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Vitoria_Prefectural_Government_Building-ES.PNG
Colonial building in downtown Vitória and seat of the Governor of the State of Espírito Santo

Vitória is the capital of the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil. It is located on a small island within a bay where a few rivers meet the sea. It was founded in 1551, and today the Greater Vitória metropolitan area has a population of over 1,000,000 on an area of 105Km². The average height of the city is only 3 meters above sea level. In 1998, the United Nations rated Vitória as the fourth best state capital in Brazil to live in, rating cities on health, education, and social improvement projects. Vitória is in the centre of the Greater Vitória metropolitan area, which holds just under one million inhabitants.

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Economy

Vitória's economy is strongly based on industry, but it is also an important port city, having a total of three ports. As such, it performs a very important function for the region, in exporting local products (both agricultural and industrial). Another important aspect of the economy is the housing market, which can easily be seen through the many small-scale residential skyscrapers.

History

The island was populated shortly after the arrival of Vasco Fernandes Coutinho to Vila Velha, where he first settled colonists, but soon became more popular as the mainland became increasingly dangerous. Other considerations, such as attacks from Dutch and French traders, in search of sugar cane, also contributed to the choice of this island as home to the colonists.

During the first half of the 19th century, Vitória was still seen as a backward agricultural town, with narrow and disorganized lanes. The commercial capital at the time was Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, and because of that the revenues of commerce would go to Rio de Janeiro, rather than Vitória. It was only after the adoption of a republican style of government in 1889 that the governors decided to modernize the state capital.

In 1892 Muniz Freire came to power for two 4-year terms, and began his leadership by paving roads, planning the town's expansion, and contracting a loan of 700 million French Francs to build a rail connection to Cachoeiro de Itapemirim. Muniz Freire intended to channel exports and revenues through the capital, and thus promote its growth. By 1894 the town showed signs of growth fueled mainly by the great activity of the port of Vitória, and the high price of coffee, which was the main export product for the state at the time. The money brought in by this increased economic activity spurred on the city's modernization.

In 1908, Jerônimo Monteiro became state governor, and continued urban development. During his time in office he saw Vitória surpass Cachoeiro de Itapemirim as a commercial center. This was helped by the 1911 completion of the railway line linking the two towns and the improvement of port facilities. During this period, many projects such as the building of schools, Moscoso Park, Santa Casa da Misericordia Hospital, and the Santo Antonio cemetery were undertaken. Monteiro was also responsible for other projects such as the creation of the public archive, the state library and state museum.

Attractions

External links

es:Vitória (Brasil)

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