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Apipucos (neighbourhood, Recife)

The land where the Apipucos neighbourhood lies today was part of the old São Pantaleão do Monteirosugarcane plantation.

Apipucos (neighbourhood, Recife)

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Last update: 05/02/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Apipucos or‘Apopucos’,as it used to be spelt, is an indigenous Tupi (Apé-Puc) name that meanslong pathto some, and path that divides, crossroads or where two paths meet to others.

According to chronicler Pereira da Costa, the name Apipucos appears in a map from the colonial period of Pernambuco, signalling the meeting place of two paths that joined together.

It was precisely at this Y-intersection – a configuration which remains even until today – where the settlement grew.

From the name’s origin, it is possible that there was an indigenous settlement at the location before the Portuguese arrival.

The land where the Apipucos neighbourhood lies today was part of the old São Pantaleão do Monteirosugarcane plantation. At the end of 1577, part of this land was subdivided, giving rise to the Apipucos sugarcane plantation, owned by colonist Leonardo Pereira. The plantation was later passed on to Dona Jerônima de Almeida, and from her to Gaspar de Mendonça, who was its owner at the time of the Dutch invasion in 1630.

The place suffered greatly with the invasion of the Dutch. In 1645, itschapelwas totally ransacked, its images broken, its vestments, contents and furniture destroyed. The settlement also suffered a complete pillaging, with the Dutch taking all the cattle, slaves and goods they found to the plantation ofDona Anna Paes orCasa Forte.

With the War of Restoration, the Apipucos plantation was completely abandoned, although it was restored after the conflict.

Until the 18th Century, the landscape was typical of a plantation, but from the 19th Century, small farms and farmhouses started to appear, where residents from the city centre spent their summer months. The water from the Capibaribe Riverin the area was recommended for medicinal baths.
At the time, there was the Hotel de Apipucos, located in a manor house that later belonged to DelmiroGouveia–‘Vila Anunciada’– and where today the JoaquimNabuco Foundation’s Central Unit of the Directory of Documentation operates.

According to Gilberto Freyre, bathing in the river in the morning; in the afternoon, card games; at night pastorals and dances – this is what life was like in Apipucos for members of the upper class, in the great days of the “party pastimes”of Recife inhabitants and the families that came from the plantation manors in the countryside, in Apipucos: at its hotel and in its summer houses.

The demand for the settlement, because of its amiable climate and the bathing in the Capibaribe,led to the improvement of roads and the first public transport company, set up by Englishman Thomas Saylein 1841, and later by a resident of Apipucos, CláudioDubeux. They were stagecoaches drawn by five horses, with an approximate capacity of 20 passengers inside and others on top.

In 1849, during the Praieira Revolt, one of the largest battles between legalist and revolutionary forces took place in Apipucos.

In 1900, the periodical O Apipucos was launched;a publication concerned with local interests but whose circulation did not pass the first edition.

In the 20th Century, the neighbourhood took on a new urban look: it was chosen as the place to live by many English, who introduced the habit of building large houses with gardens and using water as a landscaping resource; the OthonBezerra de Mello textile factory was opened, known as ‘Fábrica da Macaxeira’ (Macaxeira Factory);the hills and the OthonBezerra de Meloallotment on the edge of the reservoir became occupied.

Apart fromDelmiroGouveia, Apipucoshas had other illustrious residents, such as painter Murillo La Greca, journalist Assis Chateaubriand, historian Alfredo de Carvalho, the Burle Marx family, relatives of Demócrito de Souza Filhoand sociologist Gilberto Freyre, whose residence, known as ‘Solar de Santo Antônio’ (St Anthony’s Manor), today houses the Gilberto Freyre Foundation.

The neighbourhood of Apipucos, situated in the north of Recife and about nine kilometres from the city centre, is 1.2 square kilometres in area, has a population of over 3,000 inhabitants and is protected by municipal law 13,975/1979.

Recife, 1º july 2003.
(Updated on 20 august 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.

sources consulted

ALVES, Cleide. Apipucos. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 14 fev. 2000. Cidades, p.10.

COSTA, Francisco Augusto Pereira da. Arredores do Recife. 2. ed. autônoma. Apresentação e organização de Leonardo Dantas Silva. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 2001. p. 28-32.

FREYRE, Gilberto. Apipucos: que há num nome? Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 1983


how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Apipucos (bairro, Recife). Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.