Past Cities

Belford Roxo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Belford Roxo is a city in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, located in the metropolitan region of Rio de Janeiro. It has a population of approximately 500,000 people and covers an area of 78.81 square kilometers. The city has a rich history, influenced by political, social, and geographical factors that have shaped its development over the years.

The area that is now known as Belford Roxo was originally inhabited by the Tamoio people, an indigenous tribe that lived in the region for centuries. The first Europeans to arrive in the area were the Portuguese, who established settlements in Rio de Janeiro in the early 16th century. Belford Roxo remained a rural area until the 20th century when it experienced a rapid population growth due to its proximity to the city of Rio de Janeiro and the expansion of industries in the region.

During the 20th century, Belford Roxo was heavily influenced by the political environment in Brazil, particularly during the period of military dictatorship from 1964 to 1985. The city was part of the Baixada Fluminense region, which was known for its high levels of poverty and violence, and was a hotbed of political opposition to the military regime. Many people in Belford Roxo and other areas of the Baixada Fluminense joined leftist political organizations and fought against the military dictatorship, often at great personal risk.

Despite the challenges of poverty and political instability, Belford Roxo continued to grow and develop throughout the 20th century. In the 1970s, the city experienced a boom in the textile industry, which brought jobs and economic growth to the region. However, the textile industry declined in the 1980s, and the city faced new challenges as it struggled to diversify its economy and provide opportunities for its residents.

Today, Belford Roxo is a city with a diverse economy that includes industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and services. It is home to several universities and research institutes, as well as a thriving cultural scene that includes music, theater, and art. Despite its economic and cultural growth, however, Belford Roxo still faces challenges related to poverty, inequality, and violence. The city is known for its high crime rates, and many of its residents struggle to make ends meet in a region that remains one of the poorest in Brazil.

Belford Roxo has a rich and complex history that reflects the political, social, and economic forces that have shaped Brazil over the past several centuries. From its indigenous roots to its modern-day struggles with poverty and violence, Belford Roxo is a city that has faced many challenges over the years. Nevertheless, it remains a vibrant and dynamic place that is home to a diverse and resilient population.