A Serra das Esmeraldas

The master dissertation of Fabio Paiva Reis, about an important theme in the colonial history of Espírito Santo, is available in digital format.

T o highlight the origin of the myth of the Serra das Esmeraldas, in the Captainship of Espirito Santo, was the goal of Fabio Paiva Reis in his master’s dissertation.

To follow the development of the myth from the letters and accounts of the chroniclers of the colony until its incorporation into the modern Portuguese and European cartography and to reflect on its role in the political, administrative and territorial disputes of Portuguese America of the 17th century.

"So deeply rooted in all souls had the habit of estimating the treasures which the earth gives according to the form and substance assumed by them in the Indies of Castile, that it would scarcely be seen in Brazil anything but an extension and dependence of the former. What they were seeking in our countryside on so many organized expeditionsmwas not so much gold as silver. And they were not diamonds, but emeralds. In other words, what the wanted in Brazil was to find Peru, and not Brazil itself."

Sérgio Buarque de Holanda (Visão do Paraíso)

T he author believes that it is possible to understand the process of valorization and then devaluation of Espirito santo in Brazil's colonial period - between the first news of the riches in the interior, in the decade of 1570, and the creation of the Captaincy of São Paulo e Minas do Ouro, in 1709.

In order to understand this process, Fabio Reis also analyzes the construction of seventeenth-century cartography, the influence it receives from the reports of the journeys the backcountry, and how it influenced subsequent journeyss. Finally, he argues that the belief in the myth of the Serra das Esmeraldas intensified the interiorization of the colony, placed Espírito Santo among the most coveted regions of Portuguese America and transformed the captaincy into the protagonist of disputes between Portugal and Spain, on the colonial frontiers, and between the hereditary captaincies themselves.