Rio de Janeiro’s industrial area icon, Bangu is commonly associated with it’s high temperature and the penitentiary complex next doors. But the history of this really carioca suburb reveals it´s pioneer of football and a high quality textile production. It is told by the historical register that the dismembered lands of the Campo Grande parish gave birth to Fazenda Bangu (Bangu Farm), which had it’s production based on sugar, alcohol, firewater and rapadura in the middle of 18th century. Initially connected to Santa Cruz by the Jesuit Path, after the Royal Highway, those properties were definitively prosperous with the D, Pedro II railroad construction, in the middle 19th century. In 1889, the Empire last year, the purchase of the land by the Companhia Progresso Industrial do Brasil (Brazil’s Industrial Progress Company) quickly modified the rural ambient to an industrial configuration neighborhood. Ever since then, everything worked in conjunction to the Fábrica de Tecidos Bangu (Bangu’s Fabric Factory): the Vila Operária (Worker’s Village), the church, the Atlético Clube, the train station, even the Carnaval associations.
The industry was so fundamental to Bangu as the british who founded it were precursory to the football development in Brazil – some researchers give credit to the factory employee Thomas Donohoe for the introduction of the modality to braziliansm in 1893. Some decades later, while managed by Guilherme da Silveira Jr., aka Silveirinha, the factory acquired recognition as a fashion sponsor, thanks to the businessmen articulations with culture, social and political local development. With the textile production in decline and the factory sale, the shopping mall took it’s place as the Rio de Janeiro’s west zone integrator.
Image: João C. Horta