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
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
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.
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
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
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.
migration to the city intensifies
the problem of poverty.
Most people coming to the city
lack job skills, and many cannot find employment
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
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
Sao Paulo ranks as
the leading Brazilian producer of
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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