Canada, a Portuguese word, well displayed on ancient nautical charts of North America, showing territorial boundaries separating Portuguese Crown land from land settled by French colonies, dating back to the late fourteen hundreds, has since undergone an Anglo-Saxon cleansing, reaching contemporary times, with an explanation that it derives from one of the languages spoken by native people of the New World (North America). Entertaining the thought that various navigators crossed the deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean before the Portuguese, it was the navigators originating from the House of Dom Henrique, Administrator of the Order of Christ, that first carried the news of the existence of the New World to the shores of Europe, with enough scope to involve the majority of Kingdoms forming 14th, 15th and 16th century Europe. This feat of world discovery involved the following Portuguese navigators;

Captain Alvaro Martins Homem - prior to 1450 (Captain E. G. da Costa Duarte' Ancestral Grandfather)
Captain João Vaz Corte Real – prior to 1450 and 1487
Captain Gaspar Corte Real – 1487 and 1501
Captain Miguel Corte Real – 1487
Captain João Fernandes Labrador – 1492
Captain Pedro de Barcelos – 1492
Captain Alvaro Fagundes – 1520
Captain João Martins – 1588


Boundary lines and territorial names are clearly drawn and written on the maps that survived the ages, supporting the undisputed presence of the Portuguese on the formation of Canada before any other European. A decade later the French followed suit, colonizing the territories to the west of the Saguenay River. The characteristic of the Saguenay River, located on the Province of Quebec, Canada, play an important part on the origin of the name canada as applied to the nation’s name, Canada.

The river is bordered by steep cliffs that guide its very high water flow to the St. Lawrence River, which, in turn, flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Historically, the Saguenay River was an important trade route into the interior of the Province for local native people and later, during the French colonization of the Americas; the river was a major route for the fur trade. Located on the shores of the river, Tadoussac is France's first trading post in Canada, established in 1600. The river takes its name from the legendary Kingdom of Saguenay.

The modern definition of the Portuguese word canada; simply means passage, corridor, narrow road and, for centuries, indicates a border mark between two distinct pieces of land or territories to identify limits of ownership. The majority of maps showing the eastern part of Canada, produced during the early fifteen hundred, reaching  mid seventeen hundred, display the word canada directly over the area of the Saguenay River, a dividing line between the territories belonging to the Portuguese Crown and French settlements that followed, accentuating the boundary between two distinct ownerships, Portugal and France. Furthermore, the map produced by Paolo Forlani sometime in 1566, two words canada pro are shown, asserting that French territorial is beyond the canada, better said, beyond the water passage. The Portuguese word canada maintains its usage today with as much frequency as it was in the fourteen and fifteen hundreds. For example, various streets near the house that I was born begin with the word canada, specifically, Canada Nova, Canada dos Filadais, Canada do Mato and many more, all located within the limits of the City of Angra do Heroismo.

Unfortunately, simple evidence based on early maps of Canada about the origin of word canada are not enough to satisfy English speaking Canadian historians and academics that insist the nation’s name derives from the word kanata, a native Mohawk word, meaning “village” or “settlement”. Certainly, a mannerism inherited from the Anglo-Saxon mentality that remains deep rooted in Canada, to discredit any Portuguese or Spanish accomplishment.


Taking a glance at the above list of navigators, Captain João Vaz Corte Real and Captain Alvaro Martins Homem, my ancestral grandfather, were the first to discover the shores representing the Atlantic Region of Canada. The shores of the Atlantic region were given the following names, originating from Portuguese navigators and well documented on charts, maps and documents of the time: 

Terras dos Corte Reais
Terra do Labrador
Terras dos Bacalhaus
Terra de Estêvão Gomes
Terra Nova
The family of Captain João Vaz Corte Real, originates from the City of Tavira, Province of Algarve, Portugal, where they owned a vast quantity of land. The word canada has its origin from within their property, a name given to a small stream covered with canas, a type of bamboo stick available to southern Portugal. From its origin, the word expanded to its modern version, as above-mentioned; passage, corridor or narrow road. 

Creative lies, emerging from the Anglo-Saxon mindset, in this case to dismiss Portuguese participation about the discovery of Canada, only accomplishes ridicule on themselves; effectively, an issue worth dismissing given present day British culture and how it impacts the world. Whether the world at large cares or dismisses British culture, it is largely a topic of entertainment.

© Copyright 2010, Capt. E. G. da Costa Duarte, all rights reserved

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