Todos os Santos Bay, or All Saints Bay, is a sheltered bay of the Atlantic Ocean and the principal bay of the Brazilian state of Bahia, to which it gave its name. It sits on the eastern coast of Brazil, surrounding part of Bahia's seaport capital, Salvador.
Todos os Santos Bay
Todos os Santos Bay, also called All Saints Bay, is a sheltered bay of the Atlantic Ocean and the principal bay of the Brazilian state of Bahia, to which it gave its name. It sits on the eastern coast of Brazil, surrounding part of Bahia's seaport capital: Salvador de Bahia.
A natural harbor, the bay is approximately 40 km (25 mi) long and 32 km (20 mi) wide. Covering 1,223 sq km (472 sq mi), it is the largest bay in Brazil. The Recôncavo, a fertile coastal lowland, surrounds it. The Paraguaçu River empties into the bay.
Todos os Santos Bay is shallow along much of its area, with an average depth of 9.8 m (32 ft). It contains 91 islands, the largest being Itaparica Island at its entrance. Other important islands include the Ilha dos Frades, Ilha de Maré, Ilha de Bom Jesus, and the small Ilha do Medo.
Brazil's first producing oil field is on the bay's northeast shore. The municipality of São Francisco do Conde, north of the bay, remains a port serving the oil refineries at Mataripe. The basin is dredged from the harbor to the Atlantic Ocean to remain open to shipping.
The bay was named by its discoverer Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navigator, who is said to have entered it on All Saints' Day, November 1, 1501, on his second expedition to the Americas. Initially, the bay, its principal settlement, and the captaincy around it all shared the same name. Still, they were eventually distinguished, the state becoming simply Bahia, the bay becoming the Bay of All Saints, and the city becoming the first Bahia and now (usually) Salvador.
Early in the 18th century, many enslaved Africans were shipped to the Bay region to work sugar plantations. As a result, Salvador was a major slave port for the sugarcane fields of Brazil by the early 18th century. It was also popular in the whaling days since the bay was a mating ground for whales.
NASA satellite image of All Saints Bay and Salvador, Brazil (April 1997)