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Revista Escuela de Historia

On-line version ISSN 1669-9041


MARTINEZ, Carolina. Cartographic projections, overseas rivalry and colonial experience in Terra Brasilis: France in the XVIth Century. Rev. Esc. Hist. [online]. 2016, vol.15, n.1, pp.00-00. ISSN 1669-9041.

A brief comparison between the effective occupation of European maritime powers in America and their colonial projects shows that throughout the early modern Age there existed differences, at times insurmontable, between the objectives of a voyage and its actual outcome. In the case of France, having begun its first voyages of exploration after the Spanish and Portuguese crowns and in clear violation of the limits established by the Tordesillas Treaty (1494), accessing official registries revealing the Crown's intentions is a matter of certain complexity. However, apart from the documentation issued by the French Crown there is also cartographic and epistolary evidence to allow us understand, at least in the case of its unfortunate experience in Terra Brasilis (1555-1560), the distance that existed between the ambitions of Henry II and the actual limits the colony faced in Bahía de Guanabara. The prospective nature of the maps drawn by Guillaume Le Testu in his Cosmographie Universelle (1555-1556) evidences, on the one hand, the strong bond between the graphic representation of a world still unknown and the colonial ambitions of European powers. On the other hand, the correspondence between Viceadmiral Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon and his promotors in France shows how religious and economic disputes affected the colony from the moment it was founded. The analysis of these sources will thus contribute to understand the original aspirations and final outcome of the colony established in what would be known as France Antarctique.

Keywords : France; Brazil; XVIth Century; Overseas Expansion; Nicolas Durand de Villegagnon.

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