Governorate General of Brazil

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Governorate General of Brazil
Governo-Geral do Brasil
Colonial State of the Portuguese Empire



1549 - 1572

1578 - 1607

1613 - 1621




Flag Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Captaincies of the Governorate General of Brazil
Capital São Salvador
Languages Portuguese
Religion Roman Catholicism
Government Monarchy
 •  1549 - 1557 John III
 •  1598 - 1621 Philip II
Governor General
 •  1549 - 1553 Tomé de Sousa
 •  Established 1549
 •  Disestablished 1621
Currency Portuguese Real

The Governorate General of Brazil (Portuguese: Governo-Geral do Brasil) was a colonial administration of the Portuguese Empire in Brazil. A governorate was equivalent in status to a viceroyalty, though the title viceroy didn't come into use until the early 18th century. They were ruled by a Governor General who reported to the Crown. The Governor General had direct authority over the constituent royal captaincies, and nominal but ill-defined authority over the donatary captaincies. One captaincy, that of Duarte Coelho in Pernambuco, was exempt by royal decree from the authority of the Governors General.


In 1549, in order to solve the governance problem of his South American colonies, King John III of Portugal established the Governorate General of Brazil.[1] The governorate united the fifteen original donatary captaincy colonies some of which had reverted to the Crown, and others of which had been abandoned, into a single colony, but each captaincy would continue to exist as a provincial administrative unit of the governorate.[2] For two brief periods from 1572–78 and 1607–13, the Governorate General of Brazil was partitioned into the Governorate General of Rio de Janeiro in the south, and the Governorate General of Bahia in the north.

In 1621, the Governorate General of Brazil was partitioned into two colonies, the State of Brazil and the State of Maranhão.


For list of captaincies, see Captaincies of Brazil.

From the original captaincies, additional donatary captaincies were carved out.

Captaincies Created under the Governorates[edit]

The northern section of the captaincy of Sao Vicente was renamed to Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro.

Governors General[edit]


External links[edit]