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Fort St Francis

From 29 May 1984, it is worth noting, Fort St Francis has been inscribed as a National Monument, in the historical book nº 494.

Fort St Francis

Article available in: PT-BR

Last update: 06/01/2017

By: Semira Adler Vainsencher - Retired researcher at the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

In the Brazilian colonial period, most of the forts were built in stone. One of the examples is Forte de São Francisco [Fort St Francis], located on the beach of the Franciscan Convent. Today, it is close to the Largo do Carmo radio station, on the grounds of a private building that was ceded by the municipality of Olinda.

Fort St Francis was designed by master-mason and builder Cristóvão Álvares and erected in 1630 to defend the Vila de Olinda. In a quadrangular shape, the monument is architecturally simple and rustic, with small frames, only two small arsenals and some cannons.

It is worth mentioning that on the location, before the construction of Fort St Francis, was a small and rudimentary Portuguese fortification built by order of Matias de Albuquerque, with the purpose of defending his captaincy.

Unlike other fortresses, Fort St Francis does not have a well for drinking water, watchtowers, barracks for the garrison or a chapel. It is a four-sided stronghold with a long ramp, and its four pieces of artillery are buried in the ground.

As it was quite in ruins, the fort underwent a reconstruction in the year 1781. In the Military Archive of Rio de Janeiro there is a blueprint with its profile signed by Antônio Bernardino Pereira do Lago.

During the government of Caetano Pinto de Mendonça Montenegro in the early 19th century, the fort was rebuilt in brick. For this reason, as well as being called Fort St Francis, it became known as Fort Montenegro. More recently, the fortification has begun to be called Forte do Queijo [Fort Cheese].

From 29 May 1984, it is worth noting, Fort St Francis has been inscribed as a National Monument, in the historical book nº 494.


Recife, 22 March 2004.
(Updated on 28 April 2008).
Translated by Peter Leamy, November 2016.

sources consulted

BARBOSA, Antônio. Relíquias de Pernambuco – Guia aos monumentos históricos de Olinda e Recife. São Paulo: Editora Fundo Educativo Brasileiro, 1983.

how to quote this text

Source: VAINSENCHER, Semira Adler. Forte de São Francisco. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife. Disponível em: <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Acesso em: dia mês ano. Ex: 6 ago. 2009.