Explore about Rio Grande do Sul (RS)

Rio Grande do Sul (RS)

Localized at the extreme South of Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul borders Uruguay and Argentina. It is the fifth most populous state in the country.

The state has a long history, going back to 1627, when the Spanish Jesuits set out on their missions close to the River Uruguay, but ended up being driven out by the Portuguese in 1680, when the Lusophone court decided to take control of the region, founding the colony of Sacramento. In 1682, the Jesuits established the settlement of Sete Povos das Missões, where the city of São Borja now stands. The Portuguese arrived in 1737. Land disputes between the two Iberian nations came to an end in 1801, when the native gaúchos took control of Sete Povos, adding it to their own territory.

In 1807, the region was promoted to the category of a Captaincy. From 1824 onwards, a great many Italian and German immigrants started to arrive, and during the 1800s the state was involved in a number of political revolutions and separatist movements, which only really came to an end in the 20th century, once Brazil had been declared a Republic.

Interestingly, its history and demography make Rio Grande do Sul much more similar, in terms of culture, to Uruguay and Argentina, than to the rest of Brazil.

Porto Alegre, the capital, with its well-kept parks, is one of the country’s greenest cities. Inland highlights are the Serra Gaúcha, a huge tourist destination during the winter months.

The cities of Gramado and Canela, with their charming Bed & Breakfasts, fondue houses and wineries, are great for honeymooners, and are part of the state’s Romantic tour route.

National parks, such as the Aparados da Serra, are excellent for hikers and rafting. There are also historic destinations, integral to the history of Brazil, such as São Miguel das Missões.

Even though its coastline is quite extensive, with the Guinness World Record for the longest beach in the world – Praia do Cassino, almost 250km long – the state is actually not very famous for its beaches, which are very windy, with uninvitingly dark and cold waters.

Chimarrão (erva-mate tea), churrasco (barbecue), a cooler climate and highly valued culture make Rio Grande do Sul a very special and unique place in a diverse country.

Capital: Porto Alegre
Area (km2): 281,730.223
Population: 11,247,972 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: gaúcho-gaúcha; sul-riograndense
Dial code: 51 / 55
Bordering states: Santa Catarina

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