Information - Rio Grande do Sul | The Cato Family

Information - Rio Grande do Sul

Land of the Gaucho

   Jos 14:12  “Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims [were] there, and[that] the cities [were] great [and] fenced: if so be the LORD [will be] with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the LORD said.”


Santa Maria


 Short video about Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul

It is known for the Federal University of Santa Maria and a number of other private universities and colleges. Because of the large number of college age students, the city has a relatively young population. Santa Maria is also known for its military contingent - the second largest in Brazil.

Santa Maria is also known in the region for being the host city of an important Roman Catholic festival dedicated to Nossa Senhora Medianeira, called "Romaria da Medianeira" (Medianeira is a name of Our Lady that was created in VeniceItaly). Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over Brazil join in the celebrations.

Santa Maria is the location of the Santa Maria Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force, which houses four units.

The city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Maria.

Santa Maria also has two soccer teams: Inter-SM and Riograndense-SM.


In the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Maria is the fifth largest city, after Porto AlegreCaxias do SulPelotas, and Canoas.

It is the largest city in the central region of the state, concentrating 36.40% of the region's population. During the period between 1981 and 2000, Santa Maria had a demographic growth rate of 1.86%.

The municipality contains 10 districts. The city of Santa Maria itself is located in the urban Seat District (Distrito Sede), which is divided into 8 regiões administrativas(administrative regions), and further subdivided into 41 bairros (neighbourhoods). About 95% of the municipality's total population is concentrated in the Seat District. One of the districts is Palma.

See also: Administrative divisions of Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul


The economy is based on services, light industrygovernment services, andagriculture. In 2006, there were 934 transformation industries employing 6,344 workers. Commerce employed 12,180 workers, public administration employed 4,783 workers, the health sector employed 3,799 workers, and education employed 6,362 workers. In the agricultural sector, there were 2,335 establishments employing 7,000 workers. The main activities are cattle raising with over 100,000 heads in 2006, and growth of ricecornsoybean, and wheat.[1]


Santa Maria is a major highway and railroad hub. The city has a strategic location in connecting Brazil to other Mercosul countries, mainly through the following highways:

Railways are used for cargo transportation, mainly of agricultural products, automobile parts and food.

Santa Maria is 110 km far from the River Terminal of Cachoeira do Sul, which allows ship transport until the port of Porto Alegre through the Jacuí River, and from there to the Atlantic Ocean, through the Lagoa dos Patos.

Santa Maria Airport is located 12 km far from downtown, in the neighborhood of Camobi. It has capacity for large airplanes and offers daily flights to Porto Alegre,Santo Ângelo and Uruguaiana. The same facility is shared by the Santa Maria Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force.

Highway Distances to Other Cities in the state

  • Santa Maria—Porto Alegre: 286 km.
  • Santa Maria—Pelotas: 337 km.
  • Santa Maria—Cruz Alta: 135 km.
  • Santa Maria—Uruguaiana: 365 km.
  • Santa Maria—Passo Fundo: 293 km.
  • Santa Maria—Caxias do Sul: 307 km.[2]

Health and education

In 2005, there were 113 health establishments, comprising 8 hospitals with a total amount of 866 available beds. In the educational sector, there were 112 primary schools and 34 secondary schools. Six higher education institutions enrolled approximately 20,000 students. The most important are the Federal University of Santa Maria - UFSM, the Franciscan University Center - UNIFRA, and the Methodist University of Santa Maria - FAMES.[1]


Santa Maria has a humid subtropical climate and its annual average temperature is 18.5 °C. In January, the warmest month, highs frequently surpass 30 °C with the average low dropping to 19 °C. In June, the coldest month, highs reach 19 °C and lows usually go below 9 °C, reaching up to -5 °C, but snow is a rare occurrence. Rainfall is distributed evenly throughout the year with a monthly average of 140 mm.[3]


Santa Maria is often referred to as the "heart of Rio Grande do Sul" (from Portuguese: "cidade coração do Rio Grande"), because the geographical center of the state is located in a rural District of Santa Maria called Passo do Verde. Santa Maria is also given the nickname of "culture city" (Portuguese: "cidade cultura"), mostly because of the local universities, which host a large number of students and young adults who engage in many cultural and political actions, social entrepreneurs, and a number of academic researchers of international reputation.


The first inhabitants of Santa Maria were the Minuano Indians, who lived in a region of the municipality known as Coxilha do Pau Fincado, and the Tapes, who lived in the hills.

With the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese this border region was a witness to innumerable battles between rival groups. Finally in 1797 the border between the two colonies was established by a commission (1ª Subdivisão da Comissão Demarcadora de Limites da América Meridional). This commission set up camp on the site of present-day Santa Maria.

The camp was known as Acampamento de Santa Maria, later adding Boca do Monte to the name. 1828 saw the arrival of the 28th Battalion of Foreigners, made up of hired Germans to fight against the inhabitants of present-day Uruguay in the Cisplatine War. After the war many of the soldiers decided to stay in Santa Maria beginning the cycle of German colonization.

Santa Maria was elevated to the condition of Vila, separating from Cachoeira do Sul, in 1857. The municipality was created on 16 December 1857 and installed on 17 May 1858.[4]

Quality of Life

According to the United Nations (PNUD 2000), Santa Maria ranks 45th in quality of life in Brazil and 9th in the state. According to data from 2006, from Fundação de Economia e Estatística - FEE, life expectancy at birth is of 74.01 years and the demographic density of the municipality is 145.4 inhab/km².

The level of atmospheric pollution in Santa Maria is low, since the urban area, for the most part, is composed of retail commerce and services, without polluting sectors.[5]

Rio Grande do Sul

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Rio Grande do Sul (pron. IPA[ʁiu 'gɾɐ̃.dʒi du suw] [1]; English: "Large Southern River") is the southernmost state of Brazil, and one of the states with the highest standard of life. It is bordered on the north by the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Uruguay, and on the west byArgentina.



Despite being mainly rural for much of its early history, Rio Grande do Sul served as the launching pad for several wars Brazil waged against its southern and western neighbors. It also was a focal point for internal rebellion in the 19th centuryGetulio Vargas, who led Brazil as dictator from 1930 and later was elected president in 1950, was a native of Rio Grande do Sul (known as Gaúchos).


Rio Grande do Sul's prairies have been the scene of bloody wars: the dispute between Portugal and Spain for the Sacramento Colony, the Guarani Missions War, the War of Tatters, the Federalist Revolution, the Maurers Revolt and the Vargas's levant.

Rio Grande do Sul's population consists primarily of the descendants of Europeanimmigrants, especially PortugueseItalians, and Germans and, to a much smaller extent, groups of PolesSpanishRussiansLithuaniansUkrainians and Jews. In the 1960s, a number of Japanese immigrants settled in various parts of the state, most notably in the town of Ivoti.

The first German immigrant families arrived in Rio Grande do Sul in 1824 at the town of São Leopoldo, and within the next one hundred years an estimated quarter of a million Germans settled in Brazil, mostly in Rio Grande do Sul and the neighboring state of Santa Catarina.

Most of the German speakers in southern Brazil spoke or eventually adopted theHunsrückisch dialect so that it became the most commonly used German dialect in this part of the world and is still spoken by millions today (also referred to asRiograndenser Hunsrückisch to differentiate it from the Hunsrückisch spoken in Germany).

In its 180 years of history Riograndenser Hunsrückisch has been greatly influenced by other German dialects (such as PomeranianPfälzisch) and by immigrant languages such as the national language, Portuguese but also to some degree byItalian.

Talian is a uniquely Brazilian variety of Italian not spoken anywhere else in the world. The emergence of Talian in Rio Grande do Sul happened because of the great variety of Italian dialects that came together into a fairly compact and specific geographical location of the state. Talian is frequently called Vêneto because it is close to the Venetian language spoken in Italy's Veneto region.

Italian immigrants began arriving in the area in the late 1800's, settling mostly in the hilly Northeastern parts of Rio Grande do Sul. Soon the region became the most important grape and wine-producing region in Brazil. Although the climate does not favor the production of the finest wines, the last few years have seen great progress in winemaking, especially with white sparkling wines.

All minority languages in southern Brazil have experienced a significant degrees of decline in the last few decades, not only immigrant languages such as Italian orTalian and German, but also the indigenous languages of the Kaingang (also spelledKaingángCainguangue, etc.) and the Guaraní.

In the far western area of the state are the remnants of Brazil's 17th century Jesuitmissions or reductions (aldeias) to the Guaraní Indians. Important to the region, it should be noted that Jesuit Father Roque Gonzales also known as Roque Gonzales de Santa Cruz arrived from Paraguay on the 3rd of May of 1626 to establish the Saint Nicolas mission (today known as São Nicolau) was the first white person to enter in what is today know as the state of Rio Grande do Sul. Of all the ruins left behind by the vanished Guarani Missions, the most significant one is São Miguel or São Miguel Arcanjo, located nearby the present city of Santo Ângelo. There is an ongoing Light and Sound (or Som e Luz in Portuguese) show presented at the ruins of the São Miguel church. Originally part of Uruguayan territory it was lost in the Uruguayan struggle for independence. Uruguay could have lost all of the Rio Grande do Sul area if not for the help of Argentina, which wanted to defeat Brazil.


Ecotourism is very popular in the Germanesque cities of Gramado and Canela; their cold weather is among their attractions for internal tourism. Tourism is also high in thewine regions of the state, principally Caxias do Sul and Bento Gonçalves. The pampas of the native Brazilian gaúcho are both a national and international curiosity to tourists and their customs are alive in the capital city of Porto Alegre as well as in the cities of the "interior" or western Rio Grande do Sul such as Santa Maria andPasso Fundo. The state is also home to the historic São Miguel das Missões, the ruins of an 18th century Jesuit Mission.

Hortênsia flowers in Gramado, part of the Região das Hortênsias and Rota Romântica


Tourist Routes

The state of Rio Grande do Sul and its cities have developed a series scenic routes to appeal to tourists. The Rota Romântica is a popular scenic drive that exhibits the diverse Germanic culture of the mountainous regions of the state referred to as theSerra Gaúcha. One can visit the states Italian settlements through Caminhos da Colônia, tour the wine country through the Rota da Uva e o Vinho and visit a subsection of the Rota Romântica called the Região das Hortênsias, the region filled with beautiful blue hydrangea flowers each spring.

Main towns

Porto Alegre (the state capital), Caxias do SulPelotasOsórioCanoasSão LeopoldoNovo HamburgoSanta MariaRio GrandePasso FundoSanta Cruz do SulErechimGravataíBento GonçalvesUruguaianaLivramentoGramadoNova PetropolisCanela and Bagé.

Ethnic groups

9% mixed ethnicism (mixed European and American Indian ancestry, mixed European and African, mixed African and American Indian ancestry or mixed European, African and American Indian ancestry)

5.4% Afro-Brazilian

0.4% Asian (see Japanese-Brazilian and Chinese-Brazilian)

0.2% Native American

Minority Languages

Minority languages spoken in Rio Grande do Sul can be divided into two groups: Indigenous languages (GuaraniCaingangue, etc.) and European derived Languages (PortuñolTalianVeneto/ItalianRiograndenser HunsrückischLow GermanPommeranisch -German dialects-, Polish and other Slavic languages).


One of the most prosperous Brazilian states, Rio Grande do Sul is known especially for grain production, viticulture, ranching, and for its considerable industrial output. Natives of the state are known as Gaúchos, named after the cattle herders and ranchers who settled the state's pampa regions.


The flag was established by law no. 5213 of January 51966. However, its design dates back much more. The independent Rio Grande Republic adopted the flag in 1836, in 1891 the shield in the center was added. According to the common interpretion of the flag colors the green and yellow stands for the Flag of Brazil and the red for the blood spilt during the internal rebellion for the independent Rio Grande Republic.


The state of Rio Grande do Sul is renowned as one of the most culturally rich states ofBrazil. Rio Grande's music is a blend of many styles (Prata's Rhythms in the main), including the ChamaméMilongaPolcaChacarera and Tango. The inhabitants of the state are famous in the country for drinking chimarrão, a local version of the matedrunk in neighbouring Uruguay and Argentina.



About 74% of all Brazilians claim to be members of the Roman Catholic Church; most of the remaining 26% adhere to various Protestant faiths, KardecismCandomblé,UmbandaJudaismIslam, and Buddhism.  


(Dave Cato)

  I have heard that in Rio Grande do Sul 80% are professing Catholics and 60% also are practicing spiritism such as KardecismCandomblé and Umbanda                                                                                                                                                   © David Cato 2011