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Macapa History, Brazil

The word Macapá has been derived from the word macapaba which is actually a Tupi word. Tupi (or the very famous Tupian Language Family) consists of around 70 languages which are still being used in various parts of South America. The most famous of these are Guarani and Tupi Proper. The word macapaba means places of multiple bacabas (which is actually a famous fruit found in the local palms).

In 1544 Francisco de Orellana of Spain took the control of this land and the city was called Adelantado de Nueva Andalucia. The presence of Spanish armies and people in this city can still be felt in various historical monuments built during the Spanish Rule.

By 1738 the Portuguese took complete control of the land and created a military army base. It was February 4th, 1758, when Sebastião Veiga Cabral (the son of Sebastião Veiga Cabral, the military governor of the Portuguese Army during those years) laid the foundation of a town and named it São José de Macapá. Its authority was given to Para’s governor namely Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado.

The work for the construction of Macapá’s fort was started in 1764 and lasted around 18 years. The fights between various communities of workers were the major reason why the work was delayed for so many years.

Internationally famous NZ yachtsman namely Sir Pete Blake was killed in Macapá in December 2001 and this was the time when this city gained international recognition although the reason wasn’t appreciated. He was in his yacht Seamaster when he was murdered in the port of Macapá. The killers were from a local group of pirates, famous during those years by the name of Water Rats. Sir Peter received a gunshot which killed him and two different crew members of his yacht were seriously injured.

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