Itú

Lat: -23.265696988196000, Long: -47.299124986131000

Itú

São Paulo, Brazil

Historical Background and Urbanism

The founding of the town with the name of Nossa Senhora da Candelária de Outú Guaçu dates back to 1657. It was raised to the status of a city in 1842. Domingos Fernandes, one of the sons of the founders of Santana de Parnaíba, was responsible for the construction of the first chapel in honour of Our Lady of the Candles in 1610, at a place named Utu-guaçu (large waterfall) in the surroundings of Pirapitingui. Domingos Fernandes, however, had already begun cultivating land in that area and settling groups of Indians before that date. The chapel was assigned a resident priest in 1644 and, in 1653, it became the parish seat of Santana de Parnaíba. It had a geographically strategic location: one left São Paulo by land up to Itú, descended the River Anhembi (River Tietê), and reached the parish of Araritaguaba (today Porto Feliz), then travelled in monções – canoe expeditions – along the fluvial routes that reached the centre of America in the lands of the Spanish Jesuits. The road overland was good and ran along the banks of the River Tietê. The middle reaches of the Tietê were later named the “sugar quadrangle”, since the cultivation of sugar cane on the plateau in the 18th century, stimulated by the heir to the house of Mateus (1765-1775), led to prosperity, mainly at Campinas, Itú, Sorocaba, Porto Feliz and Santana de Parnaíba, resulting in the appearance of fine sobrados and, particularly, of religious buildings, in addition to sugar mills and estates. The town of Itú was always regarded as one of the richest and most heavily populated in the captaincy of São Paulo. It was the main centre for sugar production, even during the Empire. It also became known as the centre of cotton production in the 19th century.

Religious Architecture

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