January 20, 2012 - Celebrate Rio de Janeiro!

In January of 1502, a Portuguese exploratory expedition happened on what is now known as Guanabara Bay in Brazil. The explorers called the river entering the Atlantic Ocean “January River,” in Portuguese of course, and the name stuck: Rio de Janeiro.

In various sources, today is cited as being either Foundation Day or Saint Sebastian's Feast Day in Rio. I'm not sure which of these reports is accurate—perhaps both—but it is a great day to take a look at this important Brazilian city.

Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for almost 200 years, but a new inland city, Brasilia, was planned and built in the late 1950s and became the capital in 1960.

Rio is the second largest city in Brazil, after only Sao Paulo. It's the third largest in South America, the sixth largest in the Americas, and the 26th largest in the world!

Also, Rio is the second largest city in Brazil by economic terms (Gross Domestic Product, GDP).

In what way is Rio number one? Well, it's the most visited city in all of Brazil. As a matter of fact, Rio de Janeiro is the most visited city in all of the Southern Hemisphere!!

It's known for its beaches and natural surroundings—including Copacabana beach and Sugarloaf Mountain—as well as for its carnival celebrations and cultural contributions such as the samba (a dance) and Bossa Nova (a style of music). One of the most famous landmarks is considered on the New Seven Wonders of the World, a giant 130-foot (40-meter) statue of “Christ the Redeemer.”

In 2016, Rio hosts the Summer Olympic Games!

One of the largest statues in the world...

...but not nearly as large as several others.
The largest statue on this chart is Spring Temple Buddha
(153 meters). Do you recognize the statue that is second
from the left?

Also on this date:

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