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Rocha Pita, Sebastião (1660–1738)

Rocha Pita, Sebastião (1660–1738)

Sebastião Rocha Pita (b. 3 May 1660; d. 2 November 1738), Brazilian historian and member of the Royal Academy of Portuguese History. Born in Bahia, Rocha Pita wrote Tratado, político around 1715, but it remained unpublished until 1972. Best known to historians but seldom quoted is his História da América portuguesa, desde ano de 1500 do seu descobrimento até o de 1724, published in 1730. The author's purpose was to narrate the events that had taken place in Brazil with the help of "truthful reports" and "modern information" given by those who had traveled in the vast Brazilian territory. This was the only history of Brazil available to his contemporaries, since most of the others composed in the first two centuries of colonization remained in manuscript until the nineteenth century.

According to the model then followed by historians, Rocha Pita wrote a political and natural history, where human events took the same place and aroused the same interest as the description of the productions of nature. Sugarcane, tobacco, manioc, rice, and medicinal plants occupy a large place in the book, and the information on them is mostly the result of direct observation. Although Rocha Pita pays little attention to the academic discussion of the origin of America's inhabitants, the Indians of Portuguese and Spanish America are compared.

See alsoBrazil: The Colonial Era, 1500–1808 .


José Honório Rodrigues, História da história do Brasil. Vol. 1, Historiografia colonial (1979).

Massaud Moisés, História da literatura brasileira, vol. 1, Origens, barroco, arcadismo (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Novais, Fernando A. Aproximações: Estudos de história e historiografia. São Paulo: CosacNaify, 2005.

                          Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva

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