State of Maranhão (colonial)

The State of Maranhão (Portuguese: Estado do Maranhão) was the northern of two 17–18th century administrative divisions of the colonial Portuguese Empire in South America.

State of Maranhão
Estado do Maranhão
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
State of Maranhão
State of Maranhão
StatusState of the Portuguese Empire
CapitalSão Luís
Common languagesPortuguese
Roman Catholicism
• 1621
Philip II
• 1706–1737
John V
• 1621–1622
Domingos da Costa Machado
• 1736–1737
João Alves de Carvalho
• Established
• Disestablished
CurrencyPortuguese Real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Governorate General of Brazil
State of Grão-Pará and Maranhão


In 1621 the Governorate General of Brazil was separated into two states; the State of Brazil and the State of Maranhão. The state was created on 13 June 1621 by Philip II of Portugal.[1]

With the creation of the state Portuguese America had two administrative units: the State of Maranhão with its capital in São Luís, and the State of Brazil whose capital was São Salvador. After the 1670s Belem became the operational base of the Maranhão governors and it was formally designated the state capital in 1737.

The purpose of creating this state was to improve military defense in the Northern Region and stimulate economic activities and regional trade with the mainland[citation needed].

The State of Maranhão was extinguished in 1652 and in 1654 reconstituted as Maranhão and Grão-Pará. In 1751 the State of Maranhão and Grão-Pará had its name changed to Grão-Pará and Maranhão and its capital was moved from São Luís to Belém.


The following captaincies formed the State of Maranhão. Ceará was later detached and became a satellite of Pernambuco, in the State of Brazil.

Royal captainciesEdit

Donatary captaincies createdEdit


External linksEdit