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Curcuranas (Neighborhood, Recife)

A stretch of territory of very ancient origin is called Curcuranas, belonging to the municipality of Jaboatão.

Curcuranas (Neighborhood, Recife)

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Last update: 20/06/2023

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - Researcher at the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - Master in Psychology

A stretch of territory of very ancient origin is called Curcuranas, belonging to the municipality of Jaboatão, which is located in the vicinity of Afogados, Boa Viagem and Muribeca. At the beginning of the 17th century, there was a small settlement at the location.

The Letter of Donation of 1537, conferred by the grantee Duarte Coelho, shows that Curcuranas were under the control of the Chamber of Olinda, with possessions and land tenures granted to this Chamber, as documented through a ruling by the general ombudsman of the district – Dr José Inácio de Aroche – on the protection of Olinda’s assets on 23 September1710.

When presenting his memory to the Political Council of Recife in 1630, Adriano Verdonck mentioned the locality Curcuranas: Near Santo Agostinho Cape there is a small church on the beach called Nossa Senhora da Candelária... alongside is the Jangada River, and from there a path by which one arrives without delay to a beautiful place named Curcuranas.

The word Curcuranas is also written as Corcuranas, Curcoranas, Cucuranas and more rarely as cara carana, caracuarana. According to the scholars of the subject, the name has a Tupi origin.

During the Dutch presence in Pernambuco, a group of Flemish invaded the São Bartolomeu sugarcane plantation, confiscated the local cattle (which should have gone to the Curcuranas), arrested the owner – Francisco do Vale – and nine other people from the plantation. The prisoners were taken to Recife, but their fate is unknown.

There is a reference to the locality dated 11 October 1684. The record mentions the services rendered by Pascoal Gonçalves de Carvalho in the Brazilian war, conferring on him the position of Captain-General and Governor of Rio Grande do Norte and emphasises his participation in a battle against the Dutch in the fields of Curcuranas that lasted five hours, when the invaders decided to plunder the plantations of Guararapes.

On the other hand, the watermelons produced in the fertile soil of the Curcuranas were highly appreciated. The Portuguese royal house in Rio de Janeiro, during the period of the prince regent of the kingdom, and later D. João VI, considered this fruit to be one of his favourite desserts.

One of the official correspondences of the Portuguese court to the governors of the time documents and praises the watermelons of the Curcuranas:

Illustrious and Most Excellent Sir. The season of watermelons has begun, and since the first are not so good, among the 197 sent by the American ship called Joseph, some will arrive that will be able to be included with the dessert of HRH, which will be delivered by José Januário de Carvalho, dealer of this city, who transports the said ship. May God protect Your Excellency for many years. Recife of Pernambuco, on 20 December 1810. Illustrious and Excellency Count of Linhares, Caetano Pinto de Miranda Montenegro.

It is worth mentioning that the watermelon (Cucurrbita citrullus Linneu), now acclimatised in several countries, comes from a grassy herbaceous plant, originating in South Asia. The culture of this fruit dates from the 17th century in Curcuranas and on Itamaracá Island. In this period, a series of exotic plants from different provenances was introduced in Pernambuco by the Portuguese settlers.




Recife, 7 May 2004.


sources consulted

COSTA, F. A. Pereira da. Arredores do Recife. Recife: Fundaj, Ed. Massangana, 2001.

______. Anais Pernambucanos. Recife: Fundarpe, 1983.

how to quote this text

VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Curcuranas (localidade do Recife). In: Pesquisa Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2004. Available at: Accessed: month day year. (Exemple.: Aug. 6, 2023.)