THE ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA

A DICTIONARY OF ARTS, SCIENCES, LITERATURE AND GENERAL INFORMATION

ELEVENTH EDITION 1911

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BRAZIL, or Brasil, a legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean. The name connects itself with the red dye-woods so called in the middle ages, possibly also applied to other vegetable dyes, and so descending from the Insulae Purpurariae of Pliny. It first appears as the I. de Brazi in the Venetian map of Andrea Bianco (1436), where it is found attached to one of the larger Island39700-h.htm'>Islands of the Azores. When this group became better known and was colonized, the Island39700-h.htm'>Island in question was renamed Terceira. It is probable that the familiar existence of “Brazil” as a geographical name led to its bestowal upon the vast region of South America, which was found to supply dye-woods kindred to those which the name properly denoted. The older memory survived also, and the Island39700-h.htm'>Island of Brazil retained its place in mid-ocean, some hundred miles to the west of Ireland, both in the traditions of the forecastle and in charts. In J. Purdy’s General Chart of the Atlantic, “corrected to 1830,” the “Brazil Rock (high)” is marked with no indication of doubt, in 51° 10′ N. and 15° 50′ W. In a chart of currents by A.G. Findlay, dated 1853, these names appear again. But in his 12th edition of Purdy’s Memoir Descriptive and Explanatory of the N. Atlantic Ocean (1865), the existence of Brazil and some other legendary islands is briefly discussed and rejected. (See also Atlantis.)
Transcriber's note: A few typographical errors have been corrected. They appear in the text like this, and the explanation will appear when the mouse pointer is moved over the marked passage. Sections in Greek will yield a transliteration when the pointer is moved over them, and words using diacritic characters in the Latin Extended Additional block, which may not display in some fonts or browsers, will display an unaccented version.

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