1852: The Debut of a Replacement Lighthouse in Brazil

January 18, 1852

A new version of Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse in southern Brazil first went into service. (At the time, most of the territory comprising the present-day Federative Republic of Brazil was instead part of the Empire of Brazil.) This lighthouse is specifically located on a sandy strip between the Lagoa dos Patos (the largest lagoon in Brazil and the largest coastal lagoon in all of South America) and the South Atlantic Ocean.   

The original Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse made its debut on December 1, 1820, just a couple of years before Brazil declared its independence from Portugal and became an empire. By 1827, Emperor Dom Pedro I of Brazil was receiving requests to replace that lighthouse with a more stable structure. After several years, a new lighthouse was finally built for that location. This second incarnation of Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse was first lit on August 2, 1842.

Only five years later, work on yet another version of Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse was commissioned in London. This cylindrical cast iron tower was the one ultimately inaugurated as the third and final version of Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse in 1852. Antonio Caetano Ferraz, who served as the captain of ports in that section of the Empire of Brazil, played a key role in having that prefabricated lighthouse installed after it had been shipped from England.  

The current Barra Rio Grande Lighthouse remains in operation today. It is managed by the Brazilian Navy. This 102-foot (31-meter)-tall lighthouse has the distinction of being the oldest cast iron lighthouse in South America.

Photo Credit: MAGRAO30 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

For more information on lighthouses in southern Brazil, please check out https://www.ibiblio.org/lighthouse/bra.htm

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