Gaspar Corte-Real

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Gaspar Corte-Real
Gaspar Côrte-Real - Padrão dos Descobrimentos.png
Statue of Gaspar Corte-Real in the Monument to the Discoveries, in Lisbon, Portugal.
Born Gaspar
Kingdom of Portugal
Died 1501
Nationality Portuguese
Citizenship Kingdom of Portugal
Occupation Navigator and explorer
Known for Exploring the North American coast.

Gaspar Corte-Real (1450 – 1501) was a Portuguese explorer. Gaspar Corte-Real, alongside his father João Vaz Corte-Real (c. 1420-1496) and brother Miguel, participated in various exploratory voyages sponsored jointly by the Portuguese and Danish Crowns. These voyages are said to have been some of the first to reach Newfoundland and possibly other parts of northeastern Canada.

Early life[edit]

He was the youngest of three sons of João Vaz Corte-Real, also a Portuguese explorer, and had accompanied his father on his expeditions to North America[citation needed]. His brothers were also explorers, members of the Corte-Real family.


In 1500, King Manuel I of Portugal sent Gaspar to discover lands and search for a Northwest Passage to Asia.

He reached Greenland, believing it to be east Asia, but chose not to land, he set out on a second voyage to Greenland in 1501, with his brother Miguel Corte-Real[1] and three caravels. Encountering frozen sea, they changed course to the south and reached land, believed to be Labrador and Newfoundland. There they captured 57 native men, who would later be sold as slaves. Gaspar then sent his brother and two ships back to Portugal before continuing southwards.


Nothing more was heard of Gaspar Corte-Real after 1501, his brother Miguel attempted to find him in 1502, but he too never returned.


There is a statue of Gaspar Corte-Real located in front of the Confederation Building in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.[2] It was donated by the Canadian Portuguese Fisheries Organisation in 1965 in recognition of the hospitality of Newfoundlanders towards Portuguese Grand Banks fishermen. A building in Memorial University's Burtons Pond complex in St. John's is named for Corte-Real.


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