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Notes on the Geography of Brazil: São Paulo: Photo 1

world pictures Brazil: São Paulo

Here we are at the site of the city's founding in 1554. São Paulo was then the only Portuguese settlement not on Brazil's coast, and it would grow so slowly that more than 150 years passed before the village was officially designated a city. That was in 1711, and real growth wouldn't come for another 150 years, with the opening in 1869 of a railroad down to the coast. Even then, São Paulo was a tiny place: as late as 1890 the population was 25,000. Hard to believe.

So here's the Pateo do Collegio, site of a Jesuit school founded with the settlement itself in 1554. Sounds venerable, but Jesuit properties around the Portuguese world were confiscated in 1759 by the redoubtable Marquis Pombal, and the school in São Paulo became government offices. Eventually it was demolished, beginning with the attached church in 1896. In 1954, with the Marquis in no position to argue, the government gave the site back to the Jesuits. In 1979 they reconstructed their old school, now mostly a museum. How's that for tenacity?

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