Morro de São Paulo History
de Sao Paulo's history began almost at the same time as
Originally it was inhabited by indigenous communities, more
specificaly the Aimorés.
In 1501, one year after the arrival of Pedro Álvares
Cabral's fleet in Porto Seguro, Gaspar de Lemos arrived at
Todos os Santos Bay and sailed most of the Bahia coast. But
the first European man to disembark in Morro de Sao Paulo
was Martin Alfonso de Souza, in 1531, leading an expedition
encharged to explore the coast of the new continent.
When Brazil was divided into Hereditary
Captainships, it was up to Figueiro Corrêa the right
to look after the Captainship of Ilhéus which included
Morro de São Paulo. Because Figueiro Corrêa preferred
to stay on the court, in Portugal, the Spanish Francisco Romero
became responsible for the area and in 1535 established the
village of Morro de Sao Paulo. About thirty people stayed
in Morro de Sao Paulo to plant cotton and explore pau-brazil
wood. The first town of the Captainship of Ilhéus was
Later in the same year, the villages of Boipeba and Cairú
In Cairú was installed a sugar-mill
plant and a chapel. In 1654 this chapel was transformed into
the Franciscan Santo Antonio Convent.
In 1549 arrived in Bahia the General Governor Tomé
de Souza, with the objective to improve the defense of the
region, at that time targeted by the French.
In 1557 at Ponta do Curral started the first cattle breeding
activity of Bahia, resulting on the creation of Amparo village,
today named Valença. In 1574 the Aimorés took
back the territory and made the portuguese take refuge on
In 1580, the king Felipe II of Spain inherited the portuguese
crown. At the same time began a period of frequent attacks
by the Dutch and English to the Brazilian coast.
In 1610 the Saraiva Goes family initiated the construction
of Nossa Senhora da Luz church on the hill where today is
located the Lighthouse.
Between 1627 and 1630 the Dutch attacked the coast several
times.After taking over Olinda and Recife they remained there
for a while before any attempt toinvade Bahia coast. The elder
people tell stories about when the Dutch tryed to attack the
island and how Our Holly Lady made them believe that there
was a big fleet of ships standing in front of Morro de Sao
Paulo and because of that they gave up the attack.
As a result began the construction of a fort in Morro de São
Paulo which took hundred years to be finished. The fort started
to operate in 1652 and the first sentry box was settled in
Meanwhile there were some official operations going on the
port, with ships coming from Africa and Europe, and also some
illegal operations runed by pirates who where smuggling articles.
The works on the fort were extended up to 1739, with some
stages of enlargements, and in 1750 it accounted for 51 cannons
spread out in its 700 meters of wall guarded by 183 men. Unfortunately
in 1774 great part of the fort was destroyed by a storm, part
of it was reconstructed, but its importance started to be
In 1746 begins the construction of Fonte Grande (Great Fountain),
responsible to treat the water for the population of the village.
In 1763 the Marquês do Pombal transfered the base of
colonial government from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro and expeled
the Jesuits, making the educational system to enter in collapse.
It follows a period of several riots, as a result of the neglected
situation of the region.
Between 1794 and 1798 happened the Conjuração
dos Alfaiates, or Inconfidência Bahiana, a frustrated
attempt to establish the republic. The
main intention of this movement was the equitty of rights
without race distinction, a great advance for the time, where
a small European community dominated the large black population.
They also attempted to open the Bahia ports for the world-wide
commerce,however it realy happen only in 1808 after a Portuguese
decree, demanded by England.
The Napoleonic war made the Portuguese court take refuge in
Brazil. The court setted up in Rio de Janeiro. Because of
that the Northeast reagion, includding Bahia entered in an
age of decadence. The result of this situation is that D.
Pedro proclaims the independence of Brazil, in 1822, fearing
that somebody would make it before him, then he became the
first Emperor of Brazil.
In 1823 Lord Thomas Cochrane establishes the first base of
the Brazilian fleet in Morro de Sao Paulo satled to fight
for the Brazilian independence. At July 2nd of the same year
the Portuguese were expeled from Salvador and the independence
was accomplished. During these combats great part of the armory
of Morro was transferred to Salvador.
The reign of D. Pedro I had many turbulences like the Confederação
do Equador and many similar wars all over country. As a result
D. Pedro I abdicated the throne in 1831 on behalf of his son.
Dom Pedro II was only 5 years old and had to wait for his
majority, a provisional administration system was installed
called Government of Regencies, during these period innumerable
revolts took place and the parliament had to declared Dom
Pedro II majority in 1840 when he was only 15 years old.
In 1844 a textil plant was constructed in Valença,
by João Monteiro Carson, who was also assigned to build
the Lighthouse in Morro de Sao Paulo, the construction work
took 5 years from 1850 to 1855.
In 1859 D. Pedro II visits Salvador, Valença and Morro
de Sao Paulo. By that time the textil plant in Valença,
was the biggest of Brazil, operating with free and wage-earning
workers, in a period of slavery.
In 1889 the Republic Proclamation in Rio de Janeiro made Bahia
to divide between the obedient to the emperor and the republicans.
Then follows a period of political conflicts, the stabilization
comes only with the Constitution in 1890.
The Brazilian economy in the first decades of the Republic
was based on coffee. In 1930 it start changing with Getúlio
Vargas government. Vargas government was extended ditatorialy
during the Second World War. At that time the Brazilian Government
was keeping relations with USA and other democracies and at
the same time the administration stile was more like the German
and Italian. Brazil only decided officially its side in the
War in 1942, when a German submarine attacked the Brazilian
merchant ships in the coast of Valença.
In 1945 Getulio Vargas resigned after
a military coup, however he is re-elect president in 1950
and commit suicide in 1954. In its government, all the industrial
base for the development of Brazil was constituted, as well
as the working laws. At this time, inhabitants of Salvador
start to have summer houses in the Tinharé archipelago
(Morro de Sao Paulo).
During the Cold War Brazil became more dependent of the capitalist
powers, in special the USA. Its external debt assumed incommensurable
amounts, many rights had been revoked and the economy went
down. During the dictatorship military government, imposed
in 1964, hippies started to visit Morro de Sao Paulo, making
the island to be known internationally in the 1970.
In 1992 happens in Rio de Janeiro the Earth Summit (United
Nations Conference on Environment and Development), that had
its consequences in the archipelago. A decree create the "Islands
of Tinharé and Boipeba Protected Area".
On the island, the community a little indifferent to the economic
and politics starts to receive tourists from all over the
world and they take souvenirs and the best memories from the
Morro de São Paulo was frequently
very close to the action during important moments of the Brazilian
history and bravely resists with its natural beauty and the
slow rhythm of its inhabitants.