2010 - Today

2013 // Where’s Amarildo?

(Cadê Amarildo? Protesto na Rocinha, Aug/2013 by Fernando Frazão, via Brasil de Fato)

The resident Amarildo Dias de Souza, age 47, disappears after being detained by military police and taken to the UPP headquarters. The case becomes a symbol of abuse of power and police violence.

2012 // UPP and PAC

The UPP is installed with 700 military police officers, an administrative headquarters, eight bases and about 80 surveillance cameras. The Acceleration and Growth Program (PAC) also installs projects in the favela, among them the Passarela da Rocinha (a footbridge designed by Oscar Niemeyer), the Parque Ecológico (Ecological Park), and the Biblioteca Parque (Park Library).

2011 // Police occupation

(Photo by Tânia Rego/ABr, via Wikimedia Commons)

Police forces occupy Rocinha with the installation of the Pacifying Police Unit (UPP), a public safety policy targeted at areas controlled by drug traffickers.

2010 // Largest in Brazil

The IBGE census names Rocinha the largest favela in Brazil. Its population is greater than that of 70% of Brazilian cities.

2000 - 2010

2008 // Right to memory

The group Pró-Museu, dedicated to preserving residents’ memories and stories of the region, consolidates various organizations into the Museu Sankofa Memória e História da Rocinha (the Sankofa Museum of the Memory and History of Rocinha).

2007 // Cultural heritage

The First Cultural Forum of Rocinha engages residents about sociocultural issues. The objective is to highlight and preserve the memories, stories, and cultural heritage of the favela’s residents.

2003 // Thinking about favelas

The book Thinking About the Favelas of Rio de Janeiro: 1906-2000, by Licia do Prado Valladares and Lidia Medeiros, is released. In the book, the authors find that Rocinha is Rio’s most-researched favela over the course of the 20th century.

2003 // Ecological interests

(Rocinha Road, via Wikimedia Commons)

City Hall sets aside 82.21 hectares as an Area of Relevant Ecological Interest (ARIE). This area includes parts of São Conrado and Rocinha. The purpose of this action is to preserve local plant and animal life, restore the growth of native vegetation, and develop environmental education.

2000 // Growing commerce

(Mercado Popular da Rocinha, photo by Vanessa Uliana)

Research by the Commercial and Industrial Association of the Neighborhood of Rocinha indicates the accelerated growth of local commerce, identifying more than 1,250 commercial points in the favela.

The 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's

1990s // Traffic and gambling

Drug trafficking and gambling intensify as membership in residents’ associations falls.

1995 // Containing steep hillsides

The Geotechnical Institute of the City of Rio de Janeiro (GEO-Rio) builds containment structures on Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain) after detecting fractures in the rock that threaten Rocinha with rockslides and soil slippage..

1993 // Rocinha becomes a bairro (neighborhood)

Rocinha is officially designated a bairro (neighborhood), but this new status does not bring with it projects to improve infrastructure or basic sanitation.

1992 // Safari in the favela

Tourism in Rocinha rises with the introduction of the favela tour, in which tourists ride through the favela in trucks similar to African safari vehicles.

1991 // Deforestation

Under pressure from real estate speculation and high rents, residents come to occupy 25,000 square meters neighboring the Tijuca Forest. Because of their proximity to the forest, the occupants call their area Vila Verde (Green Village).

1989 // First bank

Rocinha receives its first bank branch, installed by the Bank of the State of Rio de Janeiro (Banerj). By 2016, there will be just three bank branches in the entire favela: Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, and Caixa Econômica.

1982 // CEDAE water spigots

CEDAE (the state water company) installs 15 public water spigots throughout Rocinha in response to community demands. Residents, however, consider this action insufficient, and double down in their campaigns for basic sanitation.

1977 // Women in power

A group of women assumes leadership of the Pro-Improvement Union of Rocinha Residents. Women come to lead important local movements, including collective organizations advocating for the cleanup of Rocinha’s open sewers and campaigns for the construction of a footbridge over the Lagoa-Barra highway. The footbridge will be completed in 1978.

1971 // Túnel Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Tunnel)

The tunnel linking Gávea to São Conrado through Morro Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers Mountain) is completed. The Lagoa-Barra highway will later facilitate the city’s westward expansion.

1968 // Light

Residents demand the right to the legalization of electricity, challenging the city’s Light Commission, which holds a monopoly over Rio’s production and distribution of electricity.

1966 // Landslides

Summer rainstorms ravage areas across the city. In Rocinha, landslides kill numerous people, destroy families’ homes and belongings, and cause displacements and removals. Environmental tragedy also occurs in 1967, 1996 and 2010.

1964 // Neighborhood of the displaced

Construction begins on the planned neighborhood Cidade de Deus (City of God), in Rio de Janeiro’s West Zone, in order to house the people removed from different favelas across the city. Many Rocinha residents will be removed and resettled in Cidade de Deus.
First half of the 20th century

1947 and 1949 // Leão XIII (Leo XIII) and ASPA

The Fundação Leão XIII (Leo XIII Foundation), a Catholic group, installs itself in Rocinha and begins offering assistance and social services to residents. Another Catholic organization, ASPA, develops social, cultural, and religious programs, including a community daycare.

1944 // Expropriation

The Diário Oficial (Official Gazette) expropriates the region of Rocinha. This decision will be reversed the following year.

1938 // Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Our Lady of the Good Journey)

The Castro de Guidon family donates a plot of land in Rocinha to the Nossa Senhora de Paz Church in Ipanema. The friar Pedro Sinzig decides to build the chapel and school Nossa Senhora da Boa Viagem (Our Lady of the Good Journey), which comes to offer medical and psychological assistance to residents.

1933 // 1,447 huts

The first census documents 5,910 buildings in the constituency of Gávea. Of these, 1,447 are huts in Rocinha. The favela is still rural in appearance, with scattered homes made of wood or earth.

1930 // Change of command

The Castro de Guidão bank declares bankruptcy and the Cristo Redentor Company, owned by Hermando Barcellos, assumes management of the land in Rocinha.

1930 // The “baratinhas” (“little cockroaches”)

Paved and illuminated by streetlights, the Estrada da Gávea (Gávea Highway) comes to compose part of the Gávea Circuit, an automobile racecourse. The racecars are nicknamed “baratinhas,” or “little cockroaches.” The S-curve in Rocinha is considered one of the most dangerous curves in the world of automobile racing.

1920 a 1937 // Irregular land allotment

(Map via Museu Sankofa archive)

Neglecting to build the minimal infrastructure required by City Hall, the Castro de Guidon family sells plots of land to low-income buyers. The street names designated during the land allotment give origin to the modern-day regions of Rua Um, Rua Dois, Rua Três, and Rua Quatro (Street 1, Street 2, Street 3, and Street 4).

1910 // Fazenda Quebra-Cangalha (Quebra-Cangalha Farm)

The farmer Manoel Fernandes Cortinhas sells the Quebra-Cangalha Farm to Luiz Catanhede in order to settle a debt owed to the Castro de Guidão bank. The farm, which produces coffee, cattle, and sugarcane, extends all the way from Alto da Gávea to São Conrado, including all of what is now Rocinha. The farm is then acquired by the Castro de Guidon Real Estate Company, owned by a family of Portuguese origin.

1900 // Industrial Gávea

The neighborhood is transformed by the arrival of the textile and shoe industries. Many workers begin to occupy free housing in the areas surrounding the factories. Read more here (in portuguese).
Pre 20th century

1890 // Population growth

The abolition of slavery in 1888 and the expansion of transportation systems increase the flow of migrants arriving in Gávea and Alto da Gávea, where a vast settlement of huts begins to materialize.

Before 1888 // The quilombos

Runaway slaves live together in quilombos, or fugitive communities. High-elevation parts of Gávea (what are now Dionéia and Laboriaux) become pathways to freedom for these runaways. Many make their way to the Quilombo das Camélias (Camellias Quilombo), the region’s largest, located in modern-day Leblon. Read more here (in portuguese).

1870 to 1890 // Streetcar line extension

(Map of the tram lines of the Botanical Garden Rail Road Company, see more here)

The Jardim Botânico Company extends the streetcar line to Alto da Gávea (Peak of Gávea). The end of the line becomes known as “streetcar turn.” The installation of electric streetcars increases the flow of people in the region.

1850 – Land Law

(Rio de Janeiro by Alessandro Cicarelli Manzoni, 1844. Via Wikimedia Commons)

A legislative change establishes purchase as the only method of obtaining ownership of public lands, ending land tenure systems.