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Espirito Santo

Today Espirito Santo is the name of the coastal state of Brazil extending from south of the Abrolhos to Cabo São Thome (Cape St Thomas].

In the eighteenth century, the name referred to the bay in which a settlement established by Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, after being granted hereditary title to the surrounding country on 23 May 1553. Countinho named the bay Espirito Santo as the day his title was bestowed by the Portuguese crown was the Feast day of the Holy Spirit. The settlement in the bay was known as Vila do Espirito Santo, but today is called Vila Belha.

In the wake of French attacks on Rio de Janeiro during 1701-2, fortifications were built in the vicinity of Vila Velha to protect shipping in the Bay of Vitória.


Prepared by: Turnbull, P.
Created: 15 October 2001
Modified: 1 December 2001

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000073

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