History of the Fortresses and Defenses of Salvador da Bahia

Fort Santa Maria
The Santa Maria Fort, with Porto da Barra, in the background, taken from the Lighthouse, in 1839.

Nothing is more important in Salvador's memory than the historic buildings, including its forts, fortresses and defenses.

Among them are the fortifications, which have become mandatory in images on postcards, in tourist advertisements and in other documents about the city.

According to the English military and historian Charles Boxer, the presence of a single fortress is an item that justifies a visit to any city.

Salvador can still display many of them, in a reasonable state of conservation, capable of evoking the past and memories of upheavals, revolts and invasions of our soil.

Although it seems paradoxical, having as a backdrop the violence of the combats, the fortifications exert a great poetic appeal since the Middle Ages, and even before it.

They captivate and fascinate the observer of our times, regardless of the intense historical background they accumulate, which, in itself, would already have enormous appeal.

The highlight of the fortifications in the city's landscape certainly represents the imposition of the tactical and strategic need for their positioning in an elevated location, with privileged visibility to the surrounding areas.

But the military engineer who designed and built them cannot be denied the aesthetic sensibility that he assimilated from the culture of his time and from the texts of the most distinguished architectural theorists of the Renaissance and the Baroque.

Warhafftige Abbildung von Einnehmung der Salvador in der Baya des Todos los Santos, 1633
This handsome view depicts the Dutch fleet in the Bay of Todos los Sanctos attacking the town of San Salvador and the Portuguese merchant fleet in 1625. The buildings are clustered on the crest of the bay with four major forts protecting the harbor. The key identifies below 24 important sites. San Salvador was Brazil's main sea port and a major center of the sugar industry and the slave trade. This view is from Van Meteren's important History of the Netherlands.

The treatises of these engineers are full of quotations from the masters of architecture of the past, whose teachings undoubtedly contributed to the formation of their creative sensibility.

The bastioned fortifications are not far behind. Even influenced by the rationality of the new times, essential to face the great destructive power of firearms, they reveal the coherence of the resolution of the function, which almost always leads to the quality of the form.

In this domain, where no concessions could be made to the superfluous, the result is usually a good architecture, very pure in form, with harmonious arrangement of volumes and perfect integration with the morphology of the terrain.

The formal detachment is inherent to the function, with no appeal to decorative resources, which could make the fortified work more fragile from a tactical point of view.

When they existed, the decorative concessions were more than limited: a nook or cord that separated the parapet from the skirt (sloping part of the wall, below the parapet), but which had a certain practical function; a portal, with ornamentation inspired by ancient Greco-Roman orders, mainly Tuscan (variant of Doric); some frame in the guardhouses and that's it.

It is worth characterizing two moments in the poetics of “modern” fortifications:

  • In the first, the construction was entrusted to the architects and artists of the Renaissance, who tried to do their best to sell their models to eventual contractors, mainly in the XNUMXth century.
  • In the second moment, the task of fortifier passes into the hands of military engineers and the tendency towards sobriety is intensified. Not that engineers have departed from the canons of beauty, but the pressing need to counterbalance the destructive power of weapons of war increasingly pointed to the pragmatism of solutions.

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Fortresses and Defenses of Salvador BA

A History of Three Centuries

Salvador it was born as a strong city or, at least, that was what D. João III, of Portugal intended, and, while it was capital or head of Brazil, there was constant concern to defend it.

For this reason, the first Governor-General of the Colony, Tomé de Sousa, charged by the king to install the capital, brought with him, in 1549, the master Luís Dias, an expert in fortifications.

Dias applied the “traças” (drawings, projects) from the Kingdom on the ground, raising high walls of mud to defend the nascent capital of Portuguese America.

From then on, would Salvador have become a strong city, as established by D. João III in the Regiment entrusted to Tomé de Souza?

It is necessary to recognize that, contrary to what some boastful historians claimed, Salvador remained very vulnerable
to the external attacks of modern and well-organized armies of the time, equipped with artillery, which already had reasonable efficiency from the XNUMXth century onwards.

The vertiginous and disorderly growth of the city, especially from the XNUMXth century, made it difficult to build a secure fortified perimeter, within the good postulates of the art of defense of those times.

In the case of All Saints Bay, the problems multiplied, because, being one of the largest bays on the planet, the opening of its bar did not allow to restrict the access of enemy ships, which could pass by, far from the reach of the cannons, without being harassed by artillery.

In addition to these difficulties, there were financial limitations: Portugal was not a rich country and the Royal Treasury opened its coffers very sparingly to investments in America, given the problems it had with the possessions and colonies in Africa and Asia and the indebtedness to European countries. .

O development of our fortifications was thus dependent, mainly, on taxes on the winethe sugar, whale oil or other trade products.

The inflow of these resources, however, was not compatible with the needs of a large-scale fortification, as the defense of the capital demanded.

Concern about Salvador's vulnerability is not a simple impression that can be inferred from reading old documents.

It is made explicit, with all clarity, above all in the writings of specialists in military matters, in particular the engineers who worked or lived in the city.

Diogo de Campos Moreno, for example, Sergeant Major and Captain of the coast of Brazil at the time of Governor General Diogo Botelho, highlighted in a 1609 report the fragility of the city's defenses.

However, there were those who considered our defenses “sufficient”, as is the case of D. Francisco de Souza, Governor-General of the great Portuguese colony overseas between 1591 and 1602. There can only be two interpretations of this silly opinion:

D. Francisco did not understand the matter, which was very likely, or he was trying to justify the fact that he had not taken better care of the situation when he was in the position to do so.

Bay of All Saints, by Laet, Joannes
This rare map of Salvador and Baia de Todos os Santos (Bay of Saints) is a depiction of the Dutch attack and capture of the city of Salvador in May 1624. Salvador, then the capital of Brazil, was a strategic port under Portuguese control. The Dutch, determined to seize control of Brazil, formed the West India Company in 1621 and sent a large expedition to Brazil. On May 8, 1624, the Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Jacob Willekens and Vice Admiral Pieter Heyn arrived in Salvador and attacked the city. The Dutch succeeded in capturing the city, although the Portuguese regained control less than a year later. This map depicts the city of Salvador and its fortifications, with the Dutch ships advancing on the city. The remainder of the coastline is sparsely engraved with a few small towns, churches, and settlements. The map is oriented with north to the left and features a handsome strapwork cartouche that incorporates the distance scale. Published in de Laet's account of the history of the Dutch West India Company from its beginnings to 1636.

The Livro that gives reason for the State of Brazil – 1612, attributed to Diogo de Campos Moreno, is quite incisive when he comments on the state of the defenses of Cabeça do Brasil: “it is convenient to maintain this prison while the fortification of the citadel is so backward and the city ​​is an open village, exposed to all dangers as long as that part is not fortified […]”
There was no lack of other admonitions to the Portuguese and Spanish courts regarding the precarious situation of our defenses.

In the years before the Dutch invasion of 1624, in the face of rumors of preparations by the Batavians, there was an intense exchange of correspondence on the subject.

But, at that time, the need to make the Slab Fort, controversial defense of the port of Salvador, which many historians have confused with the São Marcelo Fort.
But what Diogo Botelho wanted was much more than that: he was clamoring for a citadel, given the difficulty of protecting the entire perimeter of the capital well.

As the fortification of Salvador was not completed, the dutch they entered it with the greatest ease, in 1624.

When taking over the square, they tried to fortify it, because, as good specialists and belonging to one of the most respected European schools of fortification, they considered the city unprotected to guarantee their defense.

The first measure that the invaders took was the cleaning of the shooting ranges around the city.

They cut down not only the weeds, but also some properties that created obstacles to the visibility of the shooters.

They made defensive earth positions in the chapel of São Pedro (near the current Fort of São Pedro) and in the current hill of Barbalho; they also organized defenses at Santo Antônio Além-do-Carmo; they dammed the Tripas River, creating the Small Dike, which came to be called, later, the Dique dos Honhoinhos, along the current Baixa dos Sapateiros, and other protections.

These fortification works are recognized in official Portuguese documents and by chroniclers of the invasion and resumption.
to the Dutch from the City of Bahia, among them Johann Aldenburgk, doctor of the Dutch fleet, and the Spaniards Tamayo de Vargas and Valencia y Guzmán.

In the period that followed the invasion and retaking of Salvador, the importance of fortifying the city and the Morro de São Paulo, key to the defense of the Três Vilas, former designation in royal documents for fall, Boipeba e Camamu, considered, textually,
like the barns that supplied Salvador.

The complete demonstration of the fragility of our defensive system, given by the takeover of the capital by the Batavians, made the Portuguese government, even involved with the Restoration wars, decide to improve it, investing some resources from the Royal Treasury, but,
mainly by creating more taxes on goods.

In the city, some defenses were restored and/or received improvements, especially during the administration of D. Diogo Luís de Oliveira (1627-1635), as the Dutch enemy continued to threaten to invade it.

Dissatisfied with the attempt at conquest promoted by Nassau in 1638, and even after Portugal regained autonomy from Spain (1640), the Lusitanians undertook some defensive works, especially in the ephemeral, but enlightened, administration of the Viceroy D. Jorge de Mascarenhas, first Marquis of Montalvão (1640-1641).

S. Salvador, Leti, Gregorio
This nicely engraved view shows the Dutch fleet in the Baya de Todos los Sanctos attacking the town of San Salvador and the Portuguese merchant fleet in 1624. The buildings are clustered on a crest of the bay.

These works, however, focused on strengthening some existing positions and restoring old defences, mainly those left by the Dutch in 1625.

Under Governor Antônio Teles da Silva (1642-1647), the works at Montalvão continued and the construction of the enlarged perimeter of new trenches began.

Urbs Salvador, Montanus, Arnoldus
Montanus' work was perhaps the greatest illustrated book on the New World produced in the seventeenth century. It contained over one hundred beautifully engraved plates, views, and maps of North and South America. The plates vividly depict forts, festivals, occupations, Dutch fleets, battles, religious rites, and customs of the native inhabitants. This important work was translated into German by Olivier Dapper, and into English by John Ogilby. Several of the plates were later acquired by Pierre Vander Aa.

It goes without saying that the Crown of Portugal invested little in this undertaking, carried out with funds from taxes and the voluntary contribution of the inhabitants of the city and the Recôncavo.

An idea of ​​this new fortified perimeter can be obtained through the drawing of the plan of Salvador, drawn up much later, in 1714, by the French Military Engineer Amédée Frézier.

In the mid-XNUMXth century, construction began on the Forte de Nossa Senhora do Pópulo and São Marcelo, whose design was influenced by that of Forte do Bugio, on the edge of the Tagus River. The work, intended to avoid landing in the city's port, dragged on for many years, until the XNUMXth century.

However, an anonymous report, probably dating from 1671 or 1672, did not contain very flattering remarks regarding most of the forts referred to.

At the end of the XNUMXth century, by order of the Court, Captain Engineer João Coutinho arrived in Salvador from Pernambuco. Only then was a large-scale plan attempted to defend the city which the captain found unprotected.

Coutinho's project was never executed, except for some parts. A statement in this regard is contained in the Speech by Bernardo Vieira Ravasco (brother of Father Antônio Vieira), who was Secretary of State and of War for many years: “The Engineer [João Coutinho] died, then Governor Mathias da Cunha, everything remained the same, until today, and only the ruins grew and in them the trees […]”.

One of the main reasons for the difficulties in defending Cabeça do Brasil was the disorderly growth of the city.
It is true that there were Ordinances and Regiments that should regulate the occupation of the land, but people lived thousands of kilometers
away from the Kingdom and strong atavism encouraged non-compliance.

Abusive constructions therefore took over the urban space, with the “blind eye” of some administrators and even with the authorization of the Chamber.

The latter was benevolent with friends and protégés, authorizing what, regimentally, it could not authorize, that is, the construction “in the salt”, as the navy lands were called, belonging exclusively to the King, who would be responsible for granting such permission.

In addition to this, the invasion and use of trench areas and strongholds as backyards, the removal of gravel from the fortifications for the construction of private houses, the use of ditches in the fortresses for grazing cattle, the opening of accesses through the cliffs and counterscarps and similar works.

A Lower City was the one that suffered the most from disorderly growth.

Serving the interests mainly of merchants, who aimed to take advantage of the narrow strip of land between the escarpment and the sea, the foot of the mountain was cut for the implantation of real estate.

As a result, problems with the stability of the slope and the invasion of the sea with constructions, blocking the shooting range of the few existing forts, estancias and platforms, made the defense of the port unfeasible.

The report by Captain Engineer João Coutinho, from 1685, and the documents of military engineers who succeeded him, at the beginning of the XNUMXth century, outlined this situation very well, which seems to have continued throughout the century.

When that century arrived, the threats of invasion continued and the Crown of Portugal decided, once again, to build a fortified system worthy of the Portuguese capital of the Americas.

Early on, in 1709, Lieutenant de Campo Master Miguel Pereira da Costa was sent to Bahia as a permanent engineer.

Through correspondence, he expressed his desperation to find a city completely unprepared and without defenses to face an eventual enemy.

A certain Father Mestre, possibly a Jesuit and his former teacher, said in a letter dated June 18, 1710: “[…] everything is here in the greatest abandonment, the square open and exposed to any invasion […]”.

In a preliminary report, he commented: “[…] these are the works that are in this square for its defense and all of them in a miserable state […]”.

The Portuguese Crown's recognition of the fragility of the defenses of important Brazilian cities, such as Salvador, Recife and Rio de Janeiro, made the Portuguese monarch give the rank of Brigadier to João Massé, so that he could come to Brazil.

His mission was to improve the defenses of these and other neighboring squares.

In Salvador, Massé had the collaboration of local engineers who already knew the reality of the terrain, such as Mestre-e-campo Miguel Pereira da Costa and Captain Gaspar de Abreu, teacher of the Military Architecture Class of Bahia.

As always, of the majestic project of fortifications proposed for Salvador, whose original drawings have been lost, but of which copies remain, little was actually carried out, leaving the defense of this prison for later.

The same happened in other cities.

Plan de la Ville de Salvador, Capitale du Bresil, Bellin, Jacques Nicolas
Handsome bird's-eye plan of the fortified town of St. Salvador, the capital of colonial Brazil. Keys at sides list 48 important sites. Above the plan is a panoramic view of the city and fort on a hill overlooking the bay of All Saints.

The move of the capital to Rio de Janeiro, in 1763, eliminated the possibility of Salvador being adequately fortified. The Pombaline period was passing and it was the Marquis himself who reported the situation of our defenses in a letter to the Vicerei of Brazil, dated August 3, 1776, Sobre o Verosímil Projeto de Invasão, Bombardeamento e Contribução, or Saque, da Bahia de Todos os saints.

The City Salvador Capital of Brazil, Anon
Salvador, formerly the capital of Brazil, was a strategic port under Portuguese control. This fine copper engraving shows the walled city of Salvador with ships and boats filling the harbor in the foreground. The lettered key at bottom identifies numbers locations. This anonymous Spanish view is a larger copy of Arnoldus Montanus' view of the city, published in 1671.

His Excellency said, in that document, that the Marquis of Grimaldi had advised the King of Spain not to attack the southern part of Brazil, which was more heavily garrisoned and further away: “that he should order to attack in other more comfortable places, and with a safe blow.” ; or to the Ports, where we are most unprepared; which are, Bahia and Pernambuco”.

In short, the Portuguese government was not unaware of the weakness of our defensive situation.

the first walls

The documents of the time inform an interesting detail about the defenses of Salvador in the early days. They were raised much more out of fear of natives than of foreign invaders.

This way of looking at things would only change with the passage of time.

Taking this information into account, it can be said that, in the early days of its foundation, the city enjoyed a reasonable defense condition.

Even if skilled archers, knowledgeable of the terrain and men of uncommon courage, the natives could not oppose the colonizer anything other than the action of their rudimentary weapons.

Therefore, to face this threat, the precarious rammed earth wall, with the flavor of medieval defense, responded adequately to the function.

Still erected under the guidance of master Luís Dias, the wall followed general layouts from the Kingdom, attributed to the Architect and Military Engineer Miguel de Arruda.

It turns out that the city grew rapidly, as chroniclers explain, including the Portuguese colonizer Gabriel Soares de Sousa, author of the Descriptive Treaty of Brazil in 1587, or Notícia do Brasil.

Thus, as the greed of other European peoples made the Brazilian coast the scene of incursions by privateers, adventurers, smugglers and, later, by companies supported by nations, Salvador, the Head of Brazil, became the target of growing interest.

Documents from the 1912th century, such as the correspondence of Luís Dias himself and the Provisions for payment of contractors, speak of the preliminary rammed earth wall, which, according to the Bahian historian and folklorist Edison Carneiro (1972-16), was 18 to 3,52 feet long (3,96. XNUMX m to XNUMX m) in height.

When rebuilt, after the collapse that occurred with the winters of 1551, it reached 11 palms (2,42 m).

As for its scope and exactly where it passed, there are only conjectures, since no evidence was found beyond a stretch of wall at the Carmo gates.

However, it can be observed that, even with the reduction in height and the application of protective plaster, these defenses had a very short life, as Gabriel Soares de Sousa attests. The defenses were also short-lived, which were rebuilt, using the same technique, by the Governor-General D. Francisco de Souza, manager of the colony between 1591 and 1602.

The strongholds built by Luís Dias

The mud walls that surrounded the primitive Cabeça do Brasil were not sufficient for the defense of the city, particularly because of the altitude at which it was located (about 70 m above sea level).

This situation, in a way, made it difficult for the enemy to gain access to take the city from the port, forcing him to climb steep slopes, but it did not help to prevent landings, because the artillery of the time, working at that height, had a dark
accentuated, not being able to shoot down.

In response to the problem, Luís Dias tried to create some platforms, resorts or even strongholds in the Ribeira area (the old lower part of the city, by the sea).

With these elements, mentioned in a letter by the master himself, it was intended to protect the port, making landing difficult.

The location of these first Salvador prougnacles is still the subject of much controversy, although mined by illustrious figures
of Bahian historiography.

In general, it is assumed that six defenses supported the rammed earth wall that surrounded the new city at the time of its foundation.

This number is based, in part, on Gabriel Soares de Sousa's references, which we believe are quite reliable.

It does not, however, name all the positions equipped with artillery.

The two sea fortifications, which Luís Dias quotes verbatim in one of his letters, were built on the beach, to defend the port.

The author reports that the first one was made with earth and “mangrove sticks that grow in water and are like iron”, which he thought could last about twenty years, leaving the decision to build them in stone and lime.

There is disagreement among historians as to the exact location of these missing defenses.

However, according to almost all the scholars who have read Dias' document, one of them was located in Ribeira do Góes, on top of a rock.

Regarding the other defense, it is known that it received the invocation of Santa Cruz and that it should have been smaller, due to the weapons it had.

  • Engineer and Geographer Teodoro Sampaio (1855-1937), a scholar of the City of Salvador, points out four bastions facing the earth.
  • The bulwark of São Tomé, which protected the Santa Luzia gate and the path to Vila Velha do Pereira, located on the site of the current Castro Alves Square.
  • A bulwark “on a sharp edge with flanks and faces advanced to the northeast”, next to a certain noble house, with an entrance door surmounted by coats of arms (possibly the Solar dos Sete Candeeiros, in the vicinity of the current building of the Instituto dos Arquitetos, on Ladeira da Square).
  • A stronghold at the end of the alley of Vassouras, later known as alley of the Mocotó.
  • Finally, a bastion on the top of the depression where the Barroquinha church is located. This position must correspond to the location of the former Guarani cinema-theater, later named Glauber Rocha, in the current Castro Alves square.

As you can imagine, such a location of the strongholds sets up another huge quarrel. We turn, then, to Gabriel Soares de Sousa, who states, in 1585, about the primitive walls: “now there is no memory of where they were”; It is therefore very difficult to be sure of the location of something.

Added to this is that the plans by João Teixeira Albernaz I, which are part of the Livro that gives reason for the State of Brazil, the basic foundation of the historians' arguments, are not records, but projects for the citadel that Diogo Botelho asked for.

These projects may have been done in another way, partially executed or not even carried out.

Thus, we cannot use these plans to argue that the first doors of Santa Catarina were located on the north side of Praça Tomé de Sousa (Municipal), at the beginning of the current Rua da Misericórdia.

However, it is worth admitting the situation proposed for this primitive access as a possibility, because the arguments presented, even if they are not convincing, allow different interpretations.

The Primitive Towers

Nothing else remains of the primitive defense towers of the old capital – most of them, buildings raised from rammed earth that time took care of taking to the domain of oblivion.

This happened not only because rammed earth can be an ephemeral construction technique, when not carried out with certain care, but also because these fortifications have become obsolete in the roadmap of the evolution of the art of defenses.

Fortunately, there are still testimonies of written history and iconographic elements that allow us to recover, with a certain foundation, something from the memory of that primitive moment of our fortified systems.

Everything indicates that the tower, of medieval foundations, played an important role in the design of the fortifications of almost the entire XNUMXth century, in Portuguese America, both in the regime of hereditary captaincies and during the first moment when it was decided to create the City of Salvador.

Initially, it should be noted that this concept of the construction of our towers was put aside by some historians, claiming that the meaning of the term tower was linked to the symbolic concept of fortification, in general. The reason for this misunderstanding is that they did not delve deeper into the investigation, combining the historical information contained in the texts and the state of the art of defense in Portugal, with the support of field observations made possible by archaeological prospections.

The first argument that can be raised about the existence of towers is that, in the XNUMXth century, Portugal still preserved medieval habits and traditions.

At that time, the tower was the central element of any fortified system and even constituted an isolated and solitary building, when the lord of the lands was not wealthy enough to surround it with a perimeter of outer walls.

Now, this system was enough to protect the first settlers against the rudimentary weapons of the original inhabitants of our land.

Afterwards, the word tower is mentioned in ancient documents and royal ordinances, and there is no reason to suppose that the term was being used figuratively, especially after iconographies and traces of the Tower of São Tiago de Água de Meninos were found.

It is true that the artists who created the engravings assumed the poetic license to place towers everywhere.

When the drawing, however, had a documentary purpose and not an illustration, the representation of fortresses was closer to reality.

Thus, it is not improbable that the first square-based defense towers were the fortifications used by the grantees in their captaincies.

Historians Francisco Varnhagen and Capistrano de Abreu come to our aid, with a transcript of a document from the National Library of Rio de Janeiro, which explains the feature of Vila Velha by Francisco Pereira Coutinho, donee of the captaincy of Bahia: “He put the village in the best seat that he found, in which he has made houses for a hundred inhabitants and granaries all around and a tower already in the first house”.

Pereira Coutinho’s Tower in Vila Velha (where the church of Santo Antônio is located) must have been, in every way, similar to that of the donee Duarte Coelho, in Pernambuco, which was, according to Varnhagen, “a kind of square castle, in the of the keep of the manor houses of the Middle Ages”.

It is not difficult to see, in the plan drawing of the primitive Forte de Santo Alberto, in the lower left corner of the iconography that Albernaz bequeathed us, the part of these square towers, whose entrance was flanked by two smaller corner towers.

Note, for example, that Pereira Coutinho, in Vila Velha, already needed repairs when the city was founded, as indicated by a provision at the time for the reconstruction of 31 fathoms (68,2 m) of its taipa by the taipeiro. Balthazar Fernandes.

A variant of the old rectangular base towers was the use of the circular party, but with the entrance also flanked by smaller towers. We can see, in the upper left corner of Albernaz's drawing (p. 44), an example of this version. As the records of the Military Engineer José Antônio Caldas and the chronicler Luís dos Santos Vilhena attest, this tower survived until the end of the XNUMXth century, incorporated into the additional embankment designed by Mestre-de-campo Miguel Pereira da Costa, in the first quarter of the same century. .

It was the Tower of São Tiago de Água de Meninos, later Fort of Santo Alberto (when the primitive one disappeared), commonly known as Fortim da Lagartixa.

As soon as fifty years had passed since the foundation of the capital, the Portuguese colonists already felt that these defensive systems had become ineffective in detaining an organized troop and withstanding the punishment of large-caliber artillery.

The Conditions of Defense of the City

A few years after Gabriel Soares had described the deplorable state of Salvador's defenses, D. Francisco de Sousa arrived in the city, with the task of directing the great colony overseas. Frei Vicente do Salvador, a Bahian historian and chronicler of the XNUMXth century, says that D. Francisco “was the most popular governor who ever lived in Brazil”.

From 1591 to 1602, he exercised his authority with mildness, became very friendly to the population and applied himself to improving local defences, according to the chronicler.

The new governor-general was accompanied by technicians, among them the Military Engineer Baccio de Filicaia, who possibly designed the fortifications built in the period.

Frei Vicente do Salvador informs that D. Francisco “built three or four fortresses of stone and lime”. Number four must be exact, understanding that the buildings are the Fortress of Santo Antônio da Barra, the Fortress of Itapagipe (Monserrate), the Fortim de Água de Meninos (Lagartixa) and the Reduto de Santo Alberto (Igreja do Corpo Santo), in addition to new rammed earth walls for the city.

To elucidate this moment in history, more important than Diogo Moreno's Livro que gives reasons for the State of Brazil is the report made by the same author in 1609, which describes the location of fortified positions. As the purpose of the document was not to list defense points, but artillery, the simplest platforms, armed only when necessary, were not mentioned, as there were a small number of pieces available and/or not to leave them out in the open.

Thus, the 1609 report cites the following fortified positions, most of them facing the sea side, with the exception of the two gates in the north and south directions:

  • Santo Antônio, at the entrance to the barra, in the letter A, which was made to defend it [...].
  • At the entrance to the City, at the door of Santa Luzia, they are in an instance above the same door [...].
  • […] Over the Conceição Church was another instance with two bronze pieces.
  • In the middle of the mountain, under the Casa da Misericórdia, there is also a platform that defends the slope at the point next to the City [...].
  • […] next to it (Santa Casa Estancia) for you to throw [throw] the fire (water?) is Santo Alberto, a stone and lime ranch that Dom Francisco de Souza made […].
  • […] at the foot of the Colégio de Jesus there is another very high platform that looks out over the entire harbor and on (illegible) even the children’s water […].
  • […] at the last door that goes to Carmo is another cube that defends that entrance […].
  • […] on the city’s beach, at the tip of the trenches on the outskirts of the old vacadouro, there is an estancia […].
  • […] further on [also on the beach], in the houses of Baltazar Ferraz there are two pieces […].
  • […] further along the beach are two more bronze hawks […].
  • to the north of this city, a league away, there is another point called Itapagipe, which is marked on the plan with the letter G, where another stone and lime fort of the same design as S. Antônio (da Barra) appears.
  • […] in another resort that is between this Itapagipe and the City called Água dos Meninos […].

According to Teodoro Sampaio, in addition to building the four fortifications mentioned above, D. Francisco de Souza started “the S. Bartholomeu Fort at Ponta de Itapagipe, intended to seal off the entrance to the Pirajá estuary”.

This place was in the vicinity of the current São Bartolomeu Park, whose toponymy originated in the name of the fortress.

Master Teodoro was very discerning and must have taken this data from some document, but he does not say whether he had access to any primary source that clarified the matter.

The typology of the São Bartolomeu Fort (a starry polygon) also seems strange, in relation to other drawings of the time, which does not justify an absolute denial of Teodoro Sampaio's statement, as the known drawing may have been the result of later alterations.

This happened with other forts, such as Barbalho, Santo Antônio Além-do-Carmo and the current Santo Alberto, which changed its physiognomy, or Santo Antônio da Barra, which completely metamorphosed a few times.

It is the same Teodoro Sampaio who claims that Diogo Botelho, D. Francisco de Sousa's successor, was responsible for the Fort of São

It is a point on which one must disagree, but one that is widely followed by several historians.

The engraving by the Dutch cartographer Hessel Gerritsz, reproduced below, is very enlightening due to the unusual fidelity to the elements of defense of the City of Salvador, shortly after the invasion of 1624.

As already pointed out, in most cases, the poetic license of the artists added some fantasy to reality.

In Gerritsz's drawing, however, artillery positions are indicated by cannon smoke and often by the inscription of the word “fort” or “battery” in Dutch, often corresponding to Diogo Moreno's description.

The design of Forte da Laje, known at the time as Forte Novo (Nieuwe Fort), shows the actual configuration of the defense. It features the
estancia positioned over the hermitage of Conceição, the estancia de São Diogo, below Misericórdia, the stone and lime ranch of Santo Alberto and the very high platform at the foot of the Colégio de Jesus, which should have been in the potteries of the priests of the Company (potte backery), from where you could see Água dos Meninos.

As for the “banda do vacadouro Velho” station, it could be the one indicated in the Guindaste dos Padres (Papenhoft), as the elevator that took goods from the Lower City, the port area, to the Colégio da Companhia de Jesus was called.

Of the positions represented, only three are not found in Diogo Moreno's references: the Conceição battery, which is known to scholars; the Palace battery, also well known and commented on for its uselessness; and a platform at Carmo, which may be from the time of D. Fradique de Tolledo, commander of the expedition organized by Portugal and Spain to free Salvador from the Dutch, in 1625.

Indeed, it is a very interesting iconography for the student of Salvador's fortifications.

Veja History of the Forts and Lighthouses of Salvador

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