According to historian Pereira da Costa, the earliest reference tothe origin of ‘Arraial’ village, the former name of the place, is from1630, when GenMatias de Albuquerque raised the Bom Jesus royal fort to protect the interior of Pernambuco from the Dutch.
Around the fortress,a village formed where the entire army and the population of Olinda and Recife who had left their homes during the Dutch invasion set up camp.
This village, known as Velho ArraialBom Jesus (Good Jesus Old Village – currently whereSítio da Trindade is located), is the oldest nucleus of Casa Amarela neighbourhood.
A multitude of food vendors set up at the place, but a flood of the Capibaribe River in late 1631 caused great losses to the traders, rendering goods useless and knocking down many homes.
There were also several attacks on the fort by the Dutch, causing its surrender in 1635, due to lack of food and guns to fight the enemy.
After the surrender, many residents returned to the village, restored the ruined houses and constructed others, giving rise to what was called ‘Povoação do Arraial Velho’(‘Old Village Settlement’). This permanent settlement originated in the late 18thCentury, with the demise of the Monteiro and Casa Forte sugarcane mills and the division of their lands intovarious plots.
Only much later did the village become known as ‘Casa Amarela’(Yellow House). According to tradition,the name is because ofthe house that was always painted in yellow which stood near the terminus of the railroad and served as a reference point in the region. The house belonged to a wealthy Portuguese man, Commander Joaquim dos Santos Oliveira who, suffering from tuberculosis, was advised by his doctors to move to the Village because of its excellent climate. Miraculously or not, the Commanderwas cured, and then built a square house painted in a shade of ochreabout 300 metres from the old ‘Arraial do Bom Jesus’. It was this house that became known as the ‘Yellow House’.
The occupation of the region’s hills began in the early 20th Century, from the renting of the land by some families that were large landowners at the site.
Casa Amarela has been one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods of Recife, although from 1988, through Municipal Law 14,452 which redefined the geographical coordinates and created the current 94 districts of the city, the neighbourhood lost itshilly areas,with the exception of Alto (Upper) Santa Isabel.
The autonomous districts of Morro da Conceição, Alto José Bonifácio and Alto José do Pinho were all dismembered from the original Casa Amarela neighbourhood.
Casa Amarela now has an area of 1.85 km2 and is located in the Northwest Zone of the city, between EncanamentoRd and NorteAve, adjacent to the neighbourhoods of Parnamirim, Casa Forte and Monteiro.
The neighbourhood once had two cinemas, the RivoliandtheAlbatroz(Albatross), and an open market that was much larger than today, extending all the way to the Arraial Rd.
The metal structure of its public market, one of the largest and busiest in Recife, was first mounted in Caxangá Ave, being dismantled and reassembled at the market square in Casa Amarela, during the administration of Mayor Francisco da Costa Maia (1928–1930), and inaugurated on 9 November 1930, with the presence of Carlos de Lima Cavalcanti, the stateinterventor at the time.
Major political events have been held in the market square, especially during election campaigns.
Recife, 21 July 2003.
(Updated on 25 august 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, February 2012.
ALVES, Cleide. Casa Amarela. Jornal do Commercio, Recife, 16 fev. 2000. Cidades. p. 7.
BRAGA, João. Trilhas do Recife: guia turístico, histórico e cultural. [S. l. : s. n..], 2000. p. 148.
GALVÃO, Sebastião de Vasconcelos. Diccionário chorografico, histórico e estatístico de Pernambuco. Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1908. p. 169.
GUERRA, Flávio. Velhas igrejas e subúrbios históricos. Recife: Prefeitura Municipal, [19--?]. p. 241-248.
PEREIRA DA COSTA, Francisco Augusto. Arredores do Recife. 2. ed. autônoma. Apresentação e organização de Leonardo Dantas Silva. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 2001. p. 34-39.
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Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Casa Amarela (Neighbourhood, Recife). Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009