Tomé de Sousa
|Tomé de Sousa|
|1st Governor-General of Brazil|
|Monarch||John III of Portugal|
|Preceded by||Office created|
|Succeeded by||Duarte da Costa|
Rates, Kingdom of Portugal
|Died||1579 (aged 75–76)
Kingdom of Portugal
|Spouse(s)||Maria da Costa|
|Children||Helena de Sousa
Francisco de Sousa
Garcia de Sousa
Iria de Sousa
Ana de Sousa
Tomé de Sousa (1503-1579) was the first governor-general of the Portuguese colony of Brazil from 1549 to 1553. He was a nobleman and soldier born in Rates, Póvoa de Varzim. Sousa was born a half-breed noble and participated in military expeditions in Africa, fought the Moors and commanded the nau Conceição to Portuguese India, part of the armada of Fernão de Andrade.
Sousa in Brazil
He was the agent in charge of restoring the king's authority in Brazil. Up until this point, Brazil had been neglected by Portugal, which was putting all of its resources into the spice trade in India. There was a decline in the spice trade and increasing threats around Brazil's borders by the surrounding Spanish colonies, which prompted Portugal to intervene. As part of this mission, Sousa had established his capital city of Salvador at Bahia on the Atlantic coast between São Paulo and Pernambuco. The new capital was supposed to bring together the twelve pre-existing settlements, though Sousa traversed the bordering areas and aided them by carrying over the idea of justice and diminishing the lawlessness and chaos. He planned on making the colony a strong military base to protect the Portuguese settlers from Indian or other outside forces. He brought 1,000 colonists and soldiers with him on an expedition to Brazil, including four hundred degredados - "men banished from Portugal for some minor criminal activity." Among the colonists were six Jesuits, the first in Brazil, whom he assisted in the christianization of the natives and helped to reaffirm the King's rule over the colonies. In terms of his relations with the Indians, he was able to befriend them and to prevent any further hostilities from them, as he proved to enjoy cruel and often extreme punishment.
Return to Portugal
In 1552, Sousa suggested that Rio de Janeiro might be a potential area for settlement and in 1553 he returned to Portugal to work under the King, acting as his adviser on Brazilian affairs. Sousa also helped to attract settlers to Brazil by installing municipal organizations, similar to the ones in Portugal, into the cities. Along with that he also managed to appoint local officials over the captaincies and strengthened tactical areas around the coast that would be beneficial to the safety of the citizens.
Crow, John A. The Epic of Latin America, Fourth Edition. University of California Press. 1992
- Crow, John A. The Epic of Latin America Page 225
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