Portuguese colonization of the Americas

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Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth, outside Europe, in 1494 into Spanish (Castilian) and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization. Portugal colonized parts of South America (mostly Brazil), but also some failed attempts to colonize North America in present day Canada.


Settlements in North America

In 1501 and 1502 the Corte-Real brothers explored Newfoundland and Labrador and claimed it to the Portuguese Crown. Soon, in 1506, King Manuel I created taxes for the fisheries of cod in Newfoundland bays. The colony of João Álvares Fagundes in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia was only five years old when it was abandoned. The foreign invasion of the homelands of the indigenous people was met with resistance and the main cause of the intruding project's failure.

Colonization of Brazil

Explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on April 22, 1500 in what is today Porto Seguro, Brazil. Permanent habitation did not begin until São Vicente was founded in 1532, although temporary trading posts were established earlier to collect brazilwood, used as a dye.

With permanent settlement came the establishment of the sugar cane industry and its intensive labor demands which were met with Native and later African slaves. The capital, Salvador, was established in 1549 at the Bay of All Saints. The first Jesuits arrived the same year.

From 1565 through 1567, Mem de Sá, a Portuguese colonial official and the third Governor General of Brazil, successfully destroyed a ten year-old French colony called France Antarctique, at Guanabara Bay. He and his nephew, Estácio de Sá, then founded the city of Rio de Janeiro on March 1567.

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