Ribeirão Preto

Ribeirão Preto

Infobox City
official_name = Ribeirão Preto
motto = Bandeirantum Ager

imagesize = 250px


mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Ribeirão Preto
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = Brazil
subdivision_type1 = Region
subdivision_name1 = Southeast
subdivision_type2 = State
subdivision_name2 = São Paulo
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Welson Gasparini (PSDB)
area_magnitude = 1 E9
area_total_km2 = 651.366
population_as_of = 2007
population_metro = 547.417
latd =21 |latm=10 |lats=42 |latNS=S
longd =47 |longm=48 |longs=24 |longEW=W
elevation_m = 546
website = www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br

Ribeirão Preto (Portuguese for "Black Creek") is a municipality and city in the state of São Paulo in Brazil. It is nicknamed "Brazilian California", because of a combination of an economy based on agrobusiness plus high technology, wealth and sunny weather all year long. With 570,000 inhabitants, Ribeirão Preto is the ninth largest municipality in the state. With a total area of 652.2 km² (251.8 sq mi), its coordinates are 21º 10’ 42" South latitude and 47º 48’ 24" West longitude; and it is situated at 313 km (194 mi) from the capital city and at 706 km (439 mi) from Brasília, the federal capital. Mean altitude is 546.8 meters high (1,794 ft).


The city's population is composed of Italians, Portuguese, Spanish and Japanese decedents that came to the region because of the coffee agriculture in the mids of 19th century. During the 90's, northeast immigrants came to the region attracted by the economy development. IBGE researches indicate that Ribeirão Preto has a population of 547.417 habitants. [cite web|url=http://www.ibge.gov.br/cidadesat/default.php|title=IBGE - Cidades] The urban agglomeration incorporates 34 municipalities, with a population about 1.4 million habitants.


;Data of the Census of 2000

*Total population: 504 923
**Metro: 502 760
**Rural: 2163
**Men: 243 032
**Women: 261 891
*Population density (hab./km²): 776,33
*Infant mortality up to 1 year (per thousand): 10,47
*Life expectancy (years): 74,40
*Total fertility rate: 1,89
*Literacy rate: 95,56%
*Human Development Index (HDI): 0,855
**HDI GDP: 0,823
**HDI longevity: 0,823
**HDI education: 0,918: " Source: IPEAdata


"Source: Census 2000"


Ribeirão Preto is the center of an urban agglomeration with about 547.417 inhabitants, and comprises the following municipalities:

* Barrinha
* Brodowski
* Batatais
* Cravinhos
* Dumont
* Guatapará
* Jardinópolis
* Luís Antônio
* Pradópolis
* Ribeirão Preto
* Santa Rita do Passa Quatro
* Santa Rosa de Viterbo
* São Simão
* Serra Azul
* Serrana
* Sertãozinho

Geographical facts


The climate [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/crp/dados/local/I01clima.htm|title=Climate in Ribeirão Preto] of Ribeirão Preto is tropical of altitude with rainy summer and dry winter.

* Average temperature: Winter 66.2 °F; Summer 77 °F
* Altitude: 518 m (between 504 and 852 meters)
* Average precipitation: 1426,80 mm of rain (year total)
* Relative humidity: 71% yearly average

climate chart|Ribeirão Preto


* Pardo River
* Ribeirão Preto (origin of the city's name)
* Retiro Saudoso Brook
* Tanquinho Brook
* Laureano Brook
* Das Palmeiras Brook
* Dos Catetos Brook
* Dos Campos Brook
* Vista Alegre Brook
* Olhos d'Água Brook


The city was founded June 19, 1856, by farmers coming from the southeast of São Paulo State in search of good climate and soil for coffee growing. The city was laid by a stream called Black Creek, and was named after it ("Ribeirão Preto" means black creek in Portuguese, sometimes the city name is mistranslated as "Black Stream", which is also the name of a hotel in the city). Eventually the farmers’ choice revealed itself as very adequate and the fertile soil of the Ribeirão Preto region allowed the highest crop productivity in Brazil.

The rapid development of the coffee cultivation brought wealth and progress to the city, which by the 1880s had become the largest coffee producer in the world. Coffee, the “green gold” as it was called, was responsible for a kind of “gold rush” in the region, which attracted workers and adventurous people from several parts of the world. This movement was helped by the new Mogiana Railway, which linked Ribeirão Preto to São Paulo and to the port city of Santos, and by the abolition of slavery in Brazil, in 1888. The end of slavery created a strong demand for labor and the “coffee barons”, as the coffee farmers were called, stimulated European immigration - mostly from Italy but also from Portugal, Spain and Germany - to Ribeirão Preto. Later, after the stock market crash of 1929, several of these immigrants bought the farms from their indebted former employers.


At the beginning of the 20th century and during its first three decades, Ribeirão Preto was a rich city, boasting several mansions, European-style cafés, cabarets and even two opera houses. One of the opera houses - the "Carlos Gomes Theatre" (in honour of Brazilian opera composer Carlos Gomes) - was demolished in 1949 but the other - the "Pedro II Theatre" (named in honor of Emperor Dom Pedro II), dating from the 1920s - resisted time and was restored and modernized during the 1990s. Its ceiling, completely destroyed in a fire of 1980, was rebuilt and gained a new design projected by the Japanese-Brazilian artist Tomie Ohtake. The Pedro II Theatre is now the third largest opera house in Brazil and is the home of the Ribeirão Preto symphony orchestra, one of the oldest and more important of Brazil.

An important fact for the city life happened in 1911 with the opening of its first factory, the Antarctica Brewery Company, nowadays part of the AmBev group. It was Antarctica which built the Pedro II Theatre. The Antarctica factory led to the opening of several beer houses in the city and one of them named Pinguim ("penguin" in Portuguese), became particularly famous and made Ribeirão Preto nationally renowned for the quality of its draught beer ("chope" or "chopp" in Brazilian Portuguese). Many people say that Pinguim has the best draught beer in Brazil and it became so important that it is now a symbol of the city; people say that coming to Ribeirão Preto and not visiting Pinguim is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. There are four Pinguim beer houses in Ribeirão Preto: two of them, called Pinguim 1 and 2 respectively, are at the November XV square (the central square of Ribeirão Preto) right beside the Pedro II Theatre). The other two are at the shopping centers Santa Úrsula and Ribeirão Shopping respectively. By the way, the Penguin beer house was named after the Antarctica company's logo (see at [http://www.antarctica.com.br] ).

But Pinguim is not the only one good beer house in Ribeirão Preto. Ribeirão Preto is a hot climate city, which makes people like to go out of their houses in the evenings to chat and enjoy cold draught beers in bars. Therefore, the city is teemed with bars of different kinds for different tastes, from the simple "botequins" or "botecos" that one can find in almost every corner to more sophisticated bars which rival with their counterparts in São Paulo or Rio.

Ribeirão Preto has also one of the first micro-breweries in Brazil, Cervejaria Colorado, founded in 1997 produces three different types of beers, two ales and one lager. Cervejaria Colorado is located at Rua Minas 400 and has a bar at Avenida Independencia 3242 where it offers 70 different labels of beer from all over the world.

Parks and forests

Ribeirão Preto has many parks, gardens and a zoo [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/guia/i99pracas.htm|title=Parks and gardens] e.g. Fábio Barreto municipal forest, municipal park called "curupira", officially named Luís Roberto Jábali Park, the Botanical Garden Park, named as Luís Carlos Raya Park, both located in the south zone, Tom Jobim Park, located in the northwest region and the Maurílio Biagi Park, located in the central region.


Lately Ribeirão Preto's highest sports acclaim comes in basketball. The team plays under the name COC-Ribeirão Preto (Colegio Oswaldo Cruz) and finished 1st in the National Championship first division in 2003. Other finishes of note include championships in the Paulista league (state of São Paulo) in '02,'03,'04,'05 and '06 when was champion. COC-Ribeirão Preto plays its home games in the Gym "Cava do Bosque", which is located on the land associated with the Municipal Park of Sports.

The city also possesses two soccer stadiums, the Estádio Palma Travassos (of Comercial FC) and Santa Cruz (of Botafogo FC). Neither Comercial nor Botafogo are currently in Brazil's top three soccer divisions. On the national and international scene, Botafogo is often confused with the Rio de Janeiro club with the same name to the extent that the Rio club is often credited with being the infamous club on which Pelé scored a record 8 goals in one game. One example is in Franklin Foer's book "How Soccer Explains the World". But it was in the Paulista championships on November 21, 1964 in the costal city of Santos and against the Ribeirão Preto team that Pelé achieved the incredible feat and his Santos team won by an 11 x 0 score. The 8 goals were pay back for the defeat Santos suffered on September 6, 1964 when they visited Ribeirão Preto during the first round of the tournament and lost 2 x 0. Not only had a "small" team beaten one of the "big" teams, but had done so while insulting the "King". A better claim to fame for Botafogo (often referred to as Botafogo-SP) is that Brazilian soccer captains (and brothers) Sócrates and Raí started their careers with Botafogo.


A noteworthy fact is that it was during the economic stagnation period from the 1940s to the 1950s that the city discovered and established its vocation as an educational and university center. In 1942 the state government expropriated the Monte Alegre Farm, which was an important coffee farm from the Schmidt family of German immigrants, to transform it into an agricultural practical school. Several new buildings and houses for the professors were constructed over a land which held before tens of thousands of coffee plants. The new school was very well planned and urbanized and many trees were planted to provide shadow and give it a pleasant atmosphere. But the agricultural school never achieved a significant development and it was closed in 1951. A longstanding dream of the population of Ribeirão Preto was to have an university and in 1952 the old farm was donated to the University of São Paulo for the creation of a medical school, which was the first school of its campus at Ribeirão Preto.

Fortunately, many original buildings of the agricultural school and even some of the Monte Alegre Farm were preserved and only adapted to hold the new university, which makes its campus one of the most beautiful university campuses in Brazil. After the creation of the medical school the University of São Paulo at Ribeirão Preto (USP-RP) has been growing steadily and it is presently constituted by eight schools: School of Medicine of Ribeirão Preto (FMRP), School of Law of Ribeirão Preto (FDRP),School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters (FFCLRP), School of Dentistry (FORP), School of Economics, Administration and Accounting (FEARP), School of Pharmaceutical Sciences (FCFRP), School of Nursing (EERP) and School of Music (DMRP-ECA).

The creation of USP-RP stimulated the cultural and academic life in Ribeirão Preto and several schools, colleges and universities were opened in the city since then. Nowadays the town has many other colleges and faculties such as Centro Universitário Moura Lacerda, Faculdades Bandeirantes, Centro Universitário Barão da Mauá, Faculdade Anhanguera, Faculdade Reges, Faculdade São Luís, Faculdades COC, Universidade de Ribeirão Preto (UNAERP), Universidade Paulista (UNIP), Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado (FAAP), Fundação Fritz Muller (FFM), FGV-COC (Fundação Getúlio Vargas).


After the New York Stock Exchange crash of 1929 the economy of Ribeirão Preto, based on a single export crop, collapsed, and the city had to adapt to a new situation. Since the city is relatively far from other major Brazilian urban centers, it found a new economic vocation in the services and commercial sector, which was developed to attend the local and regional demands.

The second economic boom in the history of Ribeirão Preto occurred after the oil crisis of the 1970s. The increase in the oil price obliged Brazil to look for alternative means of fueling and the solution found was the alcohol fuel program, or "Pro-Álcool" as it is called. Pró-Álcool led to the development of a technology which allows the use of ethanol (sugarcane alcohol) either as automotive fuel or as a gasoline additive. The latter improves performance and substitutes lead thus decreasing polluting emissions. Due to the Pró-Álcool program, farmers from the region of Ribeirão Preto were encouraged by government subsidies to grow sugarcane. The high productivity of the land around Ribeirão Preto rapidly placed the region as the largest alcohol and sugar producer of the world, being responsible for 30 percent of Brazil’s sugarcane alcohol fuel.

Contrary to what happened during the city's first economic boom, this time Ribeirão Preto farmers and entrepreneurs did not concentrate themselves exclusively on a single crop and diversified their investments making the city one of the most important agribusiness centers of Brazil. Besides sugar and alcohol, Ribeirão Preto's major products are orange juice, cotton, rice, meat, dairy products, textiles, machinery, steel, furniture, building materials, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and, of course, beer.

The sugarcane boom brought a new age of prosperity for the city, which was called the "Brazilian California" during the 1980s and early 1990s. On the one hand, this has increased the city's wealth and turned it into a sophisticated center of services for Brazil and South America but, on the other hand, the image of a new "Eldorado" attracted many migrants from impoverished areas of Brazil leading to a rapid population growth and the appearance of slums ("favelas" as they are called in Brazil) with all the negative aspects associated to them like drug trafficking and high violence and crime rates, an unfortunate fact that Ribeirão Preto shares with all other major Brazilian cities.


The mayor, Mr. Welson Gasparini (from the PSDB party coalition), was elected in October 2004 and took office on January 1, 2005. His term of office is four years. Mr. Gasparini is serving as a mayor for the fourth (non-consecutive) time.


Besides the main administration, the city has three regional administrations (sub city halls): [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/regional/ce/i12PRINCIPAL.ASP?pagina=/regional/CE/I12principal.htm|title=Portal da Cidade de Ribeirão Preto]

* Regional administration 1: North (Campos Elísios)
* Regional administration 2: West (Vila Tibério)
* Regional administration 3: South (Bonfim Paulista)


Public transportation

* The Ribeirão Preto's public transportation system is operated by three companies and about 300 buses that attend 113 [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/transerp/i07principal.asp?pagina=/transerp/central/i07indi.htm|title=Bus Routes] lines and routes.
* There are 30 routes [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/transerp/i07principal.asp?pagina=/transerp/central/i07indi.htm|title=Micro Bus Routes] of micro buses (called leva-e-traz) for free that take people from distant districts to a nearer bus stop where they can take a regular bus.
* To take a bus is required an electronic card which contains credits that are debited corresponding to the price of a bus ride. These electronic cards are created by the transportation organ called Transerp. [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/transerp/i07principal.asp?pagina=/transerp/i07servicos.htm&ancora=carteiraescolar|title=Transerp]

Main highways

* SP-255 - Antônio Machado Sant'Anna Highway to Araraquara / São Carlos
* SP-291 - Mario Donega Highway to Dumont / Pradópolis
* SP-322 - Attilio Balbo and Armando Salles de Oliveira Highways to Sertãozinho
* SP-328 - Alexandre Balbo Highway to North Beltway
* SP-328 - Prefeito Antônio Duarte Nogueira Highway to / South Beltway
* SP-330 - Anhangüera Highway - to north: Brasília to Triângulo Mineiro / to south: São Paulo-Campinas
* SP-333 - Abrão Assed Highway to Cajuru
* SP-334 - Cândido Portinari Highway to Batatais / Franca


* Leite Lopes Airport [cite web|url=http://www.daesp.sp.gov.br/aeroportos/ribeirao.htm|title=Leite Lopes Airport] offers support and infrastructure compatible with airports of major centers and operates full-time and has an average of more than 30.000 flights and more than 385.000 passengers per year.


At present the railway system, that was very important for the town in the past, is found deactivated. Some projects exist to reactivate the system in the town. [cite web|url=http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br/CRP/DADOS/Infra/I01TranspFerro.htm|title=Transporte Ferroviário]


The city plays a major role in Orson Scott Card's Ender saga, as it becomes the headquarters of the Hegemony and the South America capital of the Free People of Earth (the world government).

External links

* [http://www.ribeiraopreto.sp.gov.br Official website] (in Portuguese).
* [http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/city.html?n=601 Local time and date] . TimeAndDate Worldclock.
* [http://www.weather.com/outlook/travel/businesstraveler/local/BRXX0198?lswa=WeatherLocalUndeclared&lswe=ribeir%C3%A3o%20preto&y=-15&x=9 Local weather] . Weather.com
* [http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g303623-Ribeirao_Preto_State_of_Sao_Paulo-Hotels.html Hotels in Ribeirão Preto] . TripAdvisor.
* [http://www.hotel-ribeirao-preto.com Hotel Booking at Ribeirão Preto] (in Portuguese).
* [http://www.cervejariacolorado.com.br Cervejaria Colorado (in Portuguese)]
* [http://www.cachacagabriela.com Cachaça Gabriela - Organic]


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