Complete History of Vitória, Espírito Santo

Vitória, 1937. National Archives of Brazil.

Vitória, spelled Victória until the mid-1940s, is the capital of Espírito Santo in Brazil, South America. It is situated on a small island within a bay where several rivers meet the sea. It was established in 1551. The town’s 36 square miles (93 square kilometers) has a population of 365,855 as per 2020 data, while the Greater Vitória metropolitan area has a population of over 1,857,616 as per 2013 records, the 12th largest in Brazil.

Vitória is a riverine archipelago beset by Vitória’s Bay. In addition to Vitória, the principal island, another 34 islands, and a mainland portion are part of the municipality, totaling 36.05 square miles (93.381 square kilometers). Originally there were around 50 islands, many of which were connected to the largest island by human-made landfill.

The History of Vitória, Espírito Santo

Vila Velha, the capital of Brazilian Espírito Santo capital, found itself in relentless attacks from the Tupi-Guarani-speaking tribes and perhaps some Macro-Jê-speaking original peoples and the Dutch and French. The Portuguese then chose to move away from the capital and picked an island surrounded the mainland, called by some of the native tribes Guanaani Island. As it was called, Vila Nova do Espírito Santo was established on September 8, 1551, and later renamed Vitória in the font memory of the victory in a famous battle led by the owner of the captaincy, Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, against the native Goytacaz Amerindians.

Until the 1800s, the limits of the present capital of Espírito Santo were Fort São João, where is presently situated the Club de Regatas Saldanha da Gama, near the town center, and the mountains where sits the present-day Santa Casa de Misericórdia hospital, in Vila Rubim. Portugal invaders built the town on the highlands, which dawned several narrow streets. The lowlands were under attack, and because of that, the Portuguese rulers constructed several fortresses on the coastline.

On February 24, 1823, the city of Vitória became large, but its insular isolation limited its development. From 1894 on, many landfills were performed in the lower parts of the city with the coffee cycle, transforming the island’s shape and urbanizing it. Thus, several new neighborhoods were inhabited, and the government built public steps to connect them with the higher ground. Ancient houses were sadly demolished, and so, much of the history is lost. However, on the flipside, sanitation was fixed. In 1927 the bridge that united the island to the mainland was inaugurated and followed in 1941 by the first harbor pier.

The port had a critical development. The government opened wide avenues over landfills. With these changes, the town became the most extensive urban space of the State of Espírito Santo, a metropolis. In 1970 the Vitória Harbour grew to one of the most important places in the country, and the town started its industrialization process. The modernization of the island led to the disappearance of almost all evidence of the Imperial and Imperial Brazilian epochs.

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