History of Olinda

For thousands of years, the Northeastern Coast of Brazil was occupied by a number of indigenous tribes. The coast’s hills, where the municipality of Olinda is located at present, have served as settlements of the Tupinambá and Caeté tribes. French mercenaries are believed to be the first Europeans to reach Olinda. However, it was the Portuguese who got a stronghold of the city after it exploited inter-tribal rivalries.

Olinda, which began as a mere settlement area, was founded by Duarte Coelho Pereira in 1535. Two years later, it rose to be a town. In 1614, it was made the seat of the Territorial Prelature of Pernambuco, and eventually the Diocese of Olinda after 62 years.

For years, Olinda has been under the Portuguese, but when the latter weakened, the Dutch took advantage of it and occupied the city for almost 24 years. During that time, the city was under John Maurice, who was the Prince of Nassau-Siegen. Maurice was appointed by the Dutch West India Company to govern the possessions of the Dutch in Brazil.

Because of the city’s long and colorful history, it was actually not wondering how its culture became more diverse and rich. In fact, aside from having natural beauty, Olinda is also considered to be one of the country’s cultural centers. In 1982, UNESCO declared it to be a Historical and Cultural Patrimony of Humanity.