The story

The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha

The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha

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The letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha sent to King Manuel about the discovery of Brazil, is the document in which Pero Vaz de Caminha recorded his impressions of the land that would later be called Brazil. This letter is the first written document in the history of Brazil.

Since the Captain-Major of this fleet, and so the other Captains write to Your Highness the news of the finding of this Newfoundland, which now is found in this navigation, I will not fail to give this to Your Highness as well as I am. as best I can, though - for the sake of telling and speaking - you know it worse than everyone else does.

Take Your Highness, however, my ignorance out of goodwill, and believe for certain that, to aphormos or sharpen, I will not put here more than what I saw and seemed to me.

I will not give you account of the seafaring and ramparts of the path here, because I will not know how to do it, and the pilots must be careful. Therefore, Lord, what shall I begin with, and say,
The departure of Bethlehem, as you know, was Monday, March 9. Saturday, 14th of that month, between eight and nine o'clock, we found ourselves between the Canaries, closer to Gran Canaria, and we walked there all day calmly, in their sight, a work of three to four leagues. And Sunday, 22 of that month, at ten o'clock, a little or so, we had a view of the islands of Cape Verde, or rather, the island of S. Nicolau, according to the words of Pero Escolar, pilot.

The following night, Monday, at dawn, he was lost from the Vasco de Ataide fleet with his ship, with no strong or contrary time for this to happen. The captain made his efforts to find him, both sides, but did not appear again!

And so we went our way, by this sea, of long, until, of Tuesday of Easter Eaves, that was 21 days of April, being of the said Island work of 660 or 670 leagues, according to the pilots said, we found some signs of land, which were a lot of long grasses, which the seafarers call botelho, as well as others that they call the ass-tail. And the following Wednesday morning, we bump into birds they call boxwoods.

On this day, the hours before eve, we had land view! First of a great mountain, very high and round; and other lower mountains south of it; and of lowland, with great thickets: on the high mount the captain named - Mount Pascoal and to the earth - the Land of Vera Cruz.

He had the plumb released. They found twenty-five fathoms; and in the setting sun, the work of six leagues of the earth, we raised anchors in nineteen fathoms - a clean anchorage. We stayed there all night. And on Thursday morning we sailed and went straight to land, the little ships going before seventeen, fifteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve, ten and nine fathoms, to half a league from the earth, where all We cast anchors in front of a river mouth. And we would arrive at this anchor at about ten o'clock.

From there we saw men walking along the beach, the work of seven or eight, the small ships said, as they arrived first.

Then we threw away the baptisms and skiffs, and all the captains of the ships soon came to this Captain-Major's ship, where they spoke among themselves.

And the Captain-General sent ashore on the boat to Nicholas Rabbit to see that river. So much so that he began to go there, men came to the beach, when at two, and at three, so that by the time the boat arrived at the mouth of the river there were already eighteen or twenty men. They were brown, all naked, with nothing to cover their shame.

In their hands were bows with their arrows. All came hard on the boat; and Nicholas Rabbit beckoned them to set down their bows. And they landed them.

There could be no speech of them, no understanding of profit, because the sea broke upon the coast. He only gave them a red cap and a linen hood on his head and a black sombrero.

One of them gave him a long-feathered bird feather shady, with a small cup of red and brown parrot feathers; and another gave him a large branch of white, small, wanting to look like damselfish, which I believe the Captain sends to your Highness, and with this he turned to the ships because it was too late and there could be no more talking about them, because of the sea.

The next night, it blew so much southeast with rainstorms that it hunted the ships, and especially the flagship. And Friday morning, at eight o'clock, a little or so, on the advice of the pilots, he had the Captain raise anchors and make sail; and we went along the coast, with the barges and sheriffs tied aft to the north, to see if we could find some shelter and good landing, where we would linger, to drink water and wood. Not that it would wane us, but here we get right.

When we sailed, they would be on the beach by the river by the work of sixty or seventy men who had gathered there little by little. We went long, and sent the captain to the small ships that would follow more close to shore and, if they found a safe landing for the ships, to settle.