Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (S. America)
What Makes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Interesting?
At a Glance
Area: 1,221 km2 (486.5 sq mi)
Population (2014): 11,616,000
People Are Called (Demonyms): Carioca
Time Zone: UTC−2, UTC−3
GPS Coordinates: 22°54′30″S 43°11′47″W
Gross Domestic Product (2008 GDP): R$343 billion (nearly US$201 billion)
What’s in the Name?
The city was named São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, in honour of St. Sebastian, the saint who was the namesake and patron of the then Portuguese Monarch D. Sebastião. It also means “January River.”
The region of Rio was historically inhabited by the Tupi, Puri, Botocudo, and Maxakalí peoples.
1502 — a Portuguese expedition first encountered Guanabara Bay.
1555 — Villegagnon Island is occupied by 500 French colonists.
1565 — the city of is founded.
1763 — the city became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire.
1801 — became the chosen seat of the court of Queen Maria I of Portugal.
1810 — the King Portugal built the National Library of Brazil, the largest in all of Latin America.
1815 — promoted to the designation of kingdom within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarves. 1822 — the War of Brazilian Independence began.
1840 — the first Carnaval was staged as a masked ball.
1889 — the city became the capital of a republican Brazil.
1905 — the streetcar transit system is consolidated and electrified.
1930s — the city gained the reputation as a beach party town (which it still holds today).
1960 — Brazil’s capital was moved from Rio to Brasília.
1960-1975 — Rio existed as a city-state under the name Guanabara State.
1975 — a Presidential decree known as “The Fusion” created the State of Rio de Janeiro.
1985 — 1.5 million people attended the initial Rock in Rio concert.
2016 — the city will host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
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• Feature, Star Tribune: “Rio de Janeiro Ups its Game for the 2016 Olympics”
• A complete archive of curated articles is forthcoming on this destination (see page on Dhaka, Bangladesh for the model).
Rio has a Tropical savanna climate that closely borders on a tropical monsoon climate. The city is often characterized by long periods of heavy rain from December to March. Breeze along the coast moderates the temperature. The city is often reached (especially during autumn and winter) by cold fronts advancing from Antarctica. This causes frequent weather changes. In summer, strong showers can provoke catastrophic floods and landslides. The city has had rare frosts in the past. Some areas within the state have falls of snow grains and ice pellets. There was a recent tornado-like phenomenon or the first time in the region’s recorded history (2011). The World Meteorological Organization has advised Brazil (especially its southeastern region) to be prepared for increasingly severe weather occurrences in the near future. Temperatures range from 25°C / 77°F in July to 30.2°C / 86.4°F in January/February.
The services sector comprises the largest portion of GDP (65.52%). This is followed by commerce (23.38%), industrial activities (11.06%), and agriculture (0.04%). The city benefits from its long period ad capital (1763–1960), when she became a dynamic administrative, financial, commercial and cultural center. The industrial sector is made up of oil refineries, shipbuilding industries, steel, metallurgy, petrochemical, gas, chemical, textile, printing, publishing, pharmaceutical, beverages, cement and furniture. The Campos Basin yields most of the total oil production of Brazil. Rio de Janeiro is the second largest exporting municipality in Brazil (2014). She exports a total of $7.49B (USD) worth of goods. The top three goods exported are crude petroleum (40%), semi-finished iron product (16%), and semi-finished steel products (11%). The city also ranks second nationally in industrial production. The services sector dominates the economy, with banking and the second most active stock market in the nation, the Bolsa da Valores do Brasil. The city is second in financial and services (trailing only São Paulo). Rio is home to major entertainment and media organizations (like Organizações Globo) and some of Brazil’s major newspapers (Jornal do Brasil, O Dia, and Business Rio). Tourism and entertainment are the other key aspects of the economic profile.
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After Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822, the city quickly developed a European-style bourgeois cultural life. This included several newspapers that published 19th-century novels in serialized form. A Moreninha by Joaquim Manuel de Macedo (published 1884) was perhaps the first successful novel in Brazil. It inaugurated a recurrent 19th-century theme – a romantic relationship between idealistic young people in spite of the cruelties of social fortune. The Biblioteca Nacional (National Library of Brazil) ranks as one of the largest libraries in the world. It is also the largest Latin American library. It was erected by the King of Portugal in 1810. As with many of the city’s cultural monuments, the library was originally off-limits to the general public.