Sousa, Martim Afonso de (1500–1564)

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Sousa, Martim Afonso de (1500–1564)

Martim Afonso de Sousa (b. 1500; d. 1564), Portuguese navigator and explorer. In 1531 he was the commander in chief of a naval and military expedition to Brazil whose purpose was fighting the French who were trying to settle along the Brazilian coast. Sousa also intended to explore the rivers and the hinterland and to create Portuguese settlements. He was given full jurisdiction: power to appoint governors, to choose notaries and justice officials, and to grant land under the Portuguese formula of sesmarias. He left Lisbon with five ships and approximately five hundred men (sailors, troops, and settlers). He fought the French on the Pernambuco coast and, sailing south, stayed three months in Rio de Janeiro Bay in order to acquire food supplies and two more ships. The expedition went as far as Río de la Plata. Pero de Sousa (c. 1500–c. 1539), Martim's brother, went up this river with thirty men to take possession of the territory for the Portuguese crown.

Returning to São Vicente, Pero de Sousa was sent to Portugal with news for King João III. Martim Afonso returned to Portugal later in July or August 1533, after having created the first vila of São Vicente, where the sugar enterprise was begun. Sousa received a donation from the king of one hundred leagues on the Brazilian coast.

See alsoExplorers and Exploration: Brazil .


Carlos Malheiro Dias, ed., História da colonização portuguesa no Brasil (1921–1924).

Leslie Bethell, ed., Colonial Brazil (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Neves, Cylaine Maria das. "A vila de São Paulo de Piratininga: fundação e representação." Ph.D. Thesis. Universidade de São Paulo, 2004.

                          Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva