Last modified: 2013-07-19 by ian macdonald
Keywords: ceara | fortaleza | castle | tower | saltire (blue) |
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image by Joseph McMillan
Source: Official city website
Joseph McMillan, 6 February 2001
The municipality of Fortaleza (2,447,409 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the
5th biggest Brazilian town by its population; 313 sq. km) is the capital of
Ceará. Fortaleza was officially founded as a "vila" on 13 April 1726, and
upgraded to a "cidade" in 1823 by Emperor Peter I. The place was originally
occupied by the Dutch, who settled in Ceará in 1637, were expelled by the
Indians in 1644, but came back in 1649. Matias Beck ordered the building of Fort
Schoonenborch, named for Walter van Schoonenborch, President of the Pernambuco Council and one of the funders of the
Chartered West India Company. In 1654, the
Portuguese Álvaro de Azevedo Barreto eventually expelled the Dutch and the
fort was renamed Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. The settlement that
development near the fort was named Fortaleza.
The symbols of Fortaleza are prescribed by Municipal Law No. 1,316 of 11 November 1958, after the bill tabled by Municipal Councillor Agamemnon Frota Leitão.
"The flag is a white rectangle crossed by blue diagonal stripes of the same blue shade as the flag of Brazil. The municipal coat of arms shall be placed at the intersection of the two diagonals." The flag shall have the same dimensions as the national flag and be hoisted "in working hours and vacation time on Palace Iracema [the seat of the Government of Ceará], the Town Hall, the municipal buildings and the Municipal Court of Accounting." The flag was designed by the abolitionist Isaac Correia do Amaral.
The original project of coat of arms is credited to the local politician and writer Tristão de Alencar Araripe (1821-1908), also the designer of the equally simple, first coat of arms of Ceará. The arms are officially described as "Field azure (Portuguese [shield shape]), a mural crown or, a castle or over waves proper. Motto: 'Fortitudine' , sable (black color) on a scroll argent (white). The shield surrounded by two branches of tobacco and cotton fructed proper." In 1908, the politician, historian and chronicler João Brígido dos Santos (1829-1901) vehemently rejected the motto as misappropriate, claiming that "fortitudine" means in Latin only practical courage, and should be replaced by "fortitudo", expressing courage as the abstract virtue of spiritual courage. He was right but the motto was never updated.
Ivan Sache, 15 January 2012
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