Pedro Álvares Cabral

Pedro Álvares Cabral

Overview
Pedro Álvares Cabral (ˈpeðɾu ˈaɫvɐɾɨʃ kɐˈβɾaɫ in European Portuguese
European Portuguese
European Portuguese refers to the variety of Portuguese spoken in continental Portugal, as well as the Azores and Madeira islands...

 or ˈpedɾʊ ˈaʊ̯vaɾɪs kaˈbɾaʊ̯ in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects written and spoken by most of the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Japan and Paraguay....

; c. 1467 or 1468 – c. 1520) 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...

 noble, military commander, navigator
Navigator
A navigator is the person on board a ship or aircraft responsible for its navigation. The navigator's primary responsibility is to be aware of ship or aircraft position at all times. Responsibilities include planning the journey, advising the Captain or aircraft Commander of estimated timing to...

 and explorer regarded as the discoverer of 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...

. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education.
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Pedro Álvares Cabral (ˈpeðɾu ˈaɫvɐɾɨʃ kɐˈβɾaɫ in European Portuguese
European Portuguese
European Portuguese refers to the variety of Portuguese spoken in continental Portugal, as well as the Azores and Madeira islands...

 or ˈpedɾʊ ˈaʊ̯vaɾɪs kaˈbɾaʊ̯ in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects written and spoken by most of the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Japan and Paraguay....

; c. 1467 or 1468 – c. 1520) 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...

 noble, military commander, navigator
Navigator
A navigator is the person on board a ship or aircraft responsible for its navigation. The navigator's primary responsibility is to be aware of ship or aircraft position at all times. Responsibilities include planning the journey, advising the Captain or aircraft Commander of estimated timing to...

 and explorer regarded as the discoverer of 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...

. Cabral conducted the first substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 and claimed it for Portugal. While details of Cabral's early life are sketchy, it is known that he came from a minor noble family and received a good education. He was appointed to head an expedition to India in 1500, following Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

's newly opened route around Africa. The object of the undertaking was to return with valuable spices and to establish trade relations in India—bypassing the monopoly on the spice trade then in the hands of Arab, Turkish and Italian merchants.

His fleet of 13 ships sailed far into the western Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, perhaps intentionally, where he made landfall on what he initially assumed to be a large island. As the new land was within the Portuguese sphere according to the Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

, Cabral claimed it for the Portuguese Crown. He explored the coast, realizing that the large land mass was probably a continent, and dispatched a ship to notify King Manuel I
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

 of the new territory. The continent was South America, and the land he had claimed for Portugal later came to be known as Brazil. The fleet reprovisioned and then turned eastward to resume the journey to India.

A storm in the southern Atlantic caused the loss of several ships, and the six remaining ships eventually rendezvoused in the Mozambique Channel
Mozambique Channel
The Mozambique Channel is a portion of the Indian Ocean located between the island nation of Madagascar and southeast Africa, primarily the country of Mozambique. It was a World War II clashpoint during the Battle of Madagascar...

 before proceeding to Calicut
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

 in India. Cabral was originally successful in negotiating trading rights, but Arab merchants saw Portugal's venture as a threat to their monopoly and stirred up an attack by both Muslims and Hindus on the Portuguese entrepôt
Entrepôt
An entrepôt is a trading post where merchandise can be imported and exported without paying import duties, often at a profit. This profit is possible because of trade conditions, for example, the reluctance of ships to travel the entire length of a long trading route, and selling to the entrepôt...

. The Portuguese sustained many casualties and their facilities were destroyed. Cabral took vengeance by looting and burning the Arab fleet and then bombarded the city in retaliation for its ruler having failed to explain the unexpected attack. From Calicut the expedition sailed to the Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin
Kingdom of Cochin was a late medieval Hindu kingdom and later Princely State on the Malabar Coast, South India...

, another Indian city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

, where Cabral befriended its ruler and loaded his ships with coveted spices before returning to Europe. Despite the loss of human lives and ships, Cabral's voyage was deemed a success upon his return to Portugal. The extraordinary profits resulting from the sale of the spices bolstered the Portuguese Crown's finances and helped lay the foundation of a Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 that would stretch from the Americas to the Far East.

Cabral was later passed over, possibly as a result of a quarrel with Manuel I, when a new fleet was assembled to establish a more robust presence in India. Having lost favor with the King, he retired to a private life of which few records survive. His accomplishments slipped mostly into obscurity for more than 300 years. Decades after Brazil's independence from Portugal in the 19th century, Cabral's reputation began to be rehabilitated by Emperor Pedro II of Brazil
Pedro II of Brazil
Dom Pedro II , nicknamed "the Magnanimous", was the second and last ruler of the Empire of Brazil, reigning for over 58 years. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he was the seventh child of Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil and Empress Dona Maria Leopoldina and thus a member of the Brazilian branch of...

. Historians have long argued whether Cabral was Brazil's discoverer, and whether the discovery was accidental or intentional. The first question has been settled by the observation that the few, cursory encounters by explorers before him were barely noticed at the time and contributed nothing to the future development and history of the land which would become Brazil, the sole Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. On the second question, no definite consensus has been formed, and the intentional discovery hypothesis lacks solid proof. Nevertheless, although he was overshadowed by contemporary explorers, Cabral today is regarded as a major figure of the Age of Discovery
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

.

Early life



Little is certain regarding Pedro Álvares Cabral's life before, or following, his voyage which led to the discovery of Brazil. He was born in 1467 or 1468—the former year being the more likely—at Belmonte, about 30 kilometres (18.6 mi) from present-day Covilhã
Covilhã
Covilhã is a city in Covilha Municipality in Centro region, Portugal. The city proper has 36,723 inhabitants, and the municipality has an area of 555.6 km² with a total population of 53,501, being composed of 31 parishes. It is located in the Cova da Beira subregion, in the district of...

 in central Portugal
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...

. He was a son of Fernão Álvares Cabral and Isabel Gouveia—one of five boys and six girls in the family. Cabral was christened Pedro Álvares de Gouveia and only later, supposedly upon his elder brother's death in 1503, did he begin using his father's surname. The coat of arms of his family was drawn with two purple goats on a field of silver. Purple represented fidelity, and the goats were derived from the family name (cabral pertains to goats in English). However, only his elder brother was entitled to make use of the family arms.

Family lore said that the Cabrais were descendants of Caranus, the legendary first king of Macedonia. Caranus was, in turn, a supposed 7th-generation scion of the demigod Hercules
Hercules
Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

. Myths aside, the historian James McClymont believes that another family tale might hold clues to the true origin of Cabral's family. According to that tradition, the Cabrais derive from a Castilian
Castilian people
The Castilian people are the inhabitants of those regions in Spain where most people identify themselves as Castilian. They include Castile-La Mancha, Madrid, and the major part of Castile and León. However, not all regions of the medieval Kingdom of Castile think of themselves as Castilian...

 clan named the Cabreiras who bore a similar coat of arms. The Cabral family rose to prominence during the 14th century. Álvaro Gil Cabral (Cabral's great-great-grandfather and a frontier military commander) was one of the few Portuguese nobles to remain loyal to Dom
Dom (title)
Dom is a title of respect prefixed to the given name. It derives from Latin Dominus.It is used in English for certain Benedictine and Carthusian monks, and for members of certain communities of Canons Regular. Examples include Benedictine monks of the English Benedictine Congregation...

 João I
John I of Portugal
John I KG , called the Good or of Happy Memory, more rarely and outside Portugal the Bastard, was the tenth King of Portugal and the Algarve and the first to use the title Lord of Ceuta...

, King of Portugal during the war against
1383–1385 Crisis
The 1383–1385 Crisis was a period of civil war in Portuguese history that began with the death of King Ferdinand I of Portugal, who left no male heirs, and ended with the accession to the throne of King John I in 1385, in the wake of the Battle of Aljubarrota.In Portugal, this period is also known...

 the King of Castile. As a reward, João I presented Álvaro Gil with the hereditary fiefdom of Belmonte.

Raised as a member of the lower nobility, Cabral was sent to the court of King Dom Afonso V
Afonso V of Portugal
Afonso V KG , called the African , was the twelfth King of Portugal and the Algarves. His sobriquet refers to his conquests in Northern Africa.-Early life:...

 in 1479 at around age 12. He received an education in the humanities
Humanities
The humanities are academic disciplines that study the human condition, using methods that are primarily analytical, critical, or speculative, as distinguished from the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences....

 and learned to bear arms and fight. He would have been roughly age 17 on 30 June 1484 when he was named moço fidalgo (noble page; a minor title then commonly granted to young nobles) by King Dom João II
John II of Portugal
John II , the Perfect Prince , was the thirteenth king of Portugal and the Algarves...

. Records of his deeds prior to 1500 are extremely fragmentary, but Cabral may have campaigned in North Africa, as had his ancestors and as was commonly done by other young nobles of his day. King Dom Manuel I
Manuel I of Portugal
Manuel I , the Fortunate , 14th king of Portugal and the Algarves was the son of Infante Ferdinand, Duke of Viseu, , by his wife, Infanta Beatrice of Portugal...

, who had acceded to the throne two years previously, awarded him an annual allowance worth 30,000 reais
Portuguese real
The real was the unit of currency of Portugal from around 1430 until 1911. It replaced the dinheiro at the rate of 1 real = 840 dinheiros and was itself replaced by the escudo at a rate of 1 escudo = 1000 réis...

on 12 April 1497. He was concurrently given the title fidalgo (noble) in the King's Council and was named a Knight of the Order of Christ
Order of Christ (Portugal)
The Military Order of Christ previously the Royal Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ was the heritage of the Knights Templar in Portugal, after the suppression of the Templars in 1312...

. There is no contemporary image or detailed physical description of Cabral. It is known that he had a strong build and matched his father's 1.9 metre height. Cabral's character has been described as well-learned, courteous, prudent, generous, tolerant with enemies, humble, but also vain and too concerned with the respect he felt his honor and position demanded.

Fleet commander-in-chief



On 15 February 1500, Cabral was appointed Capitão-mor (literally Major-Captain, or commander-in-chief) of a fleet sailing for India
2nd Portuguese India Armada (Cabral, 1500)
The Second Portuguese India Armada was assembled in 1500 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of Pedro Álvares Cabral. Cabral's armada famously discovered Brazil for the Portuguese crown along the way...

. It was then the custom for the Portuguese Crown to appoint nobles to naval and military commands, regardless of experience or professional competence. This was the case for the captains of the ships under Cabral's command—most were nobles like himself. The practice had obvious pitfalls, since authority could as easily be given to highly incompetent and unfit people as it could fall to talented leaders such as Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

 or Dom João de Castro
João de Castro
Dom João de Castro was a Portuguese naval officer and fourth viceroy of Portuguese India. He was called Castro Forte by poet Luís de Camões. Castro was the son of Álvaro de Castro, civil governor of Lisbon...

.

Scant details have survived regarding the criteria used by the Portuguese government in its selection of Cabral as head of the India expedition. In the royal decree naming him commander-in-chief, the only reasons given are "merits and services". Nothing more is known about these qualifications. Historian William Greenlee argued that King Manuel I "had undoubtedly known him well at court". That, along with the "standing of the Cabral family, their unquestioned loyalty to the Crown, the personal appearance of Cabral, and the ability which he had shown at court and in the council were important factors". Also in his favor may have been the influence of two of his brothers who sat on the King's Council. Given the political intrigue present at court, Cabral may have been part of a faction that furthered his appointment. The historian Malyn Newitt subscribes to some sort of ulterior maneuvering and has said that the choice of Cabral "was a deliberate attempt to balance the interests of rival factions of noble families, for he appears to have no other quality to recommend him and no known experience in commanding major expeditions."

Cabral became the military chief, while far more experienced navigators were seconded to the expedition to aid him in naval matters. The most important of these were Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias
Bartolomeu Dias , a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer who sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European known to have done so.-Purposes of the Dias expedition:...

, Diogo Dias
Diogo Dias
Diogo Dias, also known as Diogo Gomes, was a 15th-century Portuguese explorer. He was the brother of Bartolomeu Dias and discovered some of the Cape Verde islands together with António Noli....

 and Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho
Nicolau Coelho was an expert Portuguese sailor during the age of discovery. He participated in the discovery of the route to India by Vasco da Gama where he commanded Berrio, the first caravel to return; was captain of a ship in the fleet headed by Pedro Álvares Cabral who landed in Brazil...

. They would, along with the other captains, command 13 ships and 1,500 men. Of this contingent, 700 were soldiers, although most were simple commoners who had no training or previous experience in combat.

The fleet had two divisions. The first division was composed of nine naus (carrack
Carrack
A carrack or nau was a three- or four-masted sailing ship developed in 15th century Western Europe for use in the Atlantic Ocean. It had a high rounded stern with large aftcastle, forecastle and bowsprit at the stem. It was first used by the Portuguese , and later by the Spanish, to explore and...

s) and two round caravel
Caravel
A caravel is a small, highly maneuverable sailing ship developed in the 15th century by the Portuguese to explore along the West African coast and into the Atlantic Ocean. The lateen sails gave her speed and the capacity for sailing to windward...

s, and was headed to Calicut (today more often known as Kozhikode
Kozhikode
Kozhikode During Classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, Kozhikkode was dubbed the "City of Spices" for its role as the major trading point of eastern spices. Kozhikode was once the capital of an independent kingdom of the same name and later of the erstwhile Malabar District...

) in India with the goal of establishing trade relations and a factory (trading post)
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

. The second division, consisting of one nau and one round caravel, set sail for the port of Sofala
Sofala
Sofala, at present known as Nova Sofala, used to be the chief seaport of the Monomotapa Kingdom, whose capital was at Mount Fura. It is located on the Sofala Bank in Sofala Province of Mozambique.-History:...

 in what is today Mozambique
Mozambique
Mozambique, officially the Republic of Mozambique , is a country in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi and Zambia to the northwest, Zimbabwe to the west and Swaziland and South Africa to the southwest...

. In exchange for leading the fleet, Cabral was entitled to 10,000 cruzados (an old Portuguese currency equivalent to approximately 35 kg of gold) and the right to purchase 30 t (33.1 ST; 29.5 LT) of pepper
Black pepper
Black pepper is a flowering vine in the family Piperaceae, cultivated for its fruit, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. The fruit, known as a peppercorn when dried, is approximately in diameter, dark red when fully mature, and, like all drupes, contains a single seed...

 at his own expense for transport back to Europe. The pepper could then be resold, tax-free, to the Portuguese Crown. He was also allowed to import 10 boxes of any other kind of spice, duty-free. Although the voyage was extremely hazardous, Cabral had the prospect of becoming a very rich man if he returned safely to Portugal with the cargo. Spices were then rare in Europe and keenly sought-after.
An earlier fleet had been the first to reach India by circumnavigating Africa. That expedition had been led by Vasco da Gama and returned to Portugal in 1499. For decades Portugal had been searching for an alternate route to the East, in order to bypass the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

 which was under the control of the Italian Maritime Republics and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. Portugal's expansionism would lead first to a route to India, and later to worldwide colonization. A desire to spread Catholic Christianity to pagan lands was another factor motivating exploration. There also was a long tradition of pushing back Muslims, which stemmed from Portugal's fight for nationhood against the Moors. The fight expanded first to North Africa and eventually to the Indian subcontinent. An additional ambition which galvanized the explorers was the search for the mythical Prester John
Prester John
The legends of Prester John were popular in Europe from the 12th through the 17th centuries, and told of a Christian patriarch and king said to rule over a Christian nation lost amidst the Muslims and pagans in the Orient. Written accounts of this kingdom are variegated collections of medieval...

—a powerful Christian king with whom an alliance against Islam could be forged. Finally, the Portuguese Crown sought a share in the lucrative West African trade in slaves and gold, and India's spice trade
Spice trade
Civilizations of Asia were involved in spice trade from the ancient times, and the Greco-Roman world soon followed by trading along the Incense route and the Roman-India routes...

.

Departure and arrival in a new land


The fleet under the command of the 32–33-year old Cabral departed from Lisbon on 9 March 1500 at noon. The previous day it had been given a public send-off which included a Mass and celebrations attended by the King, his court and a huge crowd. On the morning of 14 March the flotilla passed Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria
Gran Canaria is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of 838,397 which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago...

, the largest island in the Canary Islands
Canary Islands
The Canary Islands , also known as the Canaries , is a Spanish archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara. The Canaries are a Spanish autonomous community and an outermost region of the European Union...

. It sailed onward to Cape Verde
Cape Verde
The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, spanning an archipelago of 10 islands located in the central Atlantic Ocean, 570 kilometres off the coast of Western Africa...

, a Portuguese colony situated on the West African coast, which was reached on 22 March. The next day, a nau commanded by Vasco de Ataíde
Vasco de Ataíde
Vasco de Ataíde was a Portuguese sailor who commanded a ship of the expedition of Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil. We know little about him as his brother Pero de Ataíde...

 with 150 men disappeared without a trace. The fleet crossed the Equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

 on 9 April, and sailed westward as far as possible from the African continent in what was known as the volta do mar
Volta Do Mar
"Volta do mar", "volta do mar largo" or "volta do largo", is a navigational technique perfected by Portuguese navigators during the Age of Discovery in the late fifteenth century, using the dependable phenomenon of the great permanent wind wheel, the North Atlantic Gyre...

(literally "turn of the sea") navigational technique. Seaweed
Seaweed
Seaweed is a loose, colloquial term encompassing macroscopic, multicellular, benthic marine algae. The term includes some members of the red, brown and green algae...

 was sighted on 21 April, which led the sailors to believe that they were nearing the coast. They were proven correct the next afternoon, Wednesday 22 April 1500, when the fleet anchored near what Cabral christened the Monte Pascoal
Monte Pascoal
Monte Pascoal is located at 16°53'47.73"S, 39°24'26.09"W; 62 km to the south of the city of Porto Seguro, in the state of Bahia, Brazil. According to history, it was the first part of land viewed by Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, allegedly the first European to arrive in Brazil, in...

 ("Easter Mount", it being the week of Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

). The spot is located on the northeast coast of present-day Brazil.
The Portuguese detected inhabitants on the shore, and all ships' captains gathered aboard Cabral's lead ship on 23 April. Cabral ordered Nicolau Coelho, a captain who had experience from Vasco da Gama's voyage to India, to go ashore and make contact. He set foot on land and exchanged gifts with the indigenous people. After Coelho returned, Cabral took the fleet north, where after traveling 65 kilometres (40.4 mi) along the coast, it anchored on 24 April in what the commander-in-chief named Porto Seguro
Porto Seguro
Porto Seguro is a municipality in the Brazilian state of Bahia. It is the site where the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral first set foot on Brazilian soil on April 22, 1500...

(Safe Port). The place was a natural harbor, and Afonso Lopes (pilot of the lead ship) brought two natives aboard to confer with Cabral.

As in the first contact, the meeting was friendly and Cabral presented the locals with gifts. The inhabitants were stone age
Stone Age
The Stone Age is a broad prehistoric period, lasting about 2.5 million years , during which humans and their predecessor species in the genus Homo, as well as the earlier partly contemporary genera Australopithecus and Paranthropus, widely used exclusively stone as their hard material in the...

 hunter-gatherers, to whom the Europeans assigned the generic label "Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

". The men collected food by stalking game, fishing and foraging, while the women engaged in small-scale farming. They were divided into countless rival tribes. The tribe which Cabral met was the Tupiniquim
Tupiniquim
Tupiniquim is the name of an Amerindian tribe who now only live in three reservations . All three are located in the municipality of Aracruz in northern Espírito Santo state, southeastern Brazil. As of 1997 their population was 1,386...

. Some of these groups were nomadic and others sedentary—having a knowledge of fire but not metalworking. A few tribes engaged in cannibalism. On 26 April, as more and more curious and friendly natives appeared, Cabral ordered his men to build an altar inland where a Christian Mass was held—the first celebrated on the soil of what would later become Brazil. He, along with the ships' crews, participated.

The following days were spent stockpiling water, food, wood and other provisions. The Portuguese also built a massive—perhaps 7 metres (23 ft) long—wooden cross. Cabral ascertained that the new land lay east of the demarcation line between Portugal and Spain that had been specified in the Treaty of Tordesillas. The territory was thus within the sphere allotted to Portugal. To solemnize Portugal's claim to the land, the wood cross was erected and a second religious service held on 1 May. In honor of the cross, Cabral named the newly discovered land Ilha de Vera Cruz
Ilha de Vera Cruz
Ilha de Vera Cruz was the first name given by the Portuguese navigators to the newly discovered land on the northeast coast of what later became known as Brazil...

(Island of the True Cross). The next day a supply ship under the command of either Gaspar de Lemos
Gaspar de Lemos
Gaspar de Lemos , Portuguese explorer and captain of the supply ship of Pedro Álvares Cabral's fleet that discovered Brazil. Sent back to Portugal with news of their discovery, he was credited by the Viscount of Santarém as having discovered the Fernando de Noronha archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean....

 or André Gonçalves
André Gonçalves
André Gonçalves , Portuguese explorer that accompanied Pedro Álvares Cabral in the discovery of Brazil. Gonçalves was one of Cabral's captains of the fleet. According to some sources he was sent back to Lisbon with important news and not Gaspar de Lemos ....

 (the sources conflict on who was sent) returned to Portugal to apprise the King of the discovery.

Tragedy off southern Africa



The fleet resumed its voyage on either 2 or 3 May 1500 and sailed along the east coast of South America. Cabral became convinced that he had found an entire continent, rather than an island. Around 5 May, the fleet veered eastwards towards Africa. On 23 or 24 May they encountered a storm in the South Atlantic's high-pressure zone, resulting in the loss of four ships. The exact location of the disaster is unknown—speculations range from near the Cape of Good Hope
Cape of Good Hope
The Cape of Good Hope is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula, South Africa.There is a misconception that the Cape of Good Hope is the southern tip of Africa, because it was once believed to be the dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. In fact, the...

 at the southern tip of the African continent to "within sight of the South American coast". Three naus and a caravel commanded by Bartolomeu Dias—the first European to reach the Cape of Good Hope in 1488—foundered, and 380 men were lost.

The remaining vessels, hindered by rough weather and damaged rigging, were separated. One ship that had been separated, commanded by Diogo Dias, wandered onward alone, and the other six ships were able to regroup. They gathered into two formations consisting of three ships each, and Cabral's group sailed east, past the Cape of Good Hope. Fixing their position and sighting land, they turned north and landed somewhere in the Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago
Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago
The Primeiras and Segundas Archipelago is a chain of 10 sparsely inhabited barrier islands and two coral reef complexes situated in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mozambique and near the coastal city of Angoche...

, off East Africa and north of Sofala
Sofala
Sofala, at present known as Nova Sofala, used to be the chief seaport of the Monomotapa Kingdom, whose capital was at Mount Fura. It is located on the Sofala Bank in Sofala Province of Mozambique.-History:...

. The main fleet remained near Sofala ten days undergoing repairs. The expedition then went north, and on 26 May reached Kilwa Kisiwani
Kilwa Kisiwani
Kilwa Kisiwani is a community on an island off the coast of East Africa, in present day Tanzania.- History :A document written around AD 1200 called al-Maqama al Kilwiyya discovered in Oman, gives details of a mission to reconvert Kilwa to Ibadism, as it had recently been effected by the Ghurabiyya...

, where Cabral made an unsuccessful attempt to negotiate a treaty with its king.

From Kilwa Kisiwani, the fleet departed to Malindi
Malindi
Malindi is a town on Malindi Bay at the mouth of the Galana River, lying on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya. It is 120 kilometres northeast of Mombasa. The population of Malindi is 117,735 . It is the capital of the Malindi District.Tourism is the major industry in Malindi. The city is...

, which was reached on 2 August. Cabral met with its king, with whom he established friendly relations and exchanged gifts. Pilots were recruited at Malindi for the last leg to India and the fleet set sail. Land was reached at Anjadip
Anjadip Island
Anjadip Island is an island in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Canacona in the South Goa district, Goa, India. Legally and constitutionally, it remains a part of Goa, although there is a widespread misconception that it is a part of the Karnataka state off whose coast it lies.-History:Anjediva,...

, an island frequented by ships to obtain supplies on their way to Calicut. Here the ships were beached, recaulked and painted. Final arrangements were put into place for the encounter with the ruler of Calicut.

Massacre in Calicut


The fleet departed Anjadip and arrived in Calicut on 13 September. Cabral successfully negotiated with the Zamorin
Saamoothiri
Zamorin is the title used by the Hindu Eradi Samanthan kshatriya rulers of the erstwhile late medieval feudal kingdom of Kozhikode located in the present day state of Kerala, India....

 (the title of the ruler of Calicut) and obtained permission to establish a factory and a warehouse. In hopes of further improving relations, Cabral dispatched his men on several military missions at the Zamorin's request. However, on 16 or 17 December, the factory suffered a surprise attack by some 300 (according to other accounts, perhaps as many as several thousand) Muslim Arabs and Hindu Indians. Despite a desperate defense by crossbowmen, more than 50 Portuguese were killed. The remaining defenders retreated to the ships, some by swimming. Thinking that the attack was the result of unauthorized incitement by jealous Arab merchants, Cabral waited 24 hours for an explanation from the ruler of Calicut, but no apology was forthcoming.

The Portuguese were outraged by the attack on the factory and the death of their comrades and seized 10 Arab merchant ships at anchor in the harbor. Around 600 of their crews were killed and the cargoes confiscated before the merchantmen were set afire. Cabral also ordered his ships to bombard Calicut for an entire day in reprisal for the violation of the agreement. The massacre was blamed in part on Portuguese animosity towards Muslims, which had developed over centuries of conflict with the Moors on the Iberian peninsula and in North Africa. Moreover, the Portuguese were determined to dominate the spice trade and had no intention of allowing competition to flourish. The Arabs also had no desire to allow the Portuguese to break their monopoly on access to spices. The Portuguese had started out by insisting on being given preferential treatment in every aspect of the trade. The letter from King Manuel I brought by Cabral to the ruler of Calicut, which was translated by the ruler's Arab interpreters, sought the exclusion of Arab traders. The Muslim merchants believed that they were about to lose both their trading opportunities and livelihoods, and attempted to sway the Hindu ruler against the Portuguese. The Portuguese and Arabs were extremely suspicious of each other's every action.

Historian William Greenlee has argued that the Portuguese realized that "they were few in numbers and that those who would come to India in the future fleets would always be at numerical disavantage; so that this treachery must be punished in a manner so decisive that the Portuguese would be feared and respected in the future. It was their superior artillery which would enable them to accomplish this end." Thus, they created a precedent for European behavior in Asia
Gunboat diplomacy
In international politics, gunboat diplomacy refers to the pursuit of foreign policy objectives with the aid of conspicuous displays of military power — implying or constituting a direct threat of warfare, should terms not be agreeable to the superior force....

 during the following centuries.

Return to Europe


Warnings in reports from Vasco da Gama's voyage to India had prompted King Manuel I to brief Cabral regarding another port to the south of Calicut where he could also trade. This city was Kochi
Kochi
-Places:* Kochi, a city in the state of Kerala, India, formerly known as Cochin* Kingdom of Cochin, a former feudal city-state on Malabar Coast, India** Fort Kochi, one of the three main urban components which constitute the present day city of Kochi, Kerala, India...

 and the fleet set sail, reaching it on 24 December. Kochi was nominally a vassal of Calicut, as well as being dominated by other Indian cities. Kochi was eager to achieve independence, and the Portuguese were willing to exploit Indian disunity—as the British would three hundred years later. This tactic eventually ensured Portuguese hegemony over the region. Cabral forged an alliance with Kochi's ruler, as well with rulers of other Indian cities, and was able to establish a factory. At last, loaded with precious spices, the fleet went to Kannur
Kannur
Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

 for further trade before setting out on its return voyage to Portugal on 16 January 1501.

The expedition headed for the east coast of Africa. One of the ships became stranded on a sandbar and the vessel began to founder. As there was no space in the other ships, its cargo was lost and Cabral ordered the carrack to be set on fire. The fleet then proceeded to the Island of Mozambique
Island of Mozambique
The Island of Mozambique lies off northern Mozambique, between the Mozambique Channel and Mossuril Bay. It has a population of around 14,000 people and is part of Nampula Province.-History:...

 (northeast of Sofala), in order to take on provisions and make the ships ready for the rough passage around the Cape of Good Hope. One caravel was sent to Sofala—another of the expedition's goals. A second caravel, considered the fastest ship in the fleet and captained by Nicolau Coelho, was sent ahead to give the King advance notice of the voyage's success. A third vessel, commanded by Pedro de Ataíde, became separated from the fleet after leaving Mozambique.

On 22 May, the fleet—now reduced to only two ships—rounded the Cape of Good Hope. They arrived in Beseguiche (present-day Dakar
Dakar
Dakar is the capital city and largest city of Senegal. It is located on the Cap-Vert Peninsula on the Atlantic coast and is the westernmost city on the African mainland...

, located near Cape Verde) on 2 June. There they found not only Nicolau Coelho's caravel but also the nau captained by Diogo Dias—which had been lost for over a year following the disaster in the South Atlantic. The nau had experienced several adventures of its own and was now in poor condition with only seven sick and malnourished men aboard—one of whom was so weak that he died of happiness upon again seeing his comrades. Another Portuguese fleet was also found riding at anchor in Beseguiche. After Manuel I had been told of the discovery of present-day Brazil, he sent another and smaller fleet to explore it. One of its navigators was Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci was an Italian explorer, financier, navigator and cartographer. The Americas are generally believed to have derived their name from the feminized Latin version of his first name.-Expeditions:...

 (for whom the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 would be named), who told Cabral of his exploration, confirming that he had indeed made landfall on an entire continent and not merely an island.

Nicolau Coelho's caravel departed first from Beseguiche and arrived in Portugal on 23 June 1501. Cabral stayed behind, waiting for Pedro de Ataíde's missing ship and for the caravel that had been sent to Sofala. Both eventually appeared and Cabral arrived in Portugal on 21 July 1501, with the other vessels coming home during the following days. In all, two ships returned empty, five were fully loaded and six were lost. Nonetheless, the cargoes carried by the fleet returned up to 800% profit to the Portuguese Crown. Once sold, the proceeds covered the outlay in equipping the fleet, covered the cost of the vessels which had been lost, and cleared a profit which itself exceeded the total sum of those costs. "Undeterred by the unprecedented losses which he had sustained", asserts historian James McClymont, when Cabral "reached the East African coast, pressed forward to the accomplishment of the task which had been assigned to him and was able to inspire the surviving officers and men with like courage." "Few voyages to Brazil and India were so well executed as Cabral's", affirmed historian Bailey Diffie, which laid down a path leading to the immediate commencement "of a Portuguese seagoing empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 from Africa to the far East", and eventually to "a land empire in Brazil
Colonial Brazil
In the history of Brazil, Colonial Brazil, officially the Viceroyalty of Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to kingdom alongside Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.During the over 300 years...

".

Later years and death



Upon Cabral's return, King Manuel I began planning another fleet to make the journey to India and to avenge the Portuguese losses in Calicut. Cabral was selected to command this "Revenge Fleet
4th Portuguese India Armada (Gama, 1502)
The Fourth India Armada was assembled in 1502 on the order of King Manuel I of Portugal and placed under the command of D. Vasco da Gama. It was Gama's second trip to India...

", as it was called. For eight months Cabral made all preparations, but for reasons which remain uncertain, he was relieved of command. It had apparently been proposed to give another navigator, Vicente Sodré
Vicente Sodré
Vicente Sodré , was a 16th C. Portuguese knight of Order of Christ and the captain of the first Portuguese naval patrol in the Indian Ocean. He was an uncle of Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama.- Background :...

, independent command over a section of the fleet, and Cabral strongly opposed this. Whether he was dismissed or requested himself that he be relieved of command, the result was that when the fleet departed in March 1502, its commander was Vasco da Gama—a maternal nephew of Vicente Sodré—and not Cabral. It is known that hostility had developed between a faction supporting da Gama and another supporting Cabral. At some point, Cabral left the court permanently. The King was greatly irritated by the feud, to such an extent that mentioning the matter in his presence could result in banishment, as it did for one of da Gama's supporters.

Despite the loss of favor with Manuel I, Cabral was able to contract an advantageous marriage in 1503 to Dona (Lady
Lady
The word lady is a polite term for a woman, specifically the female equivalent to, or spouse of, a lord or gentleman, and in many contexts a term for any adult woman...

) Isabel de Castro, a wealthy noblewoman and descendant of King Dom Fernando I of Portugal
Ferdinand I of Portugal
Ferdinand I , sometimes referred to as the Handsome or rarely as the Inconstant , was the ninth King of Portugal and the Algarve, the second son of Peter I and his wife, Constance of Castile...

. Her mother was a sister of Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque
Afonso de Albuquerque[p][n] was a Portuguese fidalgo, or nobleman, an admiral whose military and administrative activities as second governor of Portuguese India conquered and established the Portuguese colonial empire in the Indian Ocean...

, one of the greatest Portuguese military leaders during the Age of Discovery. The couple had at least four children: two boys (Fernão Álvares Cabral and António Cabral) and two girls (Catarina de Castro and Guiomar de Castro). There were two additional daughters named Isabel and Leonor according to other sources, which also say that Guiomar, Isabel and Leonor joined religious orders. Afonso de Albuquerque attempted to intercede on Cabral's behalf and on 2 December 1514 asked Manuel I to forgive him and allow his return to court, but to no avail.

Suffering from recurrent fever and a tremor (possibly malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

) since his voyage, Cabral withdrew to Santarém in 1509. He spent his remaining years there. Only sketchy information is available as to his activities during that time. According to a royal letter dated 17 December 1509, Cabral was party to a dispute over a transaction involving property which belonged to him. Another letter of that same year reported that he was to receive certain privileges for an undisclosed military service. In 1518, or perhaps previously, he was raised from fidalgo to knight in the King's Council and was entitled to a monthly allowance of 2,437 reais. This was in addition to the annual allowance granted to him in 1497, and still being paid. Cabral died of unspecified causes, most probably in 1520. He was buried within Santarém's Convento de Graça (today the Asylo de São Antonio) in a side-chapel of the convent's church.

Posthumous rehabilitation



The first permanent Portuguese settlement in the land which would become Brazil was 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...

, which was established in 1532 by Martim Afonso de Sousa
Martim Afonso de Sousa
Martim Afonso de Sousa was a Portuguese fidalgo and explorer.Born in Vila Viçosa, he was commander of the first official Portuguese expedition into mainland Brazil...

. As the years passed, the Portuguese would slowly expand their frontiers westward, conquering more lands from both indigenous Americans and the Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

. Brazil had secured most of its present-day borders by 1750 and was regarded by Portugal as the most important part of its far-flung maritime Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

. On 7 September 1822, the heir of Portuguese King Dom João VI
John VI of Portugal
John VI John VI John VI (full name: João Maria José Francisco Xavier de Paula Luís António Domingos Rafael; (13 May 1767 – 10 March 1826) was King of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (later changed to just King of Portugal and the Algarves, after Brazil was recognized...

 secured the independence of Brazil
Brazilian Declaration of Independence
The Brazilian Independence comprised a series of political events occurred in 1821–1823, most of which involved disputes between Brazil and Portugal regarding the call for independence presented by the Brazilian Kingdom...

 from Portugal and, as Dom Pedro I, became its first Emperor.

Cabral's discovery, and even his resting place in the land of his birth, had been almost completely forgotten during the span of nearly 300 years since his expedition. This began to change beginning in the 1840s when Emperor Dom Pedro II, successor and son of Pedro I, sponsored research and publications dealing with Cabral's life and expedition through the Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute
Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute
The Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute , founded October 21, 1838, is the oldest and traditional authority to promote research and preservation of historical and geographical, cultural and social sciences in Brazil....

. This was part of the Emperor's ambitious larger plan to foster and strengthen a sense of nationalism among Brazil's diverse citizenry—giving them a common identity and history as residents of a unique
Exceptionalism
Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is "exceptional" in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles...

 Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

-speaking empire, surrounded by Hispanic-American Republics
Hispanic America
Hispanic America or Spanish America is the region comprising the American countries inhabited by Spanish-speaking populations.These countries have significant commonalities with each other and with Spain, whose colonies they formerly were...

. The initial resurgence of interest in Cabral had resulted from the rediscovery, in 1839, of his resting place by the Brazilian historian Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen
Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen
Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Viscount of Porto Seguro was a Brazilian military, diplomat and historian. He is the patron of the 39th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters.-Life:...

 (later Viscount of Porto Seguro). The completely neglected state in which Cabral's tomb was found nearly led to a diplomatic crisis between Brazil and Portugal—the latter then ruled by Pedro II's eldest sister, Maria II.

In 1871 the Brazilian Emperor—then on a trip to Europe—visited Cabral's gravesite and proposed an exhumation for scientific study, which was carried out in 1882. In a second exhumation during 1896, an urn containing earth and bone fragments was allowed to be removed. Although his remains still lay in Portugal, the urn was eventually brought to the old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro
The Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro dedicated to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is an old Carmelite church which served as cathedral of Rio de Janeiro from around 1808 until 1976. During the 19th century, it was also used as Royal and Imperial chapel by the Portuguese and Brazilian royal families...

 in Brazil on 30 December 1903. Cabral has since become a national hero in Brazil. In Portugal, however, he has been much overshadowed by his rival Vasco da Gama. Historian William Greenlee argued that Cabral's exploration is important "not only because of its position in the history of geography but because of its influence on the history and economics of the period." Though he acknowledges that few voyages have "been of greater importance to posterity", he also says that "few have been less appreciated in their time." Nevertheless, historian James McClymont affirmed that "Cabral's position in the history of Portuguese conquest and discovery is inexpungable despite the supremacy of greater or more fortunate men." He concluded that Cabral "will always be remembered in history as the chief, if not the first discoverer of Brazil."

Intentional discovery hypothesis



A controversy that has occupied scholars for more than a century concerns whether Cabral's discovery was by chance or intentional. If the latter, that would mean that the Portuguese had at least some hint that a land existed to the west. The matter was first raised by Emperor Pedro II in 1854 during a session of the Brazilian Historic and Geographic Institute, when he asked if the discovery might have been intentional.

Until the 1854 conference, the widespread presumption was that the discovery had been an accident. Early works on the subject supported this view, including História do Descobrimento e Conquista da Índia (History of the Discovery and Conquest of India, published in 1541) by Fernão Lopes de Castanheda
Fernão Lopes de Castanheda
Fernão Lopes de Castanheda was a Portuguese historian in the early Renaissance.His "History of the discovery and conquest of India", full of geographic and ethnographic objective information, was widely translated throughout Europe.- Life :Castanheda was the natural son of a royal officer, who...

, Décadas da Ásia (Decades of Asia, 1552) by João de Barros
João de Barros
João de Barros , called the Portuguese Livy, is one of the first great Portuguese historians, most famous for his Décadas da Ásia , a history of the Portuguese in India and Asia.-Early years:...

, Crônicas do Felicíssimo Rei D. Manuel (Chronicles of the most fortunate D. Manuel, 1558) by Damião de Góis
Damião de Góis
Damiao de Góis , born in Alenquer, Portugal, was an important Portuguese humanist philosopher. He was a friend and student of Erasmus. He was appointed secretary to the Portuguese factory in Antwerp in 1523 by King John III of Portugal...

, Lendas da Índia (Legends of India, 1561) by Gaspar Correia
Gaspar Correia
Gaspar Correia or Gaspar Corrêa was a Portuguese historian, author of "Lendas da Índia , one of the earliest and most important works about Portuguese rule in Asia, being referred to as a Portuguese Polybius.- Biography :There is little information about the life of the author...

, História do Brasil (History of Brazil, 1627) by friar Vicente do Salvador and História da América Portuguesa (History of Portuguese America, 1730) by Sebastião da Rocha Pita.

The first work to advocate the idea of intentionality was published in 1854 by Joaquim Noberto de Sousa e Silva, after Pedro II had opened the debate. Since then, several scholars have subscribed to that view, including Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Capistrano de Abreu
Capistrano de Abreu
João Capistrano de Abreu was a Brazilian historian. His works are characterized by a rigorous investigation of the sources and a critical view of the historical process....

, Pedro Calmon, Fábio Ramos and Mário Barata. Historian Hélio Vianna affirmed that "although there are signs of the intentionality" in Cabral's discovery, "based mainly in the knowledge or previous suspicion of the existence of lands at the edge of the South Atlantic", there are no irrefutable proofs to support it. This opinion is also shared by historian Thomas Skidmore
Thomas Skidmore
Thomas Elliot Skidmore is a noted historian and scholar specialized in Brazilian history.-Biography:Skidmore graduated in political science and philosophy in 1954 from Denison University. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to study philosophy at Oxford University where he met his wife Felicity. He...

. The debate on whether it was a deliberate voyage of discovery or not is considered "irrelevant" by historian Charles R. Boxer
C. R. Boxer
Charles Ralph Boxer FBA was a distinguished historian of Dutch and Portuguese maritime and colonial history.-Education and Military Career:...

. Historian Anthony Smith concludes that the conflicting contentions will "probably never be resolved".

Forerunners



Cabral was not the first European to stumble upon areas of present-day Brazil, not to mention other parts of South America. Roman coins have been found in today's Venezuela
Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

, northwest of Brazil, presumably from ships that were carried away by storm in ancient times
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

. Norsemen reached North America and even established settlements
Norse colonization of the Americas
The Norse colonization of the Americas began as early as the 10th century, when Norse sailors explored and settled areas of the North Atlantic, including the northeastern fringes of North America....

, though these ended in failure sometime before the end of the 15th century. Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

, on his third voyage to the New World in 1498, traveled along part of what would later become Venezuela.

In the case of Brazil, it was once considered probable that the Portuguese navigator Duarte Pacheco Pereira
Duarte Pacheco Pereira
Duarte Pacheco Pereira, called the Great, was a 15th century Portuguese sea captain, soldier, explorer and cartographer. He travelled particularly in the central Atlantic Ocean west of the Cape Verde islands, along the coast of West Africa and to India...

 had made a voyage to the Brazilian coast in 1498. This belief has since been dismissed, however, and it is now thought that he voyaged to North America instead. There is more certain evidence that two Spaniards, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón
Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was a Spanish navigator, explorer, and conquistador, the youngest of the Pinzón brothers...

 and Diego de Lepe, traveled along the northern coast of Brazil between January and March of 1500. Pinzón went from what is today Fortaleza
Fortaleza
Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. With a population close to 2.5 million , Fortaleza is the 5th largest city in Brazil. It has an area of and one of the highest demographic densities in the country...

 (capital of the Brazilian state of Ceará
Ceará
Ceará is one of the 27 states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Atlantic coast. It is currently the 8th largest Brazilian State by population and the 17th by area. It is also one of the main touristic destinations in Brazil. The state capital is the city of...

) to the mouth of the Amazon River
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

. There he encountered another Spanish expedition led by Lepe, which would reach as far as the Oyapock River in March. The reason Cabral is credited with having discovered Brazil, rather than the Spanish explorers, is because the visits by Pinzón and Lepe were cursory and had no lasting impact. Historians Capistrano de Abreu
Capistrano de Abreu
João Capistrano de Abreu was a Brazilian historian. His works are characterized by a rigorous investigation of the sources and a critical view of the historical process....

, Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen, Mário Barata and Hélio Vianna concur that the Spanish expeditions did not influence the development of what would become the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas—with a unique history, culture and society which sets it apart from the Hispanic-American societies which dominate the rest of the continent.

Nobility

  • Moço fidalgo on 30 June 1484.
  • Fidalgo in the King's Council on 1497.
  • Knight in the King's Council around 1518.

Honors

  • Knight of the Portuguese Order of Christ
    Order of Christ (Portugal)
    The Military Order of Christ previously the Royal Order of the Knights of Our Lord Jesus Christ was the heritage of the Knights Templar in Portugal, after the suppression of the Templars in 1312...

     awarded on 1497.

See also


  • Chronology of European exploration of Asia
    Chronology of European exploration of Asia
    This article attempts to list every significant event in the history of the European exploration of Asia. It proposes a chronological inventory of these events including every people involved and the places they helped to demystify ....

  • History of Brazil
    History of Brazil
    The history of Brazil begins with the arrival of the first indigenous peoples, thousands of years ago by crossing the Bering land bridge into Alaska and then moving south....

  • History of Portugal
    History of Portugal
    The history of Portugal, a European and an Atlantic nation, dates back to the Early Middle Ages. In the 15th and 16th centuries, it ascended to the status of a world power during Europe's "Age of Discovery" as it built up a vast empire including possessions in South America, Africa, Asia and...

  • Timeline of European exploration
    Timeline of European exploration
    The following timeline covers European exploration from 1418 to 1948.The fifteenth century witnessed the rounding of the feared Cape Bojador and Portuguese exploration of the west coast of Africa, while in the last decade of the century the Spanish sent expeditions to the New World, focusing on...


Endnotes



  1. His name was spelled during his lifetime as "Pedro Álvares Cabral", "Pero Álvares Cabral", "Pedr'Álváres Cabral", "Pedrálvares Cabral", "Pedraluarez Cabral", among others. This article uses the most common spelling.

  2. The earliest origins of the Portuguese Empire can be traced back to the accession of King João I
    John I of Portugal
    John I KG , called the Good or of Happy Memory, more rarely and outside Portugal the Bastard, was the tenth King of Portugal and the Algarve and the first to use the title Lord of Ceuta...

     in 1385 and his subsequent wars of conquest in North Africa, as well as Prince Henry the Navigator's exploratory voyages. The foundation of the Portuguese Empire, however, were firmly laid with the more substantial claim to the territory that would later become Brazil and the establishment of a trading concession in India.

  3. "The name used in his appointment as chief commander of the fleet for India is also Pedralvares de Gouveia." —William Brooks Greenlee

  4. "According to a family tradition the Cabraes were descended from a certain Carano or Caranus, the first king of the Macedonians and the seventh in descent from Hercules. Carano had been instructed by the Delphic Oracle
    Pythia
    The Pythia , commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the priestess at the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The Pythia was widely credited for her prophecies inspired by Apollo. The Delphic oracle was established in the 8th century BC...

     to place the metropolis of is new kingdom at the spot to which he would be guided by goats and when he assaulted Edissa his army followed in the wake of a flock of goats just as the Bulgarians drove cattle before them when they took Adrianople. The king accordingly chose two goats for his cognisance and two goats passant gules on a field argent subsequently became the arms of the Cabraes. Herodotus knows nothing of Carano and the goats." —James McClymont

  5. "A certain fidalgo who was commander of a fortress at Belmonte was with the garrison being starved into submission by investing forces. Two goats were still alive in the fortress. These were killed by order of the commander, cut into quarters and thrown to the enemy, whereupon the siege was raised as it was considered by the hostile commander that it was of no use to attempt to starve a garrison which could thus waste its provisions. It is also narrated that the son of the Castellan was taken prisoner and slain and that the horns and beards of the heraldic goats are sable as a token of mourning in consequence of this event." —James McClymont

  6. The "Zamorin asked Pedro Alvares Cabral a favor. The former was interested in one of the seven elephants carried in a ship belonging to a merchant from Cochin which was passing by Calicut. As a token of friendship, Alvares Cabral was requested to capture the ship and get the elephant on which the Zamorin's eyes were fixed. Though Cabral did not want to run the risk of offending the King of Cochin, he had to come forward to show a good gesture to the Zamorin. He put two noble men and sixty soldiers in charge of a ship (nau) and ordered them to capture the elephants along with the ship of the Cochim merchant. Pêro [Pedro] de Ataíde was put in command of the Portuguese vessel which was supposed to overpower the ship of the above mentioned merchant well armed with 300 fighters on board. Pêro de Ataíde confronted the Indian ship near Cannanore
    Kannur
    Kannur , also known as Cannanore, is a city in Kannur district in the Indian state of Kerala. It is the administrative headquarters of the District of Kannur and 518km north of state capital Trivandrum. During British rule in India, Kannur was known by its old name Cannanore, which is still in...

    . The Indian ship sent a host of arrows and shots of cannons from its guns toward the Portuguese ship. The Portuguese ship responded promptly with all her artillery. As desired by the Zamorin, the coveted elephants were delivered to him by Pêro de Ataíde after capturing the ship. This boosted the military prestige of the Portuguese. [...] Besides, Pêro de Ataíde managed to destroy four ships of the Muslims near Canannore and a few paraus. Another day, five ships were put to flight by Pêro de Ataíde. As the prestige of the Portuguese Navy went on increasing day by day, the Zamorin himself began to fear that Portuguese might destroy the kingdom of Calicut. [...] As a result the Zamorin permitted the Muslims to attack the Portuguese factory at Calicut who killed Aires Correa and fifth Portuguese men in the factory." —K. K. N. Kurup

  7. Other sources give figures which vary between 20 and 70 Portuguese who were wounded or murdered.

  8. Having struck a route too far east, Dias was the first European to sight the island of Madagascar
    Madagascar
    The Republic of Madagascar is an island country located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa...

    . He befriendly its native inhabitants and sailed back to the African coast. Dias's subsequent attempts to find the main fleet ended with him mistakenly sailing past Cape Guardafui
    Cape Guardafui
    Cape Guardafui , also known as Ras Asir and historically as Aromata promontorium, is a headland in the northeastern Bari province of Somalia. Located in the autonomous Puntland region, it forms the geographical apex of the region commonly referred to as the Horn of Africa.-Location:Cape Guardafui...

     and into the Gulf of Aden
    Gulf of Aden
    The Gulf of Aden is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen, on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which is about 20 miles wide....

    , waters as yet unsailed by Portuguese ships. Trapped by contrary winds, Dias spent several harrowing months in the area, battered by tempests, attacked by pirates and finally forced aground on the Eritrean coast, in a desperate search for water and food for his rapidly dying crew. Dias, the number of his crewmen constantly diminishing, eventually managed the difficult voyage southward along the east coast of Africa, around the Horn and back to northwest Africa, where they again met with Cabral's fleet after more than a year's separation.