Pedro Álvares Cabral - Portuguese Explorer
|Name: || Pedro Álvares Cabral|
|Known As (Other Names): || pe|
|Born: || 1467 or 1468|
|Place of Birth: || Belmonte, Portugal|
|Died: || 1520|
|Place of Death: || Santarém, Portugal|
|Category (Occupation/Profession): || Fleet commander for Portugal|
|Nationality: || Portugese|
|Religion: || Roman Catholicism|
|Known For: || The discoverer of Brazil|
|Famous Expedition(s): || First substantial exploration of the northeast coast of South America|
|Spouse(s): || Isabel de Castro|
|Children: || Fernão Álvares Cabral, António Cabral, Catarina de Castro, Guiomar de Castro, Isabel, Leonor|
|Honors: || Knight of the Portuguese Order of Christ|
|Monuments: || Lisbon|
Pedro Álvares Cabral was a Portuguese explorer, navigator and military commander who is best remembered today as the
leader of the expedition that
first reached that lands of South America that are today regarded as Brazil.
He was born in 1467 as the in the noble Portuguese family and was a member of a royal Portuguese court of King Manuel I
and the King John II. On the
turn of the century, King John II appointed Cabral with a mission to lead the 13-ship expedition to the India following
the route that Vasco de Gama
discovered in 1497. Although he had navigation charts that contained the information of Vasco de Gama, Christopher
Columbus and Bartolomeu Dias'
journey he did not go directly to the India via the Cape of Good Hope. Instead, he went west and on April 23, he landed on
the coast of the Brazil.
Believing that he discovered an island he named it Island of the True Cross and claimed it for the Portugal crown. After
that, he resumed his trip to
India losing four ships in a storm around west coast of Africa and three more on a later date, including the ship of the
Bartolomeu Dias who first
discovered Cape of Good Hope. Six remaining ships continued their journey but soon after that ship commanded by Diogo Dias
become separated from the
main fleet and they wandered alone following the east coast of Africa discovering the island of Madagascar.
On 13 September, he finally reached Calicut, India. There he negotiated the trade with current ruler of the city and even
started to build factory and
warehouse. That December however, he came under attack by the several hundred natives of that area and more than 50
Portuguese were killed. Outraged by
this attack and the lack of explanation or apology from rule of Calicut he raided more than 10 local trade ships killing
over 600 Indian sailors and
bombarded the city with his cannons for an entire day.
After that massacre, he headed to the Indian city of Kochi where he managed to secure support of the local leaders and
finally fill his ships with
spices and other trade items from the east. On 16th of January 1501 he started his journey back to Europe where returned
on 23rd of June.
Very soon after his return, King John II sent Amerigo Vespucci to a mission to explore this newfound land of South
America. On that journey, Vespucci
proved that South America was indeed part of a new continent and not just an island. In addition, a military fleet started
forming with a mission to
avenge Portugal's victims at the Calicut's attack but Pedro Álvares Cabral was not named as the expedition leader. In
1503, he married Isabel de
Castro, and because of illness that he contained during the voyage, he remained in Portugal until his death in 1520.
Up to this day, it is not known why Cabral did not go straight to India, and instead went westward and discovered Brazil.
Some speculations note that
several other explorers visited lands very close to Brazil but historians claim that those journeys did not influence