São Paulo (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɐ̃w ˈpawlu] ( listen)) is a state in Brazil. It is the major industrial and economic powerhouse of the Brazilian economy. Named after Saint Paul, São Paulo has the largest population, industrial complex, and economic production in the country. It is the richest state in Brazil. The capital, São Paulo, is also the largest city in South America (and the Southern Hemisphere).
Often dubbed the “locomotive of Brazil”, the state alone is responsible for 33.9% of the Brazilian GDP, being the state with the highest GDP. In addition to increased GDP, São Paulo also has the third highest Human Development Index, the second highest GDP per capita, the second lowest infant mortality rate and the fourth lowest rate of illiteracy among the states of Brazil.
With over 40 million inhabitants, São Paulo is the most populous state in Brazil and the third most populous political unit of South America, only surpassed by that country and Colombia, ahead of all other South American countries. São Paulo’s capital city is ranked seventh among the largest cities on the planet and its metropolitan area, with 19,223,897 inhabitants, is also the 7th biggest in the world.
Regions near the city of São Paulo are also metropolitan areas, such as Campinas, Santos, Sorocaba and São José dos Campos; other nearby cities include urban areas in the conurbation process, such as Santo André, São Bernardo, São Caetano, Diadema, Piracicaba, Guarulhos, Osasco, Taboão da Serra and Jundiaí. The total population of these areas coupled with the capital – the so-called Expanded Metropolitan Complex – exceeds 29 million inhabitants, i.e. approximately 75% of the population of São Paulo state-wide. The metropolitan regions of Campinas and São Paulo now form the first macro-metropolis in the southern hemisphere, joining 65 municipalities that together are home to 12% of the Brazilian population.
Many historians believe that the first theatrical performance in Brazil was held in São Paulo. The Portuguese Jesuit missionary José de Anchieta (1534–1597) wrote short plays that were performed and watched by the Tupi–Guarani natives. In the second half of the 19th century a cultural, musical and theatrical life emerged. European ethnic groups began holding performances in some of the state’s rural cities. The most important period for the art in São Paulo was the 1940s. São Paulo had had a professional company, Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia, (Brazilian Theater of Comedy), along with others. During the 1960s, major theater productions in São Paulo and Brazil were presented by two groups. Teatro de Arena began with a group of students from Escola de Arte Dramática (Drama Art School), founded by Alfredo Mesquita, in 1948. In 1958, the group excelled with the play “Eles não usam black tie” by Gianfrancesco Guarnieri which was the first in the history of the Brazilian drama to feature labor workers as protagonists.
After the military coup of 1964, plays started focusing on Brazilian history (Zumbi, Tiradentes). Teatro de Arena and Teatro Oficina supported the democratic resistance during the military dictatorship period, marked by its censorship. The Tropicalist movement began there. A number of plays represented historic moments, notably “O Rei da Vela”, “Galileu Galilei” (1968), “Na Sela das Cidades” (1969) and “Gracias Señor” (1972).
The district of Bixiga concentrates the greatest number of theaters, almost 30 including the theaters that are closed for refurbishing or for other reasons. Some of the most important are Renault, Brigadeiro, Zaccaro, Bibi Ferreira, Maria della Costa, Ruth Escobar, Opera, TBC, Imprensa, Oficina, Àgora, Cacilda Becker, Sérgio Cardoso, do Bixiga, and Bandeirantes.
Popularly known as “Ipiranga Museum”, the first monument built to preserve the memory of the Independence of Brazil, opened on September 7, 1895, with the name of Museu de Ciências Naturais (Natural Science Museum). In 1919, it became a history museum. Reflecting the architectural influence of the Versailles Palace in France, the Ipiranga’s collection, with approximately 100,000 pieces, comprises works of art, furniture, clothing and appliances that belonged to those who took part in Brazilian history, such as explorers, rulers and freedom fighters. Its facilities house a library with 100,000 books and the “Centro de Documentação Histórica,” Historic Documentation Center, with 40,000 manuscripts.