Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil Genealogy

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Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state of Brazil. It became part of Brazil as tropeiros moved from other parts of the country to raise and trade cattle. In order to support this expansion southward, Portugal fostered the creation of new settlements by sending people from the Azorean Islands. The location known as São Pedro de Rio Grande, a military fort at the time, was founded in 1737. The traditional breed of gaúchos (the people of the state) consists of descendants of those Azoreans, as well as Spanish, African slaves and Native Americans (guaranis and charruas). After the borders were more clearly defined, the state became home for the immigration of Germans (starting in 1824), Italians (starting in 1875), and Eastern Europeans around the turn of the twentieth century.