SOUSA, Gaspar de
10th governor-general of Brazil.
Gaspar de Sousa was a member of the Council of State, chief Alcaide of Mira and Knight Commander in the Order of Christ.
Appointed governor on the 1st of March of 1612, he arrived in Pernambuco on the 18th of December that year, and remained there until 1617. He had been tasked to expel the French out of the colony for good, as well as to conquer and to discover the remaining lands of Maranhão.
The first action he took in regard to these goals consisted of the attempt to found a new settlement beyond Ceará, but the hard living conditions of the place caused by poor soils and scarcity of water induced the transference of the settlement, named Nossa Senhora do Rosário, to Turtle Bay.
With the help of Martim Soares and Jerónimo de Albuquerque, Diogo Campos Moreno, an experienced explorer in expeditions on that region, played an important role in expelling the French and in founding the town of São Luís. Some time after, Francisco Caldeira de Castelo Branco went off to the Amazonas?s estuary. Once there, he built a fort named Presépio and founded the town of Nossa Senhora de Belém. Further confrontations with the Dutch ensued, as news concerning their presence farther ahead reached the Portuguese. The Crown helped to populate this region sending to the Maranhão all convicts sentenced to exile. Shortly after, more settlers arrived from the Azores.
Gaspar de Sousa?s deeds in the conquest of Maranhão got him an inherited captaincy, from Turiaçu to Caité, sixty-four miles into Brazilian hinterland.
Captaincies which did not participate in the fights with other European states followed the path of development and economic prosperity.
. Presépio is the Portuguese word for the Nativity scene [NT].
. Once again an allusion to the birth of Christ is made, in the person of Mary (Our Lady of Bethlehem) ? [NT].
CAMPO BELO, Conde de, Governadores Gerais e Vice-Reis do Brasil, Lisboa, Agência Geral das Colónias, 1935. Nova história da expansão portuguesa, dir. Joel Serrão e A. H. Oliveira Marques; vol.VI, O império luso-brasileiro:1520-1620, coord. Harold Jonhson e Maria Beatriz Nizza da Silva, Lisboa, Estampa, 1992. VARNHAGEN, Francisco Adolfo de, História Geral do Brasil: antes da sua separação e independência de Portugal, São Paulo, Ed. Melhoramentos, 4ªed., 1948.
Author: Rita Domingues
Translated by: Leonor Sampaio da Silva