Porto Alegre, the largest city in the South of Brazil (population is about 1,500,000 inhabitants), is the capital city of Rio Grande do Sul state, and for centuries was known as land of the Gauchos and churrasco.
The city was founded in 1742 by immigrants from the Azores Islands (which was then a Portuguese colony). Since the 19th century, Porto Alegre and Rio Grande do Sul have been receiving immigrants, particularly from Europe (Germans, Poles and Italians), which were of decisive importance, influencing architecture and cuisine, among other cultural aspects (including the fame of being one of the States with highest number of blondes).
Porto Alegre is located on the eastern shore of Guaíba lake, the point where five rivers converge forming the Lagoa dos Patos, a huge lagoon navigable even for large boats.
Guaíba has become an important alluvial port as well as one of the major industrial and commercial cities of Brazil. Products of the rich agriculture and livestock such as soybeans, leather, canned food, meats, and rice are exported to several countries.
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