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Rio Grande do Sul
State of Rio Grande do Sul
Flag of Rio Grande do Sul
Flag
Coat of arms of Rio Grande do Sul
Coat of arms
Motto(s): 
Liberdade, Igualdade, Humanidade (Portuguese)
"Liberty, Equality, Humanity"
Anthem: Hino Rio-Grandense
Location of State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil
Location of State of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil
Coordinates: 30°S 53°W / 30°S 53°W / -30; -53Coordinates: 30°S 53°W / 30°S 53°W / -30; -53
CountryBrazil
Capital and largest cityPorto Alegre
Government
 • GovernorEduardo Leite (PSDB)
 • Vice GovernorRanolfo Vieira Júnior (PTB)
 • SenatorsLasier Martins (PSD)
Luis Carlos Heinze (PP)
Paulo Paim (PT)
Area
 • Total291,748 km2 (112,645 sq mi)
Area rank9th
Population
 (2016)[1]
 • To

Rio Grande do Sul (UK: /ˌr ˌɡrændi d ˈsʊl/,[3] US: /ˌr ˌɡrɑːndi d ˈsl/,[4] Portuguese: [ˈʁiw ˈɡɾɐ̃dʒi du ˈsuw] (About this soundlisten);[a] lit. '"Great River of the South"') is a state in the southern region of Brazil. It is the fifth-most-populous state and the ninth largest by area. Located in the southernmost part of the country, Rio Grande do Sul is bordered clockwise by Santa Catarina to the north and northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Uruguayan departments of Rocha, Treinta y Tres, Cerro Largo, Rivera and Artigas to the south and southwest, and the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones to the west and northwest. The capital and largest city is Porto Alegre. The state has the highest life expectancy in Brazil, and the crime rate is relatively low compared to Brazilian national average.[5] Despite the high standard of living, unemployment is still high in the state, as of 2017.[6] The state has 5,4% of the Brazilian population and it's responsible for 6,6% of the Brazilian GDP.

The state has a gaucho culture like its foreign neighbors. Before the arrival of Portuguese and Spanish settlers, it was inhabited mostly by the Guarani and Kaingang peoples (with smaller populations of Charrúa and Minuano). The first Europeans there were Jesuits, followed by settlers from the Azores. In the 19th century it was the scene of conflicts including the Farroupilha Revolution and the Paraguayan War. Large waves of German and Italian migration have shaped the state.

Geography

Map with municipal boundaries

Rio Grande do Sul is bordered to the northeast by the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, on the southwest by Uruguay, and to the northwest by the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones.

The northern part of the state lies on the southern slopes of the elevated plateau extending southward from São Paulo across the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, and is much broken by low mountain ranges whose general direction across the trend of the slope gives them the appearance of escarpments. A range of low mountains extends southward from the Serra do Mar of Santa Catarina and crosses the state into Uruguay. West of this range is a vast grassy plain devoted principally to stock-raising – the northern and most elevated part being suitable in pasturage and climate for sheep, and the southern for cattle. East of it is a wide coastal zone only slightly elevated above the sea; within it are two great estuarine lagoons, the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim, which are separated from the ocean by two sandy, partially barren peninsu

The state has a gaucho culture like its foreign neighbors. Before the arrival of Portuguese and Spanish settlers, it was inhabited mostly by the Guarani and Kaingang peoples (with smaller populations of Charrúa and Minuano). The first Europeans there were Jesuits, followed by settlers from the Azores. In the 19th century it was the scene of conflicts including the Farroupilha Revolution and the Paraguayan War. Large waves of German and Italian migration have shaped the state.

Rio Grande do Sul is bordered to the northeast by the Brazilian State of Santa Catarina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, on the southwest by Uruguay, and to the northwest by the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones.

The northern part of the state lies on the southern slopes of the elevated plateau extending southward from São Paulo across the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, and is much broken by low mountain ranges whose general direction across the trend of the slope gives them the appearance of escarpments. A range of low mountains extends southward from the Serra do Mar of Santa Catarina and crosses the state into Uruguay. West of this range is a vast grassy plain devoted principally to stock-raising – the northern and most elevated part being suitable in pasturage and climate for sheep, and the southern for cattle. East of it is a wide coastal zone only slightly elevated above the sea; within it are two great estuarine lagoons, the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim, which are separated from the ocean by two sandy, partially barren peninsulas. The coast is one great sand beach, broken only by the outlet of the two lakes, called the Rio Grande, which affords an entrance to navigable inland waters and several ports. There are two distinct river systems in Rio Grande do Sul – that of the eastern slope draining to the lagoons, and that of the Río de la Plata basin draining westward to the Uruguay River.[7]

The Historic town of São Miguel das Missões.
Wine production in Caxias do Sul.

The larger rivers of the eastern group are the Jacuí, Sinos, Caí, Gravataí and Camaquã, which flow into the Lagoa dos Patos, and the Jaguarão which flows into the Lagoa Mirim. All of the first named, except the Camaquã, discharge into one of the two arms or estuaries opening into the northern end of Lagoa dos Patos, which is called the Guaíba River, though technically it is not a river but a lake. The Guaíba River is broad, comparatively deep and about 56 kilometres (35 mi) long, and with the rivers discharging into it affords upwards of 320 kilometres (200 mi) of fluvial navigation. The Jacuí is one of the most important rivers of the state, rising in the ranges of the Coxilha Grande of the north and flowing south and southeast to the Guaíba estuary, with a course of nearly 480 kilometres (300 mi) It has two large tributaries, the Vacacaí from the south and the Taquari from the north, and many small streams. The Jaguarão, which forms part of the boundary line with Uruguay, is navigable 42 km up to and beyond the town of Jaguarão.[7]

In addition to the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim there are a number of small lakes on the sandy, swampy peninsulas that lie between the coast and these two, and there are others of a similar character along the northern coast. The largest lake is the Lagoa dos Patos (Lake of the Patos – an Indian tribe inhabiting its shores at the time of European discovery), which lies parallel with the coastline, northeast and southwest, and is about 214 kilometres (133 mi) long exclusive of the two arms at its northern end, 40 58 km long respectively, and of its outlet, the Rio Grande, about 39 km long. Its width varies from 35 to 58 km. The lake is comparatively shallow and filled with sand banks, making its navigable channels tortuous and difficult. The Lagoa Mirim occupies a similar position farther south, on the Uruguayan border, and is about 175 kilometres (109 mi) long by 10 to 35 km wide. It is more irregular in outline and discharges into Lagoa dos Patos through a navigable channel known as the São Gonçalo Channel. A part of the lake lies in Uruguayan territory, but its navigation, as determined by treaty, belongs exclusively to Brazil. Both of these lakes are evidently the remains of an ancient depression in the coastline shut in by sand beaches built up by the combined action of wind and current. They are of the same level as the ocean, but their waters are affected by the tides and are brackish only a short distance above the Rio Grande outlet.[7]

Fully one-third of the state belongs to the Río de la Plata drainage basin. Of the many streams flowing northward and westward to the Uruguay, the largest are the Ijuí of the plateau region, the Ibicuí, which has its source near Santa Maria in the central part of the state and flows westward to the Uruguay a short distance above Uruguaiana, and the Quaraí River which forms part of the boundary line with Uruguay. The Uruguay River itself is formed by the confluence of the The northern part of the state lies on the southern slopes of the elevated plateau extending southward from São Paulo across the states of Paraná and Santa Catarina, and is much broken by low mountain ranges whose general direction across the trend of the slope gives them the appearance of escarpments. A range of low mountains extends southward from the Serra do Mar of Santa Catarina and crosses the state into Uruguay. West of this range is a vast grassy plain devoted principally to stock-raising – the northern and most elevated part being suitable in pasturage and climate for sheep, and the southern for cattle. East of it is a wide coastal zone only slightly elevated above the sea; within it are two great estuarine lagoons, the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim, which are separated from the ocean by two sandy, partially barren peninsulas. The coast is one great sand beach, broken only by the outlet of the two lakes, called the Rio Grande, which affords an entrance to navigable inland waters and several ports. There are two distinct river systems in Rio Grande do Sul – that of the eastern slope draining to the lagoons, and that of the Río de la Plata basin draining westward to the Uruguay River.[7]

The larger rivers of the eastern group are the Jacuí, Sinos, Caí, Gravataí and Camaquã, which flow into the Lagoa dos Patos, and the Jaguarão which flows into the Lagoa Mirim. All of the first named, except the Camaquã, discharge into one of the two arms or estuaries opening into the northern end of Lagoa dos Patos, which is called the Guaíba River, though technically it is not a river but a lake. The Guaíba River is broad, comparatively deep and about 56 kilometres (35 mi) long, and with the rivers discharging into it affords upwards of 320 kilometres (200 mi) of fluvial navigation. The Jacuí is one of the most important rivers of the state, rising in the ranges of the Coxilha Grande of the north and flowing south and southeast to the Guaíba estuary, with a course of nearly 480 kilometres (300 mi) It has two large tributaries, the Vacacaí from the south and the Taquari from the north, and many small streams. The Jaguarão, which forms part of the boundary line with Uruguay, is navigable 42 km up to and beyond the town of Jaguarão.[7]

In addition to the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim there are a number of small lakes on the sandy, swampy peninsulas that lie between the coast and these two, and there are others of a similar character along the northern coast. The largest lake is the Lagoa dos Patos (Lake of the Patos – an Indian tribe inhabiting its shores at the time of European discovery), which lies parallel with the coastline, northeast and southwest, and is about 214 kilometres (133 mi) long exclusive of the two arms at its northern end, 40 58 km long respectively, and of its outlet, the Rio Grande, about 39 km long. Its width varies from 35 to 58 km. The lake is comparatively shallow and filled with sand banks, making its navigable channels tortuous and difficult. The Lagoa Mirim occupies a similar position farther south, on the Uruguayan border, and is about 175 kilometres (109 mi) long by 10 to 35 km wide. It is more irregular in outline and discharges into Lagoa dos Patos through a navigable channel known as the São Gonçalo Channel. A part of the lake lies in Uruguayan territory, but its navigation, as determined by treaty, belongs exclusively to Brazil. Both of these lakes are evidently the remains of an ancient depression in the coastline shut in by sand beaches built up by the combined action of wind and current. They are of the same level as the ocean, but their waters are affected by the tides and are brackish only a short distance above the Rio Grande outlet.[7]

Fully one-third of the state belongs to the Río de la Plata drainage

In addition to the Lagoa dos Patos and Lagoa Mirim there are a number of small lakes on the sandy, swampy peninsulas that lie between the coast and these two, and there are others of a similar character along the northern coast. The largest lake is the Lagoa dos Patos (Lake of the Patos – an Indian tribe inhabiting its shores at the time of European discovery), which lies parallel with the coastline, northeast and southwest, and is about 214 kilometres (133 mi) long exclusive of the two arms at its northern end, 40 58 km long respectively, and of its outlet, the Rio Grande, about 39 km long. Its width varies from 35 to 58 km. The lake is comparatively shallow and filled with sand banks, making its navigable channels tortuous and difficult. The Lagoa Mirim occupies a similar position farther south, on the Uruguayan border, and is about 175 kilometres (109 mi) long by 10 to 35 km wide. It is more irregular in outline and discharges into Lagoa dos Patos through a navigable channel known as the São Gonçalo Channel. A part of the lake lies in Uruguayan territory, but its navigation, as determined by treaty, belongs exclusively to Brazil. Both of these lakes are evidently the remains of an ancient depression in the coastline shut in by sand beaches built up by the combined action of wind and current. They are of the same level as the ocean, but their waters are affected by the tides and are brackish only a short distance above the Rio Grande outlet.[7]

Fully one-third of the state belongs to the Río de la Plata drainage basin. Of the many streams flowing northward and westward to the Uruguay, the largest are the Ijuí of the plateau region, the Ibicuí, which has its source near Santa Maria in the central part of the state and flows westward to the Uruguay a short distance above Uruguaiana, and the Quaraí River which forms part of the boundary line with Uruguay. The Uruguay River itself is formed by the confluence of the Canoas and Pelotas rivers. The Pelotas, which has its source in the Serra do Mar on the Atlantic coast, and the Uruguay River forms the northern and western boundary line of the state down to the mouth of the Quaraí, on the Uruguayan frontier.[7]

Rio Grande do Sul lies within the south temperate zone and is predominantly humid subtropical (Cfa, according to the Köppen climate classification). The climate is subtropical highland (Cfb) in the highest areas. There are four relatively well-defined seasons and rainfall is well distributed throughout the year, but occasional droughts can occur. The winter months, June to September, are characterized by heavy rains and by a cold southwesterly wind, called minuano, which sometimes lower the temperature to below freezing, especially in the mountainous municipalities,[7] where snowfalls can occur. The lowest registered temperature in the state was −9.8 °C (14 °F) in Bom Jesus, on August 1, 1955.[8] In summer, the temperature rises to 37 °C (99 °F), and heat related injuries are not uncommon.

Ecoregions

During the Brazilian Colonial period, the province of South Rio Grande was the scene of small wars and border skirmishes between Portugal and Spain for the region, the Sacramento Colony, and the Guarani Missions. It was also a focal point for internal rebellions in the 19th and the early 20th centuries.

Guarani Wars

In 1923, civil war again exploded between supporters of State President Borges de Medeiros and opposition linked to the Partido Libertador and Assis Brasil.

1930 Revolution

In 1930, State President Getúlio Vargas, after unsuccessfully running in the presidential elections against the candidate of São Paulo, Júlio Prestes, led a revolt against the Federal government, and succeeded in overthrowing it. This eventually led to the Vargas dictatorship in 1937 and the period known as the Estado Novo. What is now the Rio Grande do Sul Military Brigade fought on the side of the state leadership and, as a result, was never reformed. In fact, the Brigade remains the only state militia in Brazil. (The Military Police is the federal force that polices in the other states.) A poignant example of the Brigade's quasi-autonomy is the participation of its servicemen in both the coup attempt of 1961 and the military coup in 1964.

Demographics

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 10,860,000 people residing in the state. The population density was 38.53 inhabitants per square kilometre (99.8/sq mi).

Urbanization: 81% (2004); population growth: 1.2% (1991–2000); houses: 3,464,544 (2005).[30]

The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) counted 8,776,000 white people (81%), 1,495,000 brown (Multiracial) people (14%), 529,000 black people (5%), 43,000 Amerindian people (0.4%), 11,000 Asian people (0.1%).[31]

According to a genetic study from 2013, Brazilians in Rio Grande do Sul have an average of 73% European, 14% African and 13% Amerindian ancestry.[32]

Ethnic groups

People of Portuguese – mostly Azorean – background predominate in the coastal region. The Southwest, on the other hand, was originally populated by Pampeano Indians.[33] Like the other Gauchos from the La Plata Basin the population there was a result from the mixture of Spanish and Portuguese men with Amerindian women with a possible predominant Spanish ancestry and also a significant African contribution,[34] resulting in a population that is 81.20% White.[35]

These speculations about a supposed Spanish predominance among the population of Southwestern Rio Grande do Sul are widely spread, but they contradict the historic knowledge about the region.[citation needed] In fact, there was always very little Spanish colonial presence there,[citation needed] in practice restricted to Jesuit initiatives towards the Amerindian populations,[citation needed] which, of course, had no genetic impact in the demographic composition.[citation needed] On the other hand, it is well established that it is northern Uruguay that has always had an important Luso-Brazilian influence,[36] which in fact impacts to this day the language of northern Uruguay, not the other way round.[37]Urbanization: 81% (2004); population growth: 1.2% (1991–2000); houses: 3,464,544 (2005).[30]

The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) counted 8,776,000 white people (81%), 1,495,000 brown (Multiracial) people (14%), 529,000 black people (5%), 43,000 Amerindian people (0.4%), 11,000 Asian people (0.1%).[31]

According to a genetic study from 2013, Brazilians in Rio Grande do Sul have an average of 73% European, 14% African and 13% Amerindian ancestry.[32]

People of Portuguese – mostly Azorean – background predominate in the coastal region. The Southwest, on the other hand, was originally populated by Pampeano Indians.[33] Like the other Gauchos from the La Plata Basin the population there was a result from the mixture of Spanish and Portuguese men with Amerindian women with a possible predominant Spanish ancestry and also a significant African contribution,[34] resulting in a population that is 81.20% White.[35]

These speculations about a supposed Spanish predominance among the population of Southwestern Rio Grande do Sul are widely spread, but they contradict the historic knowledge about the region.[These speculations about a supposed Spanish predominance among the population of Southwestern Rio Grande do Sul are widely spread, but they contradict the historic knowledge about the region.[citation needed] In fact, there was always very little Spanish colonial presence there,[citation needed] in practice restricted to Jesuit initiatives towards the Amerindian populations,[citation needed] which, of course, had no genetic impact in the demographic composition.[citation needed] On the other hand, it is well established that it is northern Uruguay that has always had an important Luso-Brazilian influence,[36] which in fact impacts to this day the language of northern Uruguay, not the other way round.[37]

People of German descent predominate in the Sinos Valley (Novo Hamburgo, São Leopoldo, Nova Hartz, Dois Irmãos, Morro Reuter, etc.) and in the center-eastern part of the State (Santa Cruz do Sul). People of Italian descent predominate in the mountains (Serra Gaúcha: Caxias do Sul, Bento Gonçalves, Farroupilha, Garibaldi, etc.). The Northern and Northwestern parts of the State also have significant numbers of people of both Italian and German descent. There are sizeable communities of Poles and Ukrainians across the state, notably in the northwest. People of African ancestry are concentrated in the capital city and in some cities in the litoral, such as Pelotas and Rio Grande.[38]

According to Argentine demographer Miguel Ángel García, Italian immigrants were 60% of the total immigration to Rio Grande do Sul[39] and according to French historian Jean Roche as of 1950 people of German descent made up 21.6% of the state's population.[40]

The region that is now Rio Grande do Sul was originally settled by Amerindian peoples, mostly Guaraní and Kaingangs.[41] European presence in the region started in 1627 with Spanish Jesuits. The Jesuits established Indian Reductions in the region; those reductions where populated exclusively by Amerindians, mainly Guarani, and certainly not by Europeans, either Spanish or Portuguese. Portuguese Jesuits established Indian Reductions in 1687 and dominated the region.[citation needed] Most of the Indians of the region became Catholics and went to live among the Jesuits. These reductions were destroyed by the Bandeirantes from São Paulo in the 18th century, who wanted to enslave the Indians. The Portuguese settlement in Rio Grande do Sul was largely increased between 1748 and 1756, with the arrival of two thousand immigrants from the Azores Islands, Portugal. They settled many parts of the state, including the nowadays capital, Porto Alegre. Blacks were 50 percent of Rio Grande do Sul's population in 1822. This proportion decreased to 25 percent in 1858 and to only 5.2 percent in 2005. Most of them were brought from Angola to work as slaves in the charqueadas.

German immigrants first arrived to Southern Brazil in 1824. They were attracted to Brazil to protect the country from invasions of the neighboring countries and to populate the empty interior of the southern region. The first city to be settled by them was São Leopoldo. In the next five decades, around 28 thousand Germans were brought to the region to work as small farmers in the countryside.[42]

Italian immigrants started arriving in Rio Grande do Sul in 1875. They were mostly poor peasants from Trentino and Veneto, Northern Italy, who were attracted to Southern Brazil to get their own farms. Italian immigration to the region lasted until 1914, with a total of 100,000 Italians settling there in this period. Most of the immigrants worked as small farmers, mainly cultivating grapes in the Serra Gaúcha part of the state.[43]

Other European immigrants migrated to Rio Grande do Sul, mostly from Eastern Europe. The Jewish Colonization Association assisted Russian-Jewish immigrants to settle on agricultural land in the state. A memoir of one such immigrant community, Filipson, Memórias da primeira colônia judaica no Rio Grande do Sul (Filipson: Memories

German immigrants first arrived to Southern Brazil in 1824. They were attracted to Brazil to protect the country from invasions of the neighboring countries and to populate the empty interior of the southern region. The first city to be settled by them was São Leopoldo. In the next five decades, around 28 thousand Germans were brought to the region to work as small farmers in the countryside.[42]

Italian immigrants started arriving in Rio Grande do Sul in 1875. They were mostly poor peasants from Trentino and Veneto, Northern Italy, who were attracted to Southern Brazil to get their own farms. Italian immigration to the region lasted until 1914, with a total of 100,000 Italians settling there in this period. Most of the immigrants worked as small farmers, mainly cultivating grapes in the Serra Gaúcha part of the state.[43]

Other European immigrants migrated to Rio Grande do Sul, mostly from Eastern Europe. The Jewish Colonization Association assisted Russian-Jewish immigrants to settle on agricultural land in the state. A memoir of one such immigrant community, Filipson, Memórias da primeira colônia judaica no Rio Grande do Sul (Filipson: Memories of the First Jewish Colony in Rio Grande do Sul), was published by Frida Alexandr in 1967.[44]

European genomic ancestry predominates throughout Brazil at 80%, except for the Southern Region (which includes Rio Grande do Sul), where it reaches 90%. "A new portrayal of each ethnicity contribution to the DNA of Brazilians, obtained with samples from the five regions of the country, has indicated that, on average, European ancestors are responsible for nearly 80% of the genetic heritage of the population. The variation between the regions is small, with the possible exception of the South, where the European contribution reaches nearly 90%. The results, published by the scientific magazine 'American Journal of Human Biology' by a team of the Catholic University of Brasília, show that, in Brazil, physical indicators such as skin colour, colour of the eyes and colour of the hair have little to do with the genetic ancestry of each person, which has been shown in previous studies".[45]

As of 2013, there were fewer than 30,000 Nisei in Rio Grande do Sul. Japanese immigrant families from São Paulo State began arriving in Rio Grande do Sul in the 1930s. In 1956, the first 23 official immigrants came to the state, and 26 families arrived at Rio Grande in the years from 1956 through 1963. In 2013, Peter B. Clarke, author of Japanese New Religions in Global Perspective, wrote that "Nowadays we cannot speak of a Japanese colony in RS."[46]

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