This began to change when the Portuguese Royal family moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1807, running away from Napoleon´s army which were invading Portugal. Although they were more than 600 kilometers far from here, São Paulo was influenced by the development that the Royal Family brought because it already was the most important city of the Province. This importance has only increased since then, helped by facts like the independence from Portugal which was performed in São Paulo in 1822.
But the real huge processes of economic development that started when it was discovered that São Paulo´s land was ideal for the coffee culture in the middle of the 19th century. This product was very precious in the international market and was reaching high prices in Europe and USA. The plantations were based in latifundiums which rapidly made many farmers very rich.
These farmers started living and spending their money in São Paulo and it started to grow from a commercial village to a large and powerful city. The coffee empire, which would last for more than a hundred years, brought to São Paulo the first public gardens (like Parque da Luz), european fabric stores, bookstores, and restaurants to serve the rich coffee farmers.
By the end of the century São Paulo started to receive lots of immigrants from Europe looking for the jobs which were created with the abolishment of slavery in 1888. Untill 1914, almost 2 milion foreigners had already come to the State. This immigrants started to interact with the “paulista” population of that period, basicaly made from Portuguese, indians and slaves, creating a new bloody-mixed population which forms today´s general São Paulo´s inhabitants. Untill 1910 the farmers, concentrated in Paulista Avenue (built in 1891) would have made our life style similar to the french´s Belle Epóque with the best (and worst) of its glamour.
Although the coffee period ended in the beggining of the 20th century because of the War and the NY´s crack of 1929, the process of economic growing it had started would last untill our days. The best example of this is that the decrease of the coffee price in the international market made São paulo discover its industrial talent. So the new century substituited the farmers for the industrialists.
The factories made São Paulo grow from 140 thousand inhabitants in 1895 to almost 600 thousant in 1920 and more than 2 milion by the middle of the century and brought to the city the american way of life together with the 30s and 40s new technological goods.
During the industrial period the Municipal Theather was built. The fisrst university – USP – was opened and is untill today the biggest and best of South America.
The industrialization process lasted untill the 1950s, when the factories started to be transfered to near cities and São Paulo could change into an outsourced city, as it is untill today. Factories, hangars and machines were substituted for hotels, luxury international stores and offices, offering the most different types of services to the prosperous inhabitants.
During the last 50 or 60 years, São Paulo saw highways being built across the city, huge monuments and buildings apeear; the city saw the traffic of vehicles explode and the number of inhabitants overtake 11 milion people.
From a village to a metropolis, in 453 years São Paulo had the most different growing processes, but one thing has never changed: it never stoped to progress.
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