||Ponta do Xaréu
first settlers in the region were the Tupiniquin Indians. They lived from
the land, with hunting, fishing and agriculture. The Portuguese colonizers
arrived in the region around the 1530's , and developed sugar cane plantations.
They brought with them the Jesuits to demarcate the territory and introduce
the harvesting of sugar cane, which did not prosper in the region due
to constant attack from the Aimores, Indians from the inner region that
had a tradition of war.
The most important monument build by the Jesuits was the church of São
Miguel, in 1718. After the church was constructed, the settlement began
to be called São Miguel da Barra do Rio de Contas, The direct influence
of the Jesuits in the region occurred until the beginning of the 18th
century. The biggest inheritance left by them was the Catholic religion.
In the early 19th century, with the beginning of the cocoa cycle, there
was a great economic development in the region. The enrichment of landowners
exporting cocoa to Europe, created the figure of the 'colonels' (landowners).
This richness is displayed in the dwellings and left-overs (old wooden
shacks), striking characteristics of colonial architecture which can still
be observed today.
In the golden age of the cocoa beans, known at that time as "Black
Gold", Itacaré was the grand center of exportation in the
south region of Bahia. With the decline of the cocoa culture, the region
lived trough a period of economic stagnation that lasted until a few years
ago when tourists began to discover the region's natural enchantments.