When Brazilian lands were discovered, mercantile practices prevailed all over Europe. The Portuguese arrived in Brazil hoping to extract metals such as golden, silver and copper. Nevertheless, they did not found any kind of metal, not even iron, at first. The few blacksmiths who came to Brazil produced instruments to be used in tillage with iron imported from Europe.
In 1554, José de Anchieta, a Jesuit priest, informed, in a report submitted to the king of Portugal, the existence of silver and iron ore in Captaincy of São Vicente countryside (current State of São Paulo).
The first person who worked on the reduction of this iron ore was Afonso Sardinha. In 1587, he discovered magnetite in the current region of Sorocaba, countryside of the State of São Paulo, and started to produce iron from the reduction of this ore. It is the first iron factory known in Brazil.
The forges built by Sardinha operated until his death, in 1616. After that, Brazilian steel industry underwent a stagnation period until next century.
You may learn more about the history of the first steel-maker company in Brazil, started by Afonso Sardinha and which is currently open to visitation within National Forest of Ipanema, by clicking here.