Delmiro Augusto da Cruz Gouveia –

Brazilian nationalist businessman born on the Boa Vista farm, municipality of Ipu, Ceará, pioneer in the introduction of social benefits for workers, known as the king of the hinterland in the Brazilian Northeast, for his wealth, philanthropy and courage in challenging the economic power of the English in the North East. Of humble origins, he was the illegitimate son of a farmer and cattle dealer, Delmiro Porfírio de Farias, who had died in the Paraguayan War, and Leonilda Flora da Cruz Gouveia. From a poor family, he had to work early to support himself and help his mother and at the age of 19, he moved with her to the city of Goiana, in Pernambuco and then to Recife. He was a ticket agent at the Olinda station of the urban train called maxambomba, also working at the Apipucos station, in the Recife neighborhood, and also worked as a barge dispatcher. Interested in buying and selling leather and skins from goats and sheep, he went to the interior of Pernambuco, where he married (1883) Anunciada Cândida de Melo Falcão, in the city of Pesqueira.

He initially worked as an intermediary between producers of goat skins, sheep and ox hides spread throughout the northeastern hinterland and foreign traders based in Recife. He later worked for Keen Sutterly & Co., of Philadelphia, and became manager of its branch (1892). The following year, when the head office went bankrupt, he bought its offices in Recife and founded Casa Delmiro Gouveia & Cia (1896). He joined the firm of LH Rossbch, Brothers of New York and, with their financial support and purchasing stations spread throughout the Northeast, he became rich and became known as the King of Furs. He moved on to other ventures and urbanized the neighborhood of Derby, in Recife, where there were only mangroves, opening streets, building houses and a large model market like no other in Brazil, the Mercado Coelho Cintra (1899), burned down (1900), renovated ( 1924) and today the headquarters of the Military Police of Pernambuco, and built a sugar refinery that became the largest in South America.

Authoritarian and with a difficult temperament, as he grew richer he created more enemies, especially among Pernambuco politicians, which led him to separate from his wife (1901) and take refuge in Europe for a year. Back in Brazil, the following year he ran away with a teenager, Carmela Eulina do Amaral Gusmão, settling in Vila da Pedra, a town about 280 km from Maceió, today Delmiro Gouveia, close to the São Francisco River, in the Alagoas hinterland. (1904), and returned to the fur trade. It was a village made up of half a dozen shacks around a terminal on the railway that linked Piranhas to Petrolândia, through which one train ran every week. With financial support from the Rossbach brothers, he joined forces with two Italian partners, Lionelo Iona and Guido Ferrário, founding the firm Iona e Cia., based in Maceió. Skins and hides were taken to Pedra from the states of Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Bahia and Sergipe, where they were treated and baled. They went by train to Piranhas, went down the São Francisco River to Penedo and by sea to Maceió, from where they were exported to the United States.

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In a short time he recovered financially and traveled several times to Europe and the United States, where he learned about the new industrial revolution caused by the use of electrical energy. When he discovered the Paulo Afonso waterfall, he had the idea of ​​carrying out a large project there and brought a group of American engineers and investors (1909-1910) to design and build a large hydroelectric plant, which would generate enough energy to illuminate and supply Recife and a large agro-industrial enterprise on the lands around the waterfall, in areas of Bahia, Alagoas and Pernambuco to be acquired by the company. However, the governor of Pernambuco, Dantas Barreto, became suspicious of the enormity of the project and he was forced to reduce the dimensions of the project. With the support of the Rossbach brothers, he organized the Cia. Agro-Fabril Mercantil and with German and Swiss turbines and generators, he installed, in one of the falls of the Paulo Afonso waterfall, Angiquinho, on the Alagoan side of the river, a hydroelectric plant that it generated 1,500 HP, with a voltage of 3 KV. Personally, he chose, in England, machines from the Dobson & Barlow industry, for a factory, Cia Agro-Fabril, which began (1914) the production of sewing threads for lace and embroidery, raw cotton threads and cords in skeins. , waxed threads and gummed ribbons for wrapping. This industry had revolutionary characteristics, in the social field, with a workers’ village, medical assistance, school and cinema.

This venture, however, began to harm the British monopoly in the sector, as with the beginning of the First World War, their products became scarce on the market and Pedra production, the Estrela brand, soon became known for its quality and resistance and obtained immediate acceptance. Producing more than 20 thousand spools per day, the Estrela lines conquered Brazil and entered the markets of Argentina, Chile, Peru and other Andean countries. The English company Machine Cotton, producer of Linhas Corrente, reacted by registering (1916) the Estrela brand in Chile and Argentina, forcing the Brazilian product to be repackaged with its labels changed, and then tried to buy the Pedra industrial park. Pressured and irreducible, he resisted the proposals to buy the factory and ended up being mysteriously murdered in Vila de Pedra (1917), a municipality that now bears his name, at the age of 54, on the terrace of his house, a crime that was never clarified.

After his death, Machine Cotton carried out criminal dumping by selling its lines at half the production price, under the passive eyes of the Brazilian government, for long enough for the factories installed in the country to be liquidated. Under the complacency of the Washington Luis government, the Pedra factory complex ended up being sold (1929) in Paislay, Scotland, at the headquarters of Machine Cotton, for 27 thousand pounds, followed by its destruction with sledgehammers by a team of specially hired demolitionists ( 1930) and the wreckage of the English machines installed there, transported in carts pulled by ox teams and thrown down the cliff of São Francisco, about 20 km away from Pedra. THIS YES! IT IS A SHAME IN THE HISTORY OF BRAZIL! PORTRAIT OF THE ETERNAL SUBSERVIENCE TO WHICH WE WILL BE SUBJECTED! (See more in Delmiro Gouveia – Uma Fábrica no Sertão:

Figure copied from FUNDAÇÃO JOAQUIM NABUCO page