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published on August 02, 2008

Fernando de Noronha Travel Guide: An Introduction

Kiki Baron/Paul Spierenburg (EMPETUR)
Quixabinha Beach and the Morro Dois Irmãos
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Weird Fernando de Noronha : Curiosities

In 1832, before doing his historic study in the Galapagos, Charles Darwin and his research ship the Beagle visited Fernando de Noronha .

The pirate Captain Kidd is said to have hidden a treasure in a cave now known as (what else?) Captain Kidd Cave . Another famous pirate said to frequent the island was Cornelizon Jol, a Dutchman known for his peg leg.

The alleged abundance of poisonous plants on the island has been attributed to the remains of all the bad guys who were buried there when the island was used as a prison.

The Governor of Pernambuco Miguel Arraes as sent to the island as a political prisoner following the military coup in 1964. Returning to politics after redemocratization, he was again governor when the island became part of Pernambuco in 1988.

Gypsies were imprisoned on the island in 1739.

With the island repeatedly invaded and ransacked, officials dismantled most of the infrastructure, evacuated livestock, destroyed crops and relocated prisoners in 1817.

The Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira was banned in Brazil during the beginning of Brazil ’s republican period, and in the 1890s capoeritstas were imprisoned on the island.

Galo Branco, a member of the “cangaceiro” gang headed by the infamous bandit Lampião that roamed the backlands of Northeastern Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s, was imprisoned on the island and remained there after finishing his term, creating a family.

To reduce the chances for escape, officials tried to exterminate the erythrina mulungu tree, which is abundant on the island and used in Northeastern Brazil to build small boasts known as jangadas.

It took two years for news of Brazilian independence from Portugal , declared in 1822, to reach Fernando de Noronha.

In 1927, João Ribeiro de Barros landed in Fernando de Noronha to cap his pioneering 12-hour flight across the South Atlantic from Africa in the Jahú, a twin-engine Sarvoia Marchetti S-55 hydroplane. Worried about a potential disaster, Brazilian President Washington Luís had sent a telegram to Barros in Cape Verde prior to takeoff asking him to give up his quest. The aviator sent back this famous retort that today’s politicians might do well to remember: “Mind the business of your office and don’t get involved in things you don’t understand.”

Scientists have discovered gay dolphins in Fernando de Noronha .

The Casa Grande do Sueste is considered to be a haunted house because it once housed people suffering from beriberi, a disease resulting from the lack of vitamin B1.

The Morro do Pico, a peak that can be seen from everywhere on the island, was once considered obscene by Brazilian military officers who made it a target for artillery practice in the hopes it would crumble.

In the 1990s, French and Belgian researchers studied the benefits of underwater childbirth in the waters of Fernando de Noronha .

According to the Alamoa legend, a long-haired blonde woman appears on stormy nights. When men approach and try to embrace her, she disappears and they fall off a precipice. The legend is attributed to soldiers who served on the island before 1820; before then women were prohibited from living on Fernando de Noronha .

Fernando de Noronha

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