João Pessoa's History

João Pessoa's History
João Pessoa is one of the oldest cities in Brazil. The first Europeans who entered the area were French traders of Brazilwood.
Following a war between the French, their indigenous allies, the Tabajara, and the Portuguese, the city was founded by Portuguese settlers from Pernambuco on August 5, 1585. They named it Nossa Senhora das Neves ("Our Lady of the Snow"), after the Saint of that day. Initially, the city was under Spanish influence, as Spain and Portugal were united in the Iberian Union (1580–1640), and in 1588 the city was even renamed Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves after Philip II of Spain.

The area soon proved perfect for sugar production, with the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese all fighting to control the Paraíba region as a place to grow the lucrative sugarcane. The fortress of Santa Catarina, near João Pessoa, was built by the Portuguese to protect the city from the invading Dutch, who soon became the greatest threat to Portuguese supremacy in Portugal's Colonial Brazil. From 1634 through 1654, the city was held by the Dutch, who renamed it Frederikstadt, after their stadtholder Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange. They renamed it "Fort Margaretha after the mother of Count Johan Maurits of Nassau-Siegen, Governor of Dutch Brazil (or New Holland). The names Nossa Senhora das Neves and Santa Catarina were restored after the Portuguese reoccupation.

In 1817, the city was once again renamed Parahyba do Norte. After a visit to the city by Emperor Pedro II of Brazil in 1859, the city acquired the title of "Imperial City".

On July 26, 1930, during the Brazilian Revolution of 1930, the governor of Paraíba, João Pessoa, was assassinated in Recife by his political adversary, João Duarte Dantas. On September 4 of that same year, Parahyba's citizens voted to honor him by renaming the city "Joao Pessoa."
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