Pedro Alvarez Cabral


Widely regarded as the discoverer of Brazil, the Portuguese nobleman, military commander, navigator and explorer Pedro Alvarez Cabral, or Cabrera, (c.1467—c. 1520) sailed from Lisbon in command of a fleet of thirteen vessels bound for the East Indies in 1500.

The official purpose of the voyage was to follow up Vasco da Gama’s work and establish a Portuguese presence in the western parts of the Indies.

Following a similar track to da Gama, he left the Cape Verde Islands and picked up the Atlantic Ocean's South American current, which carried him to the supposedly unknown coast of Brazil. 

The Spanish explorer Pinzon had already encountered the South American coast on an outward voyage earlier in the year, but Cabral's fleet had a store ship slated to return home. 

It delivered news of the discovery, which lay in the Portuguese hemisphere as defined by the Treaty of Tordesillas to Portugal before news from Pinzon's expedition reached Spain. 

Cabral's expedition

© Ian Hughes 2017