On This Day In History: Brazil Was Officially Discovered – On Jan 26, 1500

On January 26, 1500, Brazil was discovered by Vicente Yañez Pinzóñ, a Spanish explorer who had once sailed with Columbus.Interestingly, by that date, Brazil was already considered a Portuguese possession. According to the ruling of a previous pope, all lands in the Atlantic west of a certain point belonged to Portugal.

At the time, the ruling only applied to a few islands.

Pinzon subsequently sailed down the Brazilian coast to the equator, where he briefly explored the mouth of the Amazon River.In the same year, Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral also claimed Brazil for Portugal. He argued that the territory fell into the Portuguese sphere of exploration as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas signed in 1494.

This treaty was an agreement between Spain and Portugal aimed at settling conflicts over lands newly discovered or explored by Christopher Columbus and other late 15th-century voyagers.

Not much was done to support this claim until the 1530s, when the first permanent European settlements in Brazil were established at Sao Vicente in Sao Paulo by Portuguese colonists.

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