Today in World History: March 1st

On this day in 1565, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was founded by the Portuguese. A colonial city founded to help control the trade and to support expeditions down to the tip of the Americas and down into the Amazon. It grew rapidly, and served as the capital of the State of Brazil during colonial times, and later when the Portuguese royal family fled Napoleon it became the capital of Portugal. Eventually, it served as the capital of Brazil during the Brazilian War of Independence. By 1899 the Empire of Brazil was replaced with republic and in 1960 the capital was moved to Brasilia. It is the cultural capital of Brazil, hosting famous events such as Carnival. Overlooking the city is the Cristo Redentor, or Christ the Redeemer, which was completed in 1931. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, it is a major port, and has beaches like Copacabana that are renowned for their beauty. Rio is also a major sports event host, having hosted the PanAm Games, the FIFA World Cup, and soon the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.


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