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Barra, Bahia (Brazil)

Last modified: 2017-05-31 by ian macdonald
Keywords: bahia | barra |
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Barra, BA (Brazil) image by Joseph McMillan

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About the Flag of Barra

The flag of Barra is from
Dov Gutterman, 26 February 2002

About the Municipality of Barra

Digging more into the site reported by Dov, I find that Barra was founded in 1694 as a Capuchin mission called Capela de São Francisco das Chagas da Barra do Rio Grande do Sul." This Rio Grande do Sul is obviously a different "Big River of the South" than the one after which the state is named. I can't figure out what "chagas da barra" would mean. Anyway, in 1753 the settlement became Vila de São Francisco da Barra do Rio Grande do Sul, then later, in succession, Cidade Florescente da Barra do Rio Grande, Barra do Rio Grande, Cidade da Barra, and now simply Barra.
Joe McMillan, 26 February 2002

Chagas da Barra means nothing. São Francisco das Chagas, though, is the name of a saint. Chagas means "ulcers", a kind of permanent and infected wounds that are related to the five wounds of Jesus Christ [i.e., the stigmata]. Barra designates a particular kind of river mouth, often (mis)used to designate any kind of river mouth short of a delta. So, the original name of the place could be translated as "Chapel of Saint Francis of the Wounds of the Mouth of the Big River of the South."
Jorge Candeias, 26 February 2002

So chagas is the Portuguese word for the stigmata, and that means São Francisco das Chagas is St. Francis of Assisi--not surprising, since the Capuchins who founded the place are a subspecies of Franciscans. Barra makes sense, as the town is located where the Rio Grande flows into Rio São Francisco.
Joe McMillan, 26 February 2002