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Last Updated on:
March 16, 2004


Rio de Janeiro

     Rio de Janeiro was discovered on January (Janeiro in Portuguese) 1, 1502 by Portuguese navigators who mistook the entrance of Guanabara Bay for the mouth of a river (rio in Portuguese). Sixty years later because French traders in search of pau-brasil (Brazilwood) were routinely "visiting" the area, the Portuguese crown established the city of Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro (Nowadays known only as Rio de Janeiro).
Rio de Janeiro - Guanabara Bay

After 2 years of bloody conflict the French were expelled and settlers began to cultivate the surrounding fertile lands.
     In the beginning of the 18th century the city's importance and population increased immensely as it became the main shipping port for gold and diamonds that came from the state of Minas Gerais. In 1763 the colonial capital of Brazil was transfered from Salvador, Bahia to Rio de Janeiro.

Brazil Map - Rio de Janeiro
Copacabana View

     In 1808, as Napoleon's armies began the invasion of Portugal, the decision was made to transfer the monarch and his court to Rio de Janeiro, where he would remain until 1821. During this time Brasil was elevated in status from a colony to United Kingdom of Brazill.

     After the independence of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro became the capital of the new empire. The city prospered economically, and by 1891 it had a population of over 500,000 inhabitants ranking it one of the largest cities in the world. As the city grew in prominence mountains were removed, bay water reclaimed, and skyscrapers constructed.


Sugar Loaf (Back) & The statue of Jesus


More Pictures

Guanabara Bay (Back) & Statue of Jesus Statue of Jesus Rio de Janeiro


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