Brazil’s first capital, Salvador is the capital of the Bahia region in the northeast of the country. It remains one of Brazil’s most important historical and cultural centres. The colonial centre was named a UNESCO world heritage site in 1985.
The explorer Amérigo Vespúcio discovered Salvador bay on All Saints’ Day (1 Nov.) 1501. He thus named the area Baía de Todos os Santos (All Saints’ Bay). The construction of the city was ordered by King Don João III, when a Portuguese fleet brought more than a thousand people in six ships to settle the area. The city proper was founded in 1549 as Brazil’s colonial capital. Salvador was the main Atlantic port for ships travelling the volta do mar, or spice route to the East, and the surrounding region developed into an important region of sugar production and export.
In 1583 Salvador had a population 1,600 people. Its wealth attracted predators who made several attempts to take the city at the turn of the seventeenth century....