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Arroio do Padre, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Last modified: 2020-07-12 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio grande do sul | arroio do padre |
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Arroio do Padre, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 11 July 2020

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The municipality of Arroio de Padre (2,895 inhabitants in 2016; 1é,432 ha) is located 270 km south-west of Porto Alegre. Arroio de Padre is one of the four Brazilian municipalities totally enclaved within an other municipality, here Pelotas.
Arroio de Padre is the Brazilian municipality with the highest rate of Christians, most of them (85%) being traditionalist Lutherians.

Arroio do Padre was established in 1868 by Guilherme Bauer and Augusto Gerber, two German colonists from Pelotas. Once part of the district of Santa Silvana, Pelotas' old 6th district, Arroio de Padre was elevated to the 10th district of Pelotas in 1967.
The municipality of Arroio de Padre was established on 17 April 1996 and inaugurated on 1 January 2001.

The origin of the name of the municipality is disputed.
Some say that a Christian father ("padre") established a community near a stream ("arroio"). Other say that "padre" refers to an itinerant father who visited the area to celebrate marriages and baptism. Yet another theory claims that the father fell down into the stream after a big rain event. The latter version was reported in 2001 by Renilda Vahl Bohrer to Jacob Parmagnani.
Other scholars believe that "padre" refers to Father Francisco Xavier Prates, first manager of the Old Hemp Royal Mill, which was established in 1783 in Canguçu and transferred to São Leopoldo on 1789. The father was the brother of Paulo Xavier Rodrigues Prates, owner of a domain in Canguçu and of the Factory island in Pelotas. The Prates family settled in the region after the return of the town of Rio Grande under Portuguese sovereignty. Father Prates was a relative of Manuel Marques de Souza, who expelled the Spaniards from Rio Grande on 1 April 1776. This hypothesis is backed up by a map elaborated in the beginning of the 20th century by Alberto Coelho da Cunha, public servant in Pelotas. Some say, however, that Father Prates died in 1784 and never lived in Arroio de Padre.
Another possible "padre" is Father Pedro Pereira Fernandes de Mesquita, aka the Doctor Father (1729-1813). Graduated at the University of Coimbra, the father was ordained priest, maybe in 1754, and served as a chaplain in his birth town of Colônia de Sacramento (now Colonia, Uruguay). Sent to Buenos Aires after the conquest of the town by the Spaniards, he returned to São Pedro (Rio Grande) in 1783. He owned domains in the region of Pelotas. - Pelotas blog, 12 January 2015
Ivan Sache, 11 July 2020


A deep yellow field with a narrow horizontal stripe in the centre, black on the left, red on the right, and a red-black vertical stripe in the centre; and in the centre the municipal arms.


Arroio do Padre, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 11 July 2020

The flag is also used, seemingly in less official contexts, with a broader, fully red, horizontal stripe bands.


The coat of arms, designed by Vera Schiller, is made of a Latin shield featuring the stream ("arroio") for which the municipality was named, a house representing the first settlers, trees representing the regional vegetation, a church representing the Christian faith, a milk cow representing cattle-breeding as a main source of income, and plants of maize and tomato representing agriculture. - Pelotas blog, 12 January 2015

Ivan Sache, 11 July 2020