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Third Governor General of Brazil.
This poem by Father José de Anchieta portrays with admiration and respect the moment of Mem de Sá's arrival in Bahia:
"Behold, freed from the dangers of the sea and long awaited, / a squadron abounds in the bay to which all the saints have bequeathed the name. It carried, save from the faces of the ocean, / a singular hero, of extraordinary courage, / Mem , who from the blood of noble ancestors / and illustrious sap of long descent / had inherited the surname of Sa. Over the years, / beautifies his face white and majestic beards: / cheerful the features, shaded with senile gravity, / alive the eyes, manly the frame of the body, / fresh, as a young man, the forces of adulthood / Much more excellent is the soul: for they have polished it / vast science, with the long experience of the world, / and the art of the word beautiful. . "
Brother of the poet Sá de Miranda, Mem de Sá descended from nobles. He studied law at the University of Salamanca, graduating in 1528. After that, he held the position of judge in several Portuguese counties.
Queen Dona Catarina was appointed the third governor-general of Brazil, and in January 1558. assumed the government. When it arrived, it encountered a difficult political situation, with the eruption of several indigenous uprisings. He warred with the Indians in Ilhéus and Porto Seguro.
Aided by Jesuit priests Manuel da Nóbrega and José de Anchieta, he managed to win the war against the Tamoios in the captaincy of St. Vincent.
Although it also fought hunger and a smallpox outbreak that struck Bahia, Mem de Sá carried out a government of relative peace and prosperity.
Among his most notable achievements is the expulsion of the French from Brazil, who were trying to settle in various parts of the coast. In 1560 Mem de Sá organized an expedition to Guanabara Bay. With very few resources, it brought together 120 Portuguese and 1,140 Indians and attacked the fort of Coligny, defended by French soldiers and over a thousand Tamoio Indians. Won the battle and expelled the French from the region where today is Rio de Janeiro.
The Crown sent the Estácio de Sá expedition to reinforce security at Guanabara Bay in 1563. Mem de Sá organized the building administration and passed the city hall to his nephew Salvador Correia de Sá, then returned to the city. Bahia.
In 1572 Mem de Sá set out to leave the general government and return to Portugal with the arrival of his replacement. However, it passed away suddenly. His body was buried on the cruise of the Jesuit Church in Bahia.