“A NOBLE PAST”
The Chapada Imperial is a private ecological reserve, created in 1999, within the limits of the “Two Brothers” farm, which had been preserved since 1985.
This farm, very possibly, was originated from an old sesmaria*, as many other properties were in this region.
Following the time line, the oldest farm’s document is the Parish Register, from 1858. At that time notary service were absent in the area. The parish, in the figure of the vicar, was the place to register land owners.
In 1888, the farm owner was Ana Agostinha de Alcântara. She inherited the farm from her father, Pedro José de Alcântara and mother Carolina Josepha Leopoldina. The emperor of Brazil was D. Pedro and his wife was D. Leopoldina, thus namesakes of these owners. Besides this coincidence, there is another detail: Pedro José de Alcântara possessed large amounts of land, from Vale do Paranã to Corumbá – Goiás.
The José de Alcântara’s fourth generation descendants still live in the region up to this date. They reside in the “Jacaré” (Alligator) farm on highway DF 250. This farm was dismembered from the original land (sesmaria) and is located close to the “Two Brothers” farm.
At the end of XIX century, other important events took place. In 1892 the famous Cruls commission visited the proximity of the farm. They came by the emperor’s D. Pedro I request, to research the region in order to prepare for the Brazil’s new capital construction, as whished José Bonifácio de Oliveira.
THE CRULS COMMISION
The commission installed a few towers to analyze the terrain while they researched the area. One was built in Sobradinho, in the region’s highest point. Another one was built inside the “Two Brothers” farm, which is the same location where the former Telebrasilia tower stands today.
THE COLUMN PRESTES
In 1924, another historic event was the Column Prestes passage in the region. According to old local resident’s oral testimony, the column divided at the point of Palma river bedside. This complements history researcher Paulo Bertrand. One group went down the river following the horse trail along the river and came out where is today highway DF 250, attacking the local farms, as well as the “Jacaré” farm. A second group, lead by lieutenant Siqueira Campos, went by the watershed, today highway DF 220. Their objective was to stray federal forces. They passed by the entrance of Chapada Imperial, went to Vendinha and attacked the “Curralinho” farm, property of Cardoso de Oliveira’s family. At the same time, Prestes and the main column headed straight to where highway DF001 is today, towards the direction of Macacos region, GO.
THE NEW TIMES
Since then the “Two Brothers” farm has witnessed the creation of Brazlandia city, GO (1933), and become part of its rural area. Then Brazlandia became part of DF with the creation of Brasilia, in 1960. This resulted in endless invasions and squatting.
In 1986, agrarian lawyer Dr. Francisco Manoel Côrte Imperial, acquired the farm. There were around 17 squatter groups and “grileiros”, invading the land for cattle ranchers. They transformed the cerrado in pastures, introducing exotic vegetation such as Braquiaria grass. Also they would cut noble wood such as angico, aroeira, peroba among others.
For over ten years, Dr. Imperial fought in court for reintegrating the invaded areas on the farm borders.
The squatters claimed their share, invading the farm twice in the 90’s, and there was a great loss. They cut the trees of the cerradão, today almost extinct, at the farm’s entrance. Also some species of animals such as emas and veados campeiros disappeared.
At the end of the 90’s, the farm’s problem was solved with reintegration of land, done in court, keeping the original borders.
After repeated invasions, Chapada Imperial was created in 1999 as a necessary response for sanctuary preservation. There was an urge to alert the community around it, Brasilia and DF, for the possible loss if the aggression did not stop. Chapada Imperial since then has been a model of preservation in private property.
The “Two brothers” farm, in summary, witnessed the passage of Bandeirantes, tropeiros, the Cruls Comission, the Prestes Column, and the settlement growth in the region. It suffered invasions and squatting. The farm today is a place to remember the past history while working towards making a difference in the future. The sanctuary Chapada Imperial preserves the knowledge and the nature itself for the future generations.