500 Years of Brazil
Divisão de Bibliotecas e Documentação

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The Works

ROCHA PITA, Sebastião da. Historia da America     Portugueza. Desde o anno de mil e quinhentos do seu     descobrimento até o de mil e setecentos e vinte e quatro.     Lisboa: Francisco Arthur da Silva, 1880.

Offered "À Magestade Augusta Delrey D. João V. Nosso Senhor", the História da América portuguesa, desde o ano de mil e quinhentos do seu descobrimento até o de mil e setentos e vinte e quatro, written by Sebastião da Rocha Pita, was first published in 1730. 

Bahia-born Sebastião da Rocha Pita studied and graduated as Master of Arts at the Jesuit College in that captaincy. By dint of personal respect, fortune and family, he was made Colonel of the Orderlies at the Court of Salvador, Gentleman of the Royal Household, professed Knight of the Order of Christ, academic of the Royal Academy of Portuguese History in Lisbon and at the Academia dos Esquecidos in Bahia.

Professing truth to be the "essential institute", Rocha Pita also claimed to have composed his História based on faithful reports and contemporary private information provided by people familiar with most of the continent.

Divided into ten books, the work is particularly noteworthy for its praise of the behaviour of both the Portuguese monarchy and the Church. Yet his narrative is also full of emboabas (naive new settlers), mascates (hawkers), the Negro population of Palmares, the Cariri Indians, the one-armed Maneta in Bahia and Felipe dos Santos in Vila Rica, as well as the pests, famines, droughts and other events that mark everyday life in what the author called Portuguese America..

The second edition of the book, revised and annotated by J. G. Goes, Officer of the National Library at Lisbon, is "ornate with six fine etchings and a map."