The first Portuguese landfall on the Brazilian coast, April 24th, 1500
from Samuel Purchas, 1577?-1626.
Pvrchas his Pilgrimage. Or Relations of the world and the religions obserued in all ages and places discouered, from the creation vnto this present. Contayning a theologicall and geographicall historie of Asia, Africa, and America, with the ilands adiacent.
4th edition. London, Printed by William Stansby for Henry Fetherstone, 1626.
The first European knowledge of Brazil was a voyage down part of the coast, early in 1499, by a Spanish vessel under Vincente Yanez Pinzon. Early the next year, a Portuguese flotilla, under Pedro Alvares Cabral, were driven off course to the Brazilian coast, reaching Porte Seguro on Good Friday, claiming the country for Portugal and naming it Terra del Verra Cruz, the land of the true cross. The name Brazil, which very soon replaced Cabral's name, comes from the brasilia dye-wood that the early explorers took back to Europe. This was the volume (originally published in 1613) was the first of Purchas's several influential compilation of exploration-narratives, though it is bound as volume 5 of the South Carolina College library set.
It may seem strange that the best-known English-language history of early Brazil was written by the British poet laureate, Robert Southey. In fact Southey had visited Portugal as early as 1795 and in the early 1800s made a significant income from Portuguese and Spanish translation work. During the Napoleonic Wars, Britain was an ally of the Portuguese government in exile, and after the war it became also a strong supporter of Brazilian independence. Southey's Brazil includes a history of the entire region between the La Plata and the Amazon rivers, to the year 1808, and after Brazilian independence in 1822 was continued by John Armitage for a further two volumes (see case 7, lobby).
The world and the New World in 1513
Martin Waldseemuller, 1475-?1522, from Claudius Ptolemaeus Alexandrinus, fl. 2nd century; Michael Servetus, ed.
Geographicae e Narrationis. Libri Octo.
Lyons: Melchior and Gaspar Trechsel, 1535.
This beautiful French-printed folio edition of Ptolemy's atlas reflects the image of the world as known from classical times till the sea-voyages of the late fifteenth-century. The 1535 Trechsel printing used woodblocks that had been recut by Laurentius Frisius in 1522 from Waldseemuller's edition, originally published in Strasbourg in 1513. It was Frisius who first added the legends crediting Columbus with his discoveries in the Americas. Note also the many saints' names already given by the Portuguese to features or settlements on the Brazilian coast.
The Frankfurt engraver Theodor de Bry issued two major series of exploration narratives, the Greater Voyages about American exploration, the Lesser Voyages covering Africa and Asia, both with fine illustrations and beautiful, now very rare, maps. The fold-out map of the New World shown here was published by de Bry in 1596. The antebellum South Carolina College purchased this set of de Bry's Greater Voyages for $55, in the 1820s.