Cordeiro (neighbourhood, Recife)
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Last update: 13/12/2016
Today’s neighbourhood of Cordeiro belongs to the parish of Várzea, located between the neighbourhoods of Zumbi and Iputinga, to about 6 kilometres from the city of Recife. At first, the lands located on the Antônio Vaz or Santo Antônio Island in the vicinity of Campina do Taborda, in front of the Fort of the Five Points, belonged to Colonel Ambrósio Machado, who was also a plantation master. In these lands there were wells that provided water to the village.
Ambrósio Machado was a plantation master from Pernambuco who worked for three years (from 1616 to 1619) as captain-general governor of the Rio Grande do Norte captaincy.
It was at a specific place on Ambrósio Machado’s plantation where the crossing of the Capibaribe River was made. The road to one of the banks was called the Passage of Ambrósio Machado, and the other, the Passage of Jerônimo Paes (the master of the Casa Forte plantation). It was by these passages that the liberating forces of Pernambuco crossed the Capibaribe River in order to attack the Dutch army in 1645. This was because the Dutch, having been defeated at Monte das Tabocas, had set up camp on the plantation of Anna Paes.
With the defeat of the Dutch invaders, the Casa Forte plantation became Portuguese patrimony until the end of 1693.
Ambrósio Machado’s plantation, having been confiscated by the Dutch in 1654, was incorporated into the assets of the Dutch crown. A part of these lands, however, was occupied by captain João Cordeiro de Mendanha, an orderly of governor João Fernandes Vieira.
Subsequently, the property was sold at a public auction to Captain José Camelo Pessoa, the master of the Monteiro plantation. In a deed drawn up on 16 November 1707, the captain incorporated the property into the lands of two other farms that belonged to him.
At the end of the 18th century, Sotero de Castro bought all these lands and officially placed the name of Cordeiro – as was already popularly known locally – in honour of the former farmer João Cordeiro de Mendanha. In turn, the Passage of Ambrósio Machado began to be called the Passage of Cordeiro.
The Cordeiro plantation had a short existence. By the way, only the villa house remains there, but changed greatly. In 1900, a chapel dedicated to St Sebastian was built.
In 1872, the Pernambuco Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Institute erected an elegant 3-metre-high column on the place where once stood the 2nd Real do Bom Jesus Fort – Governor João Fernandes Vieira’s “Novo Arraial”. At its top, a cross protected by an iron grid was placed. The monument is called the Cross of the Fort. Several years ago, the cross was unfortunately stolen. Nor is there the iron grate that protected it. Only the solitary column remains seated on a marble base in the shape of a quadrangular prism.
In Cordeiro, Caxangá Avenue is a very large road with many of Recife’s car dealers, the Barão de Lucena public hospital, various banks, pharmacies and many other commercial establishments.
At number 2,200 of this same avenue, we can today see Professor Antônio Coelho Park, known as Exposição de Animais do Cordeiro [Cordeiro Animal Exhibition]. In this park, it is possible to observe two monuments: the first one, a zebu, a donation from the breeders of Pernambuco, and the second, the famous horse Mossoró, born in 1929, a product of the Maranguape stud farm and a great national champion. In recent years, in addition to animal shows and nightly performances by famous singers, the government has installed a service centre in the area of the park – Expresso Cidadão – for issuing identity cards, driver’s licenses, and other important documents, providing faster service to the population.
Recife, 24 July 2003.
(Updated on 30 October 2007).
Translated by Peter Leamy, September 2016.
COSTA, F. A. Pereira da. Arredores do Recife. Recife: Fundação de Cultura Cidade do Recife, 1981.
GALVÃO, Sebastião de Vasconcellos. Diccionario chorografico, histórico e estatístico de Pernambuco. Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional, 1908. 4v.
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Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Cordeiro (bairro, Recife). Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.