District of the Santa Rita County, on the Brazillian State of Paraíba, that covers the communities of Forte Velho (headquarters), Ribeira, Capimaçu and Tambauzinho. Before the conquer of Paraíba, the entire estuarine region of the Paraíba river and the Mid-North coast of Paraíba was part of the hunting and gathering grounds of Potiguara Indians. During that time, the coast of Paraíba was visited by many French corsairs that, becoming allied of the Potiguara, extracted the valuable redwood from the forests in the region.
Forte Velho is located at the outfall of the Paraíba river, on the banks of the waterway that separates Restinga Island from the Santa Rita County. It is one of the oldest villages of the Paraíba State and its history confounds itself with the State’s history. Its population is 533 people. The Forte Velho economy is based on fishing, agriculture and occasional tourism done by vessels that connect, daily, the warehouse of Cabedelo’s city to this district.
Forte Velho village was founded by Spanish general Diego Flórez de Valdés, on 1584, building there the first fort destined to aid the conquer of Paraíba (Saint Philip’s Fort), that occurred one year later, in 1585. Valdés had authorized powers by the Spanish Crown that, at the time, extended its domain over Portugal and its colonies, in reason of the Iberian Union and, in reason of that, he made Forte Velho an alcayde and trusted the trading post – before returning to Europe – to the infantry captain, Francisco de Castrejón, his patrician.