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Salvador forms the heart of the During his second voyage for Portugal, the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci sighted the bay on All Saints' Day (November 1) 1502 and, in honor of the date and his parish church in Florence, he named it the Bay of the Holy Savior of All the Saints.
and, in 1534, Francisco Pereira Coutinho, the first captain of Bahia, established the settlement of Pereira in modern Salvador's Ladeira da Barra neighborhood.
By that time, Portugal had become united with Spain and was ruled from Madrid by its kings.
In 1621, King Philip III replaced the Governorate of Brazil with the states of Brazil, still based in Salvador and now controlling the south, and the Maranhão, which was centered on São Luís and controlled what is now northern Brazil.
Salvador was the first slave port in the Americas and the African influence of the slaves' descendants makes it a center of Afro-Brazilian () culture.
The city is noted for its cuisine, music, and architecture.
As Spain was then prosecuting a war against the independence of the Dutch, the Dutch East and West India companies tried to conquer Brazil from them.
Salvador played a strategically vital role against Dutch Brazil, but was captured and sacked by a West India Company fleet under Jacob Willekens and Piet Hein on .
As part of its preparations for the World Cup, the city reëstablished its public transportation lines as the Salvador Metro.
John Maurice's two subsequent attempts to retake the town in April and May of 1638 were unsuccessful.