Pedro Teixeira (b. Cantanhede, unknown date, d. 1640) was a Portuguese explorer commissioned by the governor of Maranhão to explore the Amazon in 1637. His exploits are remarkable even today. Because of him and other Portuguese who pushed into the depths of the Amazon, Brazil was able to obtain far more of South America from their Spanish competitors than the Treaty of Tordesillas had granted in 1494.
In 1638, Teixeira became the first European to travel up the river, reaching Quito by way of the Napo River. He returned down the river, bringing with him the two jesuit priests Cristóbal de Acuña, who wrote a chronicle of the exploration, and Andres de Artieda, both having been delegated by the viceroy of Peru to accompany him. The 1638 expedition was prompted by the appearance, in 1637, of a group of Spaniards at the principal Portuguese settlement of Fort Presépio at the mouth of the Amazon. These Spaniards, two Franciscan friars, Domingos Brieva and Andres de Toledo, and six soldiers had paddled the entire length of the Amazon in a single canoe. This had been an impromptu expedition resulting from an attempt to vacate a mission station threatened by natives, but it raised a question in the minds of the Portuguese as to how far east the Spaniards had settled the Amazon. Although Spain and Portugal were at that time under a single monarch, trading rivalry was nevertheless intense and there was a strong movement towards Portuguese independence. Consequently, the governor of San Luis, Jacome Raimundo de Noronha, lost no time in commissioning an expedition under the command of Captain Pedro de Teixeira. Teixeira already had considerable experience exploring the Amazon and Xingu rivers leading expeditions to expel English and Dutch traders and settlers. The Franciscan friar, Andres de Toledo, was dispatched to Lisbon to report his expedition to the Portuguese authorities, the other friar remained with the expedition.
The Portuguese expedition was a large one, consisting of 47 canoes powered by 1200 Indians and Negroes to transport 70 fully armed Portuguese soldiers as well as cargo consisting of food, weapons, ammunition and barter goods. It was a formidable logistical exercise to feed so many over the months ahead and the expedition had to rely on its own hunting, fishing and food gathering skills as well as barter with the Indians in order to survive. The journey upstream against a strong current was arduous and advanced parties were regularly sent out to reconnoiter the way ahead in order to identify the correct fork in the river to take. Teixeira also had difficulty persuading the Indians to stay with the expedition the further away they got from their homes.
After eight months, the Portuguese reached the first Spanish settlement on the Rio Quijos. At this stage, Teixeira divided the expedition, sending eight canoes ahead whilst the remainder were to stay at the settlement for the return journey. The Rio Quijos was eventually abandoned when the torrent grew too strong and the rest of the journey was completed on foot. After almost one year, the expedition reached Quito (1638) to a rousing reception.
Although the Spaniards of Peru afforded the Portuguese expeditionaries every hospitality, they were nevertheless concerned to know how far the Portuguese had settled the Amazon. It was the Spanish view that by the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 and on the strength of the expedition of Francisco de Orellana, the Amazon was within Spanish territory. Consequently, Teixeira and his party were detained several weeks in Quito whilst the Spanish authorities decided what to do. In the end it was decided to send a party of Jesuit priests headed by Cristobal de Acuna, brother of the governor of Quito, to accompany the Portuguese on their return journey and report all they observed. Father Cristobal was to present his report to the Royal Council of the Indies.
Father Cristobal's report in the form of a book was published in 1641. In it, he gives a glowing account the Amazon regions and is especially complimentary towards the Indians and their way of life. The expedition itself appears to have uneventful apart from a disagreement between the Jesuits and the Portuguese officers over a proposed slaving expedition up the Rio Negro. Teixeira gave way to the Jesuits over the slaving issue and the expedition eventually reached Belem on 12 December 1639, just over two years after it had set out. Although Father Cristobal urged Spain to lose no time in settling the Amazon, his advice came too late. In 1640, King João IV was proclaimed king of Portugal and, in 1641, king of Brazil as well.
Little is known about Pedro de Teixeira apart from the Amazon expedition. After completing the expedition he went to São Luis do Maranhão to make his report to the governor. He was duly promoted to Capitão-Mor. He accepted the post of governor of Pará on 28 February 1640 but he yielded the office after three months due to ill health. He died on 4 June 1640.
* Smith, Anthony (1994). "Explorers of the Amazon". Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226763374
Источник: Pedro Teixeira