Early European colonisation of Brazil was weak. Portugal was more interested in Africa and Asia. But with English and French privateer ships just off the coast, the territory had to be protected. Unwilling to shoulder the burden of defence himself, the Portuguese ruler, King João III of Portugal, divided the coast into "captaincies", or swathes of land, 50 leagues apart. He distributed them among well-connected Portuguese, hoping that each would take care of itself. The early port and sugar-cultivating settlement of São Vicente was a rare success for this policy. In 1548, João III brought Brazil under direct royal control. Fearing Indian attack, he discouraged development of the territory's vast interior. Some whites headed out nonetheless to Piratininga, a plateau near São Vicente, drawn by its navigable rivers and agricultural potential. Borda do Campo, the plateau settlement, became an official town (Santo André da Borda do Campo) in 1553. The history of São Paulo city proper begins with the founding of a Jesuit mission on January 25th 1554 — the anniversary of Saint Paul's conversion. The station, which is at the heart of today’s city, was named São Paulo dos Campos de Piratininga (or just Pateo do Colégio). In 1560, the threat of Indian attack led many to flee from the exposed Santo André da Borda do Campo to the walled Colegio. Two years later, the Colégio was besieged. Though the town survived, fighting took place spasmodically for another three decades.
By 1600, the town had about 1,500 citizens and 150 households. Little was produced for export save a number of agricultural goods. The isolation was to continue for many years, as the development of Brazil centred on the sugar plantations in the north-east. The city’s location, at the mouth of the Tietê-Paranapanema river system (which winds into the interior), made it an ideal base for another activity: slaving expeditions. The economics were simple. Slaves for Brazil's northern sugar plantations were in short supply. African slaves were expensive, so demand for indigenous captives soared.
Napoleon's invasion of Portugal in 1807 prompted the British navy to evacuate King João VI of Portugal, Portugal’s prince regent, to Rio de Janeiro and Brazil became the temporary headquarters of the Portuguese Empire. João VI rewarded his hosts with economic reforms that would prove crucial to São Paulo’s rise. Brazil's ports—long closed to non-Portuguese ships—were opened up. Restrictions on manufacturing were waived.
When Napoleon was defeated in 1815, João gave political shape to his territory, which became the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Portugal and Brazil, in other words, were ostensibly co-equals. Returning to Portugal six years later, João left his son, Pedro, to rule as regent and governor.
João had whetted the appetite of Brazilians, who now sought a full break from the monarchy. The ever-restless Paulistanos were in the vanguard of the independence movement. The small mother country of Portugal was in no position to resist—and on September 7th 1822, Dom Pedro rubber-stamped Brazil's independence. He was crowned emperor shortly afterwards. The Emperors ruled independent Brazil until 1889. Over this time, the growth of liberalism in Europe had a parallel in Brazil. As the Brazilian provinces became more assertive, São Paulo was the scene of a minor (and unsuccessful) liberal revolution in 1842. When independence was declared, São Paulo had just 25,000 people and 4,000 houses, but the next 60 years would see gradual growth. In 1828, the Law Academy, the pioneer of the city's intellectual tradition, opened. The first newspaper, O Farol Paulistano, appeared in 1827. Municipal developments such as botanical gardens, an opera house and a library, gave the city a cultural boost.
Regardless, São Paulo still faced many hurdles, especially transport. Mule-trains were the main method of transportation, and the road from the plateau down to the port of Santos was famously arduous. In the late 1860s São Paulo got its first railway line, developed by British engineers, to the Port of Santos. Other lines, such as a railway to Campinas, were soon built. This was good timing, because in the 1880s the coffee craze hit in earnest. Brazil, which had been growing it since the mid-18th century, could grow more. The Paraiba valley, which spans the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, had suitable soil and climate. São Paulo city, at the western end of the Paraiba valley, was well positioned to channel the coffee to the port of Santos. The coffee boom was startling. Between 1901 and 1910, coffee made up 51% of Brazil's total exports, far overshadowing rubber, sugar and cotton. But reliance on coffee made Brazil (and São Paulo in particular) vulnerable to poor harvests and the whims of world markets. The development of plantations in the 1890s, and widespread reliance on credit, took place against fluctuating prices and supply levels, culminating in saturation of the international market at the turn of the century. The government’s policies of "valorisaton"— borrowing money to buy coffee and stockpiling it, in order to have a surplus during bad harvests, and meanwhile taxing coffee exports to pay off loans—seemed feasible in the short term (as did its manipulation of foreign-exchange rates to the advantage of coffee growers). But in the longer term, these actions contributed to oversupply and eventual collapse.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian monarchy had fallen in 1889. A feudalistic regime, it had friends only among the sugar planters of the northeast, whose dominance Paulistanos, among others, despised. In 1891, a new federal constitution, which delegated power to the states, was approved. The new coffee elite saw its chance. São Paulo ironed out a power-sharing understanding—known as the "café com leite" (coffee-and-milk) deal—with dairy-rich Minas Gerais, Brazil's other dominant state. Together, they held a virtual lock on federal power. Brazilian politics now became a favourite pastime of the once-rebellious Paulistanos, who sent several presidents to Rio de Janeiro—including Prudente de Morais, post-colonial Brazil's first civilian president, who took office in 1891.
Plantation labour was needed — this time for coffee, not sugar. Slavery had been fading since the import of enslaved Africans was outlawed in 1850. São Paulo, thanks to such figures as Luiz Gama (a former slave), was a centre of abolitionism. In 1888, Brazil abolished slavery (it was the last country in the Americas to do so) and the freed African-Brazilians who had been helping build the nation had now to beg for their jobs back, working for free because of the failure of the white-dominated system to integrate them as equal citizens. In an effort to "bleach the race," as the nation's leaders feared Brazil was becoming a "black country," Spanish, Portuguese and Italian nationals were given incentives to become farm workers in São Paulo. From 1908, the Japanese arrived in great numbers, many destined for the plantations on fixed-term contracts. The state government was so eager to bring in immigrants that in many cases it paid for their trips and provided varying levels of subsidy. By 1893, foreigners made up over 55% of São Paulo's population. Fearing oversupply, the government applied the brakes briefly in 1899; then the boom resumed. By 1920, São Paulo was Brazil's second-largest city; a half-century before, it had been just the tenth-largest. Immigration and migration of Paulistas from other towns as well as Nordestinos and citizens from other states, the coffee industry, and modernization through the manufacturing of textiles, car and airplane pieces, as well as food and technological industries, construction, fashion, and services transformed the greater São Paulo area into a thriving megalopolis and one of the world's greatest multiethnic regions.
The stand-off was also political: politics had been long monopolised by the Paulista Revolutionary Party, but in 1926 a more left-leaning party rose in opposition. In 1928, the PRP amended São Paulo's state constitution to give it more control over the city. The turbulence was mirrored on Brazil’s national scene. With the Great Depression, coffee prices plunged, as did real GDP. Americans, keen investors during the 1920s, backed away. The opening of the first highway between São Paulo and Rio in 1928 was one of the few bright spots. Into the breach stepped Getulio Vargas, a southerner veteran in state politics. In Brazil's 1930 presidential elections, he opposed Julio Prestes, a favourite son of São Paulo. Vargas lost the election, but with backing from Minas Gerais state --São Paulo's ever-jealous former ally and neighbor to the north--, he seized power regardless.
The uprising started on July 9, 1932, after five protesting students were killed by government troops on May 23, 1932. On the wake of their deaths, a movement called MMDC (from the initials of the names of each of the four students killed, Martins, Miragaia, Dráusio and Camargo) started. A fifth victim, Alvarenga, was also shot that night, but died months later. Revolutionary troops entrenched in the battlefieldIn a few months, the state of São Paulo rebelled against the federal government. Counting on the solidarity of the political elites of two other powerful states, (Minas Gerais and Rio Grande do Sul), the politicians of São Paulo expected a quick war. However, that solidarity was never translated into actual support, and the São Paulo revolt was militarily crushed on October 2, 1932.
In spite of its military defeat, some of the movement's main demands were finally granted by Vargas afterwards: the appointment of a non-military state Governor, the election of a Constituent Assembly and, finally, the enactment of a new Constitution in 1934. However that Constitution was short lived, as in 1937, amidst growing extremism on the left and right wings of the political spectrum, Vargas closed the National Congress and enacted another Constitution, which established an authoritarian regime called Estado Novo.
Vargas's rule was a study in political turbulence. Elected in 1934, he ruled by dictatorship (albeit a popular one, thanks to his health and social-welfare programmes) from 1937 to 1945—a period dubbed the "Estado Novo". Thrown out by a coup in 1945, he ran for office again in 1950, and was overwhelmingly elected. On the verge of being overthrown from office again, he committed suicide in 1954. Vargas's main legacy was the centralisation of power. The encouragement of industry and diversification of agriculture, not to mention the abolition of subsidies on coffee, finally did away with the dominance of the coffee oligarchies. His replacement, Juscelino Kubitschek, focused on heavy industry. Kubitschek built car factories, steel plants, hydropower infrastructure and roads. Petrobras, Brazil’s oil monolith, was set up in 1953. By 1958, São Paulo state controlled some 55% of Brazil’s industrial production, up from 17% in 1907. Another of Kubitschek’s pet projects was the creation of Brasília, which became Brazil’s capital in 1960—the year Kubitschek stepped down. The University of São Paulo was founded in 1934; two years after São Paulo's failed uprising. It has established itself as the most prestigious higher learning institution in the country.
With a transitional government from military to civil and a new currency that made stagnant the economy during the mid- to late 1980s, unemployment and crime became rampant. São Paulo, by now the world's third-largest city after Mexico City and Tokyo, was hard-hit. Wealthy Brazilians retreated to suburban highly secured housing complexes such as Alphaville, and favelas-- pockets of substandard living slums that lined the periphery-- had a tremendous growth. For the first time in history, Brazil experienced large segments of its population immigrating to continents such as North America, Europe, Australia, and East Asia, particularly to Japan.
São Paulo is the richest state in Brazil. It has the second highest per-capita income (lower than only the Federal District) and, with the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, the highest standard of living in Brazil, despite the poverty in some peripheral parts of the largest cities.
|4||São Bernardo do Campo||781,390|
|7||São José dos Campos||594,948|
|12||São José do Rio Preto||398,079|
|15||Mogi das Cruzes||362,991|
The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 28,814,000 White people (70.0%), 9,879,000 Pardo (Brown) people (24.0%), 2,058,000 Black people (5.0%), 411,000 Asian or Amerindian people (1.0%).
People of Italian descent predominate in many towns, including the capital city and the northeast part of the state, which is 65% Italian.
São Paulo is home to the largest Asian population in Brazil, as well to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan itself. There are many people of Levantine descent, mostly Syrian and Lebanese people.
The majority of Brazilian Jews live in the state, especially in the capital city but there are also communities in Greater São Paulo, Santos, Guarujá, Campinas, Valinhos, Vinhedo, São José dos Campos, Ribeirão Preto, Sorocaba, Itu.
The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 47.2%, followed by the industrial sector at 46.3%. Agriculture represents 6.5% of GDP (2004). São Paulo (state) exports: vehicles 17.2%, airplanes and helicopters 11.6%, food industry 10%, sugar and alcohol fuel 7.8%, orange juice 5.2%, telecommunications 4.1% (2002).
Share of the Brazilian economy: 33.9% (2005).
São Paulo state is responsible for approximately one-third of Brazilian GDP. The state's GDP (PPP) consists of 550 billion dollars, making it also the biggest economy of South America and one of the biggest economies in Latin America, second after Mexico. Its economy is based on machinery, the automobile and aviation industries, services, financial companies, commerce, textiles, orange growing, sugar cane and coffee production.
Wealth is unequally distributed in the state, however. The richest municipalities are centered around Greater São Paulo (such as Campinas, Jundiaí, Paulínia, Americana, Indaiatuba, São José dos Campos, Santos, etc.), as well as a few other more distant nuclei, such as around São Carlos, Ribeirão Preto and São José do Rio Preto.
The state of São Paulo is a region of a very mixed culture, as it was the land for many immigrants from other parts of the world, particularly from Europe (mostly from Italy), Middle East (mostly from Lebanon) and Eastern Asia (mostly from Japan). The São Paulo state was also, earlier, the land where lived the bandeirantes, the adventurers who penetrate the Brazilian west and south searching for indigenous slaves and mineral wealth. This is the reason because of the culture of São Paulo influenced most of the western Brazil, and also the states of Minas Gerais and Paraná. A very distinctive character in the culture of São Paulo is the caipira tradition, which has also its own dialect, quite distinct of the standard portuguese. This culture is very present in the countryside, while the largest cities like São Paulo City, Campinas and Santos are more cosmopolitan.
Another distinctive character in the state of São Paulo is the called Brazilian erudite culture. São Paulo was the home of the Brazilian Week of Modern Art (Semana da Arte Moderna), organized mostly by poets and artists from São Paulo, like Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Menotti del Picchia and Anita Malfatti, or foreigners living in São Paulo, like Victor Brecheret and Lasar Segall. São Paulo was also the birthplace for many Brazilian classical composers, like Carlos Gomes (the most famous Brazilian opera composer), Elias Álvares Lobo and Camargo Guarnieri.
The first of such systems in Brazil, it began operations in 1974. It consists of four color-coded lines: Line 1-Blue, Line 2-Green, Line 3-Red and Line 5-Lilas; Line 4-Yellow is currently under construction and is due to start operating in late 2009. The metro system carries 2.800.000 passengers a day. Metro itself is far from covering the entire urban area in the city of São Paulo. Another company, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM), works along the metro system and runs railways converted into light rail service lines, which total six lines (7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12), 261 km long, serving 89 stations. Metro and CPTM are integrated through various stations. Metro and CPTM both operate as State-owned companies, and have received awards in the recent past as one of the cleanest systems in the world by ISO9001. The São Paulo metro transports three million people by day.
São Paulo politics are controlled by the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), which has formed the government of the state since 1994, and was re-elected in 2006 for four more years.
Local politicians of note (with party affiliations) include: former president of Brazil (1994-2002) Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB), current president (2002–2010) Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), José Serra (PSDB), Geraldo Alckmin (PSDB), Mário Covas (PSDB), José Anibal (PSDB), Antonio Palocci (PT), Eduardo Suplicy (PT), Aloízio Mercadante (PT), Marta Suplicy (PT), Gilberto Kassab (DEM), and Paulo Maluf (Progressive Party). Maluf is a controversial figure in São Paulo City politics, and is frequently accused of corruption. However, many voters used to support him because of his achievements during his governments, which the most well-known was the São Paulo Subway System (the first in Brazil) and the Costa e Silva expressway, also known as Minhocão. Maluf has, however, failed to be elected in the last elections for governor of the state of São Paulo and for mayor of the state capital.
The last two Brazilian presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB) and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), were both politicians from São Paulo, although Cardoso was actually born in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and Lula in Pernambuco. Cardoso lives in São Paulo city. Lula, the current president, has a residence in the nearby city of São Bernardo do Campo.
Football (soccer) is the most important sport in the state. The most important clubs from the state are São Paulo, Palmeiras, Corinthians, Santos, Portuguesa, Ponte Preta and Guarani. Other sports like Basketball and Volleyball are also quite popular. In basketball, the most famous Brazilian players like Hortência Marcari, Janeth Arcain and Oscar Schmidt are from São Paulo. Many of the internationally recognized racing drivers, like Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna, Rubens Barrichello, Helio Castroneves and Felipe Massa are also from São Paulo.
The São Silvestre Race takes place every New Year's Eve (31 December). It was first held in 1925, when the competitors ran about 8,000 metres across the streets. Since then, the distance raced has varied, and it is now fixed at 15 km. Registration takes place from 1 October, with the maximum number of entrants limited to 15,000.
The Brazilian Grand Prix (Portuguese: Grande Prêmio do Brasil) is a Formula One championship race which occurs at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos. In 2006 the Grand Prix was the final round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The Spanish driver Fernando Alonso won the 2006 drivers championship at this circuit by coming second in the race. The race was won by the young Brazilian driver Felipe Massa, driving for the Scuderia Ferrari team.