Castelo e suas relações com o meio rural : área de colonização italiana


  • Edmon Nimer
  • Jacob Binsztok


Espírito Santo – Estado;, ; Castelo – ES;, Geografia agrícola;, Geografia regional;, Colonização;, Imigrantes.


The Castelo's river valley, placed in the mountainous area, in the South of Espírito Santo, belongs to the Itapemirim's river basin. It's a homogeneous area which the actual evolution and dynamism reflect a perfect integration in its essential mechanisms, historical and actual of the Brazilian's Southeast. Colonized by Italian elements, that area now is suffering the economical transformations like the others brazilian regions, coming from the economical coffee cycle to the milk cattle raising, which the consequences are unforeseeable. The physical representation of the Castelo's valley is a gnaissic-granit block deeply engraved by the watercourses and the valleys in the "V" very closed form and very high slopes present a great difference of level from the base to the summits, where the original leaflet forest for the atlantic tropical "mata" was quite totally removed for to give the place to the agrarian raising.

            Its latitude and its extraordinary morphological compartmentation they justify a noticeable climatic diversification, not commonly found in the country, responsible by the presence of two very important climatic types, recognized by the people who live there: that of "terras quentes" (hot or tropical climate) and that of "terras frias" (temperate or mountain's tropical). Those physical conditions have a great consequences in the land's utilization in the foundiary structure and in the economical forms.

            The settlement of that area could be divided in three phases: the phase of gold mining or the distribution of the slavery coffee's land, and the Italian colonization. It had remained few things about the first phase, but the second phase had overtook, by the great number of cultural complexes. Like the sugar cane plantation, the distiller and some field houses, also the ethnic composition and the social structure. Now because the third phase, the remainders of the first settlers constitute the great part of the population.

            Elapsed from the type of distribution of land when the settlers arrived the little foundiary structure of the Castelo Valley is characterized by the small property: among the 1325 properties of Castelo's municipality only 4 or 5 are great. However the Italian-brazilian families are numerous, and so come the properties division by inheritance, forming the small states or "minifundio" that only serves to the family's survive. It is very numerous the emigration from the rural zone to the Castelo city or others centers, and of the rural zone of Castelo to others in the north of Espírito Santo, even in the north of Paraná.

            The soil is much occupied, principally by the coffee plantation and the cattle pasturages. The coffee plantation had been from the beginning of the settlement effectively agrarian, till today, the single of great commercial interest.

            In the last 6, 7 years the cattle raising and the milk had enthusiastic the farmers to pursue with the cattle, and the establishment of milk co-operative, so showing its importance. Another important job is the "white ploughing" represented by the temporary and annual cultures. Few products of annual culture gain the regional market, and the commerce stays, quite only, in the local market. Both the foundiary structure and the soil utilization are very relationed with the existence of "hot lands" and the "cold lands".

            In the small property the exploitation is familiar. However exists the presence of the middleman in the great and small properties. The middleman is only Italian-brazilian, and his work is much important, chiefly in the social-economic subject. The division of the land forbids the underproletarization in the urban centers of Cachoeira do Itapemirim, Vitoria and others.

            In the mixed properties, or only used for the cattle raising, there exists a worker named "campeiro". The campeiro has a Luso-brazilian origin.

            However exist several types of houses: African ones and the big houses constructed by the slaves, that was numerous in the slave economy area, but the mostly is constitute by brick houses on piles, painted in clear colors, with doors and windows in brilliant colors. They look like others in the italian colonization zones in the south of Brazil. All the habitations are regularly disperses in the rural zone, always near the valley accompanying the watercourses and not much far from the roads. Because of the properties division and great number of middle owners and others workers, the distance between the habitations is very small. It's rare the rural agglomerations.

            In the rural area of Castelo live 20 000 inhabitants in a density of 33 by km², disposed in a very complex social structure: a small rich class constituted by the great owners; the middle class formed by the small and middle owners: the middle owners class, the more numerous and heterogeneous ones; the campeiro, a little group, and ending the underproletariat a very small contingent.

            The city of Castelo, placed in a great area near the low course of Castelo's river, is a single urban center of some importance concerning the product of its rural zone, as a coffee's exporter, cereals producer, and also as a consumption center of fruits and products from the "white plantation".· However it doesn't occur the same from the city to the country, due to a series of reasons: the self-sufficiency of the owners and middle owners as a producer of food-crops and the presence of little warehouses or "vendas" spreaded on the country. A great number of merchants are rural proprietors, however persists the lack of banks for financing the agricultural activities.

            Castelo is integrated in the urban net of the south of Espírito Santo, that has its principal center in Cachoeira do Itapemirim. This last one, by its turn, acts as "relai" (intermediary center) to the metropolitan influence of Rio de Janeiro. Under this conditions Cachoeira doesn't have a very safe dominance on its region, but it is perfectly normal between the intermediary centers of polarization in the urban nets of undeveloped countries or in process of development. By this reason the relations between Castelo and Cachoeiro do Itapemirim don't characterize itselves by the exchange of commercial establishments. The commerce of Castelo is provided directly by the great centers of southeast, chiefly by the Rio de Janeiro metropolis. Even the coffee coming from the Castelo's valley is sold by the castelo's sellers to the exporter firms of Rio de Janeiro and Vitoria, without the interference of Cachoeiro. The relations between Castelo and Cachoeira is evidenced by the flux of people, that lives in castelo but use to go to Cachoeira, by their own cars, or by the line of bus, according to their possibilities, in order to buy goods that is missing in the market of Castelo, beside the flux concerning the bank's activities.

            Finally, there are a series of factors that are responsible for the economical stagnation in castelo's valley since last six years approximately. This factors are related with the unusual increase of population, the decreasing of coffee plantation, the transition phase on rural economy and the lack of financing to the primary activities and basic agronomic assistance.