Fortaleza Santa Cruz da Barra


As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

    • Explain the need for the creation of the fort
    • Differentiate between fact and fiction

    Discussion Question(s)
    • What was the purpose of the Fortaleza Santa Cruz da Barra?
    • How is the legend of Lais and Iracema related to the fort?

    Materials Needed

    Related material also on this website

    • Power Point, Fortaleza Santa Cruz.ppt
    • “Lais and Iracema:The Legend,” Lais-Iracema Story.pdf

    Set Up and Introduction
    • Ask students about forts in their area, that they know about, or that they’ve visited. (Ex. Pittsburgh names of forts – Fort Duquesne, Fort Pitt.)
    • What was their purpose?
    • Were they used during any wars? Or just as a deterrent?
    • Are they still standing? In ruins?

    1. Locate Brazil and Rio de Janeiro on a map of South America.
    2. Have students describe the land features at Rio. (It is located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is at one side of the Guanabara Bay. Niteroi is the city on the other side of the bay.)
    3. Using the power point lesson, discuss the background of Santa Cruz.
    4. What was the purpose of the Fortaleza Santa Cruz da Barra? Why? (It was to protect the Guanabara bay from intruders: Also the cities of Niteroi and Rio were built within the forts limits)
    5. Was it strategically placed? What makes you think so? (Yes, it was placed at the mouth of the bay to spot anyone on the Atlantic before they came into the bay. The cannons could also stop any enemy ships.)
    6. In small groups, read the legend of “Lais and Iracema.”
    7. Discuss it with questions such as the following, first in groups and then as a class.
      1. What were the names of the two people in love? (Lais and Daniel)
      2. · Why were Lais and Daniel not allowed to love one another? (Lais’s father was racist and did not like mulattos.)
      3. What did Lais’s father want for her? Why would he want her do do that? (Her father wanted her to mary a second-lieutenant; possibly for a better life.)
      4. How did Lais and Daniel meet? Does that sound like it really could have happened? (They met on the base where he was a corporal artilleryman. They are always around one another and Lais is a very beautiful young woman. It is realistic that they would have met.)
      5. What is the issue between the girls? (Lais was imaginative and in love and Iracema was trying to bring her back down to earth. Secretly they were in love with the same man.)
      6. Who caught the lovers? What happened to them? (Major Simones, Lais’s Father caught them; he shot Daniel to death.)
      7. What did Lais’s father think? (He thought that Daniel kidnapped her from the house and was trying to rape her.)
      8. How does Major Oliveria figure out the case? (He finds the love poems between the two hidden in Lais’s luggage.)
      9. What does he believe really happened with Simoes? (He realizes that the Major knew his daughter was in love with Daniel and that they were secretly seeing one another, so he devised a plan to end the relationship and save his daughters honor.)
      10. What did Lais do on page 20? What are they trying to describe to you in the text? (Answers may vary due to interpretation.)
      11. What does Iracema’s poem on the last page indicate? (Answers may vary due to interpretation.)
      12. What is a legend? (A story coming down from the past; that is popularly regarded as historical although not verifiable; it often includes some exaggeration.)
      13. In what way is this story a legend? (It is based on fact, but all of it cannot be verified.)
      14. Why were the girls buried in the Chapel? What do you think is the real life significance? (Answers may vary due to interpretation.)
    8. What leads you to believe that the legend could be true? (Both of the girls were buried in the chapel and it was not unlikely for a girl to fall in love with a soldier; Answers may vary)
    9. Is it important that the legend takes place at a fort? Explain. (Answers may very due to interpretation.)

    Extending the lesson:

    • Students write their own legend based in Brazil.
    • They can research other forts in Rio de Janeiro or other parts of Brazil.

    Assessment and Wrap Up
    Write a short essay about one or both of these topics:
    • Why was Fortaleza Santa Cruz build? Explain a time early in Brazil’s history when it would have been needed.
    • Explain why “Lais and Iracema” is a legend. Use specific examples from the text to support your answer.