By Hakan Almerfors, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO - The Portuguese discovered Ilha Grande (big island) in the early 16th century. Until then it was occupied by about a hundred or so indians living off hunting and fishing. In the wake of the Portuguese arrival followed a turbulent history of the island. Ownership shifted between Portugal, Spain, France and Holland before finally ending up as Brazilian.
In the late 16th century vast amounts of gold were found in Peru by the Spanish and were being shipped to Europe. Ilha Grande served as a stop for replenishing before continuing on to Spain . . .