Engenho Gargaú, Brazil

  • Map of Paraiba and Rio Grande, 1647
    Map of Paraiba and Rio Grande, 1647
  • Boattrip Rio Paraiba to location Engenho Cargau, Santa Rita (PB)test

What is known in Dutch sources as the little fort of Gargaú, was probably originally the sugar mill of Jorge Lopes Brandão, located in a region of Paraíba named after the local river. During the war in Brazil between the Dutch and Portuguese, it was common to turn sugar mills (engenhos) into strong points of resistance, offering shelter from the enemy to soldiers and population. 1654-1655 In a report of rendered artillery, Schoppe mentions three cannon in the little fort of Gargaú.

1580-1634 Spanish

During this period Spain and Portugal are unified under one crown. The Portuguese possessions in Brazil fall under the Spanish crown jurisdiction.
1634-1654 Dutch
When the Dutch conquered Paraiba, the sugar mill Gargaú was owned by Jorge Lopes Brandão. Later, this mill was confiscated and sold to Isaac de la Rasière, one of the wealthiest Dutch businessmen in Paraiba. During the war between the Dutch and the Portuguese it is possible that the mill became an important stronghold.
1654-1655 Portuguese
In a report of rendered artillery, Schoppe mentions three cannon in the little fort of Gargaú.

Modern name Engenho Gargaú
Historical names Engenho Gargou; Engenho Rasiere; Engenho/Forte Gamgahoe; Engenho/Forte Gargaú; Engenho/Forte Gorogao; Forte Gorgahu; Ingeniam van George de Lopes Brãdon
Category Defence work; Production object; Habitations-residential
Toponym Garagao, Garegao, Gargau (água do peixe-boi = water of the manatee = water van de zeekoe)
Modern name location Gargaú
Historical names location Garagao; Garegao; Gargaou
Municipality Santa Rita
State Paraiba
Year of first construction Sugar mill constructed around the end of the XVI century
Original function Sugar mill (engenho)
Relation to nearby objects The region where the sugar mill known as Gargaú was located had the same name. It was located near the river Gargaú and upstream to the west there was an Indian village (aldea) with the same name.
Inventory date 2006-11-14
Short description Few references to a fort called Gargaú were found in primary sources. These references mention a sugar mill (engenho) and an indian village (aldea) of the same name. Owner of the engenho was Jorge Lopes Brandão. After the Dutch conquest of the region, Jorge Lopes Brandão fled leaving the sugar mill unattended. The sugar mill was confiscated and Isaac de la Rasière would become the new owner of this engenho. During the war between the Dutch and Portuguese the sugar mill was turned into a stronghold, where soldiers and the local population found shelter.
Possible archaeological research At the actual location of Gargaú, there is still a small church, the chapel of Santana. This chapel was most likely part of the mentioned sugar mill (engenho) of Gargaú. Still, Fort Gargaú was not located during the field survey because the area where it was expected is barely accessible.
Keywords Fort;  Paraíba;  River;  Gargaú;  Village;  Sugar-mill

Sources: PDF Engenho Gargaú