Last modified: 2022-03-05 by ian macdonald
Keywords: parana | guaíra |
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image by Ivan Sache, 2 February 2022
The municipality of Guaíra (33,310 inhabitants in 2020; 56,374 ha) is located
on the border with Paraguay and Mato Grosso do Sul, here river Paraná, 680 km
west of Curitiba.
Guaíra was first visited in 1525 by Aleixo Garcia, considered as Paraguay's official discoverer, who described the Paraná Cataracts. Ciudad Real del Guayrá was established in 1554 on the confluence with river Piquiri; established in 1570 on the left bank of the Paraná, Vila Rica do Espirito Santo soon outgrew the older royal town as the main center of the old province of Guaíra. Controlled by the Jesuits, the two towns were destroyed in 1631 by Portuguese pioneers and the area was overtaken by Portugal.
Companhia Matte Larangeira, established by Thomas Larangeira after he had been granted in 1882 the rights of exploitation of yerba mate, settled in 1902 in Guaíra. The new town, then known as Porto Guaíra, was equipped with street lighting, freshwater supply, sewage, a chapel, a library, a school, an hospital, a phone service etc. Businessman Cézar Prieto Martinez published in 1924 in São Paulo a pamphlet pimping Guaíra as "an organization honoring Brazil's industrial companies, as a main town owned by a company; a main and the most comprehensive since it lacks nothing, a constitution and a police service included".
The influence of Matte Larangeira declines in the 1940S, after Getúlio Vargas' government had nationalized the company's assets; the shipping company was renamed to Serviço de Navegação Bacia do Prata. The March to the West pushed by Vargas attracted new inhabitants to the town, which had hitherto been mostly inhabited by Paraguayans. In 1947, Governor of Mato Gross Arnaldo Estevão Figueiredo terminated Matte Lanjeira's concession, which ended the yerba mate's cycle in Guaíra.
Guaíra Falls were the world's biggest series of cataracts and a main source of income for the town. As a consequence of the Treaty of Itaipu signed by Paraguay and Brazil, the two countries initiated the building of the Itaipu Dam; on 13 October 1982, its inauguration caused the flooding of Guaíra Falls. This caused the decline of the town, in spite of royalties shared with another 13 municipalities as a compensation for the loss of tourism income.
The flag and arms of Guaíra are prescribed by Municipal Law No. 478 promulgated on 22 May 1973.
The municipal flag of Guaíra, designed by heraldist Arcinoe Antônio Peixoto, shall be horizontally divided into three stripes, the lateral, blue, of 5 units in width, and the central, yellow, of 4 units, superimposed with a red stripe of 1 unit starting from the angle of a yellow isosceles triangle placed along the hoist and charged with the municipal coat of arms.
§1. In compliance with the tradition of Portuguese heraldry, of which we inherited the canons and rules, municipal flags have to be divided into eight, six, four or three parts, using the same colors as those of the field of the coat of arms and being charged in the center or at hoist with a geometric figure inscribing the municipal coat of arms.
§2. The municipal flag of Guaíra obeys this general rule, being divided into three horizontal stripes. The coat of arms featured on the flag represents the municipal government, while the yellow isosceles triangle containing it represents the town proper as the seat of the municipality. The triangle is the heraldic symbol of liberty, equality and fraternity; yellow is a symbol of glory, splendor, greatness, wealth and sovereignty. The central yellow stripe superimposed with a red stripe represents the spread of municipal power to all parts of the territory. Red is a symbol of dedication, patriotic love, audacity, intrepidity, courage and valiance. The blue lateral stripes represent the rural properties existing on the municipal territory. Blue is a symbol of justice, nobleness, perseverance, zeal, loyalty, beauty and recreation.
In compliance with heraldic rules, the municipal flag shall have the official dimensions prescribed for the national flag, 14 units in width on 20 units in length.
The coat of arms of Guaíra, designed by heraldist Arcinoe Antônio Peixoto, shall be described in proper heraldic words as follows.
A Samnite shield surmounted by an eight-towered mural crown argent. On a field azure an anchor or fouled gules surrounded by two fishes or in pale in base four rocks sable linked by three hanging bridges argent over three waterfalls argent wavy azure. The shield supported dexter and sinister by branches of coffee fructed proper crossed in base and superimposed with a scroll gules inscribed in letters argent with the toponym "GUAÍRA".
The coat of arms has the following symbolic interpretation.
a) The Samnite shield used to represent the arms of Guaíra was the first style of shield introduced to Portugal by French influence, inherited by Brazilian heraldry as the evocation of the colonizing race and main builder of the nation.
b) The mural crown surmounting it is the universal symbol of domains' coats of arms; argent (silver) with eight towers, only four of them visible in perspective view, it classifies a 2nd rank town, that is, the seat of a county.
c) Azure (blue) is a symbol of justice, nobleness, perseverance, zeal and loyalty.
d) The anchor or (yellow) fouled gules (red) represents the port of Guaíra, one of the most important in the Bay of Paraná, which drains product of West Paraná to Mato Grosso and São Paulo.
e) The fishes or (yellow) highlight the significance of fishing for the municipal life and also as a tourism activity.
f) Or (yellow) is the heraldic symbol of glory, splendor, greatness, wealth and sovereignty.
g) The shield's base features the monumental Seven Cascades Waterfall, an international tourism spot.
h) Sable (black) symbolizes prudence, moderation, austerity, modesty, firmness.
i) Argent (silver) is a symbol of peace, friendship, work, purity and religious feeling.
j) The coffee branches represent the main crop offered by the generous and fertile soil, a source of income for the municipality and the state of Paraná.
k) Gules (red) is a symbol of dedication, patriotic love, audacity, intrepidity, courage and valiance.
Leis Municipais database
Ivan Sache, 2 February 2022