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Campina do Barreto (District, Recife)

The municipality of Recife has 94 districts, which are distributed in six political-administrative regions (RPA). The district of Campina do Barreto is located in RPA-02, in Northern Recife. Campina do Barreto emerged from the occupation of the space between the margins of Olinda and Recife in the 16th century, from the creation of hereditary captaincies.

Campina do Barreto (District, Recife)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 16/02/2023

By: Anita Presbitero da Silva - Teacher Municipal School of Água Fria,
Viviane Villarouco de Andrade Henrique - Teacher Municipal School of Água Fria
Cláudia Verardi - Librarian at Fundação Joaquim Nabuco - PhD in Librarianship and Documentation

The municipality of Recife has 94 districts, which are distributed in six political-administrative regions (RPA). The district of Campina do Barreto is located in RPA-02, in Northern Recife, and has 18 neighborhoods, according to the Territorial Division of the Municipality of Recife, PE (Law No. 16,293/97).

The resident population of Campina do Barreto is 9,484 inhabitants, of which most are women (53.29%) and mixed-race (55.67%). The predominant age group is 25 to 59 years (47.44%) and the literacy rate of the population aged 10 years or older is 89.7 (%). The population density of the district is 182.67 inhabitants/hectare and the average number of residents per household is 3.4 inhabitants/household. Its average nominal monthly income of households is R$ 1,088.80 and the proportion of women head of household is 48.68%.


Campina do Barreto emerged from the occupation of the space between the margins of Olinda and Recife in the 16th century, from the creation of hereditary captaincies. In 1535, Duarte Coelho received the captaincy of Pernambuco and in 1537 he founded the village of Olinda on the left bank of the Beberibe River. Within a perspective of unloading goods came from the port of Recife, groups of people settled in the wide estuary of the Capibaribe e Beberibe Rivers, thus starting the great process of land appropriation in Brazil, especially in the state of Pernambuco, which was very important in this historical course (CABRAL, 2014, p. 20).


In this context, the Northern Recife periphery emerged and was occupied over the years. It is located on the right bank of the lower course of the Beberibe River, which includes the community of Cabo Gato, in the district of Peixinhos, Olinda (on the left bank of the river), and Campina do Barreto (former Fundão de Dentro). From the first half of the 1970s, the occupation was no longer due to the attraction of the river, which was already quite polluted at that time, but due to other sectors of the economy that created a relationship between periphery and center.

According to Cabral (2014, p. 64), “before being a meadow, [Campina do Barreto] was a estate full of coconut and mango trees that belonged to a Portuguese man known as ‘Seu Barreto’ [Mr. Barreto], who owned the entire area and its surroundings.” The district would be named “Barreto” in his honor. Mr. Barreto used to sell fruits from his estate, but started devoting himself to cattle ranching, deforesting the area in order to feed the cattle with the grass he planted. According to Mr. Luís Negomonte, a resident of the district, “Campina” [meadow] comes from the fact that there were several meadows there, including enough green area to feed the cattle. This is the origin of the name of the district of “CAMPINA DO BARRETO” [Barreto’s Meadow].

From the abolition of slavery in 1888, the locality was populated by stilt houses inhabited by former enslaved people in search of housing and the benefits that the river would provide for work and transportation, which are also known as mocambos. Later, in 1919, the same happened with the inauguration of the Matadouro Público de Peixinhos [Public Slaughterhouse of Peixinhos] in Olinda, which was on the other side of the river.

The community of Chão de Estrelas is located within Campina do Barreto and occupies about 2/3 of its total area. This locality was conquered by the residents of the banks of the Beberibe River.

Chão de Estrelas emerged in 1981 from a movement of struggle and resistance for the right to housing. It was built on the banks of the Beberibe River and had several names. However, after a vote among residents, “Chão de Estrelas” [Ground of Stars] was chosen, since “ground symbolizes our uphill struggle and stars were our only lighting source,” according to the Director of the Centro de Organização Comunitária do Bairro (Community Organization Center of the District), Josineide Andrade.

By the PROMORAR/BEBERIBE program, the Brazilian federal government funded the construction of a housing complex for the riverside population, who suffered from the floods. In 1979, families started being registered; most of them lived in the community of Cabo Gato in Peixinhos, Olinda, and had already come from the interior of the state. Cabo Gato has this name in honor of the nickname of its resident and Military Police corporal Severino Pereira de Moraes, who fought against Lampião and lived in Campina do Barreto.

In the same year, the riverside population, along with the struggle of community leaders, collectively started building houses in the Sítio Santa Terezinha (St. Therese Ranch) in Campina do Barreto, where they resist until today with movements to support residents by NGOs and cultural and social centers intervening with the government.

The economic and social activities of the district include community schools, municipal elementary schools, state high schools, NGOs—such as the Oratório da Divina Providência (Oratory of Divine Providence), which provides recreational and vocational courses and psychological support—the Centro de Referência Social (CRAS – Social Reference Center), residents’ associations, popular medical offices, a health center, a municipal polyclinic, markets, bakeries, automobile repair shops, grocery stores, bars, evangelical and catholic churches, spiritist centers, Umbanda temples, squares, a soccer field—although there are few sport and leisure spaces—an urban and community center, carnival blocks—such as the Violão de Ouro (Golden Guitar)—and cultural movements—such as the Daruê Malungo, which provides social and cultural assistance to the community of Chão de Estrelas by music, capoeira, dance, and craft workshops since 1984.

Many projects have been implemented to benefit the population and ensure better housing, such as the construction of housing complexes to remove part of the riverside population from stilt houses and offer more dignified housing, the paving of the road that comes from the Academia da Cidade de Chão de Estrelas (Fitness Center of the City of Chão de Estrelas) to the Rua dos Craveiros (Carnations Street), which is the school street. On the banks of the Beberibe River, a bike path will be built, which will benefit residents, giving them access to part of that route. This project is in the implementation phase and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017.



Recife, November 17, 2017.


* This text is part of the project Interagindo com a História do Seu Bairro (Interacting with the History of Your District), a partnership between the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco and the Programa Manuel Bandeira de Formação de Leitores.

sources consulted

CABRAL, Augusto Antônio Campelo; ALMEIDA, Janusy Mara de Alencar; PAULA, Ovídio Ferreira de. O direito de morar, o direito de viver do Cabo do Gato a Chão de Estrelas: a história de luta de um povo pelo direito a moradia. Recife: CEPE, 2014.

CAVALCANTI, Carlos Bezerra. Recife e suas ruas: se essas ruas fossem minhas. Recife:Poço Cultural, 2015.

CAVALCANTI, Carlos. Bezerra. O Recife e seus bairros. Recife: Poço Cultural, 2012.

CENSO Demográfico, 2010. Resultados do universo: características da população e domicílios. Disponível em <>. Acesso em outubro de 2017.

GABRIEL, Antônio. Bairros que contam histórias. Disponível em: Acesso: 23/10/2017

how to quote this text

SILVA, Anita Presbitero da; VERARDI, Cláudia Albuquerque; HENRIQUE, Viviane Villarouco de Andrade. Campina do Barreto (District, Recife). In: Pesquisa Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2017. Available from: Access on: mês dia ano. (Ex.: 6.ago.2021.)