In a previous entry I mentioned some interesting points of historical interest in the city of Santana do Cariri. I just received the pictures from my friend Cicero, and so now I can tell you about them.
For me, the most interesting part of our time in Santana do Cariri was the mansion pictured below.

Front of Mansion

It belonged to one Coronel Felinto da Cruz Neves. Felinto was born in Juazeiro, but came to Santana do Cariri–where his family owned pretty much everything–at an early age. He entered politics and was elected mayor of the town five times.
As we toured his home–now a museum run by the city–we came upon a trap door.

Trap Door Closed

Our guide explained that the trap door led to underground chambers that served to protect the owner and others in the city.
At that time political rivalries were often settled with guns. Powerful “coroneis” would hire the services of bandits–called “cangaçeiros”–to attack a pillage the towns of their rivals. Coronel Felinto built his house to serve a fortress in the event of such attacks. It served this purpose often.
Upon receiving word of an attack from his chief rival (who happened to be his cousin) he, his family, and the townspeople would gather in the basement of his home.
The basement also contained a large space which served as the dormitory for Felino’s own “cangaçeiros”.
Let’s examine the front of the house a little more closely:

Gun Holes

Those round holes are gun portals. When under attack, the defenders would shoot at the enemy from those holes.
Coronel Felinto was elected a sixth time as mayor, but his victory proved fatal. He was shot shortly after the election results were known. His wife, Generosa, assumed office–thus becoming the first female mayor in the state of Ceará and the second in all of Brazil.
Another item of interest is that this happened in 1936, a year before our first missionary arrived in this region.