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1553: User Duarte da Costa the second elected Governor of Brazil

Duarte da Costa
Duarte da Costa
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Duarte da Costa, who served from 1553 to 1558, was the second Governor-General of Brazil, succeeding Tomé de Sousa. His tenure was marked by several notable events and challenges. Upon arriving in Brazil in 1553 with a significant entourage that included the novice José de Anchieta, Costa was involved in key developments such as the founding of Jesuit educational institutions in São Paulo and engaging in conflicts with indigenous tribes in the Bahia region. His governance also faced issues with the French who attempted to establish a colony in the Rio de Janeiro area in 1555, which led to conflicts supported by indigenous allies against the Portuguese.

Costa’s administration was further complicated by internal disputes, notably a conflict involving his son, Álvaro da Costa, and the first bishop of Brazil, Pero Fernandes Sardinha. This dispute led to Sardinha’s tragic end, as he was killed and cannibalized by Caeté Indians after a shipwreck on his way back to Portugal. These and other challenges eventually culminated in Costa’s replacement by Mem de Sá in 1558【5†source】【7†source】.

Duarte da Costa was also a nobleman and colonial administrator with ties to the Portuguese Royal Council and served as an ambassador at the court of Charles I of Spain before his appointment in Brazil【7†source】.

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