Portuguese Brazil

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With a wealth of natural resources, Brazil was by far the most important colony in the Portuguese empire and was, at one time or another, the world’s leading producer of sugar, diamonds, and tobacco. Colonised from the 1530s, most settlements were coastal towns until the interior was exploited bringing further conflict with the Amerindians.

More about: Portuguese Brazil


  • 1500
    The Portuguese mariner Pedro Álvares Cabral lands in Brazil.
  • 1502
    The Portuguese establish the first trading station (feitoria) in Brazil north of Rio de Janeiro.
  • 1511
    The name Brazil first appears on maps.
  • 1511
    The Portuguese mariners João de Lisboa and Estêvão Froes explore the coast of Brazil.
  • 1532
    The first Portuguese settlement in Brazil is founded at São Vicente.
  • 1533 - 1539
    The first sugar plantations are established in Portuguese Brazil at Pernambuco, Sâo Vicente and Rio.
  • 1549
    Brazil is made a Crown colony of the Portuguese empire.
  • 1567
    The French colony of France Antarctique in Guanabara Bay, Brazil is taken over by the Portuguese.
  • 1570
    The Portuguese Crown prohibits Amerindians in Portuguese Brazil being taken as slaves.
  • 1572
    The Portuguese Crown establishes a viceroy in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1624
    The Dutch capture Salvador in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1630
    The Dutch capture Olinda and Recife in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1632
    The Dutch capture Pernambuco in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1648
    A military froce from Portuguese Brazil recaptures Luanda, the capital of Portuguese Angola, from Dutch control.
  • 1654
    Portuguese Brazil regains control of those parts of the colony taken over by the Dutch.
  • 1663
    A peace treaty is agreed between Portugal and the Netherlands regarding Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1711
    French forces briefly take over Rio de Janeiro in Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1755
    Amerindians in Portuguese Brazil are recognised as full and free subjects of the Portuguese Crown.
  • 1763
    Rio de Janeiro is made sole capital of Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1808
    Fearing for its safety, the Portuguese monarchy relocates to Portuguese Brazil.
  • 1822
    Brazil declares independence form Portugal.