São Paulo

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São Paulo

São Paulo (souN pouˈ lo͝o), state (1996 pop. 34,055,715), 95,713 sq mi (247,897 sq km), SE Brazil. It is Brazil's most populous and economically important state. The capital is the city of São Paulo, (1996 pop. 9,816,776), on the Tietê River. The largest city of Brazil and of South America, with a metropolitan area population that exceeds 18 million, São Paulo is an ultramodern metropolis with skyscrapers, palatial homes, and spacious parks and recreational facilities. Its tropical climate is moderated by the city's altitude (2,700 ft/6,823 m).

São Paulo, which dominates the vast hinterland of one of Brazil's wealthiest agricultural states, is Brazil's commercial, financial, and industrial center. Through its Atlantic Ocean port of Santos, it ships the farm produce of the interior. São Paulo is the center of Brazil's automobile industry; other important manufactures are textiles, processed foods, metal products, electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, furniture, and computers. Printing and publishing are also important. Abundant hydroelectric power has spurred industrial growth. The city is a major road, rail, and air transportation hub and has a modern subway system. Its rapid economic development and population growth since the 1960s have been accompanied by serious air and water pollution and overcrowding.

São Paulo was founded by Jesuit priests on Jan. 25, 1554, on the site of an old native village. In the 17th cent. it became a base for penetration into the Brazilian interior by expeditions (bandeiras) seeking mineral wealth and Native American slaves. In 1681, São Paulo was made the administrative capital of the surrounding area, and in 1711 it achieved city status. The independence movement was strong in the city; in 1822 at São Paulo, Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro I proclaimed the country independent of Portugal. The city, however, remained a minor commercial center for a sugarcane and diversified agricultural region until the 1880s, when widespread coffee cultivation in São Paulo state brought sudden growth, prosperity, and an influx of European immigrants.

The city has been a prominent cultural and intellectual center since the 19th cent. It has four universities, a medical school, a law school, and the noted Butantan institute, where snake serums are prepared. The art museum features a fine collection of old masters, and the museum of modern art is famed for its Bienal, an international competition held every two years. Near the Ipiranga Museum is a monument commemorating Dom Pedro's independence proclamation.


See R. M. Morse, From Community to Metropolis (1958).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

São Paulo


a state in southeastern Brazil. Area, 247,900 sq km. Population, 17.7 million (1970), 63 percent of which is urban. The capital is the city of São Paulo.

Located in the southeastern part of the Brazilian Highlands, São Paulo has a tropical climate. Average monthly temperatures range between 14°C-19°C and 20°C-26°C. Annual precipitation varies from 1,200 mm to 1,500 mm. Most of the state is covered with mixed coniferous and hardwood forests; the interior regions have savannas and steppes.

São Paulo is economically the most developed state in Brazil, accounting for more than 50 percent of the country’s total industrial production and about one-third of the electric power plant capacity and output. Among the principal branches of industry are machine building, which accounts for more than four-fifths of the country’s total automotive production, and metallurgy, which supplies more than two-fifths of the aluminum, more than one-fourth of the steel and rolled ferrous metals, and about one-sixth of the cast iron produced in Brazil. The state also accounts for more than three-fifths of the country’s paper and pulp production and approximately one-third of the cement production. São Paulo also ranks high in food processing and the manufacture of cotton and silk textiles, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Most industrial enterprises are concentrated in the urban agglomeration around the city of São Paulo.

São Paulo also accounts for more than 40 percent of Brazil’s agricultural output. Large-scale landholding predominates, and capitalist relations are more developed here than in other states. Coffee, sugarcane, and cotton are grown for export, and crops such as corn, cassava, beans, and citrus fruits are raised for domestic consumption. Livestock are raised on natural pas-turelands and near the cities. There is fishing along the coast. Santos is the state’s main seaport.


São Paulo


a city in southeastern Brazil, capital of São Paulo State. Population, 6,400,000 (1970).

São Paulo is one of the largest cities in Latin America and the world. Greater São Paulo includes 14 satellite cities, among them São Caetano do Sul, Santo André, São Bernardo do Campo, and Mauá. São Paulo is Brazil’s most important economic center. Approximately 800,000 workers are employed in industrial enterprises, which account for about one-third of the country’s total industrial output. Machine building (transport and electrical equipment) and the production of chemicals and textiles are São Paulo’s leading industries. Enterprises of the metallurgical industry include foundries, steel rolling mills, and aluminum, lead, and copper enterprises. Various chemical concerns produce pharmaceuticals, plastics, and perfumes. There are also enterprises of the automotive, paper-and-pulp, furniture, glass, ceramics, garment, leather and footwear, and other branches of industry. The city’s electrical power is supplied by the Cubatão Hydroelectric Power Plant on the Tietê River, which has a power output of 1.2 gigawatts. São Paulo is Brazil’s main transportation junction and its most important trade and distribution center. It is a market for coffee, which is exported through Santos, São Paulo’s seaport, located some 80 km away.

São Paulo was founded by Jesuits on St. Paul’s Day, Jan. 25, 1554. From the 16th through 18th centuries, it was the center for a region of coffee plantations. In 1822, Brazil’s independence from Portugal was proclaimed in São Paulo, and it was here, at the beginning of the 19th century, that the country’s first capitalist manufacturing enterprises arose. By the beginning of the 20th century, the city had become a major industrial center and the scene of violent demonstrations by the working masses, the most important of which took place in 1924, 1953, and 1961.

The downtown area of São Paulo has high-rise office buildings, hotels, and trade centers. Modern residential districts, which include Jardim America and Jardim Europa, are parklike areas of high-rise apartment buildings and private homes. The industrial districts are situated to the north and southeast. There are also extensive slums. The opera house (1911), the cathedral (1910–54), and various other buildings are built in an eclectic style. São Paulo also contains the first significant examples of modern Brazilian architecture, among them the private home on Itapolis Street designed by G. Warshavcik (1929) and the multistory apartment house designed by R. Levy (1932). Other 20th-century structures of note include Palmeiras Stadium (1953; architect J. V. Artigas), the Yacht Club (1966; architect J. V. Artigas), and the complex of the international exhibition in honor of the city’s 400th anniversary (1951–54; architects O. Niemeyer and others). Museums include the Museum of Modern Art and the São Paulo Museum of Art. São Paulo has three universities.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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