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Petribú Sugarcane Factory

It is located in the municipality of Lagoa de Itaenga (Itaenga Lagoon), on the right bank of the Capibaribe River.

Petribú Sugarcane Factory

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Last update: 05/02/2013

By: Lúcia Gaspar - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

It is located in the municipality of Lagoa de Itaenga (Itaenga Lagoon), on the right bank of the Capibaribe River.

It was founded in 1910 by João Cavalcanti Petribú, who converted an old banguê-soil plantation he owned (also called Petribú) into a sugarcane factory.

João Cavalcanti Petribú turned over the factory’s management to his eldest sons and went to live with his wife and younger children on the Santa Cruz (Holy Cross) farm, where he built a beautiful manor house known as the palacete de Santa Cruz (Holy Cross palace), currently located in the town of Carpina.

In 1929, the factory had five fields and the capacity to crush 420 tonnes sugarcane in 22 hours. Its railway was 32km long and had three locomotives and 92 wagons. In the milling period around 60 workers were employed at the factory, including minors, but women and foreigners were not accepted. The transportation of sugarcane and fuel was by animal power (ox carts), trucks and by its own railway, while sugar and alcohol were transported to by the

Great Western railway. It maintained a school with an annual attendance of 30 students.

From 1934, after the death of João Cavalcanti Petribú, the factory passed through great difficulties until 1953, when Paulo Petribú, the youngest son, took over the whole company, buying its shares from his brothers and brothers-in-law.

Currently the factory has 10,000 hectares spread over almost ten municipalities and the capacity to annually produce over 2,000,000 sacks of sugar and more than 25,000,000 litres of ethanol.

It has a large infrastructure with a catholic church, industrial cafeteria, walk-in medical centre, school bus, medical and dental assistance, social centre, a social club, the Grêmio Esportivo Petribú (Petribú Sporting Guild), the Josefa Petribú School and living quarters with three bedrooms, living room, bathroom, kitchen, terrace, service area, yard, garden, water, electricity and plumbing – rent-free for the workers who reside in them.

Recife, 7 August 2003.
(Updated on 9 September 2009).
Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2012.

sources consulted

ANDRADE, Manuel Correia de. História das usinas de açúcar de Pernambuco. Recife: FJN. Ed. Massangana, 1989. 114 p. (República, v.1)

GONÇALVES & SILVA. O assucar e o algodão em Pernambuco. Recife: [s.n.], 1929. 90 p.

MOURA, Severino. Senhores de engenho e usineiros, a nobreza de Pernambuco. Recife: Fiam, CEHM, Sindaçúcar, 1998. 320 p. (Tempo municipal, 17).

how to quote this text

Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Petribú Sugarcane Factory. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <https://pesquisaescolar.fundaj.gov.br/en/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009