History - Sao Paulo, From Past to Present
At an altitude of 750 meters/ 2,460 ft, with a pleasant climate compared to steaming Rio de Janeiro, Jesuits founded a mission in 1554 named after Saint Paul: Sao Paulo.
In the first decades of the
history of Sao Paulo, the local economy was dominated by the cultivation of sugarcane.
However, it was not even near of the importance of this crop in the north of Brazil, like cities of Salvador and Recife/ Olinda.
The foundation of Sao Paulo -
By Brazilian painter Antonio Parreiras, 1913
It took more than a century when suddenly the Sao Paulo settlement grew rapidly after gold was found in nearby Minas Gerais. Sao Paulo became a base camp for gold diggers, slave traders (bandeirantes) and outlaws. However, the city of Sao Paulo itself hardly benefited from the gold rush: the minerals were transported straight to Rio de Janeiro and from there shipped to Europe.
Coffee, Sao Paulo's 'Gold'...
|Finally, in the 19th century Sao Paulo got its very own precious ‘mineral’: coffee.
coffee boom, Brazilabolished slavery in 1888 and the vacant plantation jobs in the Sao Paulo area were taken over by a large number of fortune-hunting Europeans.
This resulted in the fact that Sao Paulo was already a metropolis at the start of the 20th century.
The city of Sao Paulo grew even bigger when more Europeans tried to flee from economical malaise at home. Italians, Germans, Poles, Russians, Spaniards and also Japanese came to Sao Paulo in order to find labour and prosperity in the coffee industry. At last, in 1929 Sao Paulo was faced with its own economical crisis after the international coffee trade had collapsed.
From the 1930s, Sao Paulo became Brazil’s epicentre of boosting the industry. Under
the dictatorship of Getulio Vargas, Brazil was crammed to play an important global role and Sao Paulo should be its powerhouse.
waves of European immigrationhad stopped, but from the 1950s the domestic migration to Sao Paulo had been skyrocketing. Many poor people, first from Minas Gerais, later also – and especially - from Northeastern Brazil, were attracted by the ever increasing number of factory jobs and work in construction of Sao Paulo’s skyscrapers.
European immigrants arriving in Santos, Sao Paulo's port - First decade 20th century
In three decades time the Sao Paulo population had quadrupled, with about 8.5 million around 1980, making it the largest city in Brazil. At the start of the 21st century, Sao Paulo is the most prosperous city per capita in Brasil after Brasília and Sao Paulo has the country’s largest middle class population. Nevertheless, there are still enormous
social and economic contrasts in the metropolis of Sao Paulo...
More on the history of Brazil