Bento Gonçalves, Rio Grande do Sul
|The Municipality of Bento Gonçalves|
|Nickname(s): Capital of the wine|
Location in Rio Grande do Sul
|State||Rio Grande do Sul|
|Founded||11 October 1890|
|• Mayor||Roberto Lunelli (PT) (2009-2012)|
|• Total||382.513 km2 (147.689 sq mi)|
|Elevation||690 m (2,260 ft)|
|Population (2013 Census IBGE/2010)|
|• Density||280.62/km2 (726.8/sq mi)|
|Time zone||BRT (UTC-3)|
|• Summer (DST)||BRST (UTC-2)|
|Area code(s)||+55 54|
Bento Gonçalves (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈbẽtu ɡõˈsawvis]) is a town located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Created in 1875, it is one of the centers of the Italian immigration in Brazil. It is also known as the 'wine capital of Brazil' due to its vineyards and wine production. In 2013, its estimated population was 111,384 inhabitants.
Ernesto Geisel, President of Brazil from 1974-1979 (under the military dictatorship), was born in Bento Gonçalves in 1907.
Before 1870, the area where the city is located was known as Cruzinha. It was inhabited, as the rest of the region, by Indians of the "jê" tribe.
In 1875, the Brazilian government created, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, four settlements to receive Italian immigrants. In the Cruzinha area, a settlement was created called Dona Isabel (named after the Brazilian princess Isabel de Bragança). "Dona Isabel" received the first 25 families of Italian settlers in that same year. They mostly came from the region of Trento.
In 1890, Dona Isabel was elevated to the category of city, changing its name to Bento Gonçalves (named after the military leader of the Ragamuffin War).
The Italian immigrants mostly worked in grape and wine production.
During the first few decades of the 20th century, the city continued to receive immigrants. Besides the Italians, there were large groups of Polish, German, Swedish, French, and Spanish immigrants.
At that time, there were already some functioning wine factories and the furniture and metallurgic industry was just starting to take off.
The railways arrived at the city in 1919, helping to connect it with the capital of the state, Porto Alegre, and facilitating the transport of the city's economic production. There were regular passenger trains running until 1976; however, today the railways are used mostly to transport goods. There is also a tourism railroad line that connects the city with Garibaldi and Carlos Barbosa using an old steam locomotive.
The electric light distribution system was installed between 1919 and 1927. The Bartolomeu Tacchini Hospital was built during the same period.
In 1950, the population was 22,600. Industrial activity expanded, especially in the wine, furniture, leather, chemical, metal, and mechanical sectors.
In 1967, the city organized the first National Wine Festival (Fenavinho), receiving, for the first time, a visit from a Brazilian President.
The city started to organize and receive many important national and international events. It is now home to the second largest exposition park in Latin America. Among these events are the Movelsul (Furniture Fair), FIMMA Brasil (Furniture Machinery Fair), Vino Brasil (Wine Machinery Fair), Avaliação Nacional de Vinhos (National Wine Assessment), Fenavinho e Expobento (Commercial Fair).
Bento Gonçalves is among the ten largest economies in Rio Grande do Sul. It is the largest producer of wine in Brazil and has the second largest furniture production industry in the country. It also has important metal, mechanical, plastic, and chemical industries. It has the highest Human Development Index of Rio Grande do Sul and the sixth among all Brazilian cities - 0,870 (PNUD/2000).
Tourists can experience the rolling countryside of Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi and Carlos Barbosa by taking a day trip on the Maria Fumaça steam locomotive. Tourists can also learn more about the Italian heritage of the people through such museums as Epopéia Italiana.
- (Portuguese) City's website
- (Portuguese) City Map of Bento Gonçalves
- (English) Bento Gonçalves travel page
- (English) History of Italian Immigration to Brazil
- Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - IBGE (10 October 2002). "Área territorial oficial" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 5 December 2010.
- "Populational Census 2010". Populational Census 2010 (in Portuguese). Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics - IBGE. 29 November 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.