Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul

Santa Maria
Vista de Santa Maria (RS).jpg
Flag of Santa Maria
Official seal of Santa Maria
Location in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Location in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Santa Maria is located in Brazil
Santa Maria
Santa Maria
Location in Brazil
Coordinates: 29°41′0″S 53°48′0″W / 29°41′0″S 53°48′0″W / -29.68333; -53.80000
Country Brazil
StateRio Grande do Sul
 • MayorJorge Cladistone Pozzobom (PSDB)
 • Total1,823.1 km2 (703.9 sq mi)
Elevation113 m (371 ft)
Population (2016)
 • Total277,309[1]
Time zoneUTC-3 (UTC-3)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-2 (UTC-2)

Santa Maria is a municipality (município) in the central region of Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost state of Brazil. In 2017, its population was 278,445 inhabitants in a total area of 1,823 square kilometres (704 sq mi). Santa Maria is the 5th biggest municipality in the state, and the largest in its micro-region.[2]

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.

History and Importance

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 town (vila) status. The municipality was created on 16 December 1857 and installed on 17 May 1858.[3]

Since 1910, the city is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Santa Maria, and annually hosts an important Roman Catholic festival dedicated to Nossa Senhora Medianeira, called "Romaria da Medianeira" (Medianeira is a name of Our Lady that was created in Venice, Italy). Every year, hundreds of thousands of people from all over Brazil join in the celebrations.

Due to its strategic geographical location, Santa Maria has a large military force, including the Santa Maria Air Force Base of the Brazilian Air Force, which houses four units, and the 3rd Army Division of the Southern Military Command. In 2011, the German defence company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG (KMW) closed a deal to renovate old tanks and produce new ones for the Brazilian Army, opening a factory in Santa Maria.[4] This earned the city its new nickname, "Armoured Capital" (from Portuguese: Capital dos Blindados).

On 27 January 2013, a fire broke out in the ''Kiss" nightclub during a band performance, due to misuse of pyrotechnics, which got in direct contact with the acoustic foam used in the club. In total, 242 people died due to suffocation or trampling while trying to escape, or of complication in days and months following the event. It has been reported that as many as 1,500 people were in the nightclub when the fire broke out.[5]

Other Languages
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Santa Maria (RS)
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Santa Maria, Rio Grande do Sul
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: সান্টা মারিয়া
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Santa Maria (Brazil)
粵語: 聖瑪麗亞