Vitória is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. It is located on a small island within a bay where a few rivers meet the sea. It was founded in 1551. The city proper (area 93 km² or 35.9 sq mi) has a population of 313,300 (2005) whilst the Greater Vitória metropolitan area has a population of over 1,612,885 (2005), the 14th largest in Brazil. In 1998, the United Nations rated Vitória as the fourth best state capital in Brazil to live in, rating cities on health, education, and social improvement projects.
The new Eurico de Aguiar Salles Airport connects Vitória with many Brazilian cities.
The city is home to the Federal University of Espírito Santo(UFES).
During the first half of the 19th century, Vitória was still seen as a backward agricultural town, with narrow and disorganized lanes. The commercial capital at the time was Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, and because of that the revenues of commerce would go to Rio de Janeiro, rather than Vitória. It was only after the adoption of a republican style of government in 1889 that the governors decided to modernize the state capital.
In 1892 Muniz Freire came to power for two four-year terms, and began his leadership by paving roads, planning the town's expansion, and contracting a loan of 700 million French Francs to build a rail connection to Cachoeiro de Itapemirim. Muniz Freire intended to channel exports and revenues through the capital, and thus promote its growth.
By 1894 the town showed signs of growth fueled mainly by the great activity of the port of Vitória, and the high price of coffee, which was the main export product for the state at the time. The money brought in by this increased economic activity spurred on the city's modernization.
In 1908, Jerônimo Monteiro became state governor, and continued urban development. During his time in office he saw Vitória surpass Cachoeiro de Itapemirim as a commercial center. This was helped by the 1911 completion of the railway line linking the two towns and the improvement of port facilities. During this period, many projects such as the building of schools, Moscoso Park, Santa Casa da Misericordia Hospital, and the Santo Antonio cemetery were undertaken. Monteiro was also responsible for other projects such as the creation of the public archive, the state library and state museum.
Vitória is one of the three island capitals of Brazilian states, the others being Florianópolis and São Luís, and is located in the Southeastern region, the most developed of Brazil. It's strategically located close to the big urban centres of the country and is, on average, an hour by plane from the most important cities in Brazil: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.
Situated on the southern latitude of 20º 19' 09' and 40° 20' 50' longitude west from Greenwich, Vitória borders on the north with Serra, and on the south with Vila Velha, on the east with the Atlantic Ocean and on the west with Cariacica. It is part of a highly urbanized complex known as Região Metropolitana Grande Vitória (Greater Vitória Metropolitan Region), formed by the boroughs of Serra, Fundão, Vila Velha, Guarapari, Cariacica and Viana.
The borough, which is surrounded by Vitoria Bay and the estuary formed by the rivers Santa Maria, Bubu, Marinho and Aribiri consists of a wide variety of types of landscape: islands, hillsides, coves, points, mangroves and beaches.
The borough of Vitoria is an archipelago formed by 34 islands and a portion of the continent. Its total area of 104,26 km² is formed by the biggest island (denominated Ilha de Vitória), a portion of the continent, all the coastal islands, the estuary islands and the oceanic islands of Trindade and Martim Vaz. Initially there were 50 islands however many of them have been joined to the bigger island by land reclamation.
The city and the continent are linked across the sea by six bridges. The biggest government funded building project ever undertaken in the state was the Darcy Castelo de Mendonça Bridge, or Terceira Ponte (The Third Bridge). Along its 3,33 kilometres a beautiful view of Vitoria bay, its beaches, islands, ports and also of the Convento da Penha (Penha Convent), which is situated in Vila Velha, can be enjoyed.
Geographically speaking the island is an extension of the features of the continent, a granite formation surrounded by sea and areas of mangrove and marshland. The central peak of the island of Vitoria, Morro da Fonte Grande (The Hill at the Great Spring), has an altitude of 308,8m and the main outcrops of granite are Pedra dos (Dois) Olhos (The two-eyed stone) at 296m and Morro de São Benedito (The Hill of São Benedito) with an altitude of 194m. The climate is tropical and humid, with an average maximum monthly temperature of 30.4°C (86.72°F) and minimum of 24°C (75.2°F), and a heavy rainy season mainly in the months of October to January.
Vitória's economy is strongly based on trade, being an important port city, having a total of three ports. As such, it performs a very important function for the region, in exporting regional products (both agricultural and industrial).
Vitória's first strong economic activity was coffee in the early 1900s, being an important coffee port and marketplace, along with Rio de Janeiro and Santos. Since then the economy has diversified a lot, having today a large and well established iron ore processing and steel making industry park.
More recently, oil is giving a major boost in the economy, since in the last few years Espírito Santo state has become one of the largest oil producers in Brazil. An increasing business tourism and a burgeoning real estate are also effects of the recent oil-related activities. The services sector is well developed and has an important role in the city economy.
The GDP for the city was R$ 14,993,650,000 (2005).
The per capita income for the city was R$ 47,866 (2005).
Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. A secondary language is also required as part of the official curriculum for both elementary schools and high school. The second most taught language is English, followed by Spanish, French and Italian.
Couriously, within the state of Espirito Santo, the German language has probably as much speakers as French or Italian languages, although it's not available as part of the official curriculum for most of the schools.
Eurico de Aguiar Salles Airport (VIX) is located on a land plot of just over 5.2 million square meters. Since construction of its first step, finished in 1946, Vitória Airport has undergone several expansions and modernizations, but current demand has surpassed its capacity of 560 thousand passengers a year. The passenger terminal is air conditioned, with a constructed area of nearly 4000 square meters, a check-in concourse, 25 check-in counters and boarding and arrival lounges. The recent construction of new aircraft parking boxes on the aprons has improved the airport’s operational efficiency. In 2003 more than 1.2 million passengers used the airport, and in 2004 this rose to some 1.25 million. Vitória is one of the 32 airports in the Infraero network that has a cargo terminal. In May 1999 the first direct international freight connection to the United States (Miami) began operating to Vitória, facilitating imports to the state of Espírito Santo. Today there are five such flights a week.
The Port of Vitória is the most difficult port for ships to access in all of Brazil. The Bay of Vitória is extremely narrow, with stones and mountains that complicate the access by freighters and maritime cruisers to the docks. Ships, cars, and people all compete for space. There are restrictions on traffic, limiting the use of the port. Today the port is mostly used by cruise ships and for the repair of ships and oil platforms.
The Port of Tubarão was designed in the 1960s by Companhia Vale do Rio Doce when the Port of Vitória began showing signs of saturation. It has far easier access to the sea. From its opening in 1966, its capacity has gradually increased, reaching 80 million tonnes/year in the last decade. Although originally created to export iron ore, in recent years it has added silos for storing grains and soybean meal. The port is located at one end of Camburi Beach.
There are two professional football (soccer) teams in the city, Rio Branco Atlético Clube, usually known simply as Rio Branco, and Vitória Futebol Clube (ES), usually known simply as Vitória (or as Vitória-ES), both currently playing in Campeonato Capixaba.
Vitória can be reached by air, sea, motorway or railway. The main access roads are the BR-101, a motorway linking the Brazilian south and northeast with the Metropolitan Region of Greater Vitória, the BR-262 that connects the Central region with Vitória and the Rodovia do Sol (Sun Motorway) – ES-060 which links the local coastal regions. Vitória can also be reached by air via Vitória Airport (IATA airport code: VIX). The Vitória-Minas Railway, which carries cargo from the Central Region, also carries passenger from Vitória to Belo Horizonte. Both small ships and large cargo vessels from all over the world, including cruise ships, stop in Vitória.