When we left Sao Paulo we headed south to Curitiba and Florianopolis. I don’t remember much about Curitiba except that it was said to be the cleanest town in the country. At the end of the 17th century, Curitiba’s agriculture was only for subsistence and its main economic activities were mineral extraction. Waves of European immigrants arrived after 1850, mainly Poles, Italians, Germans and Ukrainians.
But Florianopolis was a very beautiful town by the sea. Seemed to be a European town rather than a Brezilian one. Carijós Indians, a Tupi people, were the first inhabitants of Florianópolis area. The traces of its presence are verified through archaeological sites and sambaquis dating up to 4000 years ago. The Indians called the place Meiembipe or “mountain along the channel”.
Around 1514 the Portuguese landed and gave the area the name Ilha dos Patos, but in 1526 it was renamed Ilha de Santa Catarina (Saint Catherine Island).
The official settlement of the island began in 1673 with the arrival of bandeirante Francisco Dias Velho’s agricultural company and it continued in 1678 with the construction of a chapel consecrated to Nossa Senhora do Desterro. At this time a villa began to take form, slowly becoming a colonial settlement.
To guarantee its domain the Portuguese Crown elevated Santa Catarina Island to the category of village in 1714 with the name of Nossa Senhora do Desterro and already in 1726 they promoted it again, now to the category of town.
From this date on Vila do Desterro and mainly the port began to have a strategic function because it was situated halfway between Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, possibly two of the largest seaside cities of South America at that time. For this reason in 1739 the Capitania da Ilha de Santa Catarina was created and Desterro became its capital. Soon the most expressive seaside defensive ring of Southern Brazil started to be built.
With the coming of the Captaincy the population began to grow, but the great population growth happened between 1747 and 1756 with the arrival of about 6,000 settlers coming from the Archipelago of Azores and from Madeira Island. The development of the agriculture, the cotton and linen industry and the commerce followed the Azorean occupation. In 1823, during the monarchy which ended in 1889, Desterro became the Capital of Santa Catarina Province opening a period of prosperity with many urban works and also intense political organization.
We continued to Porto Alegre, the last big town before Uruguay.
The official date of the foundation of the city of Porto Alegre is 26 March 1772 by Manuel Sepúlveda. The village started in 1752, when 60 Azorean couples were brought over by the Treaty of Madrid in order to set up Missions at the Northeast Region of Rio Grande do Sul that was handed over to the Portuguese Crown in exchange for the Sacramento Colony located on the margin of the Plata River.
On 24 July 1773, Porto Alegre became the capital city of the province, when the administration of Manuel Sepúlveda officially started. In 1824, immigrants from all over the world started arriving, especially German, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Jewish, and Lebanese. This mosaic of diversity in appearance, ethnic origin, religions and languages is what makes Porto Alegre, nowadays with nearly 1.5 million inhabitants, a cosmopolitan and multicultural city. The city is an example of diversity and plurality.
Some pics along the way :