Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazil's second largest city, the capital of Rio de Janeiro State, and the country's leading cultural and tourist center.

Population (1991) 5,336,179.

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Rio is an important manufacturing and service center. The city contributes about one-tenth of the country's manufactures in the form of such goods as processed food, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal products, ships, textiles, clothing, and furniture. The service sector dominates the economy, however, and includes banking and other financial functions. Great numbers of people take part in Rio's colorful annual carnival, which occurs on the eve of Lent.

Tourism and entertainment are also important aspects of the city's economic life. Revenue from tourism began declining sharply in 1990, however, in part due to a global recession, but primarily because of political turmoil and rampant crime. The number of foreign travelers visiting Rio dropped from a high of two million in 1986 to 1.1 million in 1991. Tourism interests in Rio convinced local authorities to create a special police unit in 1992 to patrol areas frequented by tourists, including the Copacabana neighborhood that is home to many of the city's hotels and beaches. Nearby Bouzios has as more nice beaches.

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Rio was the capital and dominant city of Brazil from 1763 to 1960. In the 1960s it lost its national administrative role to Brasília and its leading position as an economic center to São Paulo, but it is still many Brazilians' preferred city to visit.

With the development of industries and commerce in the period after World War II (1939-1945), Rio attracted many people from the interior of Brazil who came seeking economic opportunities. By the 1980s, however, many Brazilians began to leave the increasingly crime-ridden and pollution-plagued cities of Rio and São Paulo for booming interior cities such as Ribeirão Prêto, a city that offered an abundance of jobs without many of the urban problems of the large coastal cities.

In 1994 Rio had one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Rio is an important seaport located along the maritime traffic routes that link the coastal cities of northeastern Brazil and the more economically developed areas of southeastern Brazil.

Major cities near Rio de Janeiro:

Brasilia Southwest
Sao Paulo
360 km - Up