During the colonization of South America by Portugal and Spain, both nations signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 which divided the newly discovered lands outside of Europe between Portugal and Spain along meridian 370 leagues. In 1580 the Iberian Union was created and all Portuguese and Spanish possessions were ruled by the Spanish monarchy. The union lasted until 1640 after the Portuguese Restoration War.
In 1834, Spain recognized the independence of Brazil and both nations established diplomatic relations. Spain soon opened a diplomatic legation in Rio de Janeiro. In 1871, Brazilian Emperor Pedro II visited Spain and met with Spanish King Amadeo I. Beginning in the 1880s until the 1930s, a wave of Spanish migrants arrived to Brazil as it was the only South American nation without immigration quotas at the time. More than 1 million Spanish migrants would arrive to Brazil.
During the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) 30 Brazilian citizens partook in the fighting for the Second Spanish Republic and formed part of the International Brigade. In 1939, Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas donated 600 tons of coffee beans to Spain which were then sold by General Francisco Franco for 7.5 million pesetas (equivalent to €85 million Euros).
In May 1983, Spanish King Juan Carlos I paid his first visit to Brazil. The King would visit the country three more times before his abdication in 2014. In November 2012, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff paid an official visit to Spain. The visit was reciprocated in April 2017 by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.
Today, more than 15 million Brazilians are of Spanish descent. In 2015, 133,000 Spanish citizens resided in Brazil, making it the fourth biggest Spanish expat community in Latin America. That same year, 130,000 Brazilian citizens resided in Spain.
Both nations have signed numerous agreements and treaties such as an Agreement on the Exchange of Diplomatic Pouches (1919); Agreement on Air Transportation (1949); Cultural Agreement (1960); Migration Agreement (1960); Agreement on the Elimination of Tourist Visas (1965); Agreement on the Avoidance of Double-Taxation (1975); Agreement of Cooperation on the use of Nuclear Energy for Peaceful Purposes (1983); Extradition Treaty (1990); Agreement of Prisoner Exchange (1998); Agreement on Cooperation in the fight against Organized Crime (2007) and a Defense Agreement (2010).
In 2015, trade between Brazil and Spain totaled US$5.1 billion. Brazil's main exports to Spain include: electronics, petrol, vehicles, chemical based products, pharmaceutical products and fertilizer. Spain's main exports to Brazil include: seeds, minerals, meat, seafood and iron. Spain is Brazil's 16th largest trading partner globally. Spain is Brazil's third largest foreign investor and in 2015, Spain had US$5 billion worth of investments in the country. Brazilian multinational company Embraer operates in Spain. Spanish multinational companies such as Banco Santander, Mapfre, Repsol, Telefónica and Zara operate in Brazil.
Resident diplomatic missions
- Brazil has an embassy in Madrid and a consulate-general in Barcelona.
- Spain has an embassy in Brasília and consulates-general in Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and São Paulo.
- Treaty of Tordesillas
- Union of Spain and Portugal, 1580–1640
- Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Spain (in Spanish)
- Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Brazil (in Spanish)
- Emperor of Brazil travels to Spain
- Los diez millones de brasileños de origen español (in Spanish)
- Brazilians in Spanish Civil War (in Portuguese)
- El gran negocio de Franco con la Guerra (in Spanish)
- Los Reyes inician hoy una visita oficial de 10 días de duración a Brasil y Uruguay (in Spanish)
- Embassy of Brazil in Spain (in Portuguese and Spanish)
- Embassy of Spain in Brazil (in Portuguese and Spanish)