Captaincies of Brazil. Capitania do Maranhão, Capitania do Ceará, Capitania do Rio Grande, Capitania de Itamaracá, Capitania de Pernambuco, Capitania da Baía de Todos os Santos, Capitania de Ilhéus, Capitania de Porto Seguro, Capitania do Espírito Santo, Capitania de São Tomé, Capitania de São Vicente, Capitania de Santo Amaro, Capitania de Santana.

Hello, galera! How are you guys doing? Today our Portuguese class will help you learn a little bit of history. We are going to study the Captaincies of Brazil.

Captaincies of Brazil

The Captaincies of Brazil were a system of territorial administration created in 1534 by the king of Portugal, D. João III. They were originally called Capitanias Hereditárias (Hereditary Captaincies) because they used to be passed from father to son. This system involved dividing the Brazilian territory into large parts and giving them to specific people to administrate. Almost always, the administrators were noble people who were well-connected to the Portuguese Crown.

After some unsuccessful divisions, the final map consisted of thirteen captaincies which composed the Brazilian territory at that time. They are listed below:

Captaincy of Maranhão
Captaincy of Ceará
Captaincy of Rio Grande
Captaincy of Itamaracá
Captaincy of Pernambuco
Captaincy of Baía de Todos os Santos
Captaincy of Ilhéus
Captaincy of Porto Seguro
Captaincy of Espírito Santo
Captaincy of São Tomé
Captaincy of São Vicente
Captaincy of Santo Amaro
Captaincy of Santana

It’s important to say that Rio de Janeiro is located in what used to be the Captaincy of São Vicente.

Although the Portuguese had organized this system in order to improve their governing of their terrority, it didn’t turn out to be very effective. Only the Captaincy of Pernambuco and the Captaincy of São Vicente were successful. Most of them didn’t work out well because of the massive size of each territory, difficulties of administration, lack of economic resources, and the constant attacks by indigenous peoples. With all of these problems, the captaincies and this system were abolished in 1759 by the Marquis of Pombal.

Now it’s your turn!

Based on the text you’ve just read, answer these questions:

  1. O que eram as Capitanias Brasileiras?
  2. Quem criou as Capitanias?
  3. Quantas Capitanias existiam?
  4. A qual Capitania pertencia o Rio de Janeiro?
  5. Quem foi responsável por abolir o sistema de Capitanias?

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Bye, bye!
Hugs from Rio & Learn!

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History of Brazilian Independence
History of Tiradentes
The origin of São Paulo
The history of Salvador
History of Rio de Janeiro