Pedro Alvares Cabral
It was in Belmonte in the year 1468 that Pedro Alvares Cabral was born. He was a famous navigator from Portugal and loved exploring new and unknown lands. It was during his adventurous expeditions that Cabral discovered Brazil. He was a well-trained navigator and a brave sea man.
Cabral was sent out on his great expedition by the king with the aim of establishing trade relation that were strong and in order to propagate Roman Catholicism in the lands that he travelled. In doing this he was also allowed to use the power of his sword if necessary.
Pedro Alvares Cabral set out with his fleet from Lisbon on 9th March 1500 and sailed towards the south west from the Verde Islands. After crossing what Cabral called the 'Monte Pascoal' on the 21st of April, he landed in Brazil the next day. After this he and his men entered Porto Sequroon the 25th of the same month.
Cabral sent word home about the new information that he had collected on his journey. He thought that Brazil was an island and established his success by building a cross on the land and then he arranged for an elaborate ceremony there. He named the land the Island of Veracruz.
It was in May of 1500 that Cabral began his journey once again and his fleet arrived at the Cape of Good Hope after about a month's time. However, it was here that a terrible storm took the better of most of his men and boats and when Cabral reached Sofala and Mozambique in July he had only half of his men to accompany him.
After this he travelled to the land of Kilwa but failed to establish friendly relations with the ruler, it was later that he went to Melinde in August.
It was from here that he started for India with some guidance from Melinde's men. On reaching India Pedro Alvares Cabral built a factory in Calicut in 1500 and began trade with the rulers for various rare spices. He also reached various agreements with the rulers of Cochin and Cannanore. It was again in January 1501 that Cabral began to sail back home. He arrived in Portugal on the 23rd of June 1501.
Unfortunately after his return to his home land much of his greatness was forgotten and he hardly retained the popularity that he deserved. He died a quiet death sometime in 1520. His body was buried in Santarem's monastery.
Pedro Alvares Cabral is remembered through the various postage stamps that were dedicated to him. His discovery of Brazil opened up with political and financial opportunities for the Portuguese.