15 Historic Postcards of Rio de Janeiro, the ‘Magnificent City’ Celebrating 458 Years

Aerial view of Ipanema, Arpadador and Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro

It is famous in the world for its wonderful beaches and landscapes, Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, its carnivals and the Maracana stadium, Rio de Janeiro celebrates its 458th year on Wednesday. It is the main tourist center of Brazil and one of the most attractive in the world. That is why it receives thousands and thousands of people annually.

To celebrate this special date, various activities will be held in the city, such as Carioca Cultural Marathon, which runs until the end of the month. Other highlights for residents are the free visits to Rio Museum of Art (MAR) At Tomorrow’s Museum.

Rio is the second largest city in Brazil. It is second only to the city Saint Paul, which reached 469 on January 25. It is also located as an important center of the country’s economy, because it is Headquarters of many major companies For example, Petrobrasa Brazilian state-owned company engaged mainly in the exploration and production of oil and its derivatives.

An aerial view of the favelas of Rio

According to the latest report by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) – which was released in 2020 -, Rio de Janeiro has an area of ​​1,200,329 square kilometers and has 6,747,815 people.

Historical photo of Copacabana
Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, at the beginning of the 20th century
Night view of Rio de Janeiro

Among the main tourist attractions are Christ the Redeemer, the Sugar Loaf, the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, among others, the bohemian neighborhood of Lapa, the Botanical Garden, the Maracana Stadium, the Museum of the Republic (Palácio do Catete), the Municipal Theatre, the Brazilian Academy of Literature, the Council Monarchy of the Portuguese language, among many others.

Beira-Mar Street, Botafogo, at the beginning of the 20th century

In terms of sports, Rio hosted the 1950 World Cup, the 2013 Confederations Cup, the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. It also hosted the 2019 and 2021 Copa America.

Princess Diana on a visit to Rio on April 25, 1991
An aerial view of Rio de Janeiro in 1933
The famous Copacabana beach in 1978

Another highlight, although not a sporting one, was the International Youth Day 2013, where thousands of believers from all over the world gathered together with Pope Francisco.

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The Rock in Rio festival is also very popular, where great artists from history have performed in front of thousands of people.

It all started in 1565, when Rio de Janeiro was founded after a clash between Portuguese and French forces for control of the region. Initially, the city was inhabited by indigenous people but the arrival of Portuguese settlers changed the history.

As a port city, it has gained great economic importance. Rio became the second capital of Brazil in 1763. Previously, the city of Salvador held this position. Another milestone in its history was the transfer Portuguese royal family In 1808, it became, soon after, in 1822, the capital of the Brazilian Empire.

View of Corcovado with Sugar Loaf center right, circa 1960

Even after the independence of Brazil in 1822, The city of Rio de Janeiro remained the main political and economic center of the country. In 1960, Rio was no longer the capital of the country and this place was once occupied Brasilia. However, its significance is not known to anyone.

Rio de Janeiro didn’t always have the image it has today. During the 19th century it turned its back on the coast and experienced a period of lawlessness and unhealth which would hardly make it worthy of such sentimental description as a ‘magnificent city’. However, there was a man, the governor Francisco Pereira Passoswho set about transforming it from his position as mayor and transforming it into a modern city.

Cable car circa 1940

Change happened so quickly that, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the press was already talking about “a wonderful cityTo mark the turnaround in Rio de Janeiro. Not only has that title disappeared, but it has continued to grow year after year and decade after decade.

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(Getty Images)

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Freddie Dawson

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