Encyclopedia  |   World Factbook  |   World Flags  |   Reference Tables  |   List of Lists     
   Academic Disciplines  |   Historical Timeline  |   Themed Timelines  |   Biographies  |   How-Tos     
Sponsor by The Tattoo Collection
Rio Grande do Sul
Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Rio Grande do Sul

Capital:Porto Alegre
Area:282,062 km²
Inhabitants:10,167,800 (2000)
Pop. density:36.0 inh./km²
Governor:Germano Antonio Rigotto
ISO 3166-2:BR-RS

Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil. It is bordered on the north by the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Uruguay, and on the west by Argentina.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Minority Languages
3 Economy
4 Flag


Although mainly rural for much of its early history, Rio Grande do Sul served as the launching pad for several major wars Brazil waged against its southern and western neighbors. It also was a focal point for internal rebellion in the 19th century. Getulio Vargas, who led Brazil as dictator from 1930 and later was elected president in 1950 (before committing suicide), was a native of Rio Grande do Sul.

Rio Grande do Sul's population consists primarily of the descendants of European immigrants, especially Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, and Germans but to a much smaller extent, very small groups of Poles, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Jews and later on in the 1960s, some Japanese immigrants settled in different areas of the state.

The first German immigrant families arrived in Rio Grande do Sul in 1824 and in the following century an estimated quarter of a million Germans settled in the country, mostly in Rio Grande do Sul and the neighboring state of Santa Catarina.

Most of the German speakers in southern Brazil spoke or eventually adopted the Hunsrückisch dialect so that it became the most commonly used German dialect in this part of the world and still spoken by millions today (also referred to as Riograndenser Hunsrückisch to differentiated it from the Hunsrückisch spoken in Germany).

In its 180 years of history Riograndenser Hunsrückisch has been greatly influenced by other German dialects (such as Pomeranian, Pfälzisch) and by immigrant languages such as the national language, Portuguese but also to some degree by Italian.

Talian is a uniquely Brazilian variety of Italian not spoken anywhere else in the world. The emergence of Talian in Rio Grande do Sul happened because of the great variety of Italian dialects that came together into a fairly compact and specific geographical location of the state. Talian is frequently called vêneto because it is close to that dialect spoken in Italy.

Italian immigrants began arriving in the area in the late 1800, settling mostly in the Northeast hilly parts of the Rio Grande do Sul. Soon the region became the most important grape and wine-producing region of Brazil. Although the climate does not favor the production of the finest wines that there are in the world, in the last few years great progress has been made especially with white sparkling wines.

All minority languages in the southern Brazil have been experiencing significant degrees of decline in the last few decades, not only immigrant languages such as Italian or Talian and German, but also the indigenous languages of the Kaingang (also spelled Kaingáng, Cainguangue, etc.) and the Guarany (spelled Guaraní in Portuguese).

In the far western area of the state are the remnants of Brazil's 17th century Jesuit missions or reductions (aldeias) to the Guaraní Indians. Important to the region, it should be notited that Jesuit Father Roque Gonzales also known as Roque Gonzales de Santa Cruz arrived from Paraguay on the 03 of May of 1626 to establish the Saint Nicolas Mission Reduction (today known as São Nicolau in Portuguese)was the first white person to enter in what is today know as the state of Rio Grande do Sul. From all the ruines left behind by the vanished Guarany Missions (or Missões Guaranís in Portuguese), the most significant one is São Miguel or São Miguel Arcanjo, located nearby the present city of Santo Angelo. There is a very interesting ongoing Light and Sound (or Som e Luz in Portuguese) nitghtly show that happens at and is displayed upon the ruins of the São Miguel church.

Minority Languages

Minority languages spoken in Rio Grande do Sul can be divided into two groups:

Indigenous languages

Mbyá-Guaraní (or simply Guaraní), Kaingang, etc.

Immigrant languages

Talian (Vêneto/Italian), Riograndenser Hunsrückisch, Plattdeutsch, Pommeranisch (German dialects), Polish (and other Slavic languages), etc.


One of the most prosperous Brazilian states, Rio Grande do Sul is known especially for grain production, viticulture, ranching, and for its considerable industrial output. Natives of the state are known as gaúchoss, named after the cattle herders and ranchers who settled the state's pampa regions.


The flag was established by law no. 5213 of January 5 1966, however its design dates back much more. The independent Rio Grande Republic adopted the flag in 1836, in 1891 the shield in the center was added. According to the common interpretion of the flag colors the green and yellow stands for the Flag of Brazil and the red for the blood spilt during the internal rebellion for the independent Rio Grande Republic.

States of Brazil
Acre | Alagoas | Amapá | Amazonas | Bahia | Ceará | Federal District | Espírito Santo | Goiás | Maranhão | Mato Grosso | Mato Grosso do Sul | Minas Gerais | Pará | Paraíba | Paraná | Pernambuco | Piauí | Rio de Janeiro | Rio Grande do Norte | Rio Grande do Sul | Rondônia | Roraima | Santa Catarina | São Paulo | Sergipe | Tocantins