Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco

Francisco Caldeira Castelo Branco (1566–1619) was a Portuguese Captain-major, founder of the city of Belém, capital of Pará (Brazil), on January 12, 1616.

Martim Soares Moreno
Captain-major of Rio Grande
In office
Monarch Philip II of Portugal
Captain-major of Bahia
In office
Monarch Philip II of Portugal
Personal details
Born 1566
Castelo Branco, Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1619 (aged 53)
Lisbon, Kingdom of Portugal
Nationality Portuguese
Military service
Allegiance Portuguese Empire
Battles/wars Dutch-Portuguese War


He was born in the Portuguese town of Castelo Branco, in 1566. Was Captain-major of the Captaincy the Rio Grande (now the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Norte), from 1612 to 1614, and the captaincy of Bahia, from 1615 to 1618. While serving in the garrison of Pernambuco, was sent as commander of an expedition to rescue the Portuguese troops who, under the command of Jerónimo de Albuquerque Maranhão, fought against the French in Maranhão.

In 1615, he commanded a military expedition sent by the governor general of Brazil to expel foreigners (French, Dutch, English) who were in the Grão Pará.

On January 12, Francisco Caldeira arrived in Guajará bay, called by the Tupinambás, "Guaçu Paraná", where he built a wooden fort, covered with straw, which he called "Presépio" (now "Forte do Castelo"). In the colony that was formed by the fort, he gave the name "Happy Lusitania" – the embryo of the future city of Belém.

His government of the new colony was considered authoritarian and divisive. He was deposed in 1618 arrested and sent to Lisbon, where he died in a prison 1619.


  • Abreu, J. Capistrano de (1963). Capítulos de história colonial (1500–1800). Brasília: UNB.
  • Cruz, Ernesto (1973). História de Belém. Belém: Universidade Federal do Pará.

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