Martim Afonso de Sousa

Martim Afonso de Sousa

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Martim Afonso de Sousa was a Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 fidalgo
Fidalgo
Fidalgo , from Galician and Portuguese filho de algo—sometimes translated into English as "son of somebody" or "son of some "—is a traditional title used in Portugal to refer to a member of the titled or untitled nobility...

and explorer.

Born in Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa
Vila Viçosa is a municipality in Portugal with a total area of 195.0 km² and a total population of 8,745 inhabitants.The municipality is composed of 5 parishes, and is located in the District of Évora....

, he was commander of the first official Portuguese expedition into mainland Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. Threatened by the presence of French and Dutch ships along the coast of Brazil, the Portuguese crown in December 1530 sent a fleet with 400 people led by Martim Afonso de Sousa to establish control and explore. His mission was to place Portuguese markers as far south as the River Plate estuary, but he was shipwrecked there.

Upon return to São Vicente
São Vicente, São Paulo
São Vicente is a coastal city of southern São Paulo, Brazil. Its estimated population in 2006 was 329,370 inhabitants.It was the first Portuguese permanent settlement in the Americas and the first capital of the Captaincy of São Vicente, now the state of São Paulo...

 and Santos (today South America's busiest port), in 1532 he led troops guided by the native inhabitants and by earlier Portuguese settlers such as João Ramalho up the Serra do Mar mountains to the area near the future village of São Paulo
São Paulo
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world's seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among...

 (today South America's largest city). On the high plateau, he founded the town of Santo André, today an industrial suburb of São Paulo. He also established a sugar mill near the coast at São Vicente, with sugarcane brought from the Portuguese Cape Verde islands. In both activities, Afonso de Sousa established a pattern followed by Portuguese colonizers and Brazilians for long afterward: the "entradas" and "bandeiras" – or explorations and raids into the interior – and the production of sugar along the coast for export.

Sousa was the first Royal Governor of Brazil. He settled in the north-east region of the modern country.

Afonso de Sousa also acquired Diu, in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 for Portugal in 1535.

He died in Lisbon in 1571.

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