Being so consumed and used, the manioc, during the colonial period, received the nickname of “bread of Brazil”. This text aims to highlight and historicize, amongst notes, reports and books produced between the Seventeenth and early Nineteenth centuries, the importance that the root acquired as food for the population in the tropics, especially to the enslaved and in the Atlantic trade. The scientific discourses elaborated with the ideals of agricultural progress in the late Eighteenth, to boost production of the genus, will be also presented and discussed.