Rio and its history

The city of Rio de Janeiro has a rich and colourful history. The seat of power of the Portuguese Colonial Empire in the early 19th century and later the capital of the Brazilian Republic, Rio has been a witness and key player in many chapters of the nation’s story. And, since times long past, the city has been a fertile ground for sport.

The infographic below provides an outline of Rio’s history and highlights some of the main milestones in a story that intertwines with the history of sport and Brazil.

1500 1502 1565 1763 1808 1822 1851 1858 1888 1889 1896 1905 1909 1912 1918 1931 1932 1950 1954 1960 1964 1965 1969 1974 1979 1983 1984 1985 1987 2002 2007 2009 2014 2016 15001500 15021502 15651565 17631763 18081808 18221822 18511851 18581858 18881888 18891889 18961896 19051905 19091909 19121912 19181918 19311931 19321932 19501950 19541954 19601960 19641964 19651965 19691969 19741974 19791979 19831983 19841984 19851985 19871987 20022002 20072007 20092009 20142014 20162016

On 22 April, a Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral arrived off the coast of what is now the state of Bahia


Guanabara Bay is first seen by Portuguese seafarers on 1 January. As they initially (and wrongly) think it is the mouth of a large river, they name it Rio de Janeiro (January River)


On 1 March, Mem de Sá's nephew Estácio de Sá founds the city of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro in the area located between Sugarloaf Mountain and the Cara de Cão mountain, in the district that is today known as Urca


The capital of the colony is transferred
from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro


The Portuguese Royal Family lands in Rio de Janeiro, having left home after the invasion of French troops under the command of Napoleon. Rio de Janeiro becomes the seat of the Portuguese monarchy, a status that lasted until 1821


Brazil’s independence is proclaimed by Dom Pedro on
7 September, ending the country's status as a colony of Portugal. Adopting the name Dom Pedro I, he becomes the first Emperor of Brazil


The first official sailing regatta takes place in Botafogo Bay, between the Praia Vermelha fortress and the old Botafogo ferry bridge


Inauguration of the Central do Brasil railway line and its famous station


On 13 May, Princess Isabel passes the Aurea Law, abolishing slavery in Brazil


On 15 November, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca proclaims the Republic of Brazil in Praça da Aclamação (now Praça da República) in Rio de Janeiro, ending the rule of the monarchy


Rio is the location of the first movie shown in Brazil


Avenida Central (currently Avenida Rio Branco), the principal symbol of the urban reform taking place in the city, is inaugurated. This is still one of the main roads in Rio


The Municipal Theatre, another impressive architectural symbol of Rio’s development, opens on
14 July in the Cinelândia district


Flamengo and Fluminense football teams face each other for the first time in what has since become the classic city derby, known as Fla-Flu. Fluminense won 3-2


Establishment of Cordão da Bola Preta, the oldest carnival bloco (street band) in Rio


Inauguration of the Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Corcovado Mountain


The city hosts the first official samba school parade, which will come to be the main attraction of Rio Carnival. That year’s winner was the Mangueira samba school


Inauguration of the Maracanã Stadium, which stages the football World Cup final. In a shock result, Brazil lose 2-1 to Uruguay. In 2016, it will stage the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as football matches


Maracanãzinho Arena opens its doors to a large variety of sports. During the Rio 2016 Games, it will host the volleyball


Brazil’s capital is transferred from
Rio de Janeiro to Brasília


A military coup establishes a dictatorship in Brazil


Inauguration of Flamengo Park, one of the city’s main sport and leisure locations. It was built on land reclaimed from the sea in Guanabara Bay, using earth from the demolition of several nearby hills.


Pelé scores his 1,000th goal, a penalty for Santos against Vasco de Gama, at the Maracana Stadium


The Rio-Niterói bridge, one of the largest
in the world, is opened


The Rio de Janeiro metro starts operating, initially with only five stations: Praça Onze, Central, Presidente Vargas, Cinelandia and Gloria


Football makes way for volleyball at the Maracanã Stadium, where a match between Brazil and the USSR draws a record 90,000 fans


Inauguration of the Sambódromo, the stage for Rio’s Carnival parade. At the 2016 Games, the marathon start/finish and archery competitions will be held here


After 20 years in power, Brazil’s
dictatorship comes to an end


Ipanema hosts the first international
beach volleyball tournament


Rio’s residents are animated as the city stages the South American Games


5,623 athletes from 42 countries participate in the Pan American Games, held in Rio. Crowds then cheer 1,115 athletes from 25 countries during the Parapan American Games


On 2 October, the city of Rio de Janeiro is elected to host the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games


Germany wins the football World Cup for the fourth time by beating Argentina in the final
at the Maracana Stadium


The first Olympic and Paralympic Games in South America are staged in Rio de Janeiro!

Cima Baixo