Last modified: 2012-03-28 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio de janeiro | rio claro |
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image located by Ivan Sache,
18 March 2012
Official website at
Dirk Schönberger, 29 October 2011
The municipality of Rio Claro (17, 401 inhabitants in 2010; 841 sq. km) is located in southern Rio de Janeiro State, on the border with São Paulo State, 130 km of Rio de Janeiro. The municipality of the town of Rio Claro proper and of the districts of Lídice (originally, Santo Antônio do Capivari, renamed Lidic in 1944 as a tribute to the Czech town destroyed by the Nazis in 1942), Passa Três, São João Marcos and Getulândia (originally, Capelinha, renamed Getulândia in 1938 as a tribute to President Getúlio Vargas).
Rio Claro originates in the São João Marcos estate, established in 1733 by Portuguese colonists. A chapel was erected in 1739 and the commune of São João Marcos was established in 1755, made of scattered settlements. The region was involved in the coffee boom in the 19th century; São João Marcos counted up to 153 coffee plantations, the half of them being controlled by four owners: Commander Breves. José Joaquim de Souza Breves, the Baron of Pirai and the Baron of Rio Claro. Rio Claro emerged as a parish in 1830, located in the present day's Vila Velha (Old town) borough. Established a "vila" in 1849, Rio Claro experienced a serious crisis in the 1850s when coffee cultivation declined. Short after the proclamation of the Republic in 1889, Rio Claro was split in districts parts of São João Marcos, Santo Antônio de Capivary and Angra dos Reis, but the municipal autonomy was reestablished in less than one month.
The coat of arms of Rio Claro, designed by Alberto Lima, is prescribed by Municipal Deliberation No. 29 of 28 December 1964. The coat of arms is described as: "A Portuguese shield quarterly, 1. Gules (red), a pioneer's tunic or, 2. Azure (blue) a Latin cross argent, 3. Azure a Prince's coronet or, 4. Vert (green) a bovine's head or on a fess wavy agent and azure, an escutcheon argent a lyre azure. The shield supported dexter by a branch of coffee and sinister by a sugar cane. A scroll gules inscribed '1830 RIO CLARO - 1949'. The shield surmounted by a five-towered mural crown argent, representing a 'cidade', charged with an oval azure charged with a fleur-de-lis or."
The Portuguese shield recalls the Lusitanian origin of the country.
The tunic recalls the pioneer Simão da Cunha Gago who settled Campo
Alegre da Paraíba Nova, today Resende, from which Rio Claro seceded.
The Latin cross recalls the Roman Catholic church and Father Felipe
Teixeira Pinto. The Prince's coronet represents the old town of São
João do Príncipe, much later renamed São João Marcos, to which Rio
Claro once belonged. The bovine stands for cattle breeding and the
fess wavy represents the Clear River ("Rio Claro"), the municipality's
The lyre is a tribute to the poet Fagundes Varela, born in Rio Claro
The coffee and the cane were previously the main local crops, today
superseded by rice and banana. The fleur-de-lis is the attribute of
the Blessed Virgin, recalling that Our Lady of Piety is the patron
saint of the municipality.
The scroll is inscribed with the years of creation of the parish
("1830") and of establishment of the "cidade" ("1849", Provincial Law
No. 481 of 9 May)
* Luís Nicolau Fagundes Varela (1841-1875) was a bohemian Romantic poet. Seat No. 11 at the Brazilian Academy of Literature is named for him. Among his most famous works is the poem "Cântico do Calvário", inspired by the death of his three-months old son.
Ivan Sache, 18 March 2012
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