Niteroi is on the eastern side of the Guanabara Bay, about five nautical miles across the Bay from the Port of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. It is linked to Rio by ferry, rail, and one of the longest bridges in the country. In 2005, about 474 thousand people lived in the Port of Niteroi.
The Port of Niteroi is a modern city with an economy based on trade and commercial services that include graphic design, web design, and publicity. It is also home to industries that include food processing and manufacturing of clothing and marine items. The main challenges to its economy are the small size of its port and the limited number of roads. Just 25 minutes from Rio's city center, the Port of Niteroi is the second richest city in the State of Rio de Janeiro.
After French settlers were driven from the settlement of Rio de Janeiro by Portuguese soldiers, Portugal recognized the potential of Guanabara Bay as a strategic position for its commercial shipping and for its military defense of South Brazil. The Portuguese then constructed fortresses and built an alliance with the indigenous Tupi-Guarani tribes to defend their new settlement.
The Port of Niteroi is the only city in Brazil founded by Arariboia, the chief of the Temininos tribe. His tribe helped the Portuguese in their war with the French for control of the Bay, and the chief asked for a tract of land from the General-Governor of Brazil, Mem de S?. The tribe received land in 1573, and they named it Sao Lourenco dos Indios. Arariboia received the title of knight of the Order of Christ and Captain of the village as well as a salary and clothes that had belonged to the Portuguese King. The village the tribe created was the infant Port of Niteroi.
In 1816, the King of Portugal, John VI, visited the Port of Niteroi. In 1819, the village was recognized by the government as separate from Rio de Janeiro and named Vila Real da Praia Grande. In 1836, it became a city and was renamed Niteroi. It became capital of the Rio de Janeiro Province and served that function until 1975 when it lost its title to Rio after the national capital was moved to Brasilia.
The Port of Niteroi began to expand beyond its 1836 limits in the late 19th Century, when the construction of tramway services stimulated urban expansion. The Port of Niteroi entered an industry boom in the early 20th Century.
In 1943, new lands were annexed into the county, and the Port of Niteroi lost its rural character completely. Since the late 1960s, the population in the Port of Niteroi has grown rapidly.
Today, the Port of Niteroi is basically a suburb of the city of Rio de Janeiro. It is an industrial city and home to the country's main ship-building and ship-repair yards. Its major industries also include machinery manufacturers, food-processing and pharmaceutical plants, and textile mills.