Sousa, Gabriel Soares de (c. 1540–1592)

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Sousa, Gabriel Soares de (c. 1540–1592)

Gabriel Soares de Sousa (b. c. 1540s; d. 1592), Brazilian colonist. Nineteenth-century historian Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen (1816–1878) determined that Sousa was the author of the seminal work Tratado descriptivo do Brasil em 1587. The original manuscript was lost, but with more than twenty copies, Varnhagen was able to establish the text and the identity of its author. In 1569, Sousa went to Bahia, where he acquired ownership of a sugar mill as well as several other rural estates. He lived in Brazil for seventeen years, during which he took note of everything he thought worth remembering. While in Madrid in March 1587, Sousa offered his work to Cristóvão de Moura. This manuscript was known in Portugal as early as 1589, when Pedro de Mariz (d. 1615) quoted it in the second edition of his Diálogos de varia historia.

Sousa's treatise is divided into two parts. In the first one, Roteiro geral da costa brasílica, he describes the Brazilian coast from the Amazon to the Río de la Plata; in the second part, Memorial e declaração das grandezas da Bahia, he analyzes the Government General in Salvador. This second part, the most frequently quoted by historians, documents the establishment of the colonial government by Tomé de Sousa, describes the city of Salvador, and enumerates all the sugar mills located in the Bahian Reconcavo.

See alsoBrazil: The Colonial Era, 1500–1808; Sousa, Tomé de.


Francisco Adolfo De Varnhagen, Historia geral do Brasil, 5 vols. 8th ed. (1975).

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

Additional Bibliography

Amado, Janaina. "Mythic Origins: Caramuru and the Founding of Brazil." Hispanic American Historical Review 80, no.4 (Nov. 2000): 783-811.

                            Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva

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Sousa, Gabriel Soares de (c. 1540–1592)

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