This is not the tale of the Amazons that live in myth and fiction; a tribe of fierce female warriors in Greek mythology and DC Comics. This is an account of Noiva do Cordeiro, a town in present-day Brazil occupied by only women.
Noiva do Cordeiro, which translates as Bride of the Lamb is a female-only town in southeast Brazil. The town is home to about 600 residents. It is dominated and governed by women. And the women are known to be incredibly beautiful.
Some of Noiva do Cordeiro’s women are married and have families, but their husbands – and any sons over 18 – are made to work away from home and only allowed to return at the weekends.
A resident of Noiva do Cordeiro, Rosalee Fernandes, 49, says the town is more harmonious than it would be if men lived there, too.
“There are lots of things that women do better than men. Our town is prettier, more organised, and far more harmonious than if men were in charge. When problems or disputes arise, we resolve them in a woman’s way, trying to find consensus rather than conflict”, she said. “We share everything, even the land we work on. Nobody competes with anyone here. It’s all for one, and one for all.”
“The whole town came together recently to help buy a huge wide-screen TV for our community centre so we can all watch soap operas together. And there’s always time to stop and gossip, try on each other’s clothes and do each other’s hair and nails.”
The town was founded in 1891 by Maria Senhorinha de Lima, after she was banished from her village for alleged adultery. According to the legend, she simply escaped the man that she was being forced to marry. Other women joined her and were branded as loose women because of the lack of men in the community.
In 1940, an evangelical pastor, Anisio Pereira, took one of the women, aged 16, to be his wife and founded a church in the growing community.
However, he proceeded to impose strict puritanical rules, banning them from drinking alcohol, listening to music, cutting their hair or using any type of contraceptive.
When Anisio died in 1995, the women decided never again to let a man dictate how they should live. One of the first things they did was to dismantle the male-biased organised religion he had set up.
Interestingly, in 2014 the women in the town made an appeal for eligible bachelors.
One of the women, Nelma Fernandes, 23, admitted that it’s impossible for the girls – renowned in the region as strikingly beautiful – to find a would-be spouse. She said:
“Here, the only men we single girls meet are either married or related to us, everyone is a cousin. I haven’t kissed a man for a long time.”
“We all dream of falling in love and getting married. But we like living here and don’t want to have to leave the town to find a husband.”