Assunto: Ilha do Caju; Local: Araioses, MA; Data: 05/2008; Autor:Palê Zuppani


Traditional wisdom, mysticism, wisdom, secrets, stories .. This is Ilha do Caju!

The Ilha do Caju is the result of five generations of ecological spirit, which makes it unique throughout the Brazilian coast. In this immensity, where mangrove forests mix the restinga and gigantic dunes, they permeate water courses and several specimens of flora and fauna threatened with extinction.

Índio Tremembé - Fhoto: Marcos Guilherme

First inhabited by the Tremembe Indians - who, the story goes, were brave warriors, feared throughout the Delta - the Island was called Pará-mirim and Punaré. The Tremembe were catechized by the Jesuit priests, in the form of villages, and in 1660, the Island was visited by Fr. Antônio Vieira, who had the Tupi name of Pahy-assú - the Big Foot. On April 21, 1727, the cacique Manoel Miguel receives possession of the Island. In 1758, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, the Marquis of Pombal, expelled the Jesuits from Brazil, confiscated all their property and caused the disappearance of the indigenous villages of the Delta.

In 1776, the Island of Cashew was auctioned off by cattle breeder João Paulo Diniz, who introduced livestock there. The beef was salted and exported to Brazil, to other parts of Brazil and to Portugal.

Later, on August 18, 1847, the impoverishment of the heirs of João Paulo Diniz, caused the sale of the island to the lieutenant-coroner Domingos José Gonçalves and his wife, Mrs. Torquata da Cunha e Silva Castello Branco Gonçalves, for two short stories of kings, the equivalent of 250 head of cattle.

After the death of Lieutenant Colonel Domingos José Gonçalves and his wife, the Island belonged to his children, Dr. Malaquias Antônio Gonçalves and Dr. Sigismundo Antônio Gonçalves. With the death of both, the daughter of Dr. Malaquias, Eugênia Mendes Gonçalves D'amorim becomes the new owner of the Island. Eugenia was also the granddaughter of Barão João José de Rodrigues Mendes, married to Alberto de Loyo Amorim, son of the baron of the strong house.

On July 21, 1919, Alberto de Loyo Amorim, sells the Island to a British citizen married to the niece of Drs. Malaquias and Sigismundo Antônio Gonçalves.

Ilha do Caju assumes its ecological vocation due to the efforts of its owners, who have been keeping the Island in its primitive state and cultivating the harmony between man and nature since 1847. There is prohibited predatory fishing, hunting, harassment of animals and deforestation.

Declared State Environmental Protection Area (APA Delta Do Parnaíba) - Decree No. 11,899 / 91 of June 11, 1991 and Federal Environmental Protection Area (APA Delta do Parnaíba) - Decree no., Of August 1996.

The fauna is varied, it includes armadillos, coyotes, maracajá cats, anteaters, toucans, yellow caiman alligators, raccoons, deer, foxes, woodpeckers, jacus, monkeys of various species, guarás, spoonbills, herons, jacus , mallards, sea turtles (loggerhead turtle), porpoises and many others. After all, everyone in the delta knows, that Ilha do Caju is the refuge of these animals, because it is the natural protection of their habitat.

Aiming to halt the devastation of this rich and fragile ecosystem, respect for the nature and habits of the local community is disseminated through programs of environmental education and sustainable socio-economic development that aim to safeguard this paradise for its present rational use and for future generations.