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Santos

SANTOS, a city and seaport of Brazil, in the state of Sao Paulo, about 230 m. W.S.W. of Rio de Janeiro, and 49 m. by rail S.E. of Sao Paulo city. Pop. (1890) 13,012; (1902 estimate) 35,000. Santos covers an alluvial plain on the inner side of an island (called Sao Vicente) formed by an inland tidal channel sometimes called the Santos river. The commercial part of the city is some miles from the mouth of the channel, but the residential sections extend across the plain and line the beach facing the sea. The city is only a few feet above sea-level, the island is swampy, and deep, cement-lined channels drain the city. The Santos river is deep and free from obstructions, and in front of the city widens into a bay deep enough for the largest vessels. The water front, formerly beds of mud and slime, the source of many epidemics of fever, is now faced by a wall of stone and cement. Vessels moor alongside this quay, which is lined with warehouses and provided with railway tracks, etc. Formerly coffee was transported in carts from the railway station to the warehouses, thence loaded into lighters by porters, and from these transferred to vessels anchored in midstream. The improvements were planned by an American engineer, William Milnor Roberts (1810-1881). The thorough drainage of the city has made Santos comparatively healthy. The heavy rainfall (88i in. per annum), neighbouring swamps, rank vegetation and great heat give rise to malarial and intestinal disorders, rheumatism and other diseases. Beri-beri and smallpox are also common, and bubonic plague has appeared since 1900. The temperature ranges from 41 to 101-3 F. in the shade.

The development of coffee production in the state of Sao Paulo during the closing years of the 19th century has made Santos the largest coffee shipping port in the world, the exports amounting to 5,849,114 bags, of 132 Ib each, in 1900, and 8,940,144 bags in 1908. The other exports include sugar, rice, rum, fruit, hides and manufactured goods. Bananas are grown in the vicinity for the River Plate markets. The most popular suburb in the vicinity of Santos is the bathing resort of Guaruja. The Sao Paulo railway, an English double-track line, provides communication with the interior, ascending the steep wooded slopes of the Serra do Mar by a series of inclines up which the cars are drawn by stationary engines on the old line, and by a series of gradients on the new line.

The first settlement on the Sao Paulo coast was that of Sao Vicente in 1532, about 6 m. S. of Santos on the same island. Other settlements soon followed, among them that of Santos in 1543-1546, and later on the small fort at the entrance to its harbour, which was used for protection against Indian raids from thenorth. Sao Vicente did not prosper, and was succeeded (1681) by Sao Paulo as the capital and by Santos as the seaport of the colony. It was captured by the English privateer, Thomas Cavendish, in 1591, when Sao Vicente was burned. The growth of the town was slow down to the end of the rpth century, because of insanitary conditions and epidemics.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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