Rio and its history

The city of Rio de Janeiro, which will celebrate its 450th birthday in 2015, has a rich and colourful history. The seat of power of the Portuguese Colonial Empire in the early 19th century and later the capital of the Brazilian Republic, Rio has been a witness and key player in many chapters of the nation’s story. And, since times long past, the city has been a fertile ground for sport.

The infographic below provides an outline of Rio’s history and highlights some of the main milestones in a story that intertwines with the history of sport and Brazil.

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1500

On 22 April, a Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral arrived off the coast of what is now the state of Bahia

1502

Guanabara Bay is first seen by Portuguese seafarers on 1 January. As they initially (and wrongly) think it is the mouth of a large river, they name it Rio de Janeiro (January River)

1565

On 1 March, Mem de Sá's nephew Estácio de Sá founds the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro in the area located between Sugarloaf Mountain and the Cara de Cão mountain, in the district that is today known as Urca

1763

The capital of the colony is transferred
from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro

1808

The Portuguese Royal Family lands in Rio de Janeiro, having left home after the invasion of French troops under the command of Napoleon. Rio de Janeiro becomes the seat of the Portuguese monarchy, a status that lasted until 1821

1822

Brazil’s independence is proclaimed by Dom Pedro on
7 September, ending the country's status as a colony of Portugal. Adopting the name Dom Pedro I, he becomes the first Emperor of Brazil

1851

The first official sailing regatta takes place in Botafogo Bay, between the Praia Vermelha fortress and the old Botafogo ferry bridge

1858

Inauguration of the Central do Brasil railway line and its famous station

1888

On 13 May, Princess Isabel passes the Aurea Law, abolishing slavery in Brazil

1889

On 15 November, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca proclaims the Republic of Brazil in Praça da Aclamação (now Praça da República) in Rio de Janeiro, ending the rule of the monarchy

1896

Rio is the location of the first movie shown in Brazil

1905

Avenida Central (currently Avenida Rio Branco), the principal symbol of the urban reform taking place in the city, is inaugurated. This is still one of the main roads in Rio

1909

The Municipal Theatre, another impressive architectural symbol of Rio’s development, opens on
14 July in the Cinelândia district

1912

Flamengo and Fluminense football teams face each other for the first time in what has since become the classic city derby, known as Fla-Flu. Fluminense won 3-2

1918

Establishment of Cordão da Bola Preta, the oldest carnival bloco (street band) in Rio

1931

Inauguration of the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado Mountain

1932

The city hosts the first official samba school parade, which will come to be the main attraction of Rio Carnival. That year’s winner was the Mangueira samba school

1950

Inauguration of the Maracanã Stadium, which stages the football World Cup final. In a shock result, Brazil lose 2-1 to Uruguay. In 2016, it will stage the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as football matches

1954

Maracanãzinho Arena opens its doors to a large variety of sports. During the Rio 2016 Games, it will host the volleyball

1960

Brazil’s capital is transferred from
Rio de Janeiro to Brasília

1964

A military coup establishes a dictatorship in Brazil

1965

Inauguration of Flamengo Park, one of the city’s main sport and leisure locations. It was built on land reclaimed from the sea in Guanabara Bay, using earth from the demolition of several nearby hills. During the Rio 2016 Games, the park will host the Olympic race walk, Paralympic marathon and road cycling

1969

Pelé scores his 1,000th goal, a penalty for Santos against Vasco de Gama, at the Maracana Stadium

1974

The Rio-Niterói bridge, one of the largest
in the world, is opened

1979

The Rio de Janeiro metro starts operating, initially with only five stations: Praça Onze, Central, Presidente Vargas, Cinelandia and Gloria

1983

Football makes way for volleyball at the Maracanã Stadium, where a match between Brazil and the USSR draws a record 90,000 fans

1984

Inauguration of the Sambódromo, the stage for Rio’s Carnival parade. At the 2016 Games, the marathon start/finish and archery competitions will be held here

1985

After 20 years in power, Brazil’s
dictatorship comes to an end

1987

Ipanema hosts the first international
beach volleyball tournament

2002

Rio’s residents are animated as the city stages the South American Games

2007

5,623 athletes from 42 countries participate in the Pan American Games, held in Rio. Crowds then cheer 1,115 athletes from 25 countries during the Parapan American Games

2009

On 2 October, the city of Rio de Janeiro is elected to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games

2014

Germany wins the football World Cup for the fourth time by beating Argentina in the final
at the Maracana Stadium

2016

The first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America are staged in Rio de Janeiro!

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