Wikipedia Clean-Up: Letter of Pêro Vaz de Caminha

For my Wikipedia Article Project, I decided to look at the article on the letter from Pêro Vaz de Caminha to the King of Portugal, Manuel I. This letter is of particular importance to Brazilian history and culture because it was the first ever official letter and description of Brazil in 1500. It has also been considered by historians as the most accurate depiction of Brazil at the time. This letter can help give better insight into the opinions of early Portuguese people when they landed in Brazil and how that affected future relations between them and the Indigenous peoples.

There are many content gaps in this article, for example there is no context given about the Portuguese’s agenda and purpose in Brazil and there is no information about the author and his motives. The article also only translates very few sections of the letter and does not elaborate on them at all. There also needs to be a section on how this letter was received by the Portuguese monarchy and how it affected their future expeditions to Brazil. In terms of the actual writing of the article, it could use some improvement as it is not coherent in certain parts and does not introduce certain aspects very well which leaves the reader confused about the topic of discussion.

Currently, there is an article by Eduardo Mayone Dias entitled “Brazil’s Birth Certificate: The Letter of Pero Vaz de Caminha.” In this article, Dias descries the European political environment of the time in relation to exploring the New World. He also describes the actual expedition of de Caminha, what he encountered and his opinions; this is relevant as it gives more context to the letter.

2 thoughts on “Wikipedia Clean-Up: Letter of Pêro Vaz de Caminha

  1. Abby Blinka

    This is a really interesting topic and I think your plan to add sections on author, context, and reception are great. The article you found looks like it will be helpful and this appears to be a prominent enough topic that finding more secondary sources should not be too difficult. Good luck with your additions!

  2. Jack Hyman

    It would be interesting if, in your edition of this page, you were to elaborate upon the reasons for why the letter is considered to be so accurate or credible by historians. One likely explanation might be that it has been extensively corroborated through the examination of archaeological evidence. Furthermore, using a translated copy of the letter itself as a primary source should be useful in eliminating apparent gaps and discrepancies between the details presented by the existing article.

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