy.

donatário - the owner of a donataria

feitoria - garrisoned trading post

aldeamento - mission settlement, in Brazil most of these were run by Jesuits

mameluca - girl or woman of a white & Indian union

mameluco - boy or man of a white & Indian union

mulatta - a girl or woman of a white & African union

mulatto - a boy or man of a white & African union


People, Places, and Events

Battle at Alcácer Quibir - the disastrous battle that precipitated the take-over of the Portuguese thrown by the Spanish.

Cabo Frio - the first feitoria established in Brazil

Cardinal Henrique - King of Portugal, 1578-1580 and the last before the 60 year period of Spanish rule.

Diego de Lepe - the second Spaniard to explore the coast of Brazil

Duarte Coelho - the donatário of the donataria of Pernambuco, one of the two successful donatarias.

Duarte Pacheco - a Portuguese navigator who may have explored Brazil's coast 2 years before Pedro Álvares Cabral

Estácio de Sá - nephew of Mem de Sá, killed defeating the French in Brazil

Felipe II - King of Spain, 1556-1598. Also, for various periods of ruler of Naples, and England and Ireland. Became King of Portugal as well in 1580.

Filipe I - Felipe II's title as ruler of Portugal

Gonçalo Coelho - leader of the 2nd voyage to Brazil

Hans Staden - A German mariner who sailed with the Portuguese, captured by the Tupinambá

Igarassu (sometimes Igaraçu) - a city in Pernambuco founded by Duarte Coelho

João III - King of Portugal, 1521-1557

Manuel I - King of Portugal, 1495-1521

Martim Afonso de Sousa - commander of small fleet dispatched by King João III to secure Brazil against the Dutch & French

Mem de Sá - 3rd governor-general of Brazil, founder of the city of Rio de Janeiro

Olinda - a city in Pernambuco founded by Duarte Coelho

Pedro Álvares Cabral - (probably) the first Portuguese captain to reach Brazil

Rio da Prata (Spanish: Río de la Plata) - a river that reaches the Atlantic near, but on the Spanish side of, the Tordesilhas line; considered by Portugal to be the 'natural' boundary between their and Spain's holdings in southern South America

Salvador - first capital of Brazil and current capital of the state of Bahia

Sebastião I - king of Portugal from 1557-1568 (minority) and 1568-1578. Killed at the Battle of Alcácer Quibir.

São Vicente - the first permanent settlement in Brazil, in present-day São Paulo

Tabajara - a Tupí tribe that lived in the coastal areas of the present-day states from Pernambuco to Ceará.

Tomé de Sousa - 1st governor-general of Brazil

Treaty of Tordesilhas (Spanish: Tordesillas) - treaty between Portugal & Spain that divided the (heathen) world between them for purposes of trade, colonization and religious conversion

Tupinambá - a Tupí tribe from the donataria of Maranhão

Tupí - the name of one of the major families of South American languages as well as the peoples who speak them

Vincente Pinzón - the first Spaniard to explore the coast of Brazil




All books this time:

"1493", by Charles C. Mann

"A History of Portugal and the Portuguese Empire", volumes 1 & 2, A. R. Disney

"Brazil: Five Centures of Change", Thomas E. Skidmore

"1565: Enquanto o Brasil nascia", Pedro Doria