SAO LEOPOLDO, a city of the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, on the left bank of the Rio dos Sinos, 2oJ m. by rail N. of Porto Alegre. It is the chief town of a municipio (commune) of the same name, having an area of about 347 sq. m. and inhabited chiefly by German colonists. Pop. (1900) of the city, 11,015; of the municipio, 32,600. Sao Leopoldo has river and railway communication with Porto Alegre. It is a prosperous industrial town, with broad straight streets and substantial buildings. It has good schools, and its Jesuits' college ranks high throughout northern Rio Grande. Among its manufactures are matches, hats, boots and shoes, soap, liqueurs and artificial drinks, leather and leather-work and earthenware. In the sur- rounding districts cattle and hogs are raised, and jerked beef, hides, pork, lard, potatoes, beans, farinha de mandioca (cassava flour), Indian corn, tobacco and a great variety of vegetables and fruits are produced.
The city was originally a German colony founded by the emperor Pedro I. in 1824 and established at a place known as the Feitoria Real de Canhamo (Royal flan factory). The first colonists (26 families and 17 unmarried persons, or 126 souls) arrived on the 2Sth of June 1825, and were followed a tew month later by another party of 909 colonists. These were the firs German colonists in Rio Grande do Sul. Up to 1830 the arriva numbered 3701, but the civil war which broke out in 183; checked further arrivals and nearly ruined the colony, its inhabitants being forced to serve in the contending forces and their property being seized. Sao Leopoldo was occupied by the revolutionists for some years and was practically ruined at the termination of the war in 1844. The introduction of colonists was immediately resumed, however, and the colony was soon as prosperous as ever. The early colonists were engaged in Germany by a representative of the Brazilian government, and were given free transportation, 130 acres of land each, farming implements, seeds, and a subsidy of 320 reis a day for the first year and half that for the second year. Subsequent settlers received less, but the system of assisting colonists and making contracts with companies and individuals for their introducton became the settled policy of the national and provincial governments.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)