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The Captaincy of Paraíba


The captaincy of Rio Paraiba was a part of Portuguese Brazil and was created in 1574 after the dissolution of the captaincy of Itamaracá.

The captaincy was invaded by the Dutch in 1634 who were expelled by the Portuguese André Vidal de Negreiros and João Fernandes Vieira in 1654.

In 1753 the captaincy of Paraíba became a part of the Captaincy-general of Pernambuco but it regained its independence in 1799.

It became a province of the Empire of Brazil in 1822 and a state of the Federal Republic in 1889.


A coat of arms of the Dutch captaincy of Parayba was adopted after a request of the provincial administrations to Governor Johan Maurits van Nassau (1637-1644). It shows ‘some pyramidal  sugar-loafs because it was the foster mother of the best and praiseworthiest sugar or because, after it had come in our possession, there had been progress of  the sugarindustry and of her yield’.[1]


Coloured version of the Dutch arms of Parayba.

From Rerum per octennium in Brasilia by Johannes Blaeu, 1647.


The arms are: Azure, six sugar-loafs 3, 2 and 1 Argent.


After the Dutch were expelled from Paraiba João Fernandes Vieira became the first Portuguese governor (1655-’57). His arms are below a portrait of him in a book about the Dutch-Portuguese war. [2]

The arms are:

Arms: Per fess, the chief Argent, a bend Azure, three fleurs-de-lys Or, between two mermaids proper; the base Azure, five eight-pointed stars per saltire Or.

Crest: A mermaid of the arms.

Supporters: A trophy of eight banners.


Estado da Paraíba


In the time of the Empire the arms used by the provinces were the Imperial Arms. At the proclamation of the Republic the states  were granted the right to adopt their own achievements.


The present achievement  of  the State of Paraíba was adopted by decree of President Castro Pinto (1912-‘15). It is:


Arms: A landscape showing a farm and a herd of cattle and its cowherd, and a rising sun over a mountain range in  the distance, within a bordure Azure charged with fifteen five-pointed stars Or.

Crest: A five-pointed star gironny Or and Vert of ten pieces, charged with a disc Argent, a phrygian cap Gules.

Garland: A stalk of sugar-cane and a branch of cotton tied with a ribbon Gules.

Motto: 5 de AGOSTO de 1585 in golden lettering on the ribbon of the garland.


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


The arms symbolizes the cattle breeding an agriculture of the state. The date is the date of the foundation of Filipeia, present João Pessoa, the oldest city and capital of Paraíba.


The Constitution of the Federation of 1934 abolished the symbols of the states and their achievements were replaced by the national emblem.

The Federal Constitution of 1946 restored the autonomy and also the achievements of the states.


Armed Forces





Paraiba is a part of the 7th Military Region together with Rio Grande do Norte, Pernambuco and Alagoas.

Its headquarters are in Recife (PE).






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© Hubert de Vries 2011-11-15


[1] Barlaeus, Caspar: Nederlandsch Brazilië onder het bewind van Johan Maurits van Nassau, 1637-1644. p.122. “Parayba toonde eenige pyramiedvormige suikerbrooden omdat het de voedster was van de beste en loffelijkste suiker of omdat er, nadat het in ons bezit was gekomen, vooruitgang was geweest in de suikerindustrie en van haar opbrengst”

[2]  Jesus, Raphael de: Castrioto Lusitano ou Historia da Guerra entre of Brazil e a Holanda. Pariz, 1844. P. ii

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