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 centres 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 of 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 group "jê".
In 1875, the Brazilian government created, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, four settlements to receive Italian immigrants. In the Cruzinha area, it was created a settlement named Dona Isabel - after the name of Brazilian princess Isabel de Bragança. At the same year, "Dona Isabel" received the first 25 families of Italian settlers. They came mostly from the region of Trento.
In 1890, Dona Isabel was elevated to the category of city, changing the name to Bento Gonçalves - after the name of the military leader of the Ragamuffin War.
The Italian immigrants dedicated themselves mostly to the grape and wine production.
During the first decades of the 20th century, the city continued to receive immigrants. Besides the Italian, there were important groups of Polish, German, Swedish, French, and Spanish immigrants.
At that time, there were already important factories dedicated to the production of drinks, especially wine. The furniture and metallurgic industry also gave their first steps.
The railways arrived at the city on 1919, helping to connect it with the capital of the state, Porto Alegre, and facilitating the transport of the economic production. Until 1976, there were regular passenger trains. Nowadays, the railways are used mostly for the transport of goods. There is also a tourism line, which connects the city with Garibaldi and Carlos Barbosa using an ancient locomotive.
Between 1919 and 1927, the electric light distribution system was installed. In the same period, it built the Hospital Bartolomeu Tacchini.
In 1950, the population was 22.600 inhabitants. The industrial activity expanded, especially in the wine, furniture, leather, chemical, and metal-mechanical sectors.
In 1967, the city organized the first National Wine Festival (Fenavinho), receiving, for the first time, the visit of a President of the Republic.
The city started to organize and receive many important events of national and international level. It is now home of the second biggest exposition park of Latin America. Among these events, we may point out the Movelsul (Furniture Fair), FIMMA Brasil (Furniture Machinery Fair), Vino Brasil (Wine Machinery Fair), Avaliação Nacional de Vinhos (National Wine Assessment), Fenavinho e Expobento (Comercial Fair).
Bento Gonçalves is among the ten biggest economies of Rio Grande do Sul. It is the biggest producer of wine of Brazil and has the second biggest furniture production of the country. It has also important metal-mechanic, 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).
One may experience the rolling country side of Bento Gonçalves, Garibaldi and Carlos Barbosa by taking a day trip on the Maria Fumaça steam locomotive. One may 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.