Chapters of Brazil's Colonial History, 1500-1800

By Capistrano De Abreu; Arthur Brakel | Go to book overview

6
Crown Captaincies

With the first news of Francisco Pereira Coutinho's death, politicians in Portugal should have stopped and meditated on the colonization system that was in force.

Beyond doubt it was accomplishing what it had been set up to do. If the outposts scattered along the littoral did not totally stamp out trade between the natives and the interlopers, they made such trade more difficult. The French, after being expelled from Pernambuco, sought other points along the coast. With time they could be removed from them as well. The Portuguese were producing offspring, and population grew, thanks to racial mixture. Trade and production could be counted on.

But the organism was being sapped by an essential flaw. Donataries began their businesses with their own resources, or they borrowed money. If things went well right from the start, their profits allowed them to proceed with greater efficacy. If not, as in the cases of Pero de Góis, Francisco Pereira, Antônio Cardoso, João de Barros, Aires da Cunha, and Fernando Álvares, they lost momentum. Otherwise, sickly captaincies, such as Ilhéus, Porto Seguro, Epírito Santo, Santo Amaro, and São Vicente, vegetated.

On top of this, since donataries were equal in power and the captaincies were like foreign states to one another, any concerted action was impossible. Crime spread with impunity. Piracy was the natural consequence. Duarte Coelho's letters poignantly demonstrate this sorry

-43-

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Chapters of Brazil's Colonial History, 1500-1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Library of Latin America ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Editors' General Introduction vii
  • Preface xi
  • Works on Capistrano De Abreu xv
  • Works on Capistrano De Abreu xv
  • A House Built on Sand: Capistrano De Abreu and the History of Brazil xvii
  • Notes xxxii
  • 1 - Indigenous Antecedents 3
  • 2 - Exotic Elements 14
  • 3 - The Discoverers 20
  • 4 - The First Conflicts 30
  • 5 - Hereditary Captaincies 35
  • 6 - Crown Captaincies 43
  • 7 - Frenchmen and Spaniards 52
  • 8 - Fighting the Dutch 69
  • 9 - The Backlands 91
  • 10 - Setting Boundaries 166
  • 11 - Three Centuries Later 181
  • Notes 203
  • Bibliography 215
  • Index 221
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