Brazil

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3 | Island 4 | Additional Resources

Island 2: Early Portuguese Settlements

The Portuguese settlement in Brazil, at the Island of St. Vincent 
Hans Staden, 1525-ca. 1576.,  
Americœ tertia pars memorabile provinciœ Brasiliœ historiam contines, germanico primùm sermone scriptam à Ioane Stadio, nunc autem latinitate donatam à Teucrio Ann'o Privato Colchanthe. 
in Theodor Johann de Bry, Historiae novi orbis, pars 3, cap. 3. Frankfurt: Wolfgang Richter, 1593. Original vellum.

DeBry's original inspiration for his Voyages had been the drawings by the Englishman John White illustrating Harriot's account of Raleigh's voyage to Virginia (London 1588), and his collection was augmented by numerous engravings of the Europeans settlements in the Americas, as well as of Indian life and customs (as here in the out-of-scale depiction of canoes alongside the Portuguese caravels). 



An early Portuguese description of Brazil 
from Samuel Purchas, 1577?-1626. 
Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes . . .Volume IV. 
First edition. 4 vols. London: printed by W. Stansby for H. Fetherstone, 1625. Later sprinkled calf.

Samuel Purchas, a Cambridge-educated clergyman who was Rector of St. Martin's Ludgate, London, from 1614-1626, published in all six volumes that became of one the major sources through which the Renaissance sea-discoveries were known to English readers. This culminating 4-volume work is based on contemporary manuscript accounts collected by his predecessor Thomas Hakluyt (1552-1615), but not included in the latter's similar compilations. 



An early seventeenth century map of South America 
Engraving after Jodocus Hondius, 1563-1611, from Samuel Purchas, 1577?-1626. 
Hakluytus Posthumus or Purchas his Pilgrimes . . .Volume III. 
First edition. 4 vols. London, Printed by W. Stansby for H. Fetherstone, 1625. Later sprinkled calf.

Hondius, a Flemish-born engraver who settled in England in 1584, was one of the most prolific map-publishers of his period, though most of his maps were borrowed or closely based on those of other cartographers. This map shows clearly the pattern of Portuguese exploration along the Brazilian coast, with several early settlements named for the saints' days when they had been reached. Hondius's map also shows the east-west distortion common in maps of the Americas before the invention of an accurate chronometer and the solution of the longtitude problem in the mid-18th century. 



Catholicism in early Brazil 
PŠre Claude d'Abbeville, d. 1632. 
Histoire de la mission des pères capucins en l'isle de Maragnan et terres circoncoisines, où est traicté des singularitez admirables et des moeurs merveilleuses des Indièns habitans de ce pays, avec les missives et advis qui ont esté envoyez de nouveau. 
Paris: F. Huby, 1614. Later green morocco, tooled in gold and blind.

Portuguese settlement in Brazil is closely bound up with Catholicism. Two days after the first landfall, on Easter Sunday 1500, Cabral's men set up a large cross and improvised altar for the celebration of an open-air Mass. This French account of missionary work among Brazilian Indians on Maranhão island stands therefore for one of the major effects of Portuguese colonization, though it also (as in the passage shown here) shows a sharp eye for aspects of Brazil's natural history that would seem exotic to European readers. 

 

Introduction | Island 1 | Island 2 | Island 3 | Island 4 | Additional Resources

 

Columbia Departments Campus Libraries
Columbia Libraries and Collections