Rio de Janeiro received its name from Portuguese explorers who discovered the mouth of Guanabara Bay in January of 1502 and named it Rio de Janeiro, or the River of January. Founded in 1565 as Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, the city grew in size and importance in the early 1700s as a shipping port for gold and diamonds, which had been discovered in the area. It served as the capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960, when a new capital city, Brasilia, was constructed from scratch by the government. When Napoleon invaded Portugal in 1807, Rio de Janeiro even became the capital of the Portuguese Empire for several years.
Rio is called "Cidade Maravilhosa" ("Marvellous City"), and with good reason. Tourists flock to the city, which is situated among inspiring mountains, spectacular beaches, and tropical rainforest. An active nightlife and the world-famous Carnival give Rio de Janeiro a reputation for being an exciting city to visit.
The Carioca Aqueduct in this photograph was built in the 1700s to bring water to Rio de Janeiro. Because of its forty-two arches, “os Arcos” is one of the names that have been given to the aqueduct.
How does geography impact human settlement and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the market in Rio de Janeiro using evidence from the photograph and discuss the impact of geography on the development and economy of the city.