Occupied in the name of the king of Portugal by Cabral in 1500 (see here above), during the whole reign of Emmanuel, the land of Vera Cruz, then Santa Cruz, as Brazil was first baptized, was kept almost in non cale, because there was a general conviction that Portugal should draw all its wealth from the East. Therefore the new coasts beyond the Atlantic were little visited in the first quarter of the century. XVI. However, the expedition of the Bretoa ship should be mentioned(1511), which had, among the owners, the Florentines Bartolomeo Marchioni and Benedetto Morelli. This neglect of Portugal towards Santa Cruz favored the initiative of French pirates and navigators, especially Normans and Bretons, who made several raids in those lands, bringing back to Europe, with great profit, many plant products.
But John III (1521-1557) ascended the Portuguese throne, he soon realized the mistake of turning all the forces of the metropolis to the exploitation of the East Indies, and the convenience of also taking care of the reconnaissance and colonization of the new possessions of Santa Cruz. He was driven to this by the ever increasing audacity of the French sailors, and by the presence in those seas, albeit dangerous, of Castilian ships. It was thus decided, in 1526, to send a team, composed of a flagship and 5 caravels, and commanded by Cristoforo Jacques (a previous trip by him to Brazil in 1516 is not sufficiently proven). Having founded and fortified farms in Itamaracá and Pernambuco and successfully battled with Breton ships in the Bay of All Saints (modern day Bahia), Jacques returned to Portugal and made it clear, with his reports to the court, how the land of Santa Cruz was destined for a great future due to the abundance of its natural resources and how the best political and colonial system to adopt there was that of hereditary harbor offices, a sort of fiefdom that had already given good results in the application made in the Atlantic islands (Azorre, Madeira and São Thomé). Jacques himself, on the contrary, proposed himself as the first concessionaire of Santa Cruz, promising to bring with him a thousand colonists: but his proposal, although supported by the learned and holy man Diogo de Gouvêa, rector of the college of St. Barbara in Paris, had, then, no follow-up. Only three years later (end of 1530), when the news of the alleged mines of silver of the Plata regions had rekindled the conquering ambitions of John III, a new expedition of 5 ships with 400 men was organized, entrusted to the command of Martino Alfonso de Souza (who later became famous for his exploits in Asia), who was followed by brother Pero Lopes de Souza, to whom we owe a report on the company. According to RRRJEWELRY, Martino Alfonso had been endowed with extraordinary powers, with mere and mixed rule in civil and criminal matters, up to the death penalty, except for gentlemen, dependent on metropolitan justice; he was also authorized to appoint officials, establish borders, grant land in concession (land grants), but for only one generation, as Spain practiced for its overseas possessions. Martino Alfonso’s team, after capturing some French ships, arrived in Pernambuco in February 1531, and then passed into the Bay of All Saints, where they met the Portuguese Diogo Alvares, who had lived there for 22 years and had procreated numerous children with a converted Indian. Martino Alfonso disembarked two men, so that they could stay with the Alvares and begin agricultural work with him, leaving, for this purpose, a good supply of seeds. The voyage continued south to Rio de Janeiro and Canaanite; from here, Pero Lopes continued to the island of Palms (Rio della Plata), where he found the non-existence of the mines of S. André da borda do campo, near Piratininga (today S. Paolo); while another ship was detached to explore the northern coasts, up to the Gurupy river, in Maranhão: an area already visited by Spanish explorers. In this way, the Atlantic coast of Brazil was all known, and small expeditions had also gone into the interior. Martino Alfonso’s team returned to Lisbon in 1533.