Santa Isabel Bridge, Recife

Lúcia Gaspar
Joaquim Nabuco Foundation Librarian
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The Santa Isabel bridge in Recife, situated over the Capibaribe River, goes from Sol St to Aurora St on the stretch between the Park of the Republic (behind Santa Isabel Theatre) and Princesa Isabel St, connecting the neighbourhoods of Santo Antônio and Boa Vista.
The first iron bridge in the city, it was envisioned by Louis Léger Vauthier and built by the English engineer William Martineau.
Inaugurated on 2 December 1863, during the administration of Councillor João Silveira de Souza, the bridge was rebuilt, in 1913, during the Dantas Barreto government, when the mayor of the city was Eudoro Correia.

In a report presented to the government by Manoel Borba in 1916 at the Primeira Grande Feira Anual do Distrito Federal (First Great Annual Fair of the Federal District), in Rio de Janeiro, there was a passage about the bridge’s reconstruction, whose “approach spans are masonry and stone; the supports are iron (Mitchell screws); the main beams are iron; the transversals are iron and reinforced concrete; the pavement is stone blocks and iron fences measuring 159.90 metres in length by 10.90 metres in width.” It went on to say, “the reinforced concrete covering and the reconstruction works was done by the Sanitation Commission, who spent 96:585$190 [96,585,190 million-reals]”.
In 1967, in the mayoralty of Augusto Lucena, the bridge’s structure was repaired after the damage caused by the Capibaribe River’s flooding in 1965 and 1966.

There is controversy surrounding its true name. Many people from Recife unequivocally call it Princesa Isabel Bridge. However, despite not having a plaque, the name Santa Isabel is ratified by important historians, besides being found in old historical sources. Furthermore, a few researchers affirm that its true name should be Pedro II Bridge.
Recife, 24 May 2005.
(Text updated on 11 October 2007).

Translated by Peter Leamy, January 2012.


FRANCA, Rubem. Monumentos do Recife: estátuas e bustos, igrejas e prédios, lápides, placas e inscrições históricas do Recife. Recife: Secretaria de Educação e Cultura, 1977. 382p.

GONÇALVES, Fernando Antônio. O Capibaribe e as pontes: dos ontens bravios aos futuros já chegados. Recife: Comunigraf; Prefeitura da Cidade do Recife, 1997 86p. (Retratos do Recife).

PARAHYM, Orlando. Algumas pontes do Recife. Separata da Revista do Departamento de Cultura, Recife, n.8, p. 135-149, dez. 1973.

PERNAMBUCO: agricultura, industrias, artes, commercio. Recife: Imprensa Industrial, 1918. 114p.


Source: GASPAR, Lúcia. Santa Isabel Bridge, Recife. Pesquisa Escolar Online, Joaquim Nabuco Foudation, Recife. Available at:  <http://basilio.fundaj.gov.br/pesquisaescolar/>. Accessed: day month year. Exemple: 6 Aug. 2009



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