Imagem card

Casa Forte (Neighbourhood, Recife)

This manor house became known as Casa Forte (Strong House), the name that was extended to the entire property, the village and later the neighbourhood.

Casa Forte (Neighbourhood, Recife)

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 04/09/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

The Casa Forte (Strong House) sugarcane plantation, the originof the current neighbourhood, was created in the mid-16th Century by Diogo Gonçalves, from part of the land that was given to him by the owner of the Pernambuco Captaincy, Duarte Coelho.

It had various owners, and the plantation was named, successively, ‘engenho’ (plantation) Jerônimo Gonçalves, Isabel Gonçalves, Dona Anna Paes, Tourlon, Nassau, de With and, from 1645, Casa Forte.

The mill was animal-powered and was situated on the left bank of the Capibaribe River, in a place called Santana, where the manufactured sugar was stored and later transported by river to the market in Recife.

The plantation houses and its adjoining chapel, under the invocation of Our Lady of Needs (Nossa Senhora das Necessidades), were around a large square colloquially called Campina de Casa Forte (Casa Forte Field), today Casa Forte Park.

It was at this place on 17 August 1645 where the event known as the Battleof Casa Forte took place, to free some illustrious Pernambuco ladies surrounded by the Dutch at the Dona Anna Paes plantation’s manor house. To commemorate the feat, a plaque was erected with the following inscription that translates as such:

At this place, once known as the Anna Paes plantation, on 17 August 1645, the Pernambuco army commanded by VIEIRA [JoãoFernandes Vieira], VIDAL [André Vidal de Negreiros], DIAS [Henrique Dias]and CAMARÃO [Antônio Filipe Camarão]fought a Dutch column that had imprisoned Pernambuco matrons and regrouped in the house to the right of the Church, resulting in victory for the liberators with the complete arrest of the enemy. Memorial from the Pernambuco Inst. Arch. and Geogr, in 1918.

This manor house became known as Casa Forte (Strong House), the name that was extended to the entire property, the village and later the neighbourhood.

Its main artery, 17 de Agosto Ave, is in honour of the day of this Pernambuco victory over the Dutch.
In mid-1810, the plantation was bought by FrJosé InácioRibeiro de Abreu e Lima, who became known as Padre Roma, one of the figures of the republican revolt in 1817. The new owner demolished the old manor house, building another dwelling on the spot, but this was also later abandoned.
In 1907, the property was acquired by the French sisters of the Congregation of the Holy Family, who after large reforms set up a school for girls there in 1911.

The old plantation chapel, built in 1672, was also in ruins, to the point that its images were stored at the parish church of NossaSenhora da Saúde (Our Lady of Health), inPoço da Panela, from 1865 to 1909, when the restoration of that church was done.

In October 1911, after the reconstruction, the temple was consecrated as the Parish Church of the Casa Forte Parish, under the invocation of Sagrado Coração de Jesus (Sacred Heart of Jesus).

In front of the church is Casa Forte Park, whose landscaping design was by architect Burle Marx and where various species of tropical plants can be found, including some from the Amazon, such as Victoriaamazonica.

Annuallyin November, the Casa Forte parish holds the Festa da Vitória Régia (Victoria Amazonica Festival) in the park, which is well-known and frequented by residents of the neighbourhood and Recife in general.

Casa Forte is one of the most tree-lined neighbourhoods in Recife. It still retains some of the old manors, such as the “velho” (old) building (formerly Hospital Magiot), at2187 17 de Agosto Ave, which belonged to Francisco Ribeiro Pinto Guimarães and where today are the offices of the

Joaquim Nabuco Foundationand some of its organs like the Museum of the Northeast Manand the Documents and Artworks Research, Conservation and Restoration Laboratory (LABORARTE).

Recife, 21 july 2003.
(Updated on 25 august 2009)
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2012.

sources consulted

BRAGA, João. Trilhas do Recife: guia turístico, histórico e cultural. [S. l. : s. n..], 2000. p. 155-157.

FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife. Recife: Governo de Pernambuco. SEC, 1977. p. 283-285.

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.

ROCHA, Tadeu. Roteiros do Recife (Olinda e Guararapes). 4. ed. [Recife: s. n.], 1970. p. 83.


how to quote this text

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