In 1500's the Portuguese, led by explorer Pedro Alvares Cabral, arrived in Brazil. One of the first measures taken by the new arrivals was the subjugation of the local population, the Brazilian Indians, in order to furnish the Portuguese with slave labor (for sugarcane and cotton). The experience with the aborigines was a failure. The Indians quickly died in captivity or fled to their nearby homes. The Portuguese then began to import slave labor from Africa. On the other side of the Atlantic, free men and women were captured, loaded onto ghastly slave ships and sent on nightmarish voyages that for most would end in perpetual bondage.