On March 9, 1500 a
Portuguese fleet under the command of Pedro Alverez Cabral left Lisbon
for India. The voyage was overshadowed by many accidents. At the Cape
Verde Islands one ship of the fleet was already missing. To avoid the
zones of the calms, an area famous for weak or no winds at all, the
fleet sailed with the trade winds in southwesterly direction. The
ships were pushed even more westerly by the Equator Stream and on
April 22nd, 1500 they sighted land. Cabral named it 'Terra de Vera
Cruz', Land of the True Cross. Cabral claimed the area for Portugal as
determined by the Treaty of Tordesillas.
The stamp was issued in 2000 to commemorate the
500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil.
The map shown on the stamps is similar to a portion of
one by Sebastião Lopes, a Portuguese cartographer, in 1558. The
orientation of the map is shown by the compass rose bridging the two
stamps. Lopes is also credited with two other manuscript maps dating
about 1570 and 1583.