The official Portuguese name for the land, in the original Portuguese records, was Tierra de la Santa Cruz (Terra da Santa Cruz), but European sailors and traders commonly called it Tierra de Brasil (Terra do Brasil) because of Brazil's timber trade. The name Brazil is an abbreviated form of Terra do Brasil (Land of Brazil), a reference to the tree of Brazil. The name was given at the beginning of the 16th century to the territories leased to the consortium of merchants led by Ferhão de Loronha to exploit wood from Brazil for the production of dyes for the European textile industry. Gandavo begins with an explanation of the ill-conceived name of Brazil, pointing out its origin in the stained wood that was called Brazil, because it is red, similar to embers, but he insists on using the name of Santa Cruz in the rest of his book to torment the devil, who has worked and continues to work so hard to extinguish the memory of the Holy Cross from the heart of men.
The South American country was named Santa Cruz after its discoverer, Pedro Alvarez Cabral (1500), but in a decade on maps it began to be called the red-dyed land of Brazil because it produced a valuable red dye similar to the type of the East Indies, and that name predominated starting in the 1550s. Barros continues to complain that he can do nothing but remind his readers of the solemnity of the original name and urge them to use it so that, on Judgment Day, they will not be accused of being worshipers from Brazil rather than worshipers of the Holy Cross. In a similar spirit, a map by the Genoese cartographer Visconti Maggiolo, dated 1504, Brazil appears called Tera de Goncalo Coigo vocatur Santa Croxe (Land of Gonçalo Coelho called Santa Cruz), in reference to Gonçalo Coelho, presumably the captain of the above-mentioned cartographic expedition of 1501 (and certainly of its continuation of 1503-04). Soon after his return to Lisbon, Vespucci wrote a famous letter to his former employer Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de' Medici in which he characterized the Brazilian landmass as a continent and called it the New World.
If this rule had been followed, an inhabitant of Brazil should have been known (in Portuguese) as a Brazilian. The Portuguese term for the Brazilian tree, pau-brasil, is made up of pau (wood) and brasa (ember), the latter referring to the bright red dye that can be extracted from the tree. In 1507, Vespucci's letters were reprinted in the volume Cosmographiae Introductio published by a German academy, containing Martin Waldseemüller's famous map of the Brazilian landmass designated by the name of America. In the 1510s, French intruders from the Atlantic ports of Normandy and Brittany also began routinely visiting the Brazilian coast to harvest their own (illegal) wood from Brazil.
From 1502 to 1512, the crown leased the Portuguese claim over Brazil to a commercial consortium in Lisbon led by Ferhão de Loronha for commercial exploitation. The land of what became Brazil was first called by the Portuguese captain Pedro Álvares Cabral Ilha de Vera Cruz (Island of the True Cross), after the Portuguese discovery of the land in 1500, probably in honor of the Feast of the Cross (May 3 in the liturgical calendar). Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci joined the next Portuguese expedition in 1501 to map the coast of Brazil. The label Rio D Brasil (Rio of Brazil) occurs near Porto Seguro, just below the São Francisco River, which almost certainly indicates a river where abundant wood from Brazil can be found on its banks.
On the map of Viscount Maggiolo from 1527, Terre Sante Crusis de lo Brasil e del Portugal (Land of the Holy Cross of Brazil and Portugal) reappears under the double label Terre Sante Crusis. It was during Loronha's term of office that the name began to change to Terra do Brasil (Land of Brazil) and its inhabitants to Brasileiros. .