History of Brasília 2

The meaning

The word ‘Brasília’ can mean many different things:

  • administratively, Brasilia is only one of the Administrative Regions of the Federal District. ‘Asa Sul’ ( Southern Wing ), ‘Asa Norte’ ( Northern Wing ) and the downtown area of ‘Plano Piloto’ ( Pilot Plan ) are parts of it;
  • to some, Brasilia is everything which was in the original urban plan; nowadays that is divided into three administrative regions: ‘Brasilia’ ( as above ), ‘Lago Sul’ ( South Lake ) and ‘Lago Norte’ ( North Lake );
  • for many of the Federal District’s inhabitants, Brasilia would include all of the above plus one more administrative region, ‘Cruzeiro’ ( which is itself subdivided into four areas – ‘Cruzeiro Velho’, ‘Cruzeiro Novo’, ‘Octogonal’ and ‘Sudoeste’ ). For those people, ‘Cruzeiro’ is not a satellite town. Note: for some people, ‘Octogonal’ and ‘Sudoeste’ are part of Brasilia, but ‘Cruzeiro Velho’ and ‘Cruzeiro Novo’ are not. My personal opinion is that this does not make sense, as the four areas are contiguous;
  • ‘Brasilia’ is also used to mean both the ‘Plano Piloto’ and all satellite cities. In this case, the urban nuclei of all the Administrative Regions of the Federal District would be included.

Planned for only 500,000 inhabitants, Brasilia has seen its population grow much more than expected. Several satellite towns have been created over the years to house the extra inhabitants. Brasilia’s total population ( including the satellite cities ) is now over 2,000,000 inhabitants.


History of Brasília 1

The idea

Shifting the capital from Rio de Janeiro to the heartland was actually quite an old idea. Hipolito Jose da Costa was supportive of it at the turn of the previous century. Jose Bonifácio presented a bill to the Constitutional Assembly of 1823, which was to be dissolved by Dom Pedro I ( Emperor of Brazil ). All Constitutional Assemblies held after the Republic ( 1891, 1934, 1937 and 1946 ) had provisions for the change.

There were several reasons why such a measure should be taken:

  • fear of invasions – Brazil had been systematically invaded in the past ( by the French, the Dutch and even by the Portuguese, after Independence ). Having the capital ( Rio de Janeiro ) by the sea made it very vulnerable;
  • helping develop the heartland;
  • security reasons – A smaller city would be easier to control in the event of riots or the like. Also, popular demand would be of lesser extent.

Brief history

Brasilia was constructed between 1956 and 1960, during the government of President Juscelino Kubitschek. It was inaugurated, as Brazil’s new capital, on April 21, 1960. Its master plan ( ‘Plano Piloto’ ) was conceived by Lucio Costa, and its major buildings were designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Brasilia was designed to have the shape of an airplane, sometimes viewed as a giant bird.

Photos of Brasília

In the end, Brasilia came to be as a result of one man’s will to take this cause with all his heart, after being asked if he would do so by a common citizen in a small town rally.