MANAUS / Gateway to the Amazon Forest
Embedded in the Amazon Forest, Manaus is a city with almost 1.5 million inhabitants and it is the capital of Amazonas, the largest Brazilian state.
The city impresses with its natural beauty, ecological parks and a series of green areas that seem endless. It is a land of contrasts, blending exuberant nature with a high-tech industrial centre and the remains of a glorious past.
Manaus was founded in the second half of the 17th century, and for many years, the city was practically isolated. However, from the 19th century on, when the international rubber trade started to grow and its raw material, latex, was extracted from native rubber trees, Manaus began to attract the attention of businessmen the world over.
By the end of the 19th century, the wealth generated by rubber exports financed the construction of luxury buildings replicating Europe’s fashionable architectonic style in the heart of the Forest. Orchestras and European opera companies performed regularly at the Amazonas Theatre, one of the greatest symbols of economic development of that period. When the rubber trade declined, for a long time, Manaus was forgotten. It recovered its economic importance with the installation of an industrial centre, stimulated by the institution of a Free Zone in 1957. Today, many companies stand out, using state-of-the-art technology to produce electronic, computer and communication equipment.