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Sao Jorge

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An island discovered by Portuguese Colonials in the early 19th Century

Entries in this City Journal


By 1801 other families have also been given permission to move out over the Island. Several farming families have settled in a valley upriver. They’ve called it Sao Jorge.


Its 1806 and General Corte-Real has decided to split up the Island. Captain John Charles purchases a large section of land in the north, his son Richard Charles buys a section in the northeast. Corte-Reals son takes a section to the west and Captain Louis Aguilar buys a small holding on the west of the Island. Other Islanders and new migrants buy small holdings and sections of land.


In 1808 British war ships were spotted on the North side of the Island. General Corte-Real has built a new castle at Castelo Hernando and most of the Islanders head there.


Captain Charles is on his ship at Castelo Hernando when he hears the news, General Corte-real asks him to speak to the British. He waits on his ship as they enter the bay. The British commander boards the Charlotte and has talks with Captain Charles. He agrees terms for surrender of the Island to the British. General Corte-real is not happy; he wants to fight the British. He has 353 men; the British have 3000 fully trained Marines. The decision by Captain Charles will have dire consequences for the future of the Island.....


After landing on the island at the start of 1790 Lieutenant Tomas Corte-Real took control. He had 213 people to look after so decided it would be best to sleep on the ships to start with. There’s a bay protected from the sea by little islands so thats where they decided to drop anchor. As he was not to sure about the Island yet he sent two groups of men inland to investigate. One of these men, a farmer Heitor Lopes, ask if he found some fertile land could he build a farm for his family, all 14 of them.
Two weeks later the men arrived back with a rough map of the island. After studying the map Lieutenant Corte-Real decided that the bay needed defending. Two castles were designed and built by Henrique Hernando. Guns were taken from the ships and small towns were built nearby. At the end of the bay was a fresh water river.


It was the start of 1792; the colonials have started to explore the island in more detail. They brought with them a few cows, chickens and horses which have all been breeding. The land is very fertile and crops grow well. The Lopes family have set up a farm to help supply the two new castle towns. They decided to call their complex, Camara de Lopes or House of Lopes and includes a chapel.


In 1789 some Portuguese colonials were co-conspirators involved in the Inconfidencia Mineira which was a Brazilian independence movement. When this movement came to light and the ring leaders were arrested, a Lieutenant Tomas Corte-Real gathered together all those that wanted to flee Brazil. They hired some mercenaries (funded buy a rich Goldmine owner called Francisco Barreto) to help them cross South America. They headed to a port called Antofagasta. Once there they hired 3 ships to take them to a new land.
During the journey a storm battered the ships for 3 days, the Santa Maria, Captained by Jose Sarcide, broke up and sank. The Sao Jorge captained by Louis Aguilar and the Merchant Ship, The Charlotte captained by John Charles made Land just 50 miles east of what is now New Zealand.
The Island seemed uninhabited. It was covered in meadows and seemed similar to an English county, as pointed out by Captain Charles. They decided to name the Island after the English and Portuguese patron saint, St. George or Sao Jorge in Portuguese.


Below shows the development of Sao Jorges national coat of arms and their flag

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