ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Brazil Came to Speak Portuguese and the Rest of South America Spanish

Updated on May 19, 2020
Sandra Miliers profile image

Sandra was born in Toronto, but with a swedish mother. Came to Europe for university and ended up travelling the world.

Have you ever wondered...

..how or why it is that Brazil is the only Portuguese speaking country in south america, while the rest all speak Spanish? I have the answer.

The background

Like most things during this time period, it all started in Europe, in the very late 14-, or very early 1500's. 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and discovered what he thought was the sea route to India. He didn't really have it all together, as in reality he was in the Bahamas, and had discovered a new continent.

Although Columbus was Italian, according to sources, born in Genua, it was the Spanish royals Isabella and Ferdinand that sent him on a journey to discover the sea route to the tempting spice lands, India. Before going to Spain, Columbus had been to Lisbon, Portugal, (his first wife was portuguese nobility) trying to convince the king of Portugal to sponsor him on a journey, but had been rejected. As the king of Portugal and Isabella were related (both came from the same family, Trastamara), Isabella soon heard the news that the portuguese had said no, and convinced her husband to sponsor the voyage when Columbus arrived.

Isabella convinced her husband Fernando to sponsor Columbus' trip.
Isabella convinced her husband Fernando to sponsor Columbus' trip.

Finding the new continent.

When both countries realized, thanks to Vasco Nunez de Balboa, that this was a new continent, they of course had to start fighting eachother over the territories.

7th of June 1494, the catholic kings (Isabella and Fernando) met with the portuguese king Joao II of Portugal in a tiny place called Tordesillas, today situated in the province of Valladolid, Spain. Why they decided to meet there, history does not tell us, but there was probably a reason behind that as well.

In Tordesillas, they signed a treaty, which would define the new world.

Tordesillas.
Tordesillas.

Treaty of Tordesillas

Signing the treaty, they also without knowing it, laid the foundations for the language barriers in the southern part of the new world.

The treaty states that everything found within 370 leagues out in the then more or less unknown Atlantic ocean, was portuguese territory, and beyond the 370 league line, everything was Spanish territory. The Spanish were not allowed to dock in a portuguese port, and the portuguese had to stay away from the Spanish settlements.

Division between Spanish and Portuguese territories after signing the treaty of Tordesillas.
Division between Spanish and Portuguese territories after signing the treaty of Tordesillas.

Off we go.

So now the exploration war was in place, with the newly signed rules to play after. While the Spanish sailed right into what later became the mexican gulf, the Portuguese decided to go northwards towards modern day Newfoundland, where they met some locals and started a not so lucrative fur trading business.

The Spanish had now gone through Mexico, and latin america, and were working their way into the northern part of south america. The portuguese followed, trying to search their luck in the parts that they were able to dock in, what was within the 370 league line.

They ended up docking in the part that later became Brazil and Uruguay, but at the beginning, they were not to interested in this area either, saying it was all jungle, no area to grow any agriculture on, and no people to trade with. Let's abandon our "american adventure", said the portuguese, and decided to put priority on continuing to explore Africa.

Pedro Alvarez Cabral.

But one man was about to change everything. Pedro Alvarez Cabral. He had sailed as an apprentice with the Spanish ships, and got the taste for exploring what the portuguese could explore of the new territories. The year 1500, he went on an expedition and claimed the mostwestern territories to Portugal. It was then, that the colonization of Brazil began. With time, the "inner territories" of Brazil was aquired with the trading of Uruguay to the Spanish, forming the Brazil that we know today.

Replica of the portuguese boats that crossed the Atlantic ocean.
Replica of the portuguese boats that crossed the Atlantic ocean.

Summing up. It was thanks to Isabella.

So, in reality, it thanks to the Queen Isabella and the fact that she couldn't get along with her family, that Brazil ended up being the only Portuguese speaking nation on the american continent.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      4 days ago from UK

      I always thought the explanation had something to do with the explorers, but your article explains a lot.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)