Portuguese colonization of the Americas
Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth, outside Europe, in 1494 into Spanish (Castilian) and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization. Portugal colonized parts of South America (mostly Brazil), but also made some unsuccessful attempts to colonize North America in present day Canada.
Settlements in North America 
Based on the Treaty of Tordesillas, the Portuguese Crown claimed it had territorial rights in the area visited by John Cabot in 1497 and 1498 CE. To that end, in 1499 and 1500, the Portuguese mariner João Fernandes Lavrador visited the north Atlantic coast, which accounts for the appearance of "Labrador" on topographical maps of the period. Subsequently, in 1501 and 1502 the Corte-Real brothers explored Newfoundland and Labrador, claiming them as part of the Portuguese Empire. In 1506, King Manuel I of Portugal created taxes for the cod fisheries in Newfoundland waters. João Álvares Fagundes and Pêro de Barcelos established fishing outposts in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia around 1521 CE; however, these were later abandoned, with the Portuguese colonizers focusing their efforts on South America. The extent and nature of Portuguese activity on the Canadian mainland during the 16th century remains unclear and controversial.
Colonization of Brazil 
Explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on April 22, 1500 in what is today Porto Seguro, Brazil. Permanent habitation did not begin until São Vicente was founded in 1532, although temporary trading posts were established earlier to collect brazilwood, used as a dye.
From 1534 to 1536, 15 Captaincy colonies were created in Portuguese America. The captaincies were autonomous, and mostly private, colonies of the Portuguese Empire, each owned and run by a Captain-major.
In 1549, due to their failure and limited success, the Captaincy Colonies of Brazil were united into the Governorate General of Brazil. The captaincy colonies were reorganized as provincial districts to the Governorate. The captaincies continued to be ruled by their hereditary captain-majors but they now reported to the Governor-General of Brazil. The new system was implemented so that Portuguese America could be managed correctly and provide a steady and wealthy income for the Portuguese Empire. The capital of the new governorate established its capital at São Salvador and the first Jesuits arrived the same year.
From 1565 through 1567, Mem de Sá, the third Governor General of Brazil, successfully destroyed a ten year-old French colony called France Antarctique, at Guanabara Bay. He and his nephew, Estácio de Sá, then founded the city of Rio de Janeiro on March 1567.
In 1621, Philip II of Portugal divided the Governorate General of Brazil into two separate and autonomous colonies, the State of Maranhão and the State of Brazil. Regarding this period it is preferable to refer to "Portuguese America" rather than "Portuguese Brazil" or "Colonial Brazil", as the states were two separate colonies, each with their own governor general and government.
Between 1630 and 1654, the Netherlands came to control part of Brazil's Northeast region, with their capital in Recife. The Portuguese won a significant victory in the Second Battle of Guararapes in 1649. By 1654, the Netherlands had surrendered and returned control of all Brazilian land to the Portuguese.
In 1772, the State of Grão-Pará and Maranhão was split into two new states, the State of Grão-Pará and Rio Negro and the State of Maranhão and Piauí. The new states would fare poorly and only last 3 years.
In 1775, the three colonies of Portuguese America (the State of Brazil, the State of Maranhão and Piauí; and the State of Grão-Pará and Rio Negro) were united into a singular colony, under the State of Brazil. This arrangement would last until the end of Colonial Brazil. As a result, Brazil did not split into several countries, as happened to its Spanish-speaking neighbors.
See also 
- Atlantic World
- Catholic Church and the Age of Discovery
- Colonial Brazil
- Former colonies and territories in Canada
- History of Brazil
- Jesuit Reductions
- Portugal in the period of discoveries
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