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Belem History, Brazil


Belém is the tenth largest city of Brazil and the second largest within Amazonia (the well known forest of South America). Located in the state of Pará; Belém has a population of around 2.1 million. The multiple lands which together comprise Belém are famous for their mango trees thus giving it the name of Cidade das Mangueiras (which means city of mangoes in Brazilian). Brazil’s busiest port is a part of Belém itself thus making the city an important one for the country’s economy.

Francisco Caldeiras was sent by Portuguese rulers on January 12th, 1616 to defend an area from the attack of  the Dutch, French, and British. He built a fort in the city and named it Forte do Presépio. He succeeded in winning the battle against the armies of Dutch, French, and British and hence people started to settle down in this area.

Initially, it was named Feliz Lusitânia. And as is the case with almost every city, Feliz Lusitânia couldn’t remain as the final name for the city. Soon the long name was removed and Belém came into existence.

In its early days, Belém would come under the regime of Portugal. It was one year after the independence of Brazil that Belém accepted the rule of Brazil and hence from August 1823 Belém came under the map of Brazil.

In 1720 Belém was the center of Diocese (the area which is governed by the bishop) for Belém do Pará. Its population was mere 13,000 in 1835 and it was made up of a grid style settlement. Belém faced the Cabanagem (which was also known as Revolta dos Cabanos), a revolt, in which almost everybody living in Belém participated.

During the late 19th century and the early 20th century, the city was the hub of rubber market and this was the time when the economy of Belém grew exponentially. The famous museum, Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, of  Belém was re-designed during this period, although its date of construction was somewhere in 1866.

In the last couple of years snakes, especially anaconda, have started to enter the city as the various rain forests have been destroyed by humans.

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