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Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves

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Politician, journalist and magistrate


Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves

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Last update: 03/10/2018

By: Virginia Barbosa - Librarian of the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco

Politician, journalist and magistrate Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves, son of Colonel Domingos José Gonçalves and Torquata da Cunha e Silva Gonçalves, was born on 29 September 1845, at Maracaju Farm in the city of Barras, Piauí.

In 1876, he married Maria das Dores de Souza Leão, daughter of Senator Felipe de Souza Leão, head of the Pernambuco Liberal Party, and they had six children.

He graduated in law from the Recife Faculty of Law and soon after he held public offices like: District Attorney of Alcântara, in Maranhão (1867/1868); Provincial Representative for Maranhão (1868/1869); Municipal Judge in Alcantara (1868-1871); Judge in the District of Bragança, Pará (1872-1877); Police Chief of the State of Pernambuco (1878); General Representative for the Province of Goiás (1878-1881); Judge in São João dos Campos, São Paulo (1884-1885) and Pernambuco (1889); Commerce Judge of the city of Recife and President of the Province of Pernambuco (1889). The latter was only one day, due to the movement that overthrew the Empire and set up the Republic, when sworn in as interim was then Colonel José Cerqueira de Aguiar Lima, pending the arrival of the governor appointed by the Provisional Government. In the Republic, he was elected State Senator for Pernambuco (1898) and Federal Senator from 1900-1903 and 1908-1915.

Beside the extremely short period he governed Pernambuco at the end of the Empire, he had more two terms: from 1899 to 1900 and from 1904 to 1908. He was appointed these two times not only for his political experience, but mainly by the influence and decision of Councillor Rosa e Silva, who began his plan for political domination in Pernambuco (1896-1911) with the election of senators Joaquim Correia de Araújo, Antonio Gonçalves Ferreira, Sigismundo Gonçalves and Herculano Bandeira de Mello as the Governor of Pernambuco.

In his first administration, Sigismundo ruled as vice-president of the State Senate, to complete the term of Joaquim Correia de Araújo, who after two years in office, took leave and soon after resigned. During his second administration of four years, coupled with the administration of Mayor Eduardo Martins de Barros, appointed by Sigismundo, he planned and changed the face of urban squares in Recife, remodelling, enlarging and reconstructing streets, piers and promenades. Unfortunately, in this process of modernisation and progress, the Church of the Holy Body and the Arco da Conceição were demolished – Recife historical treasures. As the state governor, Sigismundo favoured trade and allowed the setting up of lenders and trade organisations in Recife, such as the London Bank and the Chamber of Commerce, and supported charities and hospitals.

In 1887, along with journalist Ulisses Viana, he bought the Jornal do Recife, previously owned by José de Vasconcelos. For a quarter of a century, the newspaper served as a support for his political activities. In 1891, Sigismundo Gonçalves became sole owner of the newspaper, leasing it to the journalist Luís Pereira de Oliveira Faria, who would buy the newspaper in 1912.

Sigismundo Gonçalves died on 25 January 1915. In his honour, the government of Pernambuco gave his name to an avenue in the city of Olinda, and a state school was built on this avenue in 1926 that has him as its patron.

Recife, 27 November 2006.
Updated 16 September 2009.
Translated by Peter Leamy, March 2012.

sources consulted

BARATA, Carlos Eduardo de Almeida; BUENO, Antonio Henrique da Cunha. Dicionário das famílias brasileiras. São Paulo: MinC, [1999]. v. 1. p. 1115.

MEDEIROS, Maria da Glória Dias. O processo político-eleitoral em Pernambuco no governo de Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves. Revista Symposium, Recife, ano 4, n. especial, p. 46-56, nov. 2000.

PERFIL Parlamentar, século XX: história de Pernambuco: primeiras décadas. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 23 out. 2006.

SIGISMUNDO Gonçalves. Disponível em: . Acesso em: 23 out. 2006. 

SILVA, Jorge Fernandes da. Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves. In: ______. Vidas que não morrem. Recife: Secretaria de Educação do Estado/Departamento de Cultura, [2000]. v. 2. p.  206-211.

how to quote this text

Source: BARBOSA, Virgínia. Sigismundo Antonio Gonçalves. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009.