1 Reply Latest reply on Oct 20, 2020 10:45 AM by Rebecca Collier

    Seeking records of Fortaleza Harbor & Mucuripe Harbor

    Lucas Macedo Lopes Newbie

      Hello there!  I am currently doing research about the transformations of the Fortaleza shore and now I am digging about the time that Americans came to Fortaleza during WWII. My focus is to identify the changes in the harbor of the city and its shore. During WWII, Fortaleza had one old harbor and, during WWII, it was constructed a new one at Mucuripe Bay (where there is a Lighthouse), near to Fortaleza.


      The point is, I read in one Brazilian book that the US built the fuel tanks of the harbor and finalized the Mucuripe Harbor construction, but I do not have more evidence to confirm that. What I recently found is this excerpt of the book "Building the Navy's Bases in World War II  Volume II (Part III) Part III: The Advance Bases Chapter XVIII Bases in South America and the Caribbean Area, Including Bermuda":


      “Fortaleza. - When construction of Navy installations to support the operation of two blimps and six patrol bombers was started at Fortaleza on April 14, 1943, the program provided for a paved runway, 5,000 feet by 200 feet, and housing and fueling facilities for the Army. Naval construction, accomplished by a management contract let by the District Army Engineer, required nine months for completion. In addition to personnel facilities, a helium-storage building, four fuel tanks with a total capacity of 20,000 gallons, a paved parking area, a nose hangar, and a blimp take-off mat were constructed. All facilities were used to capacity after completion. The Fortaleza base was decommissioned in June 1945”.


      Do you have any idea where I can find any documents; maps; reports about this topic? Also, where can I request photographs of the city of Fortaleza and its Harbor during this time?


      I found out that USS Chain; USS Caris; USS Barnegat; USS Goff; USS Humboldt; USS Lapwing; USS Matagorda; USS McDougal; USS Patoka; USS PC-591; USS PCE-844; USS PCE-870; USS Rehoboth; USS Sandpiper; USS Saucy; USS Seneca and; USS Thrush navigate to/from Fortaleza and anchored here (maybe there is more or one above is wrong). Also there was the construction on an Airbase here (PICI Field). If you know any other ships that were here, I would be very glad. Thank you a lot for your time and attention.

        • Re: Seeking records of Fortaleza Harbor & Mucuripe Harbor
          Rebecca Collier Ranger

          Dear Mr. Lopes,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 15 series pertaining to Brazil and 4 file units relating to Mucuripe in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (Record Group 38) for the 1940s. We also located 4 series in the Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State (Record Group 84) that includes the U.S. Consulate at Fortaleza, Brazil in the 1940s. Next, we located the Naval Property Case Files, ca. 1941 - 1958 in the Records of the Bureau of Yards and Docks (Record Group 71); 1 series & 2 files units in the Records of Naval Operating Forces (Record Group 313); and 2 series in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers (Record Group 77) that include Brazil. For access to all of these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email at archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Lastly, we located the series Records Relating to the Airport Development Program, 1942 - 1946 in the Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers (Record Group 77) that includes Brazil. For access to all of these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Cartographic (RDSC) via email at carto@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT2 & RDSC. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!


          [Some information provided by Nate Patch, Subject Matter Expert]