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Brazil (or Brasil in Portuguese) is an enormous country in the east of South America. Much of Brazil was unexplored Amazonian rain forest at the time of the Canon. It straddles the equator and was often used as a stopping point on the journey round the Cape of Good Hope as the quickest sailing route to the Cape closely approaches the Brazilian coast. At the period of the Canon, it was a Portuguese colony and later a joint Kingdom with Portugal, which was allied to the United Kingdom and therefore a friendly port of call for British ships.


At the time of the first European discovery of Brazil in April 1500, by Pedro Álvares Cabral, the country was mostly inhabited by mostly semi-nomadic tribes who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and slash and burn agriculture.

Settlement by the Portuguese proceeded slowly with the main industry being the exploitation of brazilwood, a tree that gave a red dye and its name to the country. Later African slaves were brought to Brazil to grow sugar cane. In the early 1600s, both the Dutch and the French made several expeditions to try and wrest control of some of the territory from the Portuguese, but both were eventually repulsed leaving the Portuguese in control.

In 1808, when Napoleon's troops invaded Spain and Portugal, the Portuguese royal family was evacuated from Lisbon and transported to Brazil by Royal Navy ships under Sir Sidney Smith. Portugal and Brazil were joined in a United Kingdom at this time. King João VI returned to Portugal only in 1821 leaving his son as regent. However, in 1822 Brazil seceded from the Portuguese Crown and an independent Empire of Brazil was set up, ruled by Dom Pedro, the son of the Portuguese King. Lord Cochrane, was involved in the secession campaign helping to defeat the loyalists.

In the Canon

Jack Aubrey makes frequent stops at Brazilian ports, to repair his ship or to replenish stores. On several occasions, he leaves sick or wounded crew members in Brazilian ports to recover and be repatriated.

Stephen Maturin is well aware of the vast diversity of wildlife in the Brazilian rain forest and often pleads to be allowed to explore the hinterland. On a couple of occasions he is indulged and in one memorable case returns to HMS Surprise with a sloth which Aubrey proceeds to debauch with rum.

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