Shared Portuguese legacy – Brazil and Goa

by Dave

When Portugal’s Bartolomeu Dias rounded Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in 1488, he became Europe’s first citizen to do so. Ten years after him, Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama would follow Bartolomeu’s path around the Cape of Good Hope, but navigate up Africa’s east coast, intent on reaching India’s city of Calicut. When he did he became the first European explorer to reach India’s subcontinent by sea. By the 16th century, Portugal was building colonies in the Madeira Islands and the Azores, Goa, Malacca, Hormoz, and of course, Brazil, where the language of its colonial heirs is still spoken today. 

Brazil, with its samba music, soft sand beaches and the iconic Cristo Redentor presiding over Rio de Janeiro, is where all the world’s eyes will turn for the next iteration of the World Cup in 2014, not to mention the 2016 Olympic Games. This former Portugese colony now boasts a larger population in its largest city–São Paulo–than all of Portugal combined. Brazil’s diverse citizens boast a multitude of backgrounds, the majority with roots in Europe and Africa. Its national flag announces, “Ordem e Progresso” (order and progress), and at a time when its leaders are pursuing ways to protect its Amazon by aggressively cracking down on illegal logging, the country’s growing legacy is eager to awe. Its name, like its land, population, and five World Cup championship titles, is mighty.

Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral was blown off course in following da Gama’s seasteps to India, and ended up ‘discovering’ Brazil in 1500.

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