Europeans first encountered Guanabara Bay on January 1, 1502 (hence Rio de Janeiro, «January River») by a Portuguese expedition in Pedro Álvares Cabral’s fleet. The region of Rio was inhabited by the Tupi, Puri, Botocudo peoples.
Between 1555 and 1567, the territory was busy with the Frenchmen, who intended to install a colony, France Antarctique. Aiming at to prevent the occupation of the Frenchmen, in March 1565, the city of Rio de Janeiro was established by Estácio de Sá.
In the late 17th century, still during the Sugar Era, the Bandeirantes found gold and diamonds in the neighboring captaincy of Minas Gerais, thus Rio de Janeiro became a much more practical port for exporting wealth (gold, precious stones, besides the sugar) than Salvador, Bahia. In 1763, the colonial administration in Portuguese America was moved from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro.
The city remained primarily a colonial capital until 1808, when the Portuguese royal family and most of the associated Lisbon nobles, fleeing from Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal, moved to Rio de Janeiro. The kingdom’s capital was transferred to the city, which, thus, became the only European capital outside of Europe.
When Prince Pedro I proclaimed the independence of Brazil in 1822, he decided to keep Rio de Janeiro as the capital of his new empire. Rio continued as the capital of Brazil after 1889, when the monarchy was replaced by a republic.
Until the early years of the 20th century, the city was largely limited to the neighborhood now known as the historic Downtown business district. The city’s center of gravity began to shift south and west to the so-called Zona Sul (South Zone) in the early part of the 20th century. The Copacabana beach natural beauty, combined with the fame of the Copacabana Palace Hotel, the luxury hotel of the Americas in the 1930s, helped Rio to gain the reputation it still holds today as a beach party town. In 1960 the capital of Brazil was officially moved from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the top 5 most beautiful cities in the world and nicknamed «The Marvelous City» by Brazilians. The city is situated on the south — east coast of Brazil, at the inlet of Guanabara Bay, surrounded by green mountains with the statue of Christ the Redeemer embracing the city on one side and the blue crashing waves from the Atlantic ocean on the other.
A trip to Rio de Janeiro would be not complete without heading up Sugar Loaf Mountain by cable car, where you have a panoramic view of the city or a obligatory visit to the statue of Christ the Redeemer, one of the seven New Wonders of the World and Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmark.
In Rio there are many beautiful beaches like Copcabana beach, Ipanema, Leblon, where you will find entertainment and sport areas, excellent hotels, bustling nightlife, sophisticated shopping opportunities and quality restaurants, all within walking distance of each other. Copacabana is known by their white and black boulevard, also for their fabulous New Year party, where each year 2,5 million people celebrates all night a New Year at the different shows and events along the beach.
At Carnival, you will be swept away by the Carioca spirit as they learn to samba, decked out in improvised costumes as they dance through the streets behind Carnaval bands and groups. Rio de Janeiro is famed throughout the world for the splendor and extravagance of its Carnival and attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators.
Rio de Janeiro will host many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup games, the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Not far from Rio de Janeiro you can visit the beautiful beaches of Buzios and Angra dos Reis with its amazing tropical fordlike coastline.
Rio is incomparable for its people who invite everyone to share the CARIOCA spirit.
Excursions in Rio de Janeiro
Fishing in Rio de Janeiro