São Paulo and His History
The foundation of São Paulo is part of the process of occupation and exploration of American lands by the Portuguese from the 16th century. Initially, the settlers founded the Vila de Santo André da Borda do Campo (1553), constantly threatened by the indigenous peoples of the region. At that time a group of priests from the Company of Jesus, which included Jose de Anchieta and Manoel da Nóbrega, climbed the mountain range reaching the Piratininga plateau where they found "cold and temperate air like those of Spain" and "a land very good, fresh and of good waters. " From the point of view of security, São Paulo's topographic location was perfect: it was situated on a high, flat hill surrounded by two rivers, the Tamanduateí and Anhangabaú.

In this place, they founded the College of the Jesuits on January 25, 1554, around which began the construction of the first houses of taipa that would give origin to the town of São Paulo de Piratininga.

In 1560, the village gained village and pillory forums but the distance from the coast, the commercial isolation and the unsuitable soil for the cultivation of export products, condemned the Vila to occupy an insignificant position for centuries in Portuguese America.

Therefore, it was limited to what we now call "Old Center of São Paulo" or "Historic Triangle, in whose vertices are the Convents of St. Francis, St. Benedict and Carmel.

Until the nineteenth century, in the streets of the triangle (now Rua Direita, XV de Novembro and São Bento) were the commerce, banking network and main services of São Paulo.

In 1681, São Paulo was considered the head of the São Paulo captaincy, and in 1711, the town was elevated to the category of Cidade. In spite of this, until the eighteenth century, Sao Paulo continued as a headquarters from which the "bandeiras" set off, organized expeditions to capture Indians and search for precious minerals in the distant sertões. Although it did not contribute to the economic growth of São Paulo, bandeirante activity was responsible for the demarcation and expansion of the Brazilian territory to the south and southwest, in direct proportion to the extermination of the indigenous nations that opposed resistance to this enterprise.

The initial urban area, however, widened with the opening of two new streets, Líbero Badaró and Florêncio de Abreu. In 1825, the first public garden of São Paulo was inaugurated, the current Garden of Light, an initiative that indicates an urbanistic concern with the city's elaboration.

In the early nineteenth century, with the independence of Brazil, São Paulo established itself as the capital of the province and headquarters of an Academy of Law, becoming an important nucleus of intellectual and political activities. The creation of the Normal School, the printing of newspapers and books, and the increase of cultural activities also contributed to this.

At the end of the century, the city underwent profound economic and social changes resulting from the expansion of coffee plantations in several regions of São Paulo, the construction of the Santos-Jundiaí railroad (1867) and the influx of European immigrants. In order to have an idea of ​​the dizzying growth of the city at the turn of the century, it is enough to observe that in 1895 the population of São Paulo was 130 thousand inhabitants (of which 71 thousand were foreigners), reaching 239,820 in 1900! During this period, the urban area expanded beyond the perimeter of the triangle, the first lines of trams, water reservoirs and gas lighting appeared.

These added factors already outlined the formation of an industrial park in São Paulo. The occupation of the urban space registered these transformations. Brás and Lapa became working districts par excellence; there the industries near the rails of the English railway were concentrated, in the floodplains of the rivers Tamanduatey and Tietê. The region of the Bexiga was occupied, above all, by the Italian immigrants and Paulista Avenue and adjacencies, wooded areas, elevated and airy, by the mansions of the great coffee growers.

The most important urban achievements of the late nineteenth century were, in fact, the inauguration of Paulista Avenue (1891) and the construction of the Viaduto do Chá (1892), which promoted the connection of the "old center" with the "new city" formed by the street Barão de Itapetininga and its surroundings. It is important to remember that soon after (1901) was built the new station of the São Paulo Railway, the remarkable Station of Light.

From the political-administrative point of view, the municipal public power gained a new physiognomy. From the colonial period, São Paulo was governed by the Municipal Council, an institution that had legislative, executive and judicial functions. In 1898, with the creation of the position of Municipal Mayor, whose first holder was the Counselor Antônio da Silva Prado, the legislative and executive branches separated.

The 20th century, in its economic, cultural and artistic manifestations, becomes synonymous with progress. The wealth provided by coffee is mirrored in São Paulo "modern", hitherto narrow and sad capital.

Trains, trams, electricity, telephone, automobile, speed, the city grows, grows and receives many urban improvements like paving stones, squares, viaducts, parks and the first skyscrapers.

The shopping center with its sophisticated offices and shops, displays in its windows the fashion recently launched in Europe. While the coffee excited the senses abroad, the imported novelties arrived at the Port of Santos and they ascended the mountain in demand to the civilized city planaltina. Telegraph signals brought news from the world and reverberated through the local press.

In ships loaded with fine products for ladies and gentlemen of the upper class, Italian and Spanish immigrants also arrived on the farms or newly installed industries, but not before spending a season huddled in the famous hostel of the immigrants in the district of Brás now houses the Museum of Immigration of the State of São Paulo).

In 1911, the city won its Municipal Theater, the work of the architect Ramos de Azevedo, celebrated as the venue for operatic spectacles, considered as elegant entertainment of the São Paulo elite.

Industrialization accelerated after 1914 during the First World War but increasing population and wealth is accompanied by the degradation of the living conditions of workers suffering from low wages, long working hours and illnesses. Only the Spanish flu killed eight thousand people in four days.

The workers organize themselves in associations and promote strikes, as occurred in 1917 and stopped the whole city of São Paulo for many days. That same year, the government and industrialists inaugurated the industrial exhibition of São Paulo in the sumptuous Palace of Industries, specially built for this purpose. The optimism was such that it motivated the then mayor, Washington Luis, to state, with obvious exaggeration: "The city today is something like Chicago and Manchester together."

In the 1920s, industrialization gained momentum, the city grew (in 1920, São Paulo had 580,000 inhabitants) and coffee suffers another major crisis. However, the elite of São Paulo, in a climate of uncertainties but very optimistic, attends dance halls, attends motor racing, soccer matches, malabaristic demonstrations of airplanes, goes to masquerade balls and participates in cheerful carnival corsets on the main avenues of the city. In this environment emerges the restless modernist movement. In 1922, Mário de Andrade, Oswald de Andrade, Luís Aranha, among other intellectuals and artists, began a cultural movement that assimilated modern international artistic techniques, presented at the famous Modern Art Week at the Municipal Theater.

With the fall of the stock exchange of New York and the Revolution of 1930, the correlation of the political forces that sustained the "Old Republic" changed. The decade that began was especially striking for Sao Paulo, both for the great accomplishments in the field of culture and education and for political adversities. Conflicts between the political elite, a representative of the state's agro-exporting sectors, and the federal government, led to the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, which turned the city into a veritable square of war where volunteers were enrolled, combat strategies were set up and collected contributions from the frightened population but proud to belong to a "land of giants."

The defeat of São Paulo and its restricted participation in the national political scene coincided, however, with the flourishing of scientific and educational institutions. In 1933, the Free School of Sociology and Politics was created, designed to train technicians for public administration; in 1934, Armando de Salles Oliveira, the intervener of the State, inaugurated the University of São Paulo; in 1935, the Municipality of São Paulo won, in the management of the mayor Fabio Prado, its Department of Culture and Recreation.

In that same period, the city witnessed a remarkable urban development that witnessed its process of "verticalization": the inauguration, in 1934, of the Martinelli Building, São Paulo's largest skyscraper at the time, with 26 floors and 105 meters in height !

The 1940s were marked by an unprecedented urban intervention in the city's history. Mayor Prestes Maia put into practice his "Avenues Plan", with extensive investments in the road system. In the following years, the concern with the urban space was basically aimed at opening the way for cars and meeting the interests of the auto industry that settled in São Paulo in 1956.

At the same time, the city grew in a disorderly way towards the periphery generating a serious housing crisis, in the same proportion, as the central regions were valued serving real estate speculation.

In 1954, São Paulo celebrated the fourth centenary of its foundation with several events, including the inauguration of Parque Ibirapuera,

main green area of ​​the city, which now houses several building designed by the architect Oscar Niemeyer. In the 50s, it begins the phenomenon of "deconcentration" of the industrial park in Sao Paulo who started moving to other municipalities in the Metropolitan Region (ABCD, Osasco, Guarulhos, Santo Amaro) and the State (Campinas, Sao Jose dos Campos, Sorocaba) .This gradual decline of the São Paulo industry is part of a process of "outsourcing" of the municipality, marked from the 70 This means that the main economic activities of the city are inextricably linked to the provision of services and business centers (shopping centers, hypermarkets, etc.). The transformations in the road system have come to meet these new needs. Thus, in 1969, the works of the subway in the administration of the mayor Paulo Salim Maluf began.

The population of the metropolis of São Paulo grew in the last decade, from about 10 to 16 million inhabitants. This population growth was accompanied by the aggravation of social and urban issues (unemployment, collective transportation, housing, environmental problems ...) that challenge us as "a mouth of a thousand teeth" at the end of the century. However, as the great poet of the city, Mario de Andrade, said:

"Outside the body of St. Paul spills life to the guampasso of the skyscrapers".

SOURCE: Department of Historical Heritage (Adapted)






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