The official date of the foundation of the city of Porto Alegre is 26 March 1772, when Freguesia de São Francisco do Porto dos Casais was created and changed a year later to Nossa Senhora da Madre de Deus de Porto Alegre. However, the village started in 1752, when 60 Azorean couples were brought over by the Madrid Treaty in order to set up Missions at the Northeast Region of Rio Grande do Sul that was handed over to the Portuguese Crown in exchange for the Sacramento Colony located on the margin of the Plata River. Land demarcation took a long time and the Azoreans settled permanently at Porto de Viamão, which was the first name by which Porto Alegre went by.
On 24 July 1773, Porto Alegre became the capital city of the province, when the administration of José Marcelino de Figueiredo officially started. In 1824 immigrants from all over the world started arriving, especially German, Italian, Spanish, African, Polish, Jewish and Lebanese. This mosaic of diversity in appearance, ethnic origin, religions and languages is what makes Porto Alegre – nowadays with nearly 1.5 inhabitants – a cosmopolitan and multicultural city; a successful example of diversity and plurality.
The history of Porto Alegre was written with hard work and bravery. The capital city of Rio Grande do Sul is also the capital city of the Pampas, the name given to the region of fauna and flora typical of the vast plains that dominate the landscape of the South of Brazil, part of Argentina and Uruguay. This is where the gaucho comes from, the historical figure of a brave warrior that fought legendary battles and wars in the quest to conquer the borders of the Kingdoms of Portugal and Spain in the sixteenth century.
There were many wars, but it was the nineteenth century that marked its people, after they fought a long for their independence from the Portuguese Empire. The Farrapos War started with the confrontation in Porto Alegre, near the Azenha bridge on 20 September 1835. Albeit terminated, this conflict etched in the pages of history the myth of the gaucho that is until our days praised in songs and celebrated in annual pageants and honored as names of streets and parks.
When the Farrapos War ended, the city continued to develop and underwent strong urban restructuring during the last decades of the eighteenth century, driven by the accelerated growth of port-related activities and shipyards. Its development continued in time and the city maintained kept abreast with cultural, political and social events that were taking place in Brazil, and is the birthplace of great writers, intellectuals, artists, politicians and episodes that marked the history of this nation.