Fernando de Noronha

Fernando de Noronha (Portuguese pronunciation: [feʁˈnɐ̃du d(ʒ)i noˈɾoɲɐ]) is an archipelago of 21 islands and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, 354 km (220 mi) offshore from the Brazilian coast. The archipelago's name is a corruption of the name of the Portuguese merchant Fernão de Loronha, to whom it was given by the Portuguese crown for services rendered regarding wood imported from Brazil. Only the homonymous main island is inhabited; it has an area of 18.4 km2 (7.1 sq mi) and a population estimated at 2,718 in 2012.[2] The archipelago's total area is 26 km2 (10 sq mi).

Administratively, the islands are a unique case in Brazil of a special "state district" (Portuguese: distrito estadual) that is not part of any municipality and is administered directly by the government of the state of Pernambuco (despite being closer to the state of Rio Grande do Norte).[3] The state district's jurisdiction also includes the very remote Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago, located 625 kilometres (388 mi) northeast of Fernando de Noronha. 70% of the islands' area were established in 1988 as a national maritime park.

In 2001 UNESCO designated it as a World Heritage Site because of the importance of its environment. Its time zone is UTC−02:00 all year round. The local population and travelers can get to Noronha by plane from Recife or Natal.[4][5] An "environmental preservation" daily fee is charged from tourists upon arrival by Pernambuco State administration, while another fee is paid once to have access to the National Park attractions.

Fernando de Noronha
Municipality and state district
State District of Fernando de Noronha
Do Meio and Conceição beaches
Do Meio and Conceição beaches
Flag of Fernando de Noronha
Coat of arms of Fernando de Noronha
Coat of arms
Fernando de Noronha is located in Brazil
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 3°51′13.71″S 32°25′25.63″W / 3.8538083°S 32.4237861°WCoordinates: 3°51′13.71″S 32°25′25.63″W / 3.8538083°S 32.4237861°W
Country Brazil
State Pernambuco
FoundedAugust 10, 1503
Named forFernão de Loronha
 • General AdministratorLuís Eduardo Cavalcanti Antunes
 • Total17.017 km2 (6.570 sq mi)
 • Total2,930
 • Density170/km2 (450/sq mi)
Demonym(s)Portuguese: Noronhense
Time zoneUTC−2



The islands of this archipelago are the visible parts of a range of submerged mountains. It consists of 21 islands, islets and rocks of volcanic origin. The main island has an area of 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi), being 10 km (6.2 mi) long and 3.5 km (2.2 mi) wide at its maximum. The base of this enormous volcanic formation is 756 metres (2,480 ft) below the surface. The volcanic rocks are of variable though mainly silica-undersaturated character with basanite, nephelinite and phonolite among the lava types found.[6] The main island, from which the group gets its name, makes up 91% of the total area; the islands of Rata, Sela Gineta, Cabeluda and São José, together with the islets of Leão and Viúva make up the rest. The central upland of the main island is called the Quixaba.[7]


The United Nations Environment Programme lists 15 possible endemic plant species, including species of the genera Capparis noronhae (2 species), Ceratosanthes noronhae (3 species), Cayaponia noronhae (2 species), Moriordica noronhae, Cereus noronhae, Palicourea noronhae, Guettarda noronhae, Bumelia noronhae, Physalis noronhae, and Ficus noronhae.[8]


The islands have two endemic birds — the Noronha elaenia (Elaenia ridleyana) and the Noronha vireo (Vireo gracilirostris). Both are present on the main island; Noronha vireo is also present on Ilha Rata. In addition there is an endemic subspecies of eared dove, Zenaida auriculata noronha. Subfossil remains of an extinct endemic rail have also been found.[9] The archipelago is also an important site for breeding seabirds. An endemic sigmodontine rodent, Noronhomys vespuccii, mentioned by Amerigo Vespucci, is now extinct.[10] The islands have two endemic reptiles, the Noronha wormlizard, Amphisbaena ridleyi, and the Noronha skink, Trachylepis atlantica.[11]

Marine life

The life above and below sea is the main attraction of the island. Sea turtles, cetaceans (most common among these are spinner dolphins and humpback whales, followed by many others such as pantropical spotted dolphins, short-finned pilot whales, melon-headed whales[12]), albatrosses, and many other species are frequently observed.


The climate is tropical, with two well-defined seasons for rainfall, if not temperature. The rainy season lasts from February to July; the rest of the year sees little rain. The temperature ranges, both diurnal and monthly, are unusually slight.[13]

Climate data for Fernando de Noronha (1961–1990)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29.8
Daily mean °C (°F) 27
Average low °C (°F) 24.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 63.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 250.6 209.3 189.5 238.8 208.4 222.5 224.7 260.2 265 285.3 281.5 271.2 2,907
Source: Climate Charts/NOAA.[14][15]



Fernando de Noronha - vista aera
The main island
The Two Brothers Rock in Brazil's Fernando de Noronha archipelago
Two Brothers Rock
Satellite picture of Fernando de Noronha

Many controversies mark the discovery of the archipelago by Europeans. At least three names – São Lourenço, São João, and Quaresma – have been associated with the island around the time of its discovery.

Based on the written record, Fernando de Noronha island was discovered on August 10, 1503, by a Portuguese expedition, organized and financed by a private commercial consortium headed by the Lisbon merchant Fernão de Loronha. The expedition was under the overall command of captain Gonçalo Coelho and carried the Italian adventurer Amerigo Vespucci aboard, who wrote an account of it.[16] The flagship of the expedition hit a reef and foundered near the island, and the crew and contents had to be salvaged. On Coelho's orders, Vespucci anchored at the island, and spent a week there, while the rest of the Coelho fleet went on south. In his letter to Soderini, Vespucci describes the uninhabited island and reports its name as the "island of St. Lawrence" (August 10 is the feast day of St. Lawrence; it was a custom of Portuguese explorations to name locations by the liturgical calendar).

Its existence was reported to Lisbon sometime between then and January 16, 1504, when King Manuel I of Portugal issued a charter granting the "island of St. John" (São João) as a hereditary captaincy to Fernão de Loronha.[17] The date and new name in the charter has presented historians with a puzzle. As Vespucci did not return to Lisbon until September 1504, the discovery must have been earlier. Historians have hypothesized that a stray ship of the Coelho fleet, under an unknown captain, may have returned to the island (prob. on August 29, 1503, feast day of the beheading of St. John the Baptist) to collect Vespucci, did not find him or anyone else there, and went back to Lisbon by itself with the news.[18] (Vespucci in his letter, claims he left the island August 18, 1503, and upon his arrival in Lisbon a year later, on September 7, 1504, the people of Lisbon were surprised, as they "had been told" (presumably by the earlier captain?) that his ship had been lost.)[19] The captain who returned to Lisbon with the news (and the St. John name) is unknown. (Some have speculated this captain was Loronha himself, the chief financier of this expedition, but that is highly unlikely.)

This account, reconstructed from the written record, is severely marred by the cartographic record. An island, named Quaresma, looking very much like Fernando de Noronha island, appears in the Cantino planisphere. The Cantino map was composed by an anonymous Portuguese cartographer, and completed before November 1502, well before the Coelho expedition even set out. This has led to speculation that the island was discovered by a previous expedition. However, there is no consensus on which expedition that might have been. The name "Quaresma" means Lent, suggesting it must have been discovered in March or early April, which does not correspond well with the known expeditions. There is also a mysterious red island to the left of Quaresma in the Cantino map that does not fit with Fernando de Noronha island. Some have explained these anomalies away by reading quaresma as anaresma (meaning unknown, but sidesteps the Lent timing),[20] and proposing that the red island is just an accidental inkblot.[21]

Cantino west
Detail from the 1502 Cantino planisphere, showing the island of "Quaresma" (Fernando de Noronha?) off the Brazilian coast.

Assuming Quaresma is indeed Fernando de Noronha, then who discovered it? One proposal is that it was discovered by a royal Portuguese mapping expedition that was sent out in May 1501, commanded by an unknown captain (possibly André Gonçalves) and also accompanied by Amerigo Vespucci.[22] According to Vespucci, this expedition returned to Lisbon in September 1502, just on time to influence the final composition of the Cantino map. Unfortunately, Vespucci does not report discovering this island then – indeed he is quite clear that the first time he (and his fellow sailors) saw the island was on the 1503 Coelho expedition. However, there is a letter written by an Italian saying that a ship arrived "from the land of Parrots" in Lisbon on July 22, 1502 (three months before Vespucci).[23] This could be a stray ship from the mapping expedition that returned prematurely, or another expedition altogether, about which we have no information.[24] The timing of its reputed arrival (July 1502), makes it possible that it stumbled on the island sometime in March 1502, on the homeward voyage, well within Lent.

A third possible (but unlikely) theory is that the island was discovered already in 1500, shortly after the discovery of Brazil by the Second India Armada under Pedro Alvares Cabral. After his brief landfall at Porto Seguro, Cabral dispatched a supply ship under either Gaspar de Lemos or André Gonçalves (sources conflict) back to Lisbon, to report the discovery. This returning supply ship would have returned north along the Brazilian coast and might have come across Fernando de Noronha island, and reported its existence in Lisbon by July 1500.[25] However, this contradicts the Quaresma name, since the returning supply ship was sailing well after Lent.

A fourth (but also unlikely) possibility is that it was discovered by the Third India Armada of João da Nova, which set out from Lisbon in March or April 1501, and arrived back in September 1502, also in time to influence the Cantino map. Chronicler Gaspar Correia asserts that on the outward voyage, the Third Armada made a stop on the Brazilian coast around Cape Santo Agostinho.[26] Two other chroniclers (João de Barros and Damião de Góis) do not mention a landfall, but do report they discovered an island (which they believe to be identified as Ascension island, but this is not certain).[27] So it is possible that the Third Armada may indeed have discovered Fernando de Noronha island on their outward leg. However, the timing is very tight: Easter landed on April 11, 1501, while the estimated departure date of the Third Armada from Lisbon ranges from March 5 to April 15, not leaving enough time to reach those environs within Lent.

As a result of these anomalies, some modern historians have proposed that Fernando de Noronha is not depicted on the 1502 Cantino map at all. Instead, they have proposed that Quaresma island and the accompanying red "inkblot" are in fact the Rocas Atoll, slightly misplaced on the map. This reserves the discovery of Fernando de Noronha island itself as indeed on August 10, 1503, by the Gonçalo Coelho expedition, as originally reported by Vespucci.[28]

The transition of the name from "São João" to "Fernando de Noronha" was probably just natural usage. A royal letter dated May 20, 1559, to descendants of the Loronha family, still refers to the island by its official name of ilha de São João.,[29] but already in other places, e.g. the logbook of Martim Afonso de Sousa in the 1530s, it was referred to as the "island of Fernão de Noronha" ("Noronha" being a common misspelling of "Loronha"). The informal name eventually displaced the official name.


2009 fev 10 forte santana
Ruins of Fort Santana

The Lisbon merchant Fernão de Loronha held not only Fernando de Noronha island as a hereditary captaincy but also (from 1503 to around 1512) a commercial monopoly on trade in Brazil. Between 1503 and 1512, Noronha's agents set up a string of warehouses (feitorias) along the Brazilian coast, and engaged in trade with the indigenous peoples in Brazil for brazilwood, a native red dye wood highly valued by European clothmakers. Fernando de Noronha island was the central collection point of this network. Brazilwood, continuously harvested by the coastal Indians and delivered to the various coastal warehouses, was shipped to the central warehouse on Fernando de Noronha island, which was intermittently visited by a larger transport ship that would carry the collected loads back to Europe. After the expiration of Loronha's commercial charter in 1512, the organization of the brazilwood enterprise was taken over by the Portuguese crown, but Loronha and his descendents retained private ownership of Fernando de Noronha island itself as a hereditary captaincy, at least down to the 1560s.


Captain Henry Foster stopped at Fernando de Noronha during his scientific survey expedition as commander of HMS Chanticleer, which had set out in 1828. As well as surveying coasts and ocean currents, Foster used a Kater invariable pendulum to make observations on gravity.[30] He took the island as the point of junction of his double line of longitudes setting out his survey. He was given considerable assistance by the Governor of Fernando Noronha who let Foster use part of his own house for the pendulum experiments.[31] The longitude of Rio de Janeiro taken by Foster was among those on one side of a significant discrepancy, which meant that the charts of South America were in doubt.

Mapa do Arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha
Map of Fernando de Noronha, 1886.

To resolve this, the Admiralty instructed Captain Robert FitzRoy to command HMS Beagle on a survey expedition. One of its essential tasks was a stop at Fernando Noronha to confirm its exact longitude, using the 22 chronometers on board the ship to give the precise time of observations.[31] They arrived at the island in the late evening of 19 February 1832, anchoring at midnight. On 20 February FizRoy landed a small party to take the observations, despite difficulties caused by heavy surf, then sailed on for Bahia, Brazil that evening.[32]

During the day, the island was visited by the naturalist Charles Darwin, who was one of the Beagle's passengers. He took notes for his book on geology. He wrote about admiring the woods:

"The whole island is one forest, & this is so thickly intertwined that it requires great exertion to crawl along. — The scenery was very beautiful, & large Magnolias & Laurels & trees covered with delicate flowers ought to have satisfied me. — But I am sure all the grandeur of the Tropics has not yet been seen by me. — We had no gaudy birds, No humming birds. No large flowers".[33]

His experiences on Fernando de Noronha were recorded in his journal, later published as The Voyage of the Beagle.[34] He also included a short description of the island in his 1844 Geological Observations on the Volcanic Islands visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle.[35]

The island was also used as a penal colony in the 19th century.[36]


Island prisoners in 1930.
Base americana em Fernando de Noronha
A U.S. military base in Fernando de Noronha, 1959
Fernando de Noronha 11
Sancho Bay

In the late 18th century, the first prisoners were sent to Fernando de Noronha. A prison was built. In 1897 the government of the state of Pernambuco took possession of the prison.[37] Between 1938 and 1945, Fernando de Noronha was a political prison. The former governor of Pernambuco, Miguel Arraes, was incarcerated there. In 1957 the prison was closed and the archipelago was visited by President Juscelino Kubitschek.[38]

At the beginning of the 20th century, the British arrived to provide technical cooperation in telegraphy (The South American Company). Later the French came with the French Cable[39] and the Italians with Italcable.[40]

In 1942, during World War II, the archipelago was made a Federal territory, which included Rocas Atoll and Saint Peter and Paul Rocks. The government sent political and ordinary prisoners to the local prison.

An airport was constructed in September 1942 by the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command for the Natal-Dakar air route. It provided a transoceanic link between Brazil and French West Africa for cargo, transiting aircraft and personnel during the Allies campaign in Africa. Brazil transferred the airport to the jurisdiction of the United States Navy on 5 September 1944.[41] After the end of the war, the administration of the airport was transferred back to the Brazilian Government. Fernando de Noronha Airport is served by daily flights from Recife and Natal on the Brazilian coast.

In 1988, Brazil designated approximately 70% of the archipelago as a maritime national park, with the goal of preserving the land and sea environment. On October 5, 1988, the Federal Territory was dissolved and added to the state of Pernambuco (except Rocas Atoll, which was added to the state of Rio Grande do Norte).

Today Fernando de Noronha's economy depends on tourism, restricted by the limitations of its delicate ecosystem. In addition to the historical interest noted above, the archipelago has been the subject of the attention of various scientists dedicated to the study of its flora, fauna, geology, etc. The jurisdiction is considered to be a separate "entity" by the DX Century Club, and so is visited rather often by amateur radio operators.

In 2001, UNESCO declared Fernando de Noronha, with Rocas Atoll, a World Heritage Site. It cited the following reasons:

a) the island's importance as a feeding ground for several species, including tuna, billfish, cetaceans, sharks, and marine turtles,
b) a high population of resident spinner dolphins and
c) protection for endangered species, such as the hawksbill sea turtle (critically endangered) and various birds.

In 2009, Air France Flight 447 disappeared off the northeast coast of Brazil. It was presumed to have crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Fernando de Noronha. Rescue and recovery operations were launched from this island.

Conservation and environmental threats

Most of the original large trees were cut down in the 19th century, when the island was used as a prison, for firewood and to keep the prisoners from hiding and making rafts.[42]

Also, exotic species have been introduced:

  • Linseed, intended for use as cattle feed.
  • Tegu lizards (Tupinambis merianae, locally known as teju) introduced in the 1950s to control a rat infestation. It did not work because Tegus are diurnal and rats, nocturnal. The lizards are now considered a plague, feeding mostly on bird eggs.[43]
  • Rock cavies (Kerodon rupestris, locally known as mocó) introduced by the military in the 1960s as hunting game for soldiers.[44]
  • Domestic cats, introduced as pets, now they spread throughout the whole island and several acquired a feral status, surviving only by preying on native birds, rock cavies and synanthropic rodents.

From these, the domestic cat and the tegu lizard have become invasive.

The island is divided between the Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park and the Fernando de Noronha Environmental Protection Area. The latter covers the urban, tourist area.[45]


Tourism including dolphin watching, diving and charter fishing comprise the majority of the island’s economy.

Economic indicators

HDI (2000) Population (2012) GDP (2007) % PE GDP pc Hostel/pousada beds (2006)
0.862 2,718 R$20,901,000 0.034% R$7,462 1,492

The archipelago of Fernando de Noronha in 2005 had a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of R$22,802,000 and a per capita income of R$10,001. The Human Development Index (HDI) district's state was estimated at 0.862 (PNUD/2000). The only banking center in the archipelago is a branch of Banco Santander Brasil. There are one or two additional ATMs around the main island.


Cachorro Beach

The beaches of Fernando de Noronha are promoted for tourism and recreational diving. The most popular ones include Baía do Sancho, Pig Bay, Dolphins Bay, Sueste Bay and Praia do Leão. Due to the South Equatorial Current that pushes warm water from Africa to the island, diving to depths of 30 to 40 metres (98 to 131 ft) does not require a wetsuit. The visibility underwater can reach up to 50 metres (160 ft).

The part of the island facing the mainland has the beaches in the following order: Baía do Sancho, Baía dos Porcos, Praia dos Americanos, Praia do Boldró, Praia da Conceição, Praia do Meio and Praia do Cachorro. The part of the island facing the Atlantic Ocean has only 03 beaches: Praia do Leão, Praia do Sueste and Praia do Atalaia. A great way to get to know the island is to walk from Praia dos Americanos, pass by Praia do Boldró, Praia da Conceição, Praia do Meio and finish the walking at Praia do Cachorro.

The island is served by Gov. Carlos Wilson Airport with regular flights to Natal and Recife.

Praia da Conceição vista da Praia do Cachorro
Conceição Beach


Map of Fernando de Noronha-en

Map of the Archipelago

Fernando de Noronha Insel Strand (22202712732)

Fernando de Noronha Conceição beach

Fernando de Noronha - Pernambuco - Brasil(3)

Landscape in Fernando de Noronha

Canhão - antiga proteção de Fernando de Noronha

Historic fortifications

Fernando de Noronha - dois Irmãos - praia do sancho

Aerial view

Fernando de Noronha Insel Strand (22027409470)

Fernando de Noronha beach

Fernando de Noronha - PE - Atalaia 2

Crystalline water

Fernando de Noronha - PE - Baia do Sancho - Sub Aquatica


Fernando de Noronha - PE - Baia do Sancho

Sancho Bay

Fernando de Noronha - PE - Baia dos Golfinhos

Spinner dolphins in Dolphin Bay

Fernando de Noronha - PE - Dois Irmãos

Two Brothers Rock (Morro Dois Irmãos)

Fernando de Noronha - PE- Cacimba do Padre

Cacimba do Padre

Fernando de noronha-PE

Cacimba do Padre Beach

Ponta da Sapata

Ponta da Sapata

Morro Dois Irmãos - Fernando de Noronha

Two Brothers Rock

Por do sol em Noronha


Fernando de Noronha Naturpool

Fernando de Noronha snorkeling

Fernando de Noronha Strand Baia do Sancho (22027580168)

Fernando de Noronha beach Sancho Bay

See also


  1. ^ ftp://ftp.ibge.gov.br/Estimativas_de_Populacao/Estimativas_2015/estimativa_dou_2015_20150915.pdf
  2. ^ IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) (2012). "IBGE - Cidades - Pernambuco - Fernando de Noronha - Estimativa da População - 2012" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2013-10-20.
  3. ^ Government of the State of Pernambuco. "Administração Geral de Fernando de Noronha" [General Administration of Fernando de Noronha] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  4. ^ "Fernando de Noronha - Pimentel lamenta suspensão de cruzeiro - Assembleia Legislativa do Estado de Pernambuco". Alepe.pe.gov.br. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  5. ^ Noronha, Fernando de. "Aeroporto de Fernando de Noronha | Aviação para Fernando de Noronha | Horario dos voos para Fernando de Noronha | Companhia aera que opera para Fernando de Noronha - trip e total". www.ilhadenoronha.com.br. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-08-11. Retrieved 2015-08-28.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) Geochemistry of the alkaline volcanic-subvolcanic rocks of the Fernando de Noronha Archiapelago, southern Atlantic Ocean
  7. ^ Carlos Secchin, Clóvis Barreira e Castro, Arquipélago de Fernando de Noronha, 2nd ed. 1991.
  8. ^ Fernando de Noronha, Islands of Brazil, UN System-wide Earthwatch
  9. ^ Sazima, I. and Haemig, P.D. 2012. Birds, Mammals and Reptiles of Fernando de Noronha. Ecology.Info 17.
  10. ^ Carleton, M.D. and Olson, S.L. 1999. Amerigo Vespucci and the rat of Fernando de Noronha: a new genus and species of Rodentia (Muridae, Sigmodontinae) from a volcanic island off Brazil's continental shelf. American Museum Novitates 3256:1–59.
  11. ^ Mausfeld, P., Schmitz, A., Böhme, W., Misof, B., Vrcibradic, D. and Duarte, C.F. 2002. Phylogenetic affinities of Mabuya atlantica Schmidt, 1945, endemic to the Atlantic Ocean archipelago of Fernando de Noronha (Brazil): Necessity of partitioning the genus Mabuya Fitzinger, 1826 (Scincidae: Lygosominae). Zoologischer Anzeiger 241:281–293.
  12. ^ http://www.car-spaw-rac.org/IMG/pdf/Brazil_Progress_report_on_cetacean_research_March_2006_to_February_2007_with_statistical_data_for_the_calendar_year_2006_or_season_2006-2007.pdf
  13. ^ Fernando de Noronha. "Clima em Fernando de Noronha". Ilhadenoronha.com.br. Retrieved 2014-05-17.
  14. ^ "Fernando De Noronha, Brazil: Climate, Global Warming, and Daylight Charts and Data". Climate Charts. 1961–1990. Archived from the original on November 1, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  15. ^ "Climate Statistics for Fernando de Noronha, Brazil 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 1961–1990. Archived from the original Check |url= value (help) on December 9, 2014. Retrieved October 12, 2014.
  16. ^ The Coelho expedition is also known as the "Fourth Voyage" of Vespucci, and is related in the letter of Amerigo Vespucci to Piero Soderini, c. 1504–05. See the English translation of the account in Letter to Soderini
  17. ^ An actual copy of this charter has never been found. Its contents and date, however, are summarized in a royal letter of March 3, 1522, confirming it, and yet another royal letter of May 20, 1559, identifying the location of São João precisely as Fernando de Noronha island. See Duarte Leite (1923: p.276–278) and Roukema (1963: p.21).
  18. ^ Roukema (1963: p.22)
  19. ^ Roukema (1963: p.21)
  20. ^ For an early reading of Quaresma as "Anaresma", see Henry Harrisse (1891) The Discovery of North America (1961 ed., p.319) and Orville Derby (1902) "Os mappas mais antigos do Brasil", Revista do Instituto Historico e Geografico de São Paulo, vol. 7, p.244. This reading was insisted upon later by historian Marcondes de Sousa (1949) Américo Vespúcio e suas viagens (São Paulo). It provoked a brief and surprisingly bitter controversy with other historians, e.g. Damião Peres, Duarte Leite.
  21. ^ The inkblot theory was suggested by Duarte Leite (1923: p.275–278).
  22. ^ The 1501 mapping expedition is also known as the "Third Voyage" of Amerigo Vespucci (and his first under the Portuguese flag). Amerigo Vespucci relates the account of this expedition twice - first in a letter to Lorenzo Pietro Francesco di Medici, written in early 1503 (see (account) in Letter do Medici), and then again in his letters to Piero Soderini, written 1504-05 ([account] in Letter to Soderini). In his account, Vespucci does not mention the name of the captain of this 1501 mapping expedition, and his identity has been widely speculated on. The 16th-century chronicler Gaspar Correia suggests it was André Gonçalves (Lendas da India, p.152). Greenlee (1945) reviews various possible names – and settles on the conjecture that it might be Fernão de Loronha himself (a hypothesis also suggested by Duarte Leite (1923)). But this is strongly disputed by other authors, e.g. Roukema (1963). It would be highly unlikely a prominent and wealthy merchant like Loronha would absent his businesses to go personally command vessels himself. Loronha's support (if any) to the mapping expedition was probably limited to financing.
  23. ^ This letter was written by Venetian emissary Pascualigo on October 12, 1502, and is quoted in the diary of Marino Sanuto. See Greenlee (1945: p.11n) and Roukema (1963:p.19).
  24. ^ Roukema (1963) accepts the hypothesis of a unrecorded separate expedition in 1501 - and that this might be the one led by André Gonçalves. However, Greenlee (1945) rejects the unrecorded expedition theory, deeming it superfluous, and instead embraces the stray ship theory (and that this stray ship was precisely the flagship personally commanded by Fernão de Loronha).
  25. ^ Roukema (1963) rejects this theory.
  26. ^ Gaspar Correia, Lendas da India (p.235)
  27. ^ João de Barros, Decadas da Asia, vol.1, p.466; Damião de Góis, Chronica de D.Manuel, p.84. See Roukema (1963) on the possible problems of identifying the island discovered by the Third Armada on its outward leg as Ascension island.
  28. ^ Roukema (1963: p.19-22). Roukema concludes that it was the Rocas atoll that was discovered by the returning stray ship/unrecorded expedition on March 16, 1502, well within Lent.
  29. ^ Duarte Leite (1923: p.276–278)
  30. ^ "Image of 'sketches of the island of fernando noronha', south atlantic, 1828-1831". Science Museum. Science & Society Picture Library. Retrieved 2012-02-24.
  31. ^ a b FitzRoy, R. (1839) Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, London: Henry Colburn, pp. 24–26.
  32. ^ FitzRoy, R. (1839) Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty's Ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, London: Henry Colburn, pp. 58–60.
  33. ^ Keynes, R. D. ed. (2001) Charles Darwin's Beagle diary. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 39.
  34. ^ Darwin, C. R. (1839) Journal and remarks. 1832-1836. London: Henry Colburn, 10–11.
  35. ^ Darwin, C. R. (1844) Geological observations on the volcanic islands visited during the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, London: Smith Elder and Co., pp. 23–24.
  36. ^ Clare Anderson, (2015), Convicts, Collecting and Knowledge Production in the Nineteenth Century, [1]
  37. ^ Noronha História Archived 2012-04-25 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ Fernando de Noronha: História da ilha remete ao inferno e ao paraíso
  39. ^ History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications, French cable companies
  40. ^ History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications, Italcable
  41. ^ USAFHRA Document 00001957
  42. ^ {{https://academic.oup.com/botlinnean/article-abstract/27/181/1/2904761 2018-02-03 }} <Ridley, H. N., M.A., F.L.S. The Journal of the Linnean Society, read 7 June 1888>
  43. ^ Tupinambis merianae Archived 2006-06-22 at the Wayback Machine, Instituto Hórus de Desenvolvimento e Conservação Ambiental (The Nature Conservancy), 2005
  44. ^ Kerodon rupestris Archived 2006-08-07 at the Wayback Machine, Instituto Hórus de Desenvolvimento e Conservação Ambiental (The Nature Conservancy), 2005
  45. ^ Área de Proteção Ambiental Fernando de Noronha - Rocas - São Pedro e São Paulo (in Portuguese), Parque Nacional Marinho Fernando de Noronha, archived from the original on 2017-01-04, retrieved 2016-04-21


  • Duarte Leite (1923) "O Mais antigo mapa do Brasil" in História da Colonização Portuguesa do Brasil, vol.2, pp. 221–81.
  • Greenlee, W.B. (1945) "The Captaincy of the Second Portuguese Voyage to Brazil, 1501–1502", The Americas, Vol. 2, p. 3–13.
  • Roukema, E. (1963) "Brazil in the Cantino Map", Imago Mundi, Vol. 17, p. 7–26

External links



Amphisbaena ridleyi

Amphisbaena ridleyi, known by the common names Ridley's worm lizard or the Noronha worm lizard, is a species of amphisbaenian in the genus Amphisbaena. This species is endemic to the island of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil. It is one of two indigenous reptiles on the island.

Erythrina velutina

Erythrina velutina is a species of leguminous tree. It is indigenous to Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Hispaniola and has been introduced to much of the Caribbean, Uganda, and Sri Lanka. It also occurs on the Galápagos Islands, but whether it is indigenous or introduced there is unclear. In Brazil, it occurs on plains and near rivers in the arid parts of the northeast of the country and is commonly known as "mulungu". Erythrina velutina grows as a large tree to around 10 m (30 ft) high and has short spines on the stem. It is perennial.The species was first described in 1801 by Carl Ludwig Willdenow. Henry Nicholas Ridley described Erythrina aurantiaca as a species from Fernando de Noronha off the northeastern coast of Brazil, but this tree is now seen as only a form of E. velutina, Erythrina velutina f. aurantiaca.On Fernando de Noronha, it flowers in the dry season. There are 10 to 26 flowers per inflorescence, of which one to eight open each day. Flowers open early in the morning, between 6 and 6:30 am. They remain open for two days, but produce nectar only the first day. All native land vertebrates of the island, including the Noronha dove (Zenaida auriculata noronha), vireo (Vireo gracilirostris), elaenia (Elaenia ridleyana), and skink (Trachylepis atlantica), pollinate the species on Fernando de Noronha. No other Erythrina species is pollinated by doves or lizards.In northeastern Brazil, the bark of E. velutina is used in traditional medicine against sleepiness, convulsions, nervous coughs, and nervous excitation. Harvesting of bark for medicinal purposes poses a threat to the survival of the species; for this reason, several scientific studies of the medicinal effects of tree have used extract from the leaves instead. In laboratory mice and rats, E. velutina extract prolongs sleep, inhibits motorial activity, and inhibits memory.

Fernando de Noronha, 2nd Count of Vila Real

Dom Fernando de Noronha (Burgos, c. 1380 — Ceuta, 2 or 3 June 1445) was a 15th-century Castilian-Portuguese nobleman. He was the 2nd Count of Vila Real, a title which he acquired and shared by his marriage to Brites de Menezes, 2nd Countess of Vila Real and the third Portuguese governor of Ceuta from 1437.

Fernando de Noronha united two prominent bastard lines of the crowns of Castile and Portugal. He was the second son from the marriage of Alfonso Enríquez, Count of Gijón and Noreña (a natural son of King Henry II of Castile) and Isabel of Portugal, Lady of Viseu (a natural daughter of King Ferdinand I of Portugal). After the death of Alfonso Enríquez in 1398, Isabel fled to the court of her uncle, King John I of Portugal. Her children were raised in the Portuguese court, where they were known by their appellation Noronha (Portuguese translation of Noreña). Fernando's elder brother, Pedro de Noronha, would become an Archbishop of Lisbon.

On 18 October 1430, Fernando de Noronha married Brites de Menezes, the daughter of the prominent Portuguese nobleman Pedro de Menezes, 1st Count of Vila Real and first Portuguese governor of Ceuta. Brites competed with her half-brother Duarte de Menezes for her father's titles for herself and her consort. Fernando de Noronha secured the office of counciller and chamberlain in the household of the royal prince and heir Infante Edward.

By a royal letter issued September 1434 by the now-enthroned King Edward of Portugal, Fernando and Brites succeeded in securing the inheritance of her father's title of Count of Vila Real, leaving Duarte with the old family title of Count of Viana do Alentejo. Despite Duarte's notable military record as his father's lieutenant in Ceuta, Brites managed once again to pip out Duarte and secure the appointment (October 1437) of her husband Fernando de Noronha as the next Portuguese governor of Ceuta, succeeding the late Pedro de Menezes.

Fernando de Noronha was appointed to Ceuta only days before a Portuguese expeditionary force, led by Henry the Navigator, was defeated by the army of Marinid Morocco (see Battle of Tangier (1437)). To save his army from destruction, Henry agreed to a treaty, signed on 17 October 1437, by which Portugal committed itself to deliver Ceuta back to the Marinids, in return for which the Portuguese prince Ferdinand the Saint Prince would remain as a hostage in Moroccan captivity until its fulfillment. As a result, upon his arrival in Ceuta, Noronha was surprised to hear that a treaty had been signed to evacuate the garrison he had just been appointed to command. Moreover, Prince Henry had sailed directly from Tangier to Ceuta and barricaded himself in his lodgings, sunk in a deep depression and refusing to talk with anyone. Noronha was not sure how to proceed.

By several accounts, Fernando de Noronha was determined not to lose this lucrative perch (his predecessor had made a substantial personal fortune from ransoms and pirate kickbacks.) Noronha probably had a role in stiffening Henry's resolve to write to King Edward from Ceuta, recommending the Portuguese renege on the treaty he had himself signed. But Henry's older brother, Peter of Coimbra, was set on fulfilling the treaty and securing Ferdinand release. In 1440, after Edward died and Peter became regent of the realm, ambassadors were dispatched to Asilah to negotiate the logistics of the swap of Ceuta for the captive Ferdinand. The Marinids' preliminary condition was that Fernando de Noronha be relieved from the office of governor of Ceuta - his reputation was such that the Marinid officials were certain Noronha would contrive to prevent the swap. Peter agreed, and in April 1440 (or 1441), he dispatched D. Fernando de Castro at the head of a Portuguese flotilla, with instructions and credentials to take the city from Noronha, and begin the evacuation of the garrison. As it happens, before his arrival, Castro's flotilla was intercepted by Genoese pirates and Castro killed - an incident in which some suspected Noronha might have had a hand (Ceuta had long served as a corsair's nest). Nonetheless, Peter of Coimbra hurriedly instructed Fernando's son, Álvaro de Castro, to take over his father's credentials and fulfill the mission.

As it happens, the logistics of the swap turned out to be more complicated than anticipated. Abu Zakariya Yahya al-Wattasi, the vizier of the Marinid palace of Fez, promised to deliver Ferdinand only after Ceuta was evacuated and in his hands, but Castro (under the watchful eye and counsel of Noronha) rejected the proposal, demanding possession of Ferdinand first. Negotiations dragged on fruitlessly for the next few months, and eventually broke down. The swap was never undertaken, Ceuta remained in Portuguese hands and Ferdinand perished in Moroccan captivity in June 1443.

Fernando de Noronha died in Ceuta in June 1445.

Fernando de Noronha and Brites de Menezes had two sons:

Pedro de Menezes, 3rd Count (1st Marquis) of Vila Real (from which stems the Portuguese noble house of Count of Vila Real)

João de Noronha, Lord of Sortelha (from which stems the Portuguese noble house of Count of Monsanto)

Fernando de Noronha (disambiguation)

Fernando de Noronha is an island group off the coast of Brazil.

Fernando de Noronha may also refer to:

Fernão de Loronha (fl.1502), Lisbon merchant

Fernando de Noronha, 2nd Count of Vila Real (d.1445), governor of Ceuta

Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park, a protected area on the island

Fernando de Noronha Environmental Protection Area, a controlled tourist area on the island

Fernando de Noronha Airport

Gov. Carlos Wilson Airport (IATA: FEN, ICAO: SBFN) is the airport serving the island of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. It is the easternmost airport of Brazil and the only one that is located in the Brazilian oceanic islands.

It is operated by Dix Empreendimentos.

Fernando de Noronha Environmental Protection Area

Fernando de Noronha Environmental Protection Area (Portuguese: Área de Proteção Ambiental Fernando de Noronha - Rocas - São Pedro e São Paulo) is a protected area on the island of Fernando de Noronha in the Atlantic ocean offshore from Pernambuco state, Brazil.

Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park

Fernando de Noronha Marine National Park (Portuguese: Parque Nacional Marinho de Fernando de Noronha) is a national park in the state of Pernambuco, Brazil.

Fernão de Loronha

Fernão de Loronha (c. 1470 or before – Lisbon, c. 1540), whose name is often corrupted to Fernando de Noronha or Fernando della Rogna, was a prominent 16th-century Portuguese merchant of Lisbon, of Jewish descent. He was the first charter-holder (1502–1512), the first donatary captain in Brazil and sponsor of numerous early Portuguese overseas expeditions. The islands of Fernando de Noronha off the coast of Brazil, discovered by one of his expeditions and granted to Loronha and his heirs as a fief in 1504, are named after him.

List of beaches in Pernambuco

Below is a list of beaches in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco by municipality, from the northernmost Carne de Vaca beach until Coroa Grande at the south end.

The Pernambuco coast has 187 kilometres (116 mi) long plus the Fernando de Noronha islands coast. In Pernambuco are located dozens of beaches of all types, from virgin to urban ones.

Noronha elaenia

The Noronha elaenia (Elaenia ridleyana) is a species of bird in the tyrant-flycatcher family Tyrannidae. It is endemic to Fernando de Noronha, a small archipelago off the coast of Brazil. The species was formerly considered a subspecies of the large elaenia, but differs considerably in the calls and song.The Noronha elaenia is a large-sized elenia, 17 cm (6.7 in) in length. It has an olive-brown slightly crested head, olive-brown upperparts and dusky wings with white wingbars. The throat and breast are grey fading to a yellowish belly. The two sexes are the same in appearance and the plumage of juvenile plumage has not been described. It sits upright while hunting.It lives in a variety of habitats on Fernando de Noronha, including forest, open woodland, scrubland and thickets around houses. It feeds on insects and will also take fruit, including from the fig Ficus noronhae.It is threatened by habitat loss. The total global range of this species is only 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi), and most of the forest on Fernando de Noronha has been lost since the arrival of European settlers, and this species is the least common landbird remaining on the island. The current population has been surveyed and is estimated to be around 480 birds. Plans to develop tourism on the island could put the species under further pressure by changing more habitat and risk introducing rats or other introduced species.

Noronha hotspot

Noronha hotspot is a hypothesized hotspot in the Atlantic Ocean. It has been proposed as the candidate source for volcanism in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago of Brazil, as well as of other volcanoes also in Brazil and even the Bahamas and the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province.

The presence of a mantle plume is controversial owing to equivocal seismic tomography images of the mantle and the inconsistent age progression in the volcanoes, especially the Brazilian ones.

Noronha skink

The Noronha skink (Trachylepis atlantica) is a species of skink from the island of Fernando de Noronha off northeastern Brazil. It is covered with dark and light spots on the upperparts and is usually about 7 to 10 cm (3 to 4 in) in length. The tail is long and muscular, but breaks off easily. Very common throughout Fernando de Noronha, it is an opportunistic feeder, eating both insects and plant material, including nectar from the Erythrina velutina tree, as well as other material ranging from cookie crumbs to eggs of its own species. Introduced predators such as feral cats prey on it and several parasitic worms infect it.

Perhaps seen by Amerigo Vespucci in 1503, it was first formally described in 1839. Its subsequent taxonomic history has been complex, riddled with confusion with Trachylepis maculata and other species, homonyms, and other problems. The species is classified in the otherwise mostly African genus Trachylepis and is thought to have reached its island from Africa by rafting. The enigmatic Trachylepis tschudii, supposedly from Peru, may well be the same species.

Noronha vireo

The Noronha vireo (Vireo gracilirostris) is a species of bird in the family Vireonidae. It is endemic to the island of Fernando de Noronha, Brazil. It is found in woodland, shrubland and gardens. It has been considered conspecific with the chivi vireo in the past. However, it varies from the chivi vireo in that its plumage is significantly duller and the bill longer.


Noronhomys vespuccii, also known as Vespucci's rodent, is an extinct rat species from the islands of Fernando de Noronha off northeastern Brazil. Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci may have seen it on a visit to Fernando de Noronha in 1503, but it subsequently became extinct, perhaps because of the exotic rats and mice introduced by the first explorers of the island. Numerous but fragmentary fossil remains of the animal, of uncertain but probably Holocene age, were discovered in 1973 and described in 1999.

Noronhomys vespuccii was a fairly large rodent, larger than the black rat (Rattus rattus). A member of the family Cricetidae and subfamily Sigmodontinae, it shares several distinctive characters with Holochilus and related genera within the tribe Oryzomyini, including high-crowned molars with simplified crown features and the presence of several ridges on the skull which help anchor the chewing muscles. Although a suite of traits suggest that Holochilus is its closest relative, it is distinctive in many ways and is therefore classified in a separate genus, Noronhomys. Its close relatives, including Holochilus and Lundomys, are adapted to a semiaquatic lifestyle, spending much of their time in the water, but features of the Noronhomys bones suggest that it lost its semiaquatic lifestyle after arrival at its remote island.


Pernambuco (Portuguese pronunciation: [pɛʁnɐ̃ˈbuku]) is a state of Brazil, located in the Northeast region of the country. The state of Pernambuco also includes the archipelago Fernando de Noronha. With an estimated population of 9.2 million people in 2013, it is the seventh most populous state of Brazil, and is the sixth most densely populated and the 19th most extensive among the states and territories of the country. Its capital and largest city, Recife, is one of the most important economic and urban hubs in the country. As of 2013 estimates, Recife's metropolitan area is the fifth most populous in the country, and the largest urban agglomeration in Northeast Brazil.In 1982 the city of Olinda, the second oldest city in Brazil, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Recife, the state capital and Olinda have one of the most traditional Brazilian Carnivals. Both have architecture of Portugal, with centuries-old casarões (colonial houses) and churches, kilometers of beaches and much culture. The proximity of the equator guarantees sunshine throughout the year, with average temperatures of 26 °C (79 °F).

Rocas Atoll

The Rocas Atoll (Portuguese: Atol das Rocas [aˈtɔw dɐs ˈʁɔkɐs]) is the only atoll in the South Atlantic Ocean. It belongs to the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Norte. It is located approximately 260 km (160 mi) northeast of Natal and 145 km (90 mi) west of the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. The atoll is of volcanic origin and coralline formation.

Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago

The Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago (Portuguese: Arquipélago de São Pedro e São Paulo [ɐʁkiˈpɛlɐgu dʒi sɐ̃w ˈpedɾw‿i sɐ̃w ˈpawlu]) is a group of 15 small islets and rocks in the central equatorial Atlantic Ocean. It lies in the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a region of the Atlantic characterized by low average winds punctuated with local thunderstorms. It lies approximately 510 nmi (940 km; 590 mi) from the nearest point of mainland South America (the northeastern Brazilian coastal town of Touros); 625 km (388 mi) northeast of the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha; 990 km (620 mi) from the city of Natal; and 1,824 km (1,133 mi) from the west coast of Africa. Administratively, the archipelago belongs to Brazil and is part of the special "state district" (Portuguese: distrito estadual) of Fernando de Noronha, in the state of Pernambuco, in spite of the very large distance between the two island groups and the even larger distance to the state mainland.

The islets expose serpentinized abyssal mantle peridotite and kaersutite-bearing ultramafic mylonite atop the world's highest and yet only second largest megamullion (after the Parece Vela megamullion under Okinotorishima in the Pacific Ocean). This grouping is the sole location in the Atlantic Ocean where the abyssal mantle is exposed above sea level.In 1986, the archipelago was designated an environmentally protected area.

This is now part of the Fernando de Noronha Environmental Protection Area.

Since 1998, the Brazilian Navy has maintained a permanently manned research facility on the islands.

The main economic activity around the islets is tuna fishing.

Trachylepis maculata

Trachylepis maculata is a species of skink in the genus Trachylepis recorded from Demerara in Guyana, northern South America. It is placed in the genus Trachylepis, which is otherwise mostly restricted to Africa, and its type locality may be in error. It is an unstriped, olive-brown, grayish animal, with dark spots all over the body. Its taxonomic history is complex due to confusion with Trachylepis atlantica from the Atlantic Ocean island of Fernando de Noronha and doubts regarding its type locality.

T. maculata was first described, as Tiliqua maculata, by Gray in 1839 on the basis of three specimens said to be from Demerara, Guyana. On the same page, Gray described Tiliqua punctata from the island of Fernando de Noronha off Brazil. In 1887, the two names were considered by Boulenger to pertain to the same species, which was initially named Mabuya punctata but renamed Mabuya maculata by Anderson in 1900, because the latter name was preoccupied by an older name. In 1935, Dunn disputed that the two were identical, reinstated Mabuya punctata as the name for the Noronha species, apparently unaware that the name is preoccupied, and considered maculata to be the same as Mabuya mabouya. In 1946, Travassos again synonymized the two, naming the Noronha skink as Mabuya maculata. In the early 2000s, the matter was revisited by Mausfeld and Vrcibradic, who examined the type specimens of punctata and maculata. They noted that punctata differs from maculata in having five instead of three keels on the dorsal scales; generally fewer scales; parietal scales separated, not in contact as in punctata; and fewer subdigital lamellae below the fourth finger and toe. Consequently, they regarded the two as representing distinct species and recommended that the Fernando de Noronha species be named Mabuya atlantica and the Guyana one Mabuya maculata. In 2002, it was realized that the genus Mabuya was not a natural grouping and a mainly African group of species which also includes the Fernando de Noronha skink was transferred to a separate genus, first named Euprepis and later Trachylepis. Since then, this species has been known as Trachylepis atlantica. In 2009, Miralles and coworkers again considered the taxonomy of maculata, referring it to Trachylepis instead of Mabuya because the third supraocular and frontal are in contact, as in other species of Trachylepis. It also has auricular lobules and heavy keels on the dorsal scales. They were the first to use the current name combination, Trachylepis maculata.The origin and nature of T. maculata are still unclear. The collection from Demerara which included T. maculata included various species that have not been found in Guyana again, including some restricted to Caribbean islands or to other parts of South America. Consequently, Mausfeld and Vrcibradic suggested that T. maculata may be the same as similarly colored Caribbean Mabuya species or the Venezuelan Mabuya falconensis, but these differ from T. maculata in a number of characters, indicating their membership in Mabuya instead of Trachylepis. T. maculata may in fact have come from Guyana, perhaps inadvertently introduced into Guyana from Africa, and subsequently become extinct; alternatively, the three known specimens may have been collected in Africa. Among African Trachylepis, Trachylepis perrotettii is regarded as most similar to T. maculata.

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