Location/Culture Reports

Location Report Brazil

St. Paul is known as one of the "Twin Cities" in Minnesota, along with Minneapolis. An oasis of culture in the American Midwest, the area is known for its art, cuisine....


You meant the Saint Paul in Brazil?

TAR has left the country? Hallelujah!

São Paolo, Brazil

"Here I first saw a tropical forest in all its sublime grandeur-nothing but the reality can give you any idea how wonderful, how magnificent the scene is." - Charles Darwin, on Brazil

Setting: I have no first-hand knowledge of Brazil, but my in-laws did meet there in the Peace Corps, so I've seen numerous faded, slightly blurry slides of the Brazilian countryside. Founded by Portuguese Jesuits in 1554, São Paolo developed rapidly as an industrial and commercial center during and after the 1880s, and is now the most populous city in South America. With a population of approximately 10 million in the city itself, and with more than 18 million in the greater area, São Paolo is among the top three largest metropolitan populations on the planet.

São Paolo or San Paolo? Sort of like the whole Turin/Torino debate of late, "San Paolo" is just an Americanized version of "São Paolo". They are one in the same.

History: Brazil's history is largely dictated by immigration, sugar, immigration, coffee and immigration. Did I mention immigration?

For more details, see:

In addition to its wealth of discovered and undiscovered flora and fauna, the Amazon is home to many diverse traditional and indigenous human populations.
Climate & Nature: Covering an area larger than the entire continental United States and containing the largest tropical forest in the world, the Amazon River Basin harbors nearly one-third of the world's species and contains nearly one-quarter of the earth's fresh water. In addition to its wealth of discovered and undiscovered flora and fauna, the Amazon is home to many diverse traditional and indigenous human populations. Recent migrations into the Amazon and large-scale burning of forest areas have brought international attention to the region. The government has been implementing numerous new laws to protect the environment, with some success. For example, the Tietê River was once a source of freshwater and recreation for São Paulo. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, along with its tributary, the Pinheiros, it became severely polluted by raw sewage and industrial effluents. A substantial clean-up program for both rivers has met with some success.

The People: With its estimated population of 186 million people, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America and is fifth largest in the world. The majority of people live in the south-central area, including the industrial cities of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. Urban growth has been rapid; by 2005, 81% of the total population was living in urban areas. This growth has improved economic development but also has led to difficult social, security, environmental, and political problems in the major cities.

In particular, traffic, crowded conditions and street crime have become a large problem for a city that was founded long before transportation was a major planning consideration. A few executives have started taking helicopters to work to avoid the congestion, crime and potential kidnappings. Some analysts see this increasing use of helicopters to be a sign of the increasing divide between the wealthy and poor in a very divided society. The wealthiest 10% of the population control 50% of the wealth, while the poorest 10% control less than 1%, leading to a huge dichotomy and social instability.

Many major ethnic groups make up the Brazilian population: the Portuguese and Italians, who colonized Brazil in the 16th century; Africans brought to Brazil as slaves; various other European, Middle Eastern, and Asian immigrant groups who have settled in Brazil since the mid-19th century, particularly Lebanese and Japanese; and indigenous peoples of Tupi and Guarani language stock.

To a degree unparalleled in most of the American colonies, the Portuguese settlers frequently intermarried with both native inhabitants and African slaves, and there were also mixed marriages between the Africans and Indians. Consequently, Brazil's population is mixed to a greater degree than anywhere else. Most Brazilians have some combination of European, African, AmerIndian, Asian, and Middle Eastern lineage, and this intermingling of cultural legacies is a notable feature of current Brazilian culture.

Interesting tidbit: Brazil's most famous son is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known as Pelé. He was not only a legendary soccer player, but was Brazil's first black government minister and has been knighted by the British queen. During his 22-year career he played 1363 games and scored 1282 goals.

The Nature Conservancy
São Paolo tourist page