This area was very productive since pre-Colombian times, as the archeological evidence clearly shows. Many of the local “hills,” up to 30 m high, are, in fact, middens, where people in the many villages tossed out their oyster and mussel shells, along with other trash, and which accumulated over thousands of years.
The Caiçara, the name for the earlier inhabitants in this coastal region, owe their origins to the mix of Native Americans, Africans and Europeans that all came together here. Canoe manufacture, artisanal fishing, forest extractivism, local farming and local crafts all form parts of this rich local culture. Regional folklore is nowhere represented more than in the Caiçara Fandango, which is a festive, musical-coreographed expression only found in this region, even if the original Fandango comes from the Iberian Peninsula. It is now registered as a “Cultural Wealth – Non-material Brazilian Heritage.”
Another traditional cultural group, but typically in the more mountainous regions, is found in the Quilombos. These descendants of African slaves that escaped bondage, they adapted their African heritage to local conditions and developed both a local culture and a unique way of living within the American tropical forest.