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Manaus Travel Guide

Manaus History



Manaus has a wonderful background, its history begins in an Indian village built around the São José da Barra Fortress, in 1669. A fortress had been constructed to prevent the descending of the Dutch invaders garrisoned in Suriname (former Dutch Guyana) and guarantee the domain of the Portuguese Crown in the region. The settlement that developed around the fortress was given the name of São José da Barra do Rio Negro (Lugar da Barra) and in 1832, under denomination of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Barra do Rio Negro, the settlement was raised to the status of Villa (small town). In 1848, the small town of Vila da Barra was raised to the status of City, with the name Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro, finally receive the name Manáos, in 1856, to celebrate the Manáo (Mother of the gods) Indian nation, the most important ethnical group in the region, historically acknowledged by their courage and bravery.

Between 1890 and 1910, thanks to the exportation of natural rubber, the local businessmen and rulers brought in from the Europe hundreds of architects and landscape painters, for the execution of an ambitious urban plan that would result in a city with European architectonic profile, though embedded in the middle of the jungle. Modern and innovative, Manaus was one of the first Brazilian cities to have electricity, pluvial drainage system, water treatment, sewer system and electric streetcar service. For over a hundred years ago Manaus inaugurated the Amazonas Opera House which astonished the world for its luxury, refinement and architectonic beauty, and in 1909 the first Brazilian University was founded - the Universidade Livre de Manaus (Autonomous University of Manáos). The floating harbor, built to adapt to the tidal water level of the rivers, was totally imported from England. Several other public buildings were also imported from England. With the establishment of the Free Zone, in 1967, Manaus took advantage of the fiscal incentives to become the largest existing commercial and industrial sector on the Equator.

The main Brazilian industries of electric-electronic appliances, clocks and watches, bicycles, motorcycles, eyeglasses, etc., are concentrated here. Commerce offers a wide variety of high technology products, at the lowest prices and the hotels are equipped to efficiently receive people from everywhere in the country and overseas.

Public investment in the urban infrastructure has made possible the emerging of an increasinglybeautiful and welcoming city. Manaus has also become an important hub for Ecotourism thanks to its natural beauties and the rescue of the Indigenous traditions, which have in the exuberance of the boi-bumbá festivals one of its main examples. The boi-bumbá festivals, which date back to the beginning of the 20th century, has been given a new style and has been conquering the hearts and minds of thousands of people in Brazil and overseas. It is exactly this hospitable city, where tradition and modernity harmoniously coexist harmony, that waits for you with open arms.


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