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Cabanga (District, Recife)

Cabanga is a neighborhood in Recife, Pernambuco.

Cabanga (District, Recife)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 27/02/2023

By: Ana Maria da Silva Miguel Filha - Pedagogical Coordinator at the Almirante Soares Dutra Municipal School,
Elizabete Maria de Santana Andrade - Library Teacher at the Almirante Soares Dutra Municipal School
Isabela Cabral de Melo Dantas Pirauá - historian and researcher

In the mid-19th century, only a small fishing village existed in the region. It was located in the Rua da Jangada (Jangada Street), from where some residents went out to sea through a gap in the reef known as “barreta”, which was closed in 1849 by the current government. In 1907, in the early 20th century, due to works in the Port of Recife, “barretinha”—another gap made in the reef by fishermen who were prevented from fishing—was closed to give way to a railway, which made some fishermen from Rua da Jangada move to the district of Pina.


At the end of the 19th century, as the city of Recife grew, the problems of water supply and human waste disposal increased until they became chronic and began to affect the public health and the quality of life of the population. The population growth brought requirements for water and sewage treatment due to the high incidence of intestinal diseases. In 1909, during the government of Herculano Bandeira, Recife was introduced to the work of sanitary engineer Francisco Rodrigues Saturnino de Brito, who used a lift pump system to take all waste to collection tanks and send it to a reservoir located in Cabanga and finally to the Pina beach.


Initially, water supply and sanitation was managed by the Companhia do Beberibe (Beberibe Company), which continues to serve the population of Recife under the corporate name Companhia Pernambucana de Saneamento (COMPESA – Pernambuco Sanitation Company). Its first sewage treatment plant still exists in the district: the Cabanga Sewage Treatment Plant, which serves the population, preserving the environment and public health.


Currently, the company has the Espaço Universo Compesa (COMPESA Universe Museum), a museum that uses technology and interactivity to tell the story of environmental sanitation in Pernambuco.


During the government of Agamenon Magalhães, the urban space underwent transformations and an intense propaganda against residents of mocambos (small villages originally founded by enslaved people) in Cabanga was promoted, leading to the “fight against mocambos” from 1937 to 1945. For this reason, the governor established a housing policy and chose the district to receive one of the first popular neighborhoods in Recife, the Vila Francisco Barbosa de Resende (Francisco Barbosa de Resende Village), located on the already existing Avenida Saturnino de Brito (Saturnino de Brito Avenue).


In the same year that Cabanga underwent urban improvements and gained a new neighborhood, 38 yachtsmen chose it to settle the boathouse of the former Yacht Club. In 1947, the now called Cabanga Iate Club (Cabanga Yacht Club) was founded. This club promotes nautical sports activities, such as rowing, sailing, ocean fishing, and tennis, and hosts events for the local society.


Regarding public space, the district has a huge green area, known as the Praça (Jardins) Abelardo Rijo [Abelardo Rijo Square (Garden)], which was named after the former traffic police inspector Abelardo de Medeiros Rijo. The Maria Grande (Great Mary) sculpture, which was made by painter, sculptor, drawing artist, engraver, and writer J. Cláudio, is in this green area. It was carved in marble in 1972 and measures 3.80 m in height.


The 7th Supply Depot of the Brazilian Army—the agency responsible for the analysis, storage, control, and distribution of materials to military organizations in the states of Alagoas, Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Rio Grande do Norte—is also located in Cabanga. This federal agency hosts the Projeto Orquestra Cidadã (Citizen Orchestra Project), which includes young residents of the district and neighboring communities.


The streets are home to service companies, such as Security, a company that trains property security agents, and Casa Rosa (Pink House), a small restaurant that serves employees of companies located in the district.


The district of Cabanga has two avenues and 15 streets, including Rua Nova da Cabanga, Rua Jitó, Rua Bujari, Rua Gutiúba, Rua Jequitibá, Rua Camutanga, Rua Iobi, Rua Padre Carlos de Barros Barreto, Rua Bom Sucesso, Avenida Engenheiro José Estelita, Avenida Saturnino de Brito, Rua Bituri, Rua Dilermando Reis, Rua Comandante Arnaldo da Costa Varela, Rua General Estilac Leal, Rua Escritor Souza Barros, and Rua Comandante Antonio Manhães de Matos. Some streets were named in honor of Brazilian Navy and Army members and others have a name of indigenous origin.


According to data from the Recife City Hall, Cabanga is part of the 1st Administrative Political Region, as well as the districts of Recife, Santo Amaro, Boa Vista, Ilha do Leite, Paissandu, Santo Antônio, São José, Coelhos, Soledade, and Joana Bezerra. Its territorial area is 81 hectares and the resident population is 1,551 inhabitants.


According to the residents of the district, education is still one of the main problems of the community since students need to move to neighboring districts in order to complete their studies. 


Currently, the roads in Cabanga are completely paved, which is very different from a few decades ago, when, according to older residents, there was no pavement and when it rained, nobody could leave their houses, as all the streets were flooded. Residents had to put bricks in the water to leave their houses. Moreover, in order to meet their personal needs, residents went to the neighboring district of Afogados to do their shopping. 


Cabanga had no major religious buildings, whether catholic or evangelical churches or spiritist centers. In the early days of the district, residents had a small chapel on the ground where the Escola Municipal Almirante Soares Dutra (Almirante Soares Dutra Municipal School) is today. A priest from the district of São José celebrated mass. Two relics remained from that time: an altar crucifix and a sculpture of St. Anthony. Currently, residents attend a small evangelical church near the barracks.



Recife, November 21, 2019


 * This text is a partnership between the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco and the Programa Manuel Bandeira para Formação de Leitores

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how to quote this text

MIGUEL FILHA, Ana Maria da Silva; ANDRADE, Elizabete Maria de Santana; PIRAUÁ, Isabela Cabral de M. Dantas. Cabanga (District, Recife). In: Pesquisa Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2019. Available at: Access on: day month year. (Ex.: Nov. 6, 2021.)