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Sao Paulo

Brazil facts & history in brief

Sao Paulo is the capital of the state of Sao Paulo.
It lies in south-eastern Brazil, about 386 kilometres from Rio de Janeiro and is Brazil and South America's largest city and leading commercial and industrial centre, with over 20 million people in the metropolitan area.
In 1554, Jesuit missionaries from Portugal founded Sao Paulo as an Indian mission on a plateau 760 meters above sea level, 72 km from the coast, as their mission centre for early settlers and the Indians who inhabited the area.
It began to grow and prosper in the mid 1800s due to the nearby coffee plantations.
The plantations first used African slaves.
After the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, Asians and Europeans went to Sao Paulo State to work on the coffee plantations.
Many later moved to the city.
Later the coffee growers invested much of their profits in industries in Sao Paulo and in the 1900s it became Brazil's major industrial centre.
The Tiete and Pinheiros rivers flow through the city.
Santos on the Atlantic Ocean, 48 kilometres from Sao Paulo serves as the city's port.
Wide avenues and unusually designed skyscrapers give the city a modern appearance, though a chapel built in 1554 and a few old churches still stand.
The centre of the city's business district is called the triangle.
This name comes from the 1500's, when three mission buildings that stood in the area were connected by paths that formed a triangle.
Sao Paulo has many parks, the largest is the beautifully landscaped Ibirapuera Park.
A monument to the pioneers of Sao Paulo stands at the entrance to the park.
The nearby Santo Amaro lake area is a popular recreation area.
Many sports events are held at Sao Paulo's Morumbi and Pacaembu stadiums.
Sao Paulo faces many problems associated with a rapid population growth, as many homes have neither running water nor sewerage service.
Other problems include air pollution, overcrowding, and traffic congestion.
A rapid transit system opened in 1974.
People of Sao Paulo are called Paulistas.
Most of them have ancestors who emigrated from Germany, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, or Syria.
Some Paulistas have African or American Indian ancestry.
Since the 1930's, emigration from other countries to Sao Paulo has decreased, but migration from other areas of Brazil has increased.
About 350,000 Brazilians move to Sao Paulo annually.
These people come to the city largely because it has more jobs and higher wages than other areas of Brazil.
Most of the city's people are Roman Catholics.
Poverty is a serious problem in Sao Paulo despite the city's prosperity.
Many families live in slum areas called corticos, which consist of many shacks jammed together.
The large-scale migration to the city intensifies the problem of poverty.
Most people coming to the city lack job skills, and many cannot find employment there.
The University of Sao Paulo, which has about 44,000 students, is the largest university in Brazil.
The city is also the home of Holy Catholic and Mackenzie universities.
In addition, Sao Paulo has a college of medicine, a college of political science, and several fine-arts schools.
Sao Paulo's museums include institutions of art, folklore, forestry, history, Indian culture, and zoology.
The city produces more than half of Brazil's chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and textiles, plus more than 75 per cent of the country's electrical equipment, machinery, and rubber goods.
Sao Paulo ranks as the leading Brazilian producer of motor vehicles.
Other important products include cement, clothing, footwear, furniture, plastics, and processed foods.
Nearby rivers provide Sao Paulo's industries with hydroelectric power.
Roads and railways link Sao Paulo to agricultural areas and to other Brazilian cities.
Two international airports serve the city.
Nearly half of Sao Paulo's workers are employed in the construction or manufacturing industries.

We joined one of the city sightseeing tours in Sao Paulo as we usually do.
During our tour we visited practically all the city's sights, like the city's downtown, (The Metropolis), the commercial, financial and industrial centre of Brasil, the Statue of the Bandeirantes, (Early, courageous, but often brutal explorers, marking the territories and boundaries of the Portuguese Empire as they searched for gold, emeralds, and other precious stones).
Other sights included was the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (with it's large collection of priceless art collection), the Cathedral, the City Hall and many other old churches and other buildings.

You can click on these photos for an enlargement.

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