April, 22nd, 1500, The Discovery of Brazil
Lisbon, April 22nd, 2019.
After two weeks of school Spring break here in Portugal, I got a little lost in time. While looking at the calendar I realized that today we celebrate the discovery of our beloved country Brazil. On April 22nd,1500, the fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral reached the South American coast and officially discovered Brazil.
When we arrived in Portugal one of the things that surprised me most was the few references to Cabral and his achievement in the city of Lisbon. Apparently, no monuments, no street names (later I found out that there is, in fact, a Pedro Álvares Cabral statue in front of one of the entrances of Jardim da Estrela and some streets with his name in some distant neighbourhoods). But nothing compared to all the attention devoted to Vasco da Gama, the famous Portuguese explorer who discovered the sea route to India. In Lisbon, you will find Vasco da Gama Bridge, Vasco da Gama Mall, Vasco da Gama school, Vasco da Gama Aquarium and much more.
I got very curious to learn the Portuguese version for the discovery of Brazil and understand why Cabral is not so famous around here. I remember my first Brazilian history classes at school and the theory taught was that Cabral fleet would have reached the Brazilian coast by chance and accidentally discovered Brazil. After doing some research, I found out that Cabral had been born in the city of Belmonte, in the district of Castelo Branco. There you can visit the Museum of Discovery, a space dedicated to telling Cabral’s history and the different theories involving the discovery of Brazil.
We had the chance to visit Belmonte and the Museum of Discovery, by the end of the 2017 winter, after visiting Serra da Estrela. The museum uses a lot of interactive technology which makes the visit interesting for adults and kids. The visit is quite special for Brazilians as it tells a little of the beginning of our history.
After visiting this museum, I started to understand a little bit more of the context involving Brazil’s discovery.
I wished I had the opportunity to visit and learn on museums what the history books didn’t teach me when I was a kid. Maybe I would have become as interested in History at that time, as I am nowadays.
Well, that´s it by now!