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Religion in Brazil

Religions of Brazil

According to Countryaah data, the vast lands that were to be transformed into what is today Brazil were originally populated by small tribes that predominantly belonged to the linguistic tribes tupí guaraní, caribe and arawak. The indigenous peoples of the Amazon basin lived by fishing and simple farming, while the people of the savannah lived by hunting and gathering. It is estimated that when the first Portuguese boats reached Bahia de Todos os Santos in the year 1500, about 2 million lived on this vast territory.

By 1494, at the intervention of the papacy, Spain and Portugal had signed the Treaty of Tordesilla, which divided the non-European world between the two colonial powers. With the treaty, the Brazilian territory went to Portugal. During his voyage to India, Pedro Alvarez Cabral arrived in Bahia de Todos os Santos in the year 1500, and gave the country the name Ilha de Vera Cruz. In the years 1501-02, a garden expedition headed by Gaspar de Lemos sailed from the present Rio Grande all the way down to Río de la Plata. In this way, Cabral's mistake was corrected and the Europeans instead named the area Santa Cruz Land.

Brazil Population

For the Portuguese, the country seemed to be far less profitable than Africa and India. The coastal areas did not appear to contain larger quantities of precious metals. It was inhabited by semi-settled people - the Tupís - who were related to the Guaranese that the Spaniards were to encounter in Paraguay. Initially, the Portuguese crown was therefore only interested in the area of ​​trading slaves or exchanging metal and incense against Brazilian wood. The wood in this tree was suitable for producing a fire-colored textile color, and it was ultimately the name of the tree that came to name the land. In Portuguese, brasa means glowing coal.

1500 The first Portuguese settlements

Trade in timber did not lead to the creation of major cities or other signs of European penetration, but for a number of years the volume of timber exports was quite large. Although the indigenous peoples were accustomed to felling trees to make clearings in the forest, they had no tradition of trade in timber and could not trap them on a larger scale. The Portuguese supplied them with axes and saws, and the traders had the fallen tree lying down - ready for shipment. The trading stations were often built on small islands off the Atlantic, and a short time later the first Portuguese settlements were also established on these islands. Only a few Portuguese - one might say banished - lived on the mainland among the indigenous population.

Around 1530, the Portuguese were forced to deal more closely with Brazil. Other European colonial powers - especially France - began to display the flag in the area. Trade with India was stagnant and the triumphs of the Spanish conquistadores elsewhere on the American continent were both a challenge and a threat. The Portuguese crown sent an expedition to expel the French and defend Portuguese supremacy. This expedition also included a group of settlers, and in 1532 the first Portuguese settlement - San Vicente - was officially founded on an island near present-day São Paulo.

Unlike the Spaniards who carried out colonization within the crown's strict bureaucracy, the Portuguese, in accordance with their maritime traditions, divided the Brazilian coast into a large number of small autonomous territories assigned to prominent individuals who the Crown considered had the necessary characteristics to carry out the occupation of the country and the exploitation of its lands. These little captains' capitanías could inherit and have extensive legal and administrative rights. Some were really colonized. Others only lasted for a short time. In any case, 4 of these developed into permanent settlements and 2 of them - Pernambuco in the north and San Vicente in the south - proved suitable and profitable.

As in the outskirts of the Spanish colonies, the first Portuguese settlements also had to be reinforced in order to defend themselves against the attacks of the natives. The food supply was difficult and the Portuguese got most of their food through trade with the indigenous population. They got used to eating cassava instead of wheat, which was difficult to grow in most of the region.


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