Rotas pioneiras de Santa Catarina


  • Omar Romão da Silva,


Mr. Osmar R. da Silva, during his studies on the influence of roads in the opening up of the State of Santa Catarina and in its settlement and ultimate economy, pointed out the principal ones, with their respective characteristics.

            l.°) The road from São Francisco to Curitiba, along part of which, for climbing the mountain chain, Cabeza de Vaca probably passed on his journey to Paraguay.

            It is the southernmost road in the State joining the coast to the tableland, by which the foreign colonizing elements penetrated.

            2.°) São Francisco to Desterro, now Florianopolis, which has been superseded by coastwise navigation.

            3.°) s. José to Lajes, which has not lost its co-ordinating function with the passing of the years. 

            on the contrary, it was the main factor in the recovery by the State of Santa Catarina of the vast region, whose economic, political and social life used to be inclined towards Rio Grande. For that reason, along its course arose social settlements with marked populating influences. To-day it has become one of the most important in the State's chain of highways.

            4.°") Laguna to Viamão, along the beach. This was used before the road next mentioned became known.

            5.°) caminho dos Conventos, or Convent Road, which joined the southern coast to the tableland, where the ramparts of the Serra do Mar were steepest, like massive stonewalls with, here and there, a gorge, through which wound the road opened by Souza Faria, later improved by Cristovam Pereira de Abreu, who inaugurated it in 1731 with 800 head of cattle brought from Rio Grande to S. Paulo.

            6.°) caminho das Tropas, from Viamão to Sorocaba.

            Between Curitibanos and Campo do Tenente, in Paraná, it also received the name of Estrada da Mata or Jungle Road, as it passed through dense forests in this section. It was probably the road' followed by the pioneers, or "bandeirantes", in their drives "to the South.

            The importance of this highway in the development of the hinterland of S. Catarina becomes evident by the string of settlements which extend as far as S. Joaquim, such as S. Lourenço, Butiá, Saltinho, Estiva, besides . those whose names betray their cattle origin, like Rodeio Grande, campo Alto, Passo Canomhas, Rancho Grande, Passa Dois and others.

            From curitibanos to Mafra the distances between the settlements represent a day's march of the settlers, so that each must have been originally a stopping place for rest or grazing.

            owing to its plan in the same direction as the other southern roads, this pioneer highway was, during many years, a factor of national unity. Now,_ however, it competes with two others from s. José to Lajes, for supremacy, in accordance with the concluding remarks of the author who reminds us that "with the exception of regions served by rivers, all the other plonee; zones correspond exactly to the starting, intermediate or terminal points of our historical highways".