Rio Grande - Queen of the Sea
On the day that the Eclesiastical calendar reminds Peter’s kathedra seat, who left Antioquia and arrived in Rome to start Cristianity preaching, Martin Afonso de Souza would have a trustful fleet in order to expell the French corsairs out of the Brazilian Coast and go until the south of Rio da Prata’s estuary and found population nucleous, achieved the navigation close to the Coast, discovering several faults and folds, including the mouth where the Lagoa dos Patos reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Due to this fact having happened on the same day of the Church Saint, the found area has started to be called Rio Grande de Pedro and to differ it from another river wich was called the name it has been called Rio Grande de São Pedro.
In 1680 Portugal founded Sacramento Colony by the left shore of Prata estuary, across from Buenos Aires. Due to the fact it was the only acess offered to the navigation in the continuous Coast close to the mouth called Rio Grande de São Pedro, the pioneer nucleous should be estabilished there, where Portugal aimed to spread the population, comolidating the possession of the land, giving advantage to its servants to infiltrate alonggide the lagoon. Therefore, Portugal has quickly achieved the possession of the continent, wich cattle raining, wich has ocupied large land extentions. With the possession, a religious assistance was necessary nad trough the August 6th 1736 Law, Freguesia de São Pedro was criated, fulfilling the whole territory.
Establishing fortifications to implant the Portuguese Loyalty in the region on February 19th, 1737, Brigadeiro José da Siva Paes with sea and war men disembarked in the south shore of Rio Grande de São Pedro. The official begginning of the colonizattion in the region happened when the first temple in the first fortress was built, named as Presidio. Brigadeiro José da Silva Paes has named the place as Jesus, Maria José. Between the Rio Grande canal and Saco da Mangueira waters the constructions of a fort in order to depend the Presidio of any attacks.
Soon enough the Freguesia has been transformed into a village, having an importance the impulse given by the colonists coming from the Açores and Madeira Islands that arrived here in the 1750 s. Having its boarders unchecked in 1751 the village has named Vila do Rio Grande de São Pedro. In 1760 due to its growth, Rio Grande which was submitted to Santa Catarina Captainy started to be the Capital of the new Administrative Organization, called Capitania do Rio Grande de São Pedro.
In 1763 the vila was occuped by Spanish people, after constant fights with Portugal that in 1776 reconquered the vila, thanks to the action of Sargent-Mor Rafael Pinto Bandeira. In 1835, Vila do Rio grande de São Pedro started being called Cidade de Rio Grande. Due to the Farroupilha Revolution, Rio Grande went back to being the capital of the province, because the transfer of the govermment headquarters happened,. Treatened by the Farroupilha Imperial to our town.
Rio Grande has grown and the first Deputy Chamber of Rio Grande do Sul was criated on December 17th, 1761, the first Commerce Chamber of the State and the fourth oldest one in the country (September 27th, 1844).
Still nowadays Rio Grande remains the facades of many buildings (Rio-Grandense library), founded on August 15th, 1864. It is the oldest cultural institutions of the state, being recognized as the witness of the Portuguese pioneer action. It has a memorabilia of more than 400 thousand volumes, keeping pieces which have a significant historical value, which refer to the Paraguay war and Rio Grande do Sul history.
OLD GENERAL HEADQUARTERS BUILDING - in a neoclassical style, it was built in 1894. Nowadays it is used by the Planning and Coordenation Departament and by the Juridical Procuracy of the city.
CUSTOM HOUSE BUILDING – built in 1875, ordered by Emperor Dom Pedro II, nowadays it is used by the Rio Grande Custom and there is the City Museum. And on Luiz Loréa street there is a painting of it, regardin Agueda City, Portugal. It remembers the strong culture of the Portuguese Colonozation. This can be sen and comproved in the architeture, even in the cuisine, religion, arts and craftsmanship.
SÃO PEDRO CATHEDRAL – built in 1755, in baroque style, it was tilted Historical Patrimony , also are the corpses of the hero Rafael Pinto Bandeira and of the first Bishop of Rio Grande, Dom Frederico Didonet and of governor Sebastião Xavier da Veiga Cabral da Camara.
CONCEIÇÃO CHURCH – was built in two phases.It started in 1872 the second phase was the extension that started in 1888 and finished in 1890. The building is in neo-gotic style, under the neomanuelino variant. (Manuel I King of Potugal).
NOSSA SENHORA DO CARMO CHURCH - built in neo-gothic style, in this facade there are many stained-glass windows, gothic vaults and three ogival doors.
Nowadays the city has 200 thousand inhabitants approximately. About its location, the city is in the south coasting prairie. It has sand soilanol coasting shoal. There are the limits: in the north it is Pelotas city and the Lagoa dos Patos, in the south it is Santa Vitória do Palmar city, in the east it is the Atlantic Ocean and the channel of Rio Grande, and the west it is Pelotas city, Arroio Grande city and the Mirim Lagoon.
It can be found a rich biodiversity of each environment in many ecosystems, because it presents huge combination of natural resources . Taim Reservation Area, also known as “Taim swamp”, it is an ecologicstation, where many animals like capybaras, Brazilian otters, coatis, ducks, seagulls and many others live. The Reservation Area is used as a study center of the migratory birds. Besides the lakes and the swamps there are the fig trees forest.
THE GREEN LAGOON AND THE BOLAXA AND SENANDES STREAMS are preserved areas in the urban zone of the city. In this places a huge wild comunity of animals live.
ECO-MUSEUM – (old Pólvora Isle, where it used to be the powder magazine of the Army). It is a preserved natural area with a rich vegetation and migratory birds.
CASSINO BEACH – the largest beach in extension in the World. It’s 240 Km approximatlly, from Rio Grande channel to Chuí city. It’s considered one of the most important beaches of Rio Grande Sul State.It has about 15 thousand innhabitants in the low season. This number goes over 100% in the high season, that is the summer (from December to March), When the population gets about 200 thousand inhabitants.
To get to the oldest city of the state, you can come from Porto Alegre ( the capital city) by Br 116 road, going south 262 km to the neighbour city Pelotas, then you get to Br 392 and go more 58 km to Rio Grande. Or from Chuí city, by Br 471 road, you go for 244 km to Rio Grande.
The economy of the city is linked to the port activities.
RIO GRANDE HAS THE ONLY SEAPORT OF THE STATE – It’s considered a modern and lively international port of deep sea water, designated to be the mainload por of Mercosul. It has a complete operational substructure, with specialized terminals, propiating the connection of Rio Grande do Sul state, Brasil and the Mercosul countries. It opperates with the biggest shipowners of the world offering destiny to the most important national and international ports, because of its exceptional geographic location and the deepest port of the South Atlantic Ocean. Also there are the fertilizers production, the petroleum refining, the commerce and the fishing.
The city has elemmentary and high schools and a University. There are five private schools and almost one hundred public schools, where about ten professional courses are offered to the studensts of the city and region.
RIO GRANDE FEDERAL UNIVERSITY (FURG) – is a educational entity that promotes research and high instruction level. It also offers thirty graduation courses, doctorate and master degree and specialization courses.
THE SOUTH ATLANTIC COLLEGE – Offers Business Administration and International Commerce courses to the city comunity.
Also, in Rio Grande there are the 5º Navy District, the 6º GAC (Army), the 6º BPM (Army) the Ipiranga Petroleum Companies ( the refinary was the first company to refine petroleum in Rio Grande do Sul State).
THE CHANNEL IN CASSINO BEACH - (formed by two arms of stones and rocks that enter the ocean, and its main object is to keep the channel deep for navigation, and also work as a breakwater. It’s considered one of the biggest engineering works in the 19th century, and it offers a ride in a handcar with a cloth sail, that goes on propelled by the wind).
It is also one of the cities that form the “sweet coast”, the biggest waters in the world. It’s formed by Lagoons: Mangueira, Mirim and Patos.
Historical city, the origin of the state colonization, it’s the city of the oldest brazilian soccer team club, the “E. C. RIO GRANDE”.
Its museuns and historical buildings, the peculiar ecosystem, the Taim Reservation Area (so near), the Cassino beach, and other atractions, let Rio Grande be the main tourist pole of the south of Rio Grande do Sul State.