March 8, 2000
Sailors retrace 16th-century voyage to Brazil

                   BELEM, Portugal (AP) -- A regatta of ships and about 350 sailors set sail
                   Wednesday on a six-week journey meant to celebrate the voyage of
                   Pedro Alvares Cabral, a Portuguese navigator who reached Brazil 500
                   years ago.

                   The Portuguese and Brazilian sailors weighed anchor in two majestic tallships,
                   a replica of a caravel and other craft bound for northern Brazil. The trip was
                   launched by the Portugal's President Jorge Sampaio and Brazil's President
                   Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

                   Cardoso and Sampaio have pledged to expand bilateral relations and economic
                   ties through regional blocs like the European Union and Mercosur, the South
                   American trade bloc that includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and

                   Brazil, with one of the most powerful economies in the developing world, has
                   far outgrown its colonial roots, counting a population of 165 million compared
                   to Portugal's 9.9 million. Still, poverty still plagues much of Brazil despite
                   economic advances in recent years.

                   "Today Brazil looks at Portugal and sees Europe. So we see not just the berth of
                   (Brazilian) civilization, but also an opportunity for economic growth," Cardoso said.

                    Among the thirty-odd vessels in the regatta was the "Boa Esperanca," the
                    replica of one of Cabral's 13 ships -- a caravel with a red Christian cross
                    embossed on white sails.

                    Heading the regatta were the "Sagres" and "Cisne Branco," the majestic
                    tallships of the Portuguese and Brazilian navies.

                    The two presidents are to greet the regatta when it arrives in Brazil April 22.

                   On the same day, some 2,000 Brazilian Indians are planning protests to call
                   attention to the suffering the European settlement inflicted on Brazil's native

                   Indians were first enslaved and later, they were virtually exterminated by
                   colonizers. Brazil's native population shrank from an estimated 5 million in
                   1500 to about 320,000 today.

                   Portugal was also heavily involved in the slave trade. The commerce of
                   African slaves began in the mid-16th century and lasted until 1888 when Brazil
                   became the last nation in the Western Hemisphere to abolish slavery.

                   Brazil was a Portuguese colony from around 1530 until Portugal's Prince
                   Pedro declared independence in 1822 and was acclaimed Emperor of Brazil.

                    Copyright 2000 The Associated Press.