The Port of Rio Grande is located on the Rio Grande River in southern Brazil about eight miles from the mouth of the river. Built on a low-lying peninsula, it is little more than 1.5 meters above sea level. The mouth of the river was dredged to allow ocean-going vessels to dock in the Port of Rio Grande.
The Port of Rio Grande vies with Pelotas as the major port for the State of Rio Grande do Sul. Its exports go primarily to other parts of Brazil and include beef jerky, hides, wool, tobacco, lard, wheat, rice, beans, and fish and shrimp. The city’s industries include fisheries, canneries, meat-processing plants, textile mills, and a petroleum refinery and oil terminal. The Port of Rio Grande has an airport and is linked to Pelotas by both rail and road. In 2005, almost 188 thousand people called the Port of Rio Grande home.
The Port of Rio Grande is the State’s oldest city and one of the most important ports in Brazil. It was the state capital for a time in the mid-1800s. Being the second busiest port in Brazil, it has become one of the richest cities in the state of Rio Grade do Sul.
Portuguese sailors first explored the area in search of places to fortify the coast against the French. The city was founded in 1737 by Brigadier General Jose da Silva Pais who build a fort there on what would become the site of the Port of Rio Grande. Colonists arrived from the Azores and Madeira during the 1750s, and the colony was granted village status in 1751. In 1760, the village of Rio Grande de Sao Pedro became its own captaincy.
Spain occupied the village in 1763, forcing many families to flee. The Portuguese re-took the Port of Rio Grande in 1776, though there were fewer people there. The Port of Rio Grande became a city and capital of the Portuguese Province during the War of Tatters, and it continued in that role until the revolution ended in 1845.