Support Centers: Letters

Before building work could start in Brasilia, they needed to find somewhere to house the people who came to be part of the great enterprise. Called Support Centers (Núcleos de Apoio), these settlements witnessed the birth of the city. And they are still there for anyone wishing to explore them

By Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

"Everything becomes dawn in a city that opens itself for tomorrow" (Juscelino Kubitschek)

Topógrafos em serviçoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 1
00:00

(*) The letters, as well as their senders, are works of fiction. They are based on the stories told by pioneers in the audiovisual archives at the Federal District Public Archives and in the interviews they gave to various newspapers.

DatilógrafaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 2
00:00

At the same time, they are an attempt to provide some context for the modern-day reader about the perspectives and experiences of those who arrived between 1956 and 1960, before the city of Brasilia was inaugurated. They are also a way of paying tribute to the thousands of unknown heroes, those characters in the huge epic of raising an immortal city from the ground in the Brazilian Highlands.

Gabriel B Nogueira (MG)—Electrician

Estrada rumo a BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 3
00:00

Letter 1—Quim

"Dorinha, my sweet, I'm still not there yet, but all I need to do is close my eyes to see your tear-filled eyes in my mind. Surrounded by dust on this endless road, it is only the hope that got me up onto this truck in the first place that makes me think that the journey will be worthwhile.

Croquis de Lucio Costa para o Plano Piloto de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 4
00:00

But it was when that lad said that Brasilia was going to be like a devil's arrow (1), emerging from a sheet of paper towards a lake designed solely for its enhancement, that I couldn't resist being part of that group who were going to make a city emerge out of the dust, a city that is the already the future right now!"

Desenho do Plano Piloto, de Lucio CostaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 5
00:00

¹ Devil's arrow is the common name for dragonflies, the carnivorous insects that live around rivers and lakes. Lúcio Costa's drawings for Brasilia sparked different interpretations of the Pilot Plan layout. Some said it was a dragonfly or a butterfly; others say a plane, given that Brasilia was the first capital in the world to be built in the age of the airplane; there are those who see a bow and arrow drawn back …

Lucio Costa apresenta seu projeto para o Plano Piloto de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 6
00:00

And those who see the sign of the cross, as Lúcio Costa himself had intended. What is certain is that the propaganda of the time was full of the magnificence of the New Capital. It would be a landmark, a watershed between a backward country and a nation that was open to the future. It was the promise that would embody the greatness of Brazil, the sleeping giant of the Americas!

Pioneiros chegando a BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 7
00:00

Letter 2—Quim

"My Dorinha, Hunger is stopping me sleeping … I met a man on the truck (2). He's brought his whole family along: his wife and five children. The kids cry all the time. The poor little one is sick, and that's why they all came. I gave them my food.

Trabalhadores chegam à nova CapitalArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 8
00:00

He said that he's heard that anyone who can read and write can get a good job in Brasilia. He told me that his mother was a teacher and she'd hold and guide his hand so he could learn to write. But his mother died when his youngest brother was born. Then his father broke his pencil and burnt his notebooks. He said that out in the fields, what really matters is a hoe.

Trabalhadores vinham de todo o Brasil – Família gaúchaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 9
00:00

But, when it got dark and everyone in the house was asleep, he'd write with his finger on the front of the netting, just so that he could remember his mother's hand on his.
So he never forgot what he'd learned and, as the drought was tough on them, they came to try their luck instead of dying of hunger.”

TrabalhadoresArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 10
00:00

² According to Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics data in the book Brasilia Swampy Plains: Geographic Expeditions in Search of a Dream (Veredas de Brasília: As Expedições Geográficas em Busca de um Sonho) (2010), just over 250 workers had arrived in Brasilia when building works started in 1956. In January 1957, that number had increased to 2,500. By July, there were 12,283 construction workers, or candangos as they were called. Eight months later, in March 1958, there were 28,000 workers on the city's building sites.

Gabriel B Nogueira (MG)—Electrician

Lojas Consorcio - Tecidos. Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, [1957-1958]. (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 11
00:00

In May 1959, a trial census was held and it calculated an average monthly increase of 2,100 people. This census also showed that, at the start of construction works in Brasilia, there were 192 men for every 100 women.

Registro da destruição provocada por incêndio. Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, 1960. (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 12
00:00

Nobody can specify the exact number of workers when the city was inaugurated in April 1960, but it is believed that the city was already home to 120,000 people. Most of those who came were from the Northeast, perhaps driven out by the huge drought of 1958, in search of better living conditions.

Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 13
00:00

Letter 3—Quim

“Dorinha, sweetheart,
I still haven't seen that devil's arrow, but I have seen a Free City(3)! The truck dropped people off here. The city is all built of wood, just like in that film about the Wild West that we saw once.

Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 14
00:00

There are three long streets, there's water in some houses, electric lighting from a generator, and there are these two things tied to a couple of posts that people here call loudspeakers. That must be because they are so loud!
These loudspeakers play music and give out news about jobs.  

Fila de trabalhadores em busca de empregoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 15
00:00

I've heard of one place called Candangolândia. It's sounds as if that's where they take on people to work. And what's not in short supply around here is work! They say that there is work available night and day!
The loudspeaker called for anyone who can read and write for a warehouse job.

I think that this must be the new Wild West right here. They've even got a sheriff!"

Encontrava-se de tudo na Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 16
00:00

³ Before Brasilia was built, two temporary urban centers were set up. The Free City was the brainchild of Bernardo Sayão (one of the Nocacap directors) and it got its name because the authorities at the time wanted to encourage traders to come to Brasilia, and so they offered tax exemptions to anyone who wanted to set up a business. 

Banco Francês e Brasileiro S.A. Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, [1957-1960]. (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 17
00:00

But this was just a loan for use contract. It envisaged that the buildings would be made of wood so that, at the end of the four years needed to build the New Capital, all the buildings in the Free City would be taken down.

Trabalhadores na Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 18
00:00

The Free City was the point of arrival for workers, but once they found work at the companies that were building the Pilot Plan, they were housed in company dormitories or they settled in clusters of self-built shacks. These precarious dwellings came to be known as the invasions (invasões).

Rua comercial – Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 19
00:00

Letter 4—Quim

“Dorinha,
Tell my cousin Chico that he'd like it here!
The city is really lively! It even feels like there are round-the-clock fairs! The stores are full of stuff. There's a shop selling ready-made clothing. There's a movie theater, hotel, restaurant …

Avenida principal – Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 20
00:00

And, down below, at the end of the main street, there's a house of pretty girls you can fall in love with. But, listen … I've never been there! Honest! I only know that it's there because I went for a walk around so I could get to know the city …" 4)

Alfaiataria na avenida principal da Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 21
00:00

The Free City—later named the Núcleo Provisório dos Bandeirantes (Temporary Pioneer Center) and, then, simply Núcleo Bandeirante—was where the residents of Brasilia would go for their supplies. 

Jornalista francês, James de Coquet do Jornal Le Figaro em visita ao Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, 1959. (1959)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 22
00:00

It also offered specialist services, such as car repair shops, a carpentry shop, a photography studio, and a bank. There was even a bohemian section, with bars and a tolerance zone, as the red light district was called.

Cinema – Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 23
00:00

The city's first movie theater, the Cine Bandeirante, was also there. The Cine Brasilia movie theater—planned by Oscar Niemeyer for the Asa Sul district—would only be built years later.

Os primeiros jornais chegavam a Brasília de aviãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 24
00:00

Letter 5—Quim

“Dorinha, my sweet ...
I've learned that the newspaper that comes in every day by plane is going to open an office in the city.
I'm going to go along there tomorrow morning. Who knows, in this land that nurtures so many dreams, I might realize mine, too, and finally become a writer … I want to tell the story of this city!

Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 25
00:00

Not the story about the concrete Brasilia as that'll be there for all humanity and it's already made the news, even in other countries … But the story of this wooden Brasilia that they think will only be temporary, but it's the flesh and bones of the arms that are building that other Brasilia with their sweat and suffering. If that other Brasilia is made of steel and concrete and therefore eternal, then those who think that they can simply level this wooden one are wrong. Because this one underpins the other …  and it's built of something stronger than steel. It's built of hopes and dreams (5)

Brasília ganhou manchetes em jornais de todo o mundoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 26
00:00

And if I manage to get a position at the newspaper tomorrow, I'm coming to get you with my second pay check. We'll get married, and you'll come to Brasilia with me to see that they simply had to think up this place!

Cidade Livre – MigrantesArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 27
00:00

5 According to information from the National Historic and Artistic Heritage Institute (IPHAN), in 1960, amid rumors that the Free City would be taken down, the residents organized and set up the Movement for Settling and Urbanizing the Núcleo Bandeirante (MPFUNB). 

Pessoas encaminhadas às cidades de origemArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 28
00:00

Even so, again according to IPHAN, in 1971, more than 80,000 residents of the towns near the Free City were relocated to satellite towns, especially Ceilândia. 

Rua movimentada da Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 29
00:00

Nevertheless, the Movement organized so that the original Núcleo Bandeirante was completely urbanized by the late 1970s
So, there was no going back: the Núcleo Bandeirante had become a satellite town, with its new status passed into law by a vote in Congress and sanctioned by the president of Brazil.

Meios de transporte. Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, [1957-1958]. (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 30
00:00

Letter 1—João Abelardo

“My dearly beloved wife Helena,
I begin these lines by missing you so much!
Here the days have been so tiring. We are the only place offering support to I don't know how many people. Every day new trucks, new buses arrive, bringing men with almost no luggage but with a huge willingness to work.

Vila do Hospital do IAPI (HJKO)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 31
00:00

The hospital (6) is small, but well equipped, and despite the work being hard, I do feel like those doctors in the small hinterland towns.
In fact, speaking of towns, the buildings around the hospital have become a very pleasant little town. I think that you'll like living here a lot and you'll enjoy the company of the neighbors."

Vila do Hospital do IAPI (HJKO)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 32
00:00

6The Industrial Workers Retirement and Pension Institute (IAPI) Hospital was opened in 1957 and was the first hospital in the city. It was later renamed the Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira Hospital (HJKO). Built of wood in just 60 days, it stood between the Free City (Núcleo Bandeirante) and the Workers' Town (Candangolândia). 

Trabalhadores da construçãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 33
00:00

It was a busy place because it issued health cards. These documents were required by anyone before they could be hired by the companies that were building the future capital. The Living Museum of Candanga Memory (Museu Vivo da Memória Candanga) now stands in the grounds of the IAPI Hospital.

The Living Museum of Candanga Memory (Museu Vivo da Memória Candanga) now stands in the grounds of the IAPI Hospital.

Operários em horário de descansoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 34
00:00

Letter 2—João Abelardo

“My most beautiful lady of Troy … Today, my heart is feeling content. My hands helped bring the first native candango into the world. He was born in what will be the most modern city in the world (7). He's a strong boy and he will certainly be brave, just like all those who are born in Free Cities and who pioneer God's lands."

Caminhão transporta operários para obraArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 35
00:00

7 Brasilia, a landmark of architecture and urbanism, was added to the World Heritage List by UNESCO's World Cultural and Natural Heritage Committee on December 7, 1987. The city is the largest listed site in the world, covering more than 70 square miles (112 km²). The area includes the Pilot Plan sector, the Cruzeiro, the Southwest/Octagonal Districts, and Candangolândia.

Hospital do IAPI - Hoje, Museu da Memória CandangaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 36
00:00

Cultural treasures such as the Centro de Ensino da Metropolitana School, the Nossa Senhora Aparecida Church and the Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira Hospital are all located in the Núcleo Bandeirante, and they are part of Brasilia's historical and cultural heritage.

Gabriel B Nogueira (MG)—Electrician

Trabalhadores da construçãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 37
00:00

Letter 3—João Abelardo

“Helena …
How many more battles there are than just Troy!
The stocks of medicines I brought with me are running out. There's so much more diarrhea, venereal diseases, and snake bites than I'd imagined. But the sickness that afflicts these poor mortal souls the most is homesickness …

Operários em horário de refeiçãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 38
00:00

But there's also the malnutrition and the exhausting work days. Countless men complain of pains here and pains there … I give them any medicine I have to ease their muscular pains; they then go and have some brandy … and many of them get as high as kites …

Operários em canteiro de obraArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 39
00:00

Another common complaint is about the extensive violence. We have a Special Brasilia Guard … I was in Goiânia … It was Carnival … They said that the Special Brasilia Guard went into a camp (8) and shot people in cold blood … some talk about several dead and injured … others that there was just one person killed and one injured … those poor workers … those poor candangos …"

Eventos na sede da NOVACAP na Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 40
00:00

There are no official data to prove what happened at what became known as the Pacheco Fernandes Dantas massacre, but there are many accounts by pioneers who claim to have been there. Those who defend the opposite view say that it is indicative that opponents to the building of Brasilia have not made use of the story.

Restaurante Serviço de Alimentação da Previdência Social(SAPS) (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 41
00:00

In an interview given to the Correio Brazilinese newspaper on January 27, 1994, Ernesto Silva—who had been a NOVACAP director in April 1959—said, "the only isolated event during the three and a half years it took to build Brasilia stemmed from a worker uprising that was followed by looting of the accommodation facilities. The riot was put down by the police. There was just one person killed in the fray."

Barraca de lona sendo erguidaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 42
00:00

Letter 1—Eleonora

“My dear friend Paulo,
I hope that these lines find your heart at peace with me …
I've arrived at the place where a city will be born out of the dust! The place where I currently am is called Lonalândia (9). It's a piece of open land where they've put up tents made out of some tarpaulin they've borrowed from the army until they can build houses.

Barracas da LonalândiaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 43
00:00

Two of us are sharing a tent—me and a colleague who works for Novacap. She's great fun! She has this soft laugh, and she even laughed when her new shoe got stuck in the slimy mud.

Motorista de caminhãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 44
00:00

I've also met a pretty, young lady. She's really adventurous, and she came here to work as a truck driver!
Brasilia is a city that embraces every dream!”

Luiza A. P. Santos (MG)—housewife and shopkeeper

Primeiras moradias da Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 45
00:00

9 They began setting up the first camp in Brasilia on November 3, 1956. This is considered to be the actual date when the construction of Brasilia first started according to the Diário de Brasilia, the official publication of the President's Documentation Service. 

Primeiras moradias da Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 46
00:00

On November 10, these premises received a visit from President Juscelino Kubitschek himself. He was in Brasilia on this occasion to officially open his temporary residence, christened Catetinho or the "palace of wood." 

Primeiras moradias da Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 47
00:00

Lonalândia—which takes its name from lona, the Portuguese word for tarpaulin—was built to house the 30,000 Novacap workers. Novacap—short for the Urbanizing Company for the New Capital—was commissioned, as its name suggests, to plan and implement the location, construction, and urbanization of Brasilia, having been set up by Law no. 2,874/56, which also stipulated the transfer of the Federal Capital. 

Candangolândia (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 48
00:00

The tarpaulin tents were quickly replaced by wooden houses to house the company's engineers and technicians. From then on, it would be simply known as Vila Operária (Workers' Town) or Vila dos Candangos (Candangos' Town). 

Restaurante Serviço de Alimentação da Previdência Social(SAPS) (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 49
00:00

In addition to these Novacap houses and sheds, the town had a vault, a health center, a hospital, a police station, two restaurants, and a school. Retail establishments, however, were banned and residents had to travel to the Free City to do their shopping.

NOVACAP na Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 50
00:00

Letter 2—Eleonora

“Dear Paulo, my guitar continues being your voice. Missing you …

We are no longer living in tarpaulin tents (10). They've been replaced by wooden houses, which will be demolished when Novacap transfers its headquarters to the city. The workers' town has started to look like a town in the hinterland.

1º Mapa do Distrito Federal elaborado pela Comissão de Cooperação para Mudança da Capital Federal - GO. (1958) by Mercedes ParadaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 51
00:00

I happened to accompany the company CEO, Mr. Israel Pinheiro, on his visits to the earthmoving works. I've been busy, sometimes working through the night doing calculations and drawings. 

Funcionária em meio a operáriosArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 52
00:00

But I feel immensely proud when I think that I'm part of a team of pioneers who, with daring and courage, are building the foundations of what will be the first capital in the world to be built on the cornerstones of Modernist concepts!”

Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 53
00:00

10 President Juscelino Kubitschek himself tells the story of how Lonalândia was born. "General Lott, the War Minister, lent me 20 army tents. I put them up there on the plateau to house the first workers who were going to open the airfield.

Equipe analise desenhos do Aeroporto Internacional de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 54
00:00

And that, my dear friend, was how we started this huge epic. We completed it in three and a half years and there it stands today, summoning all the glories of Brazilian courage and sense of adventure.” 

Transporte para o aeroportoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 55
00:00

Building the airfield—which is now the President Juscelino Kubitschek International Airport—took huge commitment from the workers. Work started on November 6, 1956. On April 2, 1957, President Kubitschek stepped down from a plane for the first time in the new capital. 

Aeroporto Internacional de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 56
00:00

On May 3, the airport was officially opened and the first international flight left Brasilia for New York.

Serviço de terraplenagemArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 57
00:00

Letter 3—Eleonora

"Paulo... My letters are still being met by your silence … and my heart continues to beg you for forgiveness.


I know that you can't understand what brought me here, but if you'd seen what I witnessed today, I'm sure that you'd regret not having come with me. 

Ponto Zero de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 58
00:00

Today, the digger broke ground at the city's ground zero! It cut the earth, like someone making the sign of the cross to ask God's blessing for the huge undertaking that's about to begin. And the reddish earth gave its consent and accepted this new shoot that has sprouted from the point where genius meets the desire to make something that will be here forever.
I think we'll be having a party in town!”

Estudantes a caminho da escolaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 59
00:00

The city faced a promising future, but the authorities were relying on the workers returning home once the building works in the capital were complete. That was the reason why masonry buildings were banned in the Support Centers and all the shacks and houses were made of wood. 

Invasões eram comuns durante a construção da nova CapitalArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 60
00:00

But Lúcio Costa himself, in his Pilot Plan report, had already warned of the risk of favelas popping up around the Federal Capital, which had been planned for just 500,000 inhabitants. He wrote: : "In this regard, we should prevent favelas appearing in both urban and rural areas. It falls to the Urbanizing Company to provide decent, affordable accommodation for the entire population within the proposed scheme.”

Rua do Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre, [1957-1958]. (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 61
00:00

To prevent this from happening, Taguatinga became the first satellite town set up by Novacap to house workers who were living in shacks all across Brasilia. Lured by the opportunities on offer and the hopes of a better life in Brasilia, many gave up any intention of returning to their home towns and cities

Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek, Oscar Niemeyer, Israel Pinheiro e equipe visitam obrasArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 62
00:00

Letter 4—Eleonora

"Paulo …
Your silence is hurting me …
But I'll go on telling you about my days …

Today, I had the honor of accompanying the man whose personal charisma will build a city in three and a half years. I was with Mr. Israel Pinheiro, accompanying President Juscelino Kubitschek himself, during a works inspection. 

Presidente Juscelino Kubitschek em discursoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 63
00:00

Between shaking hands, giving hugs, and pausing for coffees, the president infects everyone with his hope and energy. Whether speaking to one, two, ten, or a thousand men, he shows the same magnetism, and he gives them pride of place in this chronicle which, day and night, is only about one thing: the desire to build what the staff here have nicknamed the rhythm of Brasilia. 

Presidente Juscelino, ao lado de Israel Pinheiro, visita obras de BrasíliaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 64
00:00

Calling them the second Candangos—he claims he was the first—he told the workers that he trusts them to ensure that the project is completed by the target date and that their names would go down in history. The happiness was infectious and everyone went back to work, feeling excited and singing.

Placa icônica da época da construçãoArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 65
00:00

From the window of my room (11), at night, you can make out the sparks from the welding, dancing salamanders rising up to leave the imprints of those who are writing the future right now in the skies of history."

Candango – obra de terraplenagemArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 66
00:00

11 In 1959, Novacap transferred its headquarters to Brasilia's Pilot Plan sector. The houses were taken over by other residents and the Vila Operária became known as Velhacap. The name Candangolândia only came about much later, as a tribute to the workers who built Brasilia. 

Escultura “Os Guerreiros”, de Bruno Giorgi, conhecida como “Os Candangos”Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 67
00:00

There has been a change in the once derogatory sense of the word Candango. Initially associated with unqualified workers, its new meaning is loaded with pride and honor for having made the dream of building Brasilia a reality.

Antônio A. Filho (PB)—Joiner

CandangosArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 68
00:00

On July 16, 2020, the Governor of the Federal District, Ibaneis Rocha, passed the Law no. 6,633/20, establishing Candango Day across the Federal District in tribute to those pioneers who built the capital. The date is to be commemorated every year on September 12, the birthday of the first Candango, the former President Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira himse

Candangolândia

Location of NOVACAP's first headquarters, currently hosting the Regional Administration of Candangolândia.

Núcleo Bandeirante

Location of the former IAPI and Hospital Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira (HJKO), currently hosting the "Museu Vivo da Memória Candanga".

Did you know?

Trabalhador na Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 69
00:00

The Modern-day Pionee

Just as the term candango was used by President Juscelino Kubitschek to refer to the workers who were building Brasilia, he is also rumored to have coined the name modern-day pioneer.

Entrada do cinema na Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 70
00:00

Seeing all the different workers arriving in their denim work pants, he made a connection between them and the pioneers who opened up the roads into the Brazilian hinterland during colonial times.

Cidade LivreArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 71
00:00

Free City

In 1956, the Urbanizing Company opened three main avenues as the first step towards building the urban center. In 1961, with retailers moving to the Pilot Plan sector, the Free City became known as the Núcleo Bandeirante (Pioneer Center).

Núcleo Bandeirante ou Cidade Livre (1958)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 72
00:00

It became part of the Brasilia Metropolitan Region, by virtue of the Law no. 4,545 in 1964 In February 1966, the Decree no. 488 fixed the city limits. In 1989, the Law no. 049 made the Núcleo Bandeirante into the Federal District's Administrative Region No. VIII. 

Canteiro de obrasArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 73
00:00

Women in the Settlements

In a world where there were almost two men to every women, according to data from the 1956 trial census by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), women certainly faced a lot of disdain and violence, especially those brought in for entertainment purposes.

Placa em canteiro de obraArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 74
00:00

Two months after the law granting permission for Brasilia to be built was passed, there were three contractors on the building site: Metropolitana, Rabello, and Coenge. Initially, three prostitutes from the nearby region of Luziânia were brought in, but within two months, their numbers had increased to almost 40.

Mulheres trabalham em central de telefoniaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 75
00:00

One month after the three small houses were built, new brothels sprang up in the Free City, near a sign for Mercedes Benz, the truck manufacturer. These professional ladies catered for the workers' needs.

O Hospital Volante das Pioneiras Sociais prestou relevantes serviços à população femininaArquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 76
00:00

For wealthier clients, there was the Casa da Mariazinha, or Fazendinha near the IAPI Hospital.

Primeiras moradias da Candangolândia (1960)Arquivo Público do Distrito Federal - ArPDF

Áudio Núcleos de Apoio 77
00:00

Lonalândia

The army's tarpaulin shelters were put up between blocks 4 and 7 in the area that would become Candangolândia. The site was chosen for its proximity to the three streams Riacho Fundo, Guará, and Vicente Pires, which provided the necessary water for the workers and pioneers. In fact, Candangolândia covers blocks nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. No, we haven't skipped over no. 6. No. 6 doesn't even exist. That is because the odd-numbered blocks were built first!

Credits: Story

Personell:

- Adalberto Scigliano - Superintenden
- Elias Manoel da Silva - Distribution Management - GEDIF.
- Hajnalka Maria Gabriela Korossy Tomaz – Management of Audiovisual Collection Processing and Conservation- GEAUD.
- Renato Vilar Nasr - Management of Textual and Cartographic Collection Processing and Conservation - GEPRES.
- Anna Paula Pesso S. S. Fonseca - Processing and Conservation Manager - GEPRES.
Anna Paula Pesso S. S. Fonseca - Processing and Conservation Manager - DITRAP.
Rogerio Cardoso de Amorim - Permanent Archive Coordination - COAP.
Rafael Mendes Rechden - Document Management and Protocol Unit - UGED.
Greice L. L. Lins Schumann Albernaz - Director of Research, Distribution and Access - DIPED.
Maria Alice O Telles de Vasconcellos - Training Management - GECAP.
- Patrícia Guimarães Garcês - Permanent Archive Coordination - COAP.
Claudia Amancio e Silva - Cabine
- Taiama Mamede B. Solecki - Systems Coordination - COSIS.

- Adriane Rodrigues de Oliveira - Services Directorate - GEAP.
- Morine Mughabghab - Library Management - GEBIB.
- Alessandra Braz de Queiróz - Director of Control and Monitoring - COSIS
- Elizete Ribeiro Alves Anjos - Director of Training and Technical Orientation - DICOT
- Thyago Lima de Aguiar - Head of the Information Technology Unit - UTEC

Bibliographic References: Access here

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.
Explore more
Related theme
Explore Brasília
From architecture to art, get a new perspective on Brazil's capital
View theme