The oldest whipping post in the country

Across the bay from São Luís is the hamlet of Alcântara. It has the dubious distinction of being the home to the oldest pelhourinho in Brazil.

A pelhourinho is a pillar, typically erected on the central town square, which slaves were tied to, to be publicly flogged; every slave driver’s favourite pastime. So, it’s a whipping post.
For some reason, the former Portuguese colonies have left many of their pelhourinhos standing, almost as a kind of threat, perhaps?

The municipality is also home to a rocket launching center, but that is not getting too much action, even if it’s geographical location, nearly on the equator, is convenient.

The town itself is simple, but clearly manages to survive well enough, though in part that’s because it’s actively being developed as a one-day tourist destination. It’s prominent ruins betray a grander past.

Driving around the bay is not really an option, but possible. The ferry takes some 90 minutes, on choppy waters, but, perhaps depending on the tides, only gives you some two hours in the settlement.

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