Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Manaus (formerly Manáos) is a city in north-west Brazil and capital of Amazonas State. Located on the Negro River near its confluence with the Amazon, it is the chief port and a for the region's extensive river system. Pop. 1,600,000 (est.)
Manaus began as a small fort, São José da Barra, created in 1669 by Portuguese settlers as a defense against Spanish incursions into Brazil by way of the Amazon river. On November 13, 1832, the settlement gained the status of Vila, and was named "Manaus", after the indigenous tribe, the "Manaós ", which once inhabitated the area. In the local language, the word means "Mother of God". On October 24, 1848, Manaus was awarded the status of city with the name Cidade da Barra do Rio Negro. In 1850, Amazonas became a province. On September 4, 1856, the city was renamed Cidade de Manaus.
From 1890 to 1920, the Rubber Boom, caused in part by the invention of the process of vulcanization, made the city wealthy. Immigrants from northeastern Brazil, fleeing drought and poverty, flooded the city seeking riches in the rubber trade. By 1920, synthetic rubber and the growth of plantations in Southeast Asia caused a drastic plunge in the price of rubber, and Manaus declined into poverty.
Although the chief industry of Manaus through much of the last century was rubber, it is no longer as important as it once was. Given its location, timber and Brazil-nuts make up important trades, as do petroleum refining, soap manufacture and chemical industries. Over the last decades, a system of federal investments and tax incentives have turned the surrounding region into a major industrial center (the Zona Franca of Manaus).
Sites and Attractions
Because of its location in the middle of the Amazon Rainforest, Manaus attracts a substantial number of Brazilian and foreign tourists, who can find plenty of boat and land trips into the surrounding jungle.
Among the landmarks of Manaus is the Amazon Theater , an opera house which also contains a museum. The University of Amazonas was founded in 1965 and about 18km downtown is Ponta Negra beach, a neighbourhood that has a beachfront and popular nightlife area. Also, the CIGS zoo maybe worth a visit, although part of it is the army's training centre. The Mercado Adolpho Lisboa is a market place with many fish, fruit and vegetable stores.
Facts about Manaus
- Manaus time is 1 hour later than Brasília's and Rio de Janeiro's.
- Roughly two-thirds (60%) of the population of the Brazilian state of Amazonas (which has an estimated population of 2.8 million habitants) lives in Manaus or in the greater metropolitan area.
- Manaus is one of the most isolated metropolitan areas of the world, accessible only by two highways (traffic impracticable during the wet season) or by the rivers surrounding the city.
- It is warm all year round and there is a wet season in the summer months with temperatures around 30°C-36°C/86°F-96°F.
- There are 60-70 murders a year, and the FARC terrorist group from Colombia are allegedly trying to set up a base there.
- Manaus Official Site – information, pictures and tourist advice.
- Globo Site Manaus Online – portal for Manaus (in Portuguese).
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