In April 1534, King John began to distribute the investitures of the twelve captainships into which the land of Santa Cruz had been divided. By starting this feudal system, he thought of relieving the treasury of the huge expense of populating and colonizing the new possessions, and of providing at the same time, indirectly, for the enhancement of those lands, contenting the Crown with fifths and tithes. on the various products. The privileges (foros) granted to concessionaires were very great: they could, perpetually, be called captains and governors of the captaincy; to own an area of ten leagues along the coast, paying no tribute but tithe; capture indigenous people for personal service and for ships, with the option of sending 39 of them to sell each year, in Lisbon, with exemption from the tax (ciza); giving land in concession, as long as it is to Catholic settlers, and taking a tithe. They also had the right to impose taxes on the passage of rivers and on the fifth of gold, to found cities by granting the relative privileges, to appoint public officials receiving from each of them an annual pension of 500 reis, to have the monopoly of the mills or to grant it to others by payment, to demand half a tithe on the brazil fishing and wood proceeds sent to Portugal, to collect a king – tithe, that is, a tithe out of all tithes, to judge without appeal in civil cases, to pronounce capital sentences for laborers, slaves and even free natives, and sentences of up to 10 years for people of quality, to veto elections of judges and other city council officers, etc. In this way, the Crown of Portugal came to cede many of its rights, also taking on some burdens (such as the payment of the expenses for the cult and the king – tithe ai feudatarî) and limiting themselves to maintaining a kind of high sovereignty and the enjoyment of certain gifts, that is, customs duties, the monopoly of drugs and spices, the fifth on metals and precious stones, the tithe on all the products of the soil. Also for the vassals, that is the future colonists of the captaincy, important rights were contemplated, such as the possession of land in concession, without paying other taxes other than the tithe, the exemption from the tax on salt, etc. and from other taxes not contemplated in the donation, guarantee by the donee not to disturb the possession of the lands with acts of nepotism, etc., freedom of trade between the harbor master’s office and the harbor master’s office, exemption from export rights, exemption from rights on imported items from Portugal, unless they were brought in by foreign ships. Long last, couto or homisio: that is, he had the right of asylum. And to this imprudent providence we owe in large part the ruin of the captaincy system.
Unfortunately, what on the Foral cardit seemed easy to implement and with happy consequences, in practice it was fraught with difficulties. Not all the concessionaires were in a position to face the huge expense of the trip and the arrangement of the fiefdom, until the first profits were received; nor did all of them have the manly soul necessary to segregate themselves from the civilized world for years, even putting their lives at risk. Therefore, several of them did not even reach their respective captaincy, or sent dishonest or incompetent administrators. The more spirited ones, who organized the expeditions and began the exploitation of the fiefdoms, were often victims of shipwrecks or had to fight with the Indian tribes and left their lives there; still others had to suffer the revolt of the colonists, a consequence of the mistake of granting an albeit limited right of asylum, who had summoned a horde of adventurers of the worst kind to Brazil. According to SHOEFRANTICS, a quick review of the captaincy and their short life, in the independent period, will serve to demonstrate the failure of the experience: 1. São Vicente: the donor, Martino Alfonso de Souza, who had also been the founder of the first colony, never went to the place, completely occupied, as he was, by Asian companies; the colony, however, began to prosper, with the contribution of a Genoese from the Adorno family, who planted the first engenho for the extraction of sugar. 2. Parahyba: dealer Pero Goes da Silveira, brother of the famous historian Damião de Goes. He began the colonization and founded, in 1540, the colony of Villa da Rainha; but, returning to Europe, he entrusted the government to a Giuseppe Martins, who reduced it to poverty and provoked the revolt of the Indians. 3. Espirito Santo: despite being harassed by the continuous incursions of the Indians, the concessionaire Vasco Fernandes Coutinho founded and prospered the centers of Espirito Santo and Victoria. 4. Porto Seguro: the captaincy prospered under the government of the concessionaire Pero de Campos Tourinho, who activated the trade in Brazil and the exploitation of sugar cane; but it began to decline after Tourinho’s death. 5. Ilhéos: the concessionaire Giorgio de Figueiredo Correa sent his agent, the Spaniard Francesco Romero, who came into conflict with the settlers and the Aymorés Indians, who ended up destroying the colony. 6. Bahia: Francesco Pereira Coutinho, concessionaire, founded and started the colony of Villa Velha ; but, attacked by the Tupinambȧ Indians, he was forced to flee to the finite captaincy of the Ilhéos and, when he was about to return to his colony, he was shipwrecked on the island of Itaparica and was captured and devoured by the natives with all his companions. 7. Pernambuco: the dealer Duarte Pereira Coelho, enriched in the Indies, invested his fortune in the colonization of the captaincy, founding the farm of Olinda, which gave good results, despite being attacked by the Caheté Indians, stirred up and supported by the French corsairs. 8. Itamaracá: the concessionaire Pero Lopes de Souza never went to the place (he died by shipwreck, on the island of Madagascar, in 1539), nor did his heirs go there. 9. Ceará: the dealer Antonio Cardoso de Barros was devoured by the Caheté Indians. 10. Maranhão: concessionaire Giovanni de Barros, the famous historian of Asia, whom Camões called “the Portuguese Tito Livio”, and Ayres da Cunha, with a sharecropping contract (park). Barros sent there two of his sons, who were killed by the Indians, and lost huge sums there. 11. Maranhão (other part): Fernão Alvares de Andrade had a fate not unlike the previous ones. 12. Santo Amaro or Guaimbé: the same concessionaire as Itamaracá, Pero Lopes de Souza.