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Flying Ox

It was a show that marked the history of the city of Mauritius, shortly afterwards called Recife.

Flying Ox

Article available in: PT-BR ESP

Last update: 01/06/2022

By: Regina Coeli Vieira Machado - Servant of the Joaquim Nabuco Foundation - PhD in Information and Documentation

This was a spectacle that marked the history of the city Mauritius, shortly after called Recife.


According to historians, on February 28, 1644 – the inauguration date of the Recife bridge, now known as the Maurício de Nassau bridge – the Dutch Count, Maurício de Nassau, who was leaving the city, desired the presence of a large public to honor the event. He mobilized the population by spreading the news that he would make “an ox fly” over the bridge.


The Count used ox leather and shaped it similar to an inflatable balloon and tied it with thin ropes that where controlled by sailors using pulleys, which made it give somersaults in the air.


The show took place in the presence of a large audience, who watched awestruck and applauded such a feat.


Maurice of Nassau fulfilled his promise, he really made the ox fly, and became known and admired by all for his creativity and cunningness.


Thus, the inauguration of the Bridge was a success, with a flying ox and everything , both for the history of the Dutch in Pernambuco, and for the coffers of the Dutch Crown, which raised about 20,800 guildens.



Recife, July 17, 2003.


sources consulted

GONÇALVES, Fernando Antônio. O Capibaribe e as pontes. Recife: Comunigraf, 1997. 86p.

how to quote this text

MACHADO, Regina Coeli Vieira. Flying Ox. In: PESQUISA Escolar. Recife: Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, 2003. Available from: Access on: Month. day, year. (Ex.: Aug. 6, 2020.)