de Oliveira of Paraíba, Brazil

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Surnames/tags: Oliveira de_oliveira D' Oliveira
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Right now this project just has one member, me. I am Lawrence Bailey.

Here are some of the tasks that I think need to be done. I'll be working on them, and could use your help.

  • To Identify Brazilian & Portugal roots of Family
  • Document Family History
  • History and Settlement of , São Francisco Paraíba, Brazil and the Municipo of Sousa


ParaíbaItalic text

is a state of Brazil. It is located in the Brazilian Northeast, and it is bordered by Rio Grande do Norte to the north, Ceará to the west, Pernambuco to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Paraíba is the third most densely populated state of the Northeast; João Pessoa, the sea-bordered state capital, and Campina Grande, in the interior, rank among the fifteen-largest municipalities in the Northeast of Brazil. Paraíba is most populated along the Atlantic coast, which extends as far as Ponta do Seixas, the easternmost point of the Americas. The state is a tourist and industrial hotspot; it is known for its cultural heritage, amenable climate and geographical features, ranging from the seaside beaches to the Borborema Plateau. It is named after the Paraíba river. Some of the most notable Brazilian writers and poets are from Paraíba like Augusto dos Anjos, José Américo de Almeida, José Lins do Rego, Ariano Suassuna and Pedro Américo, the last being also known for his historical paintings. In the mid-16th century, settlers from Spain and Portugal, Olinda and Itamaracá founded Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves (today João Pessoa) at the mouth of the Paraíba do Norte River. The area soon proved perfect for sugar production, with the French, the Dutch and the Portuguese all constantly fighting to control the Paraíba region to grow the lucrative sugarcane in. The fortress of Santa Catarina, near João Pessoa, was built to protect the city from the Dutch, who soon became a threat to Portuguese supremacy in Brazil. Main towns: João Pessoa, state capital, Campina Grande,Patos,Santa Rita, Sousa Guarabira, Areia, Araruna, Cajazeiras

de Oliveira

Is the Portuguese name for the olive tree. It is a common surname of toponymic (A name derived from a place or region) origin in regions with strong Portuguese influence, mainly Portugal itself, Brazil, and Galicia. Like the surnames Oliver and Olivier it may have developed the Latin 'oliva', which was originally a word associated with a maker or merchant of olive oil. There are many indicators that the name Oliveira may be of Jewish origin, emanating from the Jewish communities of Spain and Portugal. When the Romans conquered the Jewish nation in 70 CE, much of the Jewish population was sent into exile throughout the Roman Empire. Many were sent to the Iberian Peninsula. The surname Oliveira was used when the start of the Portuguese inquisition as a way for Jews to avoid prosecution and under torture to become new Christians. Many of the targeted people adopted names with inspiration from plants, trees, fruits, animals, etc. Since those people were targeted, to run away and, since Portugal had just recently discovered Brazil (1500), many of those people fled to Brazil and other ex-colonies from Portugal. Many spelling forms including Oliva, Olivares, Olives, Oliveras, Olivera, Oliveres, and the locational D'Olivera and De Olivera Read more: Read more: The surname ‘De Oliveira’ was used prior to the start of the Portuguese inquisition as a way for Jews to avoid prosecution and under torture to become new Christians. De Oliveira' became internally among Judeans of the Diaspora the family name to be used exclusively by Judeans who could still trace and prove their genealogy to the tribe of Levy and to Judeans could trace and prove they were direct offspring of hebronites so both the priesthood and royal lineage took 'De Oliveira' so they could be later traced. They were also allowed to marry only among Levites and Hebronites themselves following biblical paternal lineage. It is noteworthy to mention that the offspring of the tribe of Levy and Hebron intentionally settled between Spain Galicia and Portugal for two reasons, first because it is inland and far from the great centers of Spain, where the first killings of Judeans or pogrons began, promoted by fanatical Catholic priests of the Dominican and Carmelite orders, which urged the ignorant old Christian population to kill the New Christian Jews and the unconverted Judeans and also gave them freedom to cross the borders among the different countries accordingly to the laws of each State.

'Sephardi Jews Settlement and Expulsion From Spain and Portugal'

In the narrower ethnic definition, a Sephardi Jew is a Jew descended from the Jews who lived in the Iberian Peninsula in the late 15th century. Sephardi Jews, also known as Sephardic Jews or Sephardim, originally from Sepharad, Spain, or the Iberian peninsula, are a Jewish ethnic division. They established communities throughout areas of modern Spain and Portugal, where they traditionally resided, evolving what would become their distinctive characteristics and diasporic identity, which they took with them in their exile from Iberia beginning in the late 15th century to North Africa, Anatolia, the Levant, Southeastern and Southern Europe. Among the larger Jewish populations in actual numbers were the Jewish communities in cities like Lisbon, Toledo, Córdoba, Seville, Málaga and Granada. Their millennial residence as an open and organized Jewish community in Iberia began to decline with the Reconquista and was brought to an end starting with the Alhambra Decree by Spain's Catholic Monarchs in 1492, and then by the edict of expulsion of Jews and Muslims by Portuguese king Manuel I in 1496 which resulted in a combination of internal and external migrations, mass conversions and executions. The largest part, likely a majority, of Spaniard Jews expelled in 1492 fled to Portugal, where they eluded persecution for a few years. The divisions among Sephardim and their descendants today are largely a result of the consequences of the Royal edicts of expulsion. Both the Spanish and Portuguese edicts ordered their respective Jewish residents to choose one of only three options: 1. to convert to Catholicism and therefore to be allowed to remain within the kingdom, 2. to remain Jewish and to be expelled by the stipulated deadline, or 3. to be summarily executed.

=== History of the Jews in Brazil

here have been Jews in what is now Brazil since the first Portuguese arrived in the country in 1500, notably Mestre João and Gaspar da Gama who arrived in the first ships. A number of Sephardic Jews immigrated to Brazil during its early settlements. They were known as "New Christians" (Conversos or Marranos — Jews obliged to convert to Roman Catholicism by the Portuguese crown). The history of the Jews in Brazil is a rather long and complex one, as it stretches from the very beginning of the European settlement in the new continent. Although only baptized Christians were subject to the Inquisition, Jews started settling in Brazil when the Inquisition reached Portugal, in the 16th century. They arrived in Brazil during the period of Dutch rule, setting up in Recife the first synagogue in the Americas, the Kahal Zur Israel Synagogue, as early as 1636. Most of those Jews were Sephardic Jews who had fled the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal to the religious freedom of the Netherlands. In his The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith attributed much of the development of Brazil's sugar industry and cultivation to the arrival of Portuguese Jews who were forced out of Portugal during the Inquisition The Portuguese Inquisition expanded its scope of operations from Portugal to Portugal's colonial possessions, including Brazil, Cape Verde, and Goa, where it continued investigating and trying cases based on supposed breaches of orthodox Roman Catholicism until 1821. As a colony of Portugal, Brazil was affected by the 300 years of repression of the Portuguese Inquisition, which began in 1536.

'History of Northeastern Brazil'

The Northeast Region of Brazil was the first area of discovery in Brazil, when roughly 1,500 Portuguese arrived on April 22, 1500. In the mid-16th century, settlers from Spain and Portugal, Olinda and Itamaracá founded Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves (today João Pessoa) at the mouth of the Paraíba do Norte River. By the mid-16th century, Portuguese colonists were already settling in significant numbers, mainly along the coastal regions of Brazil. During the 17th century, most Portuguese settlers in Brazil, who throughout the entire colonial period tended to originate from Northern Portugal, moved to the northeastern part of the country to establish the first sugar plantations. From 1630 to 1654 the Dutch and controlled a long stretch of Northeastern Brazilian coast. In 1648-49 the Luso-Brazilians defeated the Dutch in the first and second battles of Guararapes, and gradually recovered the Portuguese colonies of Brazil. Of Brazil's twenty-six states, it comprises nine: Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia, along with the Fernando de Noronha archipelago (formerly a separate territory, now part of Pernambuco). Chiefly known as Nordeste ("Northeast") in Brazil, this region was the first to be discovered and colonized by the Portuguese and other European peoples, playing a crucial role in the country's history .It was the stage for the first economic activity of the country, namely the extraction and export of pau Brasil, or brazilwood. Brazilwood was highly valued in Europe where it was used to make violin bows (especially the Pau de Pernambuco variety) and for the red dye it produced. Nordeste's dialects and rich culture, including its folklore, cuisines, music and literature, became the most easily distinguishable across the country. To this day, Nordeste is widely recognized for its history and culture, as well as for its beautiful natural sights and its hot weather.

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Memories: 6
Enter a personal reminiscence or story.
My name is Jônatas Ricardo de Oliveira, from Araçatuba, São Paulo state, Brazil. I'm descendant of the Oliveira family on my father's and my mother's part. Information about our family can be found in a very interesting book: "Dicionário Sefaradi de Sobrenomes" (written in Portuguese) at More information about Oliveira family is found at According to the family's tradition, the Oliveiras are a Levite family that first settled down in Girona, Catalunia, prior to the 70 C.E. destruction of Jerusalem. They were originally from Ramatayim Tzofim (today Rantis, West Bank), about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. It is said that we belong to the clan of Samuel, the prophet, that is, the Izharite family, levites. At first, the family's identification was Levy. Then it changed into BENVENISTE. From Girona they moved to Oliva Cavia, Spain, and then to north of Portugal. There, according to genealogical data, they changed their surname to OLIVEIRA, because it is quite an acronym, that is, oLiVeYra (Oliveira) for Levy. Oliveira means "Olive tree" in Portuguese, and Izhar (Yitzhar), the family's patriarch, son of Qehat, son of Levy, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, Izhar in Hebrew means "pure olive oil". The surname Oliveira was really appropriate to remind them of their roots. This is explained in the section "articles" at and literature demonstrating the data are shown there. Here in Brazil we are not Jews, we are Christians. There are several stories related to Inquisition and Oliveiras being forced to convert themselves to Christendom. Although most Brazilian Oliveiras are Christians, many have been preserving Jewish habits unaware, learned from grandparents. At least in Brazil, we are sure about our Jewish roots. May 11, 2009
posted 29 Jan 2019 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
I grew up in the interior of Brazil. i find myself thinking and missing that time so very much. Those memories I will carry with me till I die. It is so different from here (USA) First of all it is very warm. The skies are so blue and clean. In the month of May: my favorite time , especially after it rains, late in the afternoon; it leaves a special kind of feeling of peace and tranquility. When the wind use to blow at the trees I use to think that they were smiling at each other. At night the sky was so full of stars.

I also remember when we had lots of rain at night the next day the rivers were so full of water, that we couldn't wait to go swimming. I often wonder how I could have grown-up in a place that didn't have electricity or running water in the house. We had to go get the water from wells. I suppose telling this to people here they wouldn't understand, because of the way we live there. There, we could live without a lot that here we couldn't. It has been fourteen years since I've been there. It's quite far from where my parents live now. It takes at least four hours from , São Paulo, the state where my parents reside now. My son is twelve years year old when he is a little bit older I would love to take him there and spend time with him, so he will get to know my roots. The only part of Brazil that my son knows is , São Paulo. , São Paulo is very much like New York City. I guess that despite the fact that I had no material things such as television, car, telephone etc., when I was growing-up I still wouldn't want to have lived any other way. The love my parents had for me and the way I felt for my brothers and sisters is what keeps me up at night sometimes missing and wishing that I could go back and be eight years old again. An Essay written for GED English Exam by Bernadete de Oliveira Bailey -October 1990

posted 1 Jun 2017 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
Originally the term Sertão referred to the vast hinterlands of Asia and South America that Lusitanian explorers encountered. In Brazil it referred to backlands away from the Atlantic coastal regions where the Portuguese first settled in South America in the early sixteenth century. In modern terms, "sertão" refers to the semi-arid region in Northeastern Brazil comprising parts of the states of Alagoas, Bahia, Pernambuco, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Maranhão, Piauí, and parts of northern Minas Gerais. the sertão is distinctive in its low rainfall compared to other areas of Brazil. This has caused extreme famines among subsistence farmers in the region. Geographically, the sertão consists mainly of low uplands that form part of the Brazilian Highlands.
posted 13 Feb 2017 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
The Oliveira linage was began by Dom Pedro de Oliveira (Oliveira is the Portuguese word for Olive Tree) The Oliveira family estate is in Arcos of the Valderez Region of Portugal. From there branched the family during very early Brazilian history.
posted 13 Feb 2017 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
The Bandeirantes, or flag bears, were the men of colonial Brazil who pushed back the frontiers of Brazil westward and into the interior of the country. Most were of mixed Portugese and Indian blood. They ventured far into the Brazilian interior, search for gold and more slaves. They were violent, rapacious and cruel, killing native Indians and Jesuit Missionaries alike. However without them there would have been no modern Brazil. Today the Bandeirantes are revered as the true founders of Brazil and have become the country's first folk heroes
posted 13 Feb 2017 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
This word Sertão arose frequently in the conversation drifting back from the men at the fireside... There could be no expression more evocative, more meaningful then Sertão. "Backlands", "wild country", the unknown forest, hill, valley, river hidden by the mist of creation. Place of thorn and desert; brutal land without end. Sertão was all these things and more. It started not beyond the next rise or across the river ahead but deep within the soul. A call to paradise or to hell. ... Always it carried the hope of a mountain of emerald, reflected in the heavens piled with rocks of gold in the shape of the crown, the spear and the nails of Christ,enchanted lakes of good and valleys of Silver.

From: Brazil by: Errol Lincolin Uys

posted 9 Feb 2017 by Lawrence Bailey   [thank Lawrence]
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What wonderful memories! Thank you for sharing Lawrence. I wish you all the best in your research.

Mindy Silva

posted by Mindy Silva
Paraíba is a coastal state, one of the most densely populated in Brazil, South America. Named after the river of the same name, Paraíba is a popular tourist destination as well as an important epicentre for industry. It is acclaimed for its beautiful beaches, pleasant climate and cultural and geographical diversity. Paraíba occupies a total area of 56 584.6 square kilometres or 21 847.4 square miles and is home to approximately 3.9 million people. João Pessoa is its capital city and the home of many of its most popular attractions and activities.. The whole of the South American region that is today known as Brazil was initially occupied by semi-nomadic tribes that depended on the land and earth for their survival. These were hunter-gatherers and farmers. Then, halfway through the 1500’s, European explorers made their way to this part of the world, which was still a mysterious hideaway at this time. Portuguese settlers founded Filipéia de Nossa Senhora das Neves (which is now known as the capital, João Pessoa). This was situated at the mouth of the Paraíba do Norte River and was conveniently located for transport and access to water.

When it was discovered that this region yielded extremely fertile sugar plantations, the different European entities of France, Portugal and Holland (or the Netherlands) began to fight over it. The Dutch powers became a substantial threat to Portugal, who managed to retain supremacy in the country.

posted by Lawrence Bailey