The Historic Port

Museu do Amanhã

For four centuries, Port Region was an indicator of substantial transformations in Rio de Janeiro. This piece of land located by the Guanabara Bay bank, geographical center of a 12 million people metropolis, was never so tangible to locals and visitors.

The French corsairs raids at Rio de Janeiro, recently founded by the Portugese, were a lesson of how important was defending the costal area of Guanabara Bay. This influenced expansion of settlements in the area of Port Region. Time passed and in the mid-eighteenth century, the site, before inhospitable and unappreciated, concentrated various vessels that circulated between the mainland and the sea, turning it into a logistical hell. This coast was not a continuous line of earth, a result of the land fill done in the past century, it consisted of islands and "sacos" (small coves) in the localities of Gamboa, Saúde, Santo Cristo and Caju, especially among Morro da Conceição and Saúde.

Illustration of the nineteenth century shows boat on the beach Mineiros, currently Mauá Square.

Illustration shows Gamboa in the nineteenth century. From 1808, the stimulus coming from Dom João VI for cargo handling in the port of Rio intensified import and export activities in the area.

Seventeenth-century engraving shows the first buildings in part of the waterfront of Rio de Janeiro.

B - Monastery of St. Benedict

F- Old Cathedral located in the former Castle Hill
D - Old Convent of the Jesuits

C - Convent of Carmo

If the Valongo Wharf stones, unearthed in 2011 after more than a century hidden under concrete, could speak - they would say, that between sixteenth and nineteenth century over 1 million of African slaves passed over them. Only between 1811 and 1831 it was 500,000 people, according to historians. The Valongo was not just a landing beach but a shopping complex in the slave market, with warehouses, stalls, shops selling various artifacts. And there was the Lazaretto, a place where slaves were quarantined, whose walls were discovered in recent excavations. The site was "hidden" in 1843 during the construction of Cais da Imperatriz, who received the Princess Teresa Cristina Maria, of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. (photo: Marcos Tristão /Museu do Amanhã).

Until the mid-eighteenth centuryAfrican slaves landed in Praça Quinze. The Lavradio Marquis, in 1769, transferred this landing point "out of town", which at that time ended at the Monastery of St. Benedict (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

Accoridng to the historians, Rio alone received 2.4 million Africans in four centuries of the slave trade.

The Valongo was not just a landing beach, it was also a commercial complex in the slave market.

Illustration of Pierre Roche Vigneron, the early eighteenth century, has brought slaves from Benguela, Angola, where he ran one of the largest export ports of slaves to Brazil (photo: National Library).

Cais da Imperatriz was built over the rocks that before accommodated the slave trade. A way to erase the sad images rush of slavery lived in that region (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

Away from the visions of the wealthier classes a clearing the size of a professional football field received between 1774 and 1830 the eviction of slaves who did not resist to routine beatings. Many arrived at Cologne very sick, almost dead. For a long time, the location of the Black New Cemetery was unknown. Until, in 1996, during works in the house number 36 of the Pedro Ernesto Street, they were found bones that youth would likely originate from Angola, Mozambique and Kenya. Was unveiled, by chance, the exact location of the cemetery, which received 50,000 corpses in only 56 years (photo: Marcos Tristão / Museu do Amanhã).

Currently, the site is home to the Institute of Research and New Memory Black (photo: Marcos Tristão / Museu do Amanhã).

Check out the video about the Cemetery of New Blacks.

In the mid 1850s, coffee - considered "black gold" - becomes the main economic propeller in Brazil, being exported to other countries in Rio. The manufacture and ship repair, in addition to the railways, were substantial in the industrialization process in Port Region. Irineu Evangelista de Souza, Baron of Mauá, becomes a major investor in that area, which is modernized between the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. From 1903, the president of the Republic - Rodrigues Alves and the then mayor of Rio - Francisco Pereira Passos, perform a thorough urban change between Praça Quinze and Caju district (photo: Marcos Tristão / Museu do Amanhã).

Port Region view of Morro do Livramento in the late nineteenth century (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

In 1910, a part of the port, as we know today, was inaugurated and began to receive large vessels and distinguished visitors (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

In addition to road works, such as the Rio Branco and Central avenues, another symbol of the arrival of modernity to Rio and the Port Region was the construction of the building A Noite - first skyscraper in the country (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

The Building A Noite was opened in Maua Square in 1929. It housed several companies, the most important of them was National Radio (photo: Biblioteca Nacional).

Píer Mauá, where Museu do Amanhã is situated, was constructed during the 1940s, work was completed in the 1950s (photo: Arquivo Nacional).

This 1964 image shows the warehouses of Port Region of Rio de Janeiro, even without Elevado da Perimetral (Photo: Arquivo Nacional).

Rio Branco Avenue, former Central Avenue, one of the landmarks of the revitalization of Rio de Janeiro's city center in the twentieth century (photo: Marcos Tristão /Museu do Amanhã).

A nervous vein of concrete in the middle of the central region of Rio de Janeiro. So it was known Elevado da Perimetral, connection route between the South Zone and the city's main entrance doors. Its planification started in the 1940s, when Rio was still the capital of Brazil and already gave evidence that, years later, would feel the consequences of the increase in the automotive fleet. Built with character to serve as an adjunct to Rio Branco Avenue, the route was an old aspiration engineers seeking road solutions. The project got off the ground in 1957 and the first part of the viaduct, connecting the avenues General Justo and Presidente Vargas, was inaugurated in 1960. The rest of the Perimetral, the Mauá Square to the Rio-Niteroi Bridge, was built over 18 years and delivered in 1978 (photo: Tanya Rego / Agency Brazil).(photo: Tânia Rêgo/Agência Brasil).

Perimetral pillars installed in Praça Quinze in the 1950s. In the background, the Municipal Market, demolished due to the viaduct construction (photo: Arquivo Nacional).

The delay in the construction of Perimetral did not interfere with the fact, the work became an integration symbol of the Metropolitan Area of Rio de Janeiro and route of extreme efficiency in that times (photo: Arquivo Nacional).

Construction of Elevado da Perimetral in Praça Mauá (photo: Arquivo Nacional).

Drawing shows the design of Elevado da Perimetral (photo: Arquivo Nacional).

To modernize the Port Region, Elevado da Perimetral was demolished in 2013.

The port region already without Elevado da Perimetral in 2016 and revitalized (photo: Marcos Tristão /Museu do Amanhã).

Praça Quinze without Elevado da Perimetral (photo: Marcos Tristão/Museu do Amanhã).

Credits: Story

Museu do Amanhã

Curator: Luiz Alberto Oliveira
Content Director: Alfredo Tolmasquim
Manager Content: Leonardo Menezes
Editor: Emanuel Alencar
Content Writer: Eduardo Carvalho
Trainee: Thaís Cerqueira
Photos: Marcos Tristão; Biblioteca Nacional
Vídeos: Monclar Filmes

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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