Paulo was founded by the Jesuits in 1554, on a plateau 2,493
feet (760 meters) above sea level, but only 45 miles (72 km)
from the coast, as a mission center ( Patio do Colegio - as
the area today is called) for early settlers and the indians
who inhabited the area.
For a long
time it remained a small town. Around 1850 it began to grow
and became richer thanks to the highly productive coffee plantations
in the state. Later on, the income from coffee exports and
the increasing population provided capital and manpower for
the foundation of an industrial base.
Today it is
the industrial and financial center of Brasil generating over
30% of the GNP.