Updated:
Original:
Year
1500
Month Day
January 26

Pinzon discovers Brazil

Spanish explorer Vicente Yanez Pinzon, who had commanded the Nina during Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World, reaches the northeastern coast of Brazil during a voyage under his command. Pinzon’s journey produced the first recorded account of a European explorer sighting the Brazilian coast; though whether or not Brazil was previously known to Portuguese navigators is still in dispute.

Pinzon subsequently sailed down the Brazilian coast to the equator, where he briefly explored the mouth of the Amazon River. In the same year, Portuguese explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed Brazil for Portugal, arguing that the territory fell into the Portuguese sphere of exploration as defined by the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas. However, little was done to support the claim until the 1530s, when the first permanent European settlements in Brazil were established at Sao Vicente in Sao Paulo by Portuguese colonists.

FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us!

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Republic of India born

On January 26, 1950, the Indian constitution takes effect, making the Republic of India the most populous democracy in the world. Mohandas Gandhi struggled through decades of passive resistance before Britain finally accepted Indian independence. Self-rule had been promised ...read more

Franco captures Barcelona

During the Spanish Civil War, Barcelona, the Republican capital of Spain, falls to the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco. In 1931, King Alfonso XIII approved elections to decide the government of Spain, and voters overwhelmingly chose to abolish the monarchy in favor ...read more

Baird demonstrates TV

On January 26, 1926, John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor, gives the first public demonstration of a true television system in London, launching a revolution in communication and entertainment. Baird’s invention, a pictorial-transmission machine he called a “televisor,” used ...read more

Australia Day

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with ...read more

POW spends 2,000th day in captivity

U.S. Navy Lt. Everett Alvarez Jr. spends his 2,000th day in captivity in Southeast Asia. First taken prisoner when his plane was shot down on August 5, 1964, he became the longest-held POW in U.S. history. Alvarez was downed over Hon Gai during the first bombing raids against ...read more

Bears beat Patriots in Super Bowl XX

On January 26, 1986, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the Chicago Bears score a Super Bowl record number of points to defeat the New England Patriots, 46-10, and win their first championship since 1963. Led by Coach Mike Ditka, a tight end for the Bears during their last Super Bowl ...read more

So-called Mad Butcher terrorizes Cleveland

Thedismembered body of Florence Polillo is found in a basket and several burlap sacks in Cleveland. The 42-year-old woman was the third victim in 18 months to be found dismembered with precision. It sparked a panic in Cleveland,where the unknown murderer was dubbedthe “Mad ...read more

First Australian penal colony established

The first 736 convicts banished from England to Australia land in Botany Bay. Over the next 60 years, approximately 50,000 criminals were transported from Great Britain to the “land down under,” in one of the strangest episodes in criminal-justice history. The accepted wisdom of ...read more

Ukraine declares its independence

Soon after the Bolsheviks seized control in immense, troubled Russia in November 1917 and moved towards negotiating peace with the Central Powers, the former Russian state of Ukraine declares its total independence. One of pre-war Russia’s most prosperous areas, the vast, flat ...read more

Audie Murphy wounded

On this day, the most decorated man of the war, American Lt. Audie Murphy, is wounded in France. Born the son of Texas sharecroppers on June 20, 1924, Murphy served three years of active duty, beginning as a private, rising to the rank of staff sergeant, and finally winning a ...read more