After all, who are you, Joinville?

42 years ago I’ve met you and since then, I try to unveil this much experienced 163-year history!

You have so much to tell!

You have taken in peole from shell middens (“Sambaquianos”), Luso-Brazilian as well as Teutonic and Brazilian-Teutonic people.

You have walked side by side with Sambaquianos approximately 6,000 years ago and also with Guarani-peoplo and Carijós-peolo around 1,000 to 450 years ago. You also welcomed the riverside population on the banks of the mouths of your rivers; The caboclos, around XVII/XVII centuries. Lastly, in the second half of the same century, you welcomed the German people through the commercial contract and, without barriers, other ethnic groups that in your soil entered the next century.

You are the soil of many ethnicities, you are multicultural.

Your marks are in the history, better, in the several carved stories. You have also been through three major economic cycles at the end of the XIX century and beginning of the next, that allowed you to grow and develop: lime, wood and mainly mate herb (for a short period, but very prosperous). Your luso and teutonic children extolled your soil, with unique samples of these cycles: Príncipe Street, Getúlio Vargas Avenue, Procópio Gomes Avenue, Dr. João Colin Street, formerly Pottery, Catharina, Market and North paths, among many others, with edifications materialized in the landscape.

In the rural area you also reveal a history of hard-work embraced by the prodigious nature that surrounds your area, which results in a beautifully built collection, framing a unique cultural landscape.

Do your children know your history, passing by those and many other streets and ways, the marks left by your existence?

You have received the praise in hymn to your honor for being the “Glory of your founders” and the “monument to your settlers.” In your soil, where your children gave themselves body and soul, irrigated your soil with blood, sweat and tears of your own body.

Who are you after all, Joinville, I ask you. How do you show yourself, Lady, after so many years and experiences?

In the past you were eager to walk by ways with bravery and determinism. Nowadays, how can you perceive yourself?

Don’t you complain? Do you stay quiet? The one who has done so much, what do you see being done in return? Clement and laconic, do you see your path and your history fade into a distant, almost squalid time to fade away?

You have already had a symphonic orchestra, dance associations and clubs, shooting, soccer, newspapers, newsletters, magazines… which are still trying to survive, in part, from what you have planted…

Your beautiful gardens and orchards are still being planted and enjoyed by the octogenarians who still honor the memory of old times.

Your rivers, that welcomed the ones who came; Babitonga bay and the adjacent rivers that received the sambaquianos (people from shell middens) and later the caboclos; Bucarein river and its port, where small properties and farms run by luso-brazilian and afro-brazilian people were settled. Through these same paths the fourth ethnicity – the German people – entered by Cachoeira river. A mirror no longer of your past, back then when the waters were clear.

At the anchorage Count D’Eu, you received with arms wide open people that were coming and going, as well as the goods that were bought and sold. The mill settled in 1910/1913 is still standing, as a result of the work of its Portuguese and German children, which had its activities benefited by the advent of electricity in 1909, which was started with the actions of the Portuguese people. By its side there are the ruins of the passenger’s office that attended the ones who were bound to São Francisco do Sul. The office that belonged to Agência Marítima Oscar e Babitonga is nowadays desolate and forgotten, waiting for the time to be erased from history, by a gust of wind.

Your land welcomed the newcomers with the intention of creating small villages, as the cantons, but the directions have changed. Your main part began to develop with the brightness of your children at the beginning of the century following your birth, propagating the intention of a prosperous city. So you have created more routes extended with the Dona Francisca road to connect with the north plateau in 1903, the railway in 1905, coming to rest in your port, followed by the opening of alleys, the widening of streets and the pipes being settled. The old back yard factories were able to grow. The chimneys began to mark your skies with the arrival of electricity. In the post war period you’ve received more children due to the government’s inside market protection. So your land has opened the way for the industrial sector, multiplying the number of machines. Again, after World War II, a new impetus to the growth was given, transforming you into one of the most important industrial poles in the country, therefore becoming the so-called Manchester Catarinense. This way, the marks left in your landscape became part of you.

So, what happened then on, to give signs of contraposition to the maintenance of history?

Aren’t you under the risk of becoming only traces of photos which still show parts of the old landscape? Can you realize that you are being mischaracterized and deprived of your history regarding your cultural assets? Where will your memory and identity reside? Don’t you claim that your children remember you, walking freely through your constructed spaces, reviving, re-appropriating and rehabilitating the history, which composes the cultural identities they have also built? In the postulated Ferrarotti (apud Henri-Pierre Jeudy, 1990): “history is important as a collective memory of the past, critical awareness of the present and mandatory premise of the future.”

So many questions, right? Let’s remind you a little more….

You are a warrior, the product of your own saga, survivor of so many adversities perhaps even imaginable. Go ahead, Lady, to reaffirm your origins, to avoid the risk of your disappearance. Do you want to be disfigured to the point where you are no longer recognized? You are not anonymous of a history, on the contrary, you have the lead role!

You have memories that still live on, remembered and kept by those who have already trailed half of this history to be reaffirmed. How do you see yourself? Can you visualize your past? When you were 100 years old your suburbs were composed of five neighborhoods: Bomsucesso, Glória, Boa Vista, Itaum, Guanabara. Sixty-three years later, you had more than thirty neighborhoods. Italo Calvino (1990) in his book “The Invisible Cities” comments – especially referring to one of the cities visited – that the old postcards no longer represent the past of it. The author evokes it as another city that happened to be called by the same name, however with another identity.

Can you see that your characteristics keep you from being equal to any other place that may look like you, but with other histories?

It seems that you have already been, while it was convenient to your children, but nowadays, what are you? A great city, however would you be out of the strength of your histories that must be reassured?

Can you glimpse the chances of keeping your identity? What are the affinities still present that evoke your memory of before? Looking back you can find it in the present and you can contemplate it in the future; Or are you stuck with nostalgic memories of what you once were? Lady, you are a reason for celebration and remembrance!

Can you still agree with Calvino when he proposes that “if existence in every moment is unique […] the city is the place of indivisible existence”?

Are you in danger of changing your memory, of needing to focus your gaze on the longitude to illuminate your present? How do you see the collective memories reproduced and valued? What is the chance of these not being emptied of your sense so that the traces of the past, still alive, to evidence what is still present can survive ?!

Do you see your life renewed with the changes or do you watch your absence in silence? Do you see that your existence is being destroyed by your own growth? Where are your monuments? Are they just left-overs of identity symbols to be cried on after your culture has come to an end?

Can you realize your existence cries out to be preserved, greatly avoiding the risk of your destruction and disappearance? Will you be quiet if simulacrums take part in your existence, losing or stereotyping your identity, making them irreversible?

You have much to reaffirm to your children of the present and the future, as learning of your existence, crying out for affection, appreciation and appropriation of your memory.

Says Jeudy: “value is the saying of the object returned as a mirror to the individual and to the collectivity.” Do you agree?

Madame, let your children answer for you.

Rosana Barreto Martins
Architect, Master in Urbanism, History and Architecture of the City/UFSC – Federal University of Santa Catarina / Brazil.

June, 2014

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