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State of Rio Grande do Sul



This Brazilian state is located in South Brazil. It borders Santa Catarina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (E), Uruguay (S) and Argentina (W).


It occupies an area of 282 062 sq km and its capital is the city of Porto Alegre.


The state’s most populous cities are: Porto Alegre, Pelotas, Caxias do Sul, Canoas and Santa Maria.


The region consists of a huge valley, dominated to the north by a plateau.


Its main rivers are: Uruguay, Taquari, Ijuí, Jacuí, Ibivcuí, Pelotas and Camacuã. It has a subtropical climate.


In 1627, Spanish Jesuits began to build missions near Uruguay River, but in 1680, when the Portuguese Crown decided to take control and found the Sacramento Colony, they were expelled from the New World.


In 1687, the Portuguese Jesuits established themselves in Sete Povos das Missões. In 1737, a Portuguese military expedition took control of Mirim Lagoon.


In 1740, the first organized group of settlers arrived in Rio Grande do Sul. The group came from the Archipelago of the Azores and had the support of its government, who wanted them to go to the region where the missions were located. However, difficulties in transportation led them to stay in present Porto Alegre.


Thus, in 1742, this group of settlers founded the village of Porto dos Casais, present Porto Alegre.


The struggles between the Portuguese and the Spanish over these lands ended in 1801, when the “gauchos” (cowmen) took control of Sete Povos and incorporated them to their territory. In 1807, the region was elected to the captaincy category and in 1824 groups of Italian and German immigrants began to arrive in the area.

Cattle breeding and agriculture began to coexist, contributing to a diversification in production.

During the 19th century, Rio Grande do Sul was the stage to many federalist rebellions, such as Farrapos War (1835-45), participated in the struggle against Rosas (1852) and the Paraguay War (1864-70).


The local political disputes were instigated at the beginning of the Republic, and it was only with Getúlio Vargas (1928) that peace was restored in the state.


Nowadays, the state has a strong economy, based on agriculture (soybean, wheat, rice and corn), cattle breeding (bovine, ovine, equine and swine) and industrial activities (leather and shoes, food, textile, wood, metallurgy and chemistry).


Together with Parana, Rio Grande is considered the grain state of the country, thus being an important sustainer of Brazil’s economy. 


Rio Grande do Sul has 10 187 798 inhabitants (2000 census) and the municipality of Porto Alegre 1 360 590.


Porto Alegre

Capital of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, this city was founded in 1752 by 60 couples from the Portuguese Azores Archipelago, and was given the name of Porto dos Casais. With approximately 1 500 000 inhabitants, the city of Porto Alegre is located on the banks of the Guaiba River. Since the 19th century, with the establishment of two German centres of colonization – S. Leopoldo and Novo Hamburgo – and the construction of the first railways, which allowed the contact with the Italian colonies, Porto Alegre became, at the time, the most important centre of south Brazil.


Until the declaration of Brazil’s independence by D. Pedro I, Porto Alegre was considered the capital-village of the state. In 1822, the king elects Porto Alegre to the city category and, as recognition of its loyalty to the throne, honours the city with the title of Loyal and Valorous City, still present in Porto Alegre’s coat of arms.


The municipality’s economy is very diverse, being the sectors of service, trade, agriculture and industry the most important ones.


Municipalities in Rio Grande do Sul with Salas Açoreanas (Azorean Rooms)


Salas Açoreanas

Collections of diversified material were offered by the Azorean Government to several municipalities of Azorean origin, as a support for the development of projects aiming at the rescue, study and divulgation of Azorean culture, which call the attention to the importance of the Azorean couples to the construction of Brazil’s southern states.


This material consists of: flag and anthem of the Azores, collection of books of Azorean themes, traditional clothing, cassettes and CDs with regional songs, transparencies with the Holy Ghost festivity, traditional ceramics, maps and posters of the archipelago, cassettes and video-cassettes with landscapes of the Azores, handicraft, etc.



Founded in 1763, Gravataí is located at 20 km from Porto Alegre and has 232.447 inhabitants.

In 1772 the first land parcels were given to the first Azorean families who arrived in the area. These Azorean families changed completely the settlement’s landscape. They left a significant cultural and historical heritage which is still present in the most ancient architecture, “cavalhadas”, the Holy Ghost festivities, etc.


Gravataí is one of the most developed cities in Brazil, with a great potential of investment.




Viamão was the capital of Rio Grande do Sul between 1725 and 1735, and in 1880 was elected to the municipality category. It has today approximately 227.062 inhabitants and is located at 25km from Porto Alegre.


The city was stage to an important episode in the gaucho history: the Farroupilha Revolution.

Azorean heritage is evident in the architecture of the city, as well as in its inhabitants’ daily life.





The municipality, with a significant development, has 22.192 inhabitants and an area of approximately 823sq km. It was elected to the municipality category in 1938. Typically Azorean, the city has an infinity of historical buildings, which makes the walk to Triunfo a return to the past.


Rio Pardo

Rio Pardo was colonized by Azoreans and Portuguese mainlanders, and was elected to the municipality category in 1809. With an area of 2 185km2, Rio Pardo has 37.778 inhabitants and is located at 145 km from Porto Alegre.


Due to its cultural richness, it was classified by Rio Grande do Sul Historical Heritage.


The intense historical past of the city is still very significant, and can be seen through its architectonic patrimony: Barão de Santo Angelo Municipal Museum, built by Azorean from Terceira Island at the end of the 18th century.


General Câmara

The origin of General Câmara municipality is deeply connected with the district of Santo Amaro do Sul where in the 17th century the first Azorean settlers arrived. Its foundation dates the year 1881.


With an area of 1 046 sq km and a population of 13 000 inhabitants, General Câmara is located at approximately 75km from Porto Alegre. It is the second municipality with more listed buildings by IPHAN (Institute for National Artistic and Historical Heritage).



With a population of 24 500 inhabitants and located at 104km from Porto Alegre, Taquari was elected to the municipality category in 1849.


In 1760, the first Azorean couples arrived and established themselves in the urban area, present Taquari city.


This settlement was exclusively founded by Azoreans. The first German families arrived some years later.



With a population of approximately 11 657 inhabitants and an area of 1902sq km, Mostardas municipality was founded in 1963. It is located at about 209km from the capital.


It has a wide variety of natural resources, such as lagoons, coppices and Lagoa do Peixe National Park, a very important reservation.


Settled by Azorean couples, Mostardas still maintains the traditions of these people, which can be seen through the façades, streets, gastronomy and religion.


Capão da Canoa

Capão da Canoa municipality was founded in 1982. It has a population of 30 449 inhabitants, an area of 96,6sq km and is located at 135km from Porto Alegre.


Capão da Canoa (known then as Arroio da Pescaria) started to prosper by the year 1900, when the first ranches began to group along the coast.  


Settled by Azoreans, Capão da Canoa still maintains some Azorean traditions, such as Folias do Divino, Ternos de Reis, Pilgrimages and the Holy Ghost Festivities.



Osório municipality became independent of Santo António da Patrulha in 1857. With an area of 671,2sq km and a population of 36 240 inhabitants, it is located at 95km from Porto Alegre. Osório, first known as Conceição de Arroio e de Estância da Serra, was first settled by Azorean immigrants in 1773. Osório still has some vestiges of the Azorean influence, such as the museum and the houses.



Tramandaí was officially founded in 1732. Its settlement began on the shores of Tramandaí River. It has approximately 35 000 inhabitants, an area of 139 542sq km and is located at 122 km from Porto Alegre.

In 1906, Tramadaí was already a well-known seaside resort. It is today the largest coastal city of the north of the state, hosting every summer approximately 350 000 visitors coming from all around Brazil and from Mercosul countries. 


Santo António da Patrulha

The municipality of Santo António da Patrulha was founded by Azorean couples and still presents a rich diversity in ethnicity, with the predominance of the Portuguese. With an area of 980sq km and a population of 34 552 inhabitants, it is located at 122km from Porto Alegre. Santo António da Patrulha was elected to the municipality category in 1809, being one of the first four municipalities to be elected in Rio Grande do Sul.


In spite of Italian and German influences, the Azorean cultural heritage is very strong: Ternos de Reis, Cavalhadas, Singing Rosary, Olarai songs, Bom Jesus vigils and the Holy Ghost Festivities. All these traditions go back to the time of Azorean immigration and are still maintained in the municipality. Folklore and architecture are also a proof of Azorean colonization. Furthermore, Azorean architectonic heritage was recently protected with the creation of Santo António da Patrulha Historical Centre.


Rio Grande

The port city of Rio Grande was founded on February 19, 1737, the same day the first Portuguese settlers arrived in Rio Grande do Sul. With an area of 2 835, 8sq km and a population of 178 256 inhabitants, it is located at 310 km from the capital of the state.


Rio Grande was the first captaincy of Rio Grande de São Pedro (1760), had the first Chamber of Councillors (1761), the oldest freemason’s lodge in the state (1840), the first Chamber of Commerce – also the forth oldest in Brazil- (1844), and the first public library in Rio Grande do Sul. Also, Capão da Marca, the first light house in the state, was built in Rio Grande.


Furthermore, the first female doctor in Brazil, Rita Lobato Velho, was from Rio Grande and the oldest football team in the country, Sport Club Rio Grande, was created in July, 1900.


Balneário Pinhal

Balneário Pinhal became independent of Cidreira municipality in 1995 and was elected to the municipality category in 1997.

Its economy is based on civil construction and tourism. It has a population of 7881 inhabitants, an area of 106, 2 sq km and is located at 110km from Porto Alegre.



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