Collecting states: a visit to São Luis, capital of Maranhão

30 Jul

From Recife, Pernambuco
To São Luis, Maranhão
Distance: ~ 1,600 km (1,000 miles)

São Luís do Maranhão is the only Brazilian state capital founded and ruled by the French, later being defeated by the Portuguese.

Founded in 1612, the city is named after French King Louis XIII. After the French left, São Luis was also occupied by the Dutch, until the Portuguese colonizers took over.

Unfortunately, not a lot of material evidence remains from the French and Dutch periods, but the historic downtown buildings (+ 3,500), mainly covered with tiles in the manner of Portuguese architecture, respond for naming São Luis a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1997. Brazilian folkloric traditions, cultural expressions, and a resemblance with the “caribbean reggae” are well alive in São Luís. The most important among them is the bumba-meu-boi, a festive pantomime which takes place during June Festivals.

São Luís is known as Brazil’s Reggae Capital. Cultural affinities between São Luís and the not-so-distant Caribbean turned reggae into a local passion with unique traits such as “cheek-to-cheek” dancing and distinct lingo.



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Posted by on July 30, 2011 in BRASIL, photography, TRAVEL



13 responses to “Collecting states: a visit to São Luis, capital of Maranhão

  1. laurin42

    July 31, 2011 at 11:15 am

    A cousin of mine lives and works in San Luis.
    His wife, Laura Lerner in 1992 founded ” Gaia: nacimiento-desarrollo-creatividad”and gained for this organizacion the title of ” peace ambassador 2010″.
    I love her and her books.
    Love to San Luis


    • 3rdcultchild

      July 31, 2011 at 1:23 pm

      what a coincidence! Laura – let’s be in touch – would you be kind to share some more info about her project? thanks1


      • laurin42

        August 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

        you can find every news about Gaia :
        to see you soon!


  2. Doris

    July 31, 2011 at 4:44 am

    so beautiful pictures 🙂


    • 3rdcultchild

      July 31, 2011 at 7:32 am

      Glad you appreciate it! One of the several work trips in the region – Northeast


  3. the island traveler

    July 31, 2011 at 4:01 am

    Reggae capital, how fascinating. Thank you for such a culturally rich post. The photos are beautiful.


    • 3rdcultchild

      July 31, 2011 at 7:34 am

      Thank you again for always coming by with your kind comments – always a pleasure to share! this one is from the most recent work trip – husband’s, this time



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