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Sao Paulo , Brazil » City Info » History

Sao Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and Latin America. The city holds about 20 million inhabitants. Sao Paulo has a long and interesting history.

Founded by Jesuit missionaries, Manoel da Nobrega and Jose de Anchieta on January 25 1554, the city of Sao Paulo remained a small local backwater venue for almost three centuries. However, Sao Paolo served as a base for slave-trading groups known as Bandeirantes. These Bandeirantes followed Jesuits to enslave Indians for cane plantation work. The Bandeirantes explored many mines of precious metals and stones as well as the unknown land of today’s western Brazil. Several monuments in honour of their contribution to the city can be found in Sao Paulo.

The addition of new settlements in this vast and fertile plateau eventually made Sao Paulo a state. In 1711, Sao Paulo officially got the status of a city. During the 18th century, the city continued to be the centre of all types of activities. The abolition of slavery in 1888 carried out some changes in the social life but the 19th century brought huge changes in the economic developments of the city. Instead of cane plantation, the coffee culture started in the middle of the 19th century which was responsible for the flourishing economic prosperity.

Sao Paulo started to transform from a commercial village into a large and powerful city. Several public gardens, European fabric stores, bookstores and restaurants were established in the city. In 1914, the state of Sao Paulo was home to about 2 million immigrants. However, at the beginning of the 20th century, the decrease in coffee prices in the international market affected the city's coffee based economy, which led local farmers to invest their money in industrial developments.

The boom in the industrial sector of the city attracted a large number of Europeans, Japanese, Syrian, Lebanese and a huge number of migrants from the poorest regions in Brazil.

The service industry also flourished in the late 20th century and city became home to a large number of local and international banking offices, law firms, multinational companies and consumer services.

Despite many obstacles, the city of Sao Paulo never lost its importance and retained its position of the most important commercial centre of Latin America. Today, Sao Paulo city is a hub for all types of activities in Brazil.