João Pessoa

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João Pessoa

João Pessoa, population, 649,410 (2004), capital of the Brazilian state of Paraíba. Known as Parahyba until 1930, when it was renamed in honor of the assassinated governor João Pessoa, the city was founded as Filipéia in 1585. Located six miles from the sea, on several hills overlooking the Paraíba River at its confluence with the Sanhauá, the city included the colonial port of Varadouro, which received ocean vessels until the late nineteenth century. Politically incorporated into adjacent Pernambuco (as part of the province of Paraíba) several times during the colonial period and economically subordinate to the regional entrepôt of Recife, Parahyba exported dyewood, sugar, hides, skins, vegetable waxes, and coffee. Cotton, which gained ascendancy in the nineteenth century, eventually led to Varadouro's decline, since river navigation depended on favorable tides. The Atlantic port of Cabedêlo, eleven miles away and constructed during the cotton boom of the 1920s, enabled Parahyba's exporters to remain competitive.

Famous for its beautiful beaches, the exquisitely restored colonial church of São Francisco, and its museum of regional popular art, and having direct access to the sugar plantation zone, João Pessoa is today an important tourist and convention center.

See alsoCottonxml .


Linda Lewin, Politics and Parentela in Paraíba: A Case Study of Family-Based Oligarchy in Brazil (1987).

Additional Bibliography

Aguiar, Wellington. Cidade de João Pessoa: A memória do tempo. 2nd ed. João Pessoa: Prefeitura Municipal, 1993.

Menezes, José Luiz da Mota. Algumas notas A respeito da evoluçáo urbana de Jão Pessoa. Recife: Pool, 1985.

                                          Linda Lewin