Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul
| • ||Jorge Cladistone Pozzobom (|
|• Total||1,823.1 km2 (703.9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||113 m (371 ft)|
| • Summer (|
Santa Maria is a
Santa Maria is often referred to as the "heart of Rio Grande" (from Portuguese: "Coração do Rio Grande"), because the city is located in the geographical center of the State.
The first inhabitants of Santa Maria were the Minuano Indigenous People, who lived in a region of the municipality known as Coxilha do Pau Fincado, and the Tapes, who lived in the hills.
With the arrival of Spanish and Portuguese colonizers this border region was witness to innumerable battles between rival groups. Finally, in 1797 the border between the two colonies was established by a commission (1ª Subdivisão da Comissão Demarcadora de Limites da América Meridional). This commission set up camp on the site of present-day Santa Maria.
The camp was known as Acampamento de Santa Maria, later adding Boca do Monte to the name. 1828 saw the arrival of the 28th Battalion of Foreigners, made up of hired Germans to fight against the inhabitants of present-day Uruguay in the Cisplatine War. After the war many of the soldiers decided to stay in Santa Maria, beginning the cycle of German colonization. In 1857, Santa Maria was separated from Cachoeira do Sul and elevated to
Since 1910, the city is the seat of the
Due to its strategic geographical location, Santa Maria has a large military force, including the
On 27 January 2013, a fire broke out in the '