Cantagalo, Rio de Janeiro

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For other uses, see Cantagalo (disambiguation).
Location in Rio de Janeiro  state
Location in Rio de Janeiro state
Cantagalo is located in Brazil
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 21°58′51″S 42°22′4″W / 21.98083°S 42.36778°W / -21.98083; -42.36778Coordinates: 21°58′51″S 42°22′4″W / 21.98083°S 42.36778°W / -21.98083; -42.36778
Country  Brazil
Region Southeast Region
State Rio de Janeiro
 • Total 749 km2 (289 sq mi)
Population (2015)
 • Total 19,759
 • Density 26/km2 (68/sq mi)
Time zone BRT/BRST (UTC-3/-2)

Cantagalo (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˌkɜ̃taˈɡalu]), formerly spelled Cantagallo,[1][2] is a city located in the east-central area of Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil. The population is 19,759 (2015 est.) in an area of 749 km².[3] Its elevation is 391 m (1,283 ft).


Colonization of Cantagalo began in 1755, when Portuguese nobleman Manoel Henriques, Duke of Terso and a clandestine gold miner, left the state of Minas Gerais in search of unexplored riches. Henriques and his group erected a settlement[citation needed] on a small tributary of the Parahyba approximately 80 miles (129 km) northwest of Rio[1] and began exploring along the local rivers. It was originally known as Sertões de Macacu after the nearby Macacu River.[citation needed]

By 1784, the settlement had grown to accommodate approximately 200 houses. This growth caught the attention of the Portuguese rulers of Brazil, who had a monopoly over gold exploration in the colony. By order of the Viceroy Luiz de Vasconcelos e Souza, several expeditions were sent in search of Henriques and his group. The town's current name (Portuguese for "rooster crow") was inspired by the circumstances of his capture. A troop was about to return to their camp after a day of searching in vain around the woods, when a soldier heard the crowing of a rooster nearby and decided to further explore the area. One of Henriques's men was found in a clearing in the woods and, in exchange for his release, revealed the whereabouts of the rest of the group. Henriques was deported to Africa in dishonour.[citation needed]

By 1786, the settlement's name had been officially changed from Sertões de Macacu to Cantagalo. In 1814, Cantagalo was officially recognized by Emperor Pedro I as a municipality and in October 1857, was officially elevated to the category of city.[citation needed] By the mid-19th century, the area's gold was played out and the settlement came to depend on agriculture.[1] Corn, coffee, and sugarcane plantations covered several acres of highly fertile land.[citation needed]

Before the First World War, Cantagallo was considered a rich fruit- and coffee-producing district and was connected to Rio via a 100-mile-long eponymous railway.[2]

Nowadays, the city's economic activities still revolve around agriculture, with the exploration of granite and calcareous rock for the cement industry also playing a strong role. Some of the largest cement manufacturers in Brazil have facilities in Cantagalo.[citation needed]

Notable residents[edit]

Brazilian writer Euclides da Cunha, was born in Cantagalo on January 15, 1886. One of the city's districts is named Euclidelândia, in his homage.




External links[edit]