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Belém (bəlāNˈ) or Pará (pəräˈ), city, capital of Pará state, N Brazil, on the Pará River. Belém, the chief port of the vast Amazon River basin, handles the Amazonian produce (chiefly Brazil nuts, aluminum, cassava, and pepper) and has processing plants. North Brazil's largest airport and a coastal railroad enhance the trade of Belém, which is also connected with Brasília by a railroad and highway.

Belém [Port.,=Bethlehem] was founded by the Portuguese in 1616 as Santa Maria de Belém do Grão Pará and was a military post for the defense of N Brazil against French, English, and Dutch pirates. It reached a peak of feverish prosperity during the wild-rubber boom in the late 19th and early 20th cent., then suffered a depression that was alleviated by diversification and planned development in the 1930s. Prosperity increased also after World War II with the improvement of communications within the Amazon region.

The city is known for its Goeldi museum, with ethnological and zoological collections of the Amazon basin. It also has an open-air market, a botanical garden brilliant with exotic flowers, a modern leprosarium, and the Federal Univ. of Pará. The government palace and the cathedral were built in the 18th cent.; Santo Alexandre, Belém's oldest church, was completed in 1616.

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References in periodicals archive ?
According to the report, in many countries ratification of the Convention of Belem do Para has been seen as a high point in women's rights, rather than a point of departure.
O Bosque Rodrigues Alves, patrimonio secular de Belem do Para, cumpre um importante papel no que concerne a preservacao da flora e da fauna do ecossistema amazonico, por meio de projetos e acoes de interacao entre a comunidade local, pesquisadores, visitantes e turistas atraves de atividades que envolvem educacao ambiental, pesquisa, lazer, turismo e cultura.
Key Words: Convention of Belem do Para: Maria da Penha's Law; Social and Legal Dimensions of Its Effectiveness.
Os dados foram tabulados no Departamento de Vigilancia em Saude (DEVS), do municipio de Belem do Para. Algumas variaveis foram submetidas a analise estatistica para testar alteracoes no perfil das amostras segundo o ano.
Pode-se mesmo dizer que a Igreja da Amazonia, constituida em uma unica diocese, a de Belem do Para, ficou profundamente dividida, com o povo sofrido, espoliado e profundamente decepcionado e amargurado com a derrota de seus objetivos encarnados na Cabanagem (Neto, 1992a; 1992b).
In the legal realm, two international documents are also key in addressing violence against women: the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women (also known as the Convention of Belem do Para) and the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women.