Curitiba, Brazil
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© 2007 Wikipedia    

Curitiba is the capital city of the Brazilian state of Paraná. In 2005 its population was approximately 1,757,904 people. Its metropolitan area comprises 26 municipalities with a total population of 3.2 million (2005 census) .

The city is on a plateau 932 m (3107 ft) above sea level. It is 105 km (65 miles) west of the sea port of Paranaguá, at 25.42° South, 49.29° West.

People from Curitiba are known as Curitibanos.

One theory about the name "Curitiba" comes from the Tupi words kurí tyba, "much pine," due to the large number of Brazilian Pines (Araucaria angustifolia), in the region prior to its foundation. The Portuguese who founded a village in 1693 gave it the name of "Vila da Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais" (Our Lady of the Light in the Pine Forest). The name was changed to "Curitiba" in 1721.

Curitiba officially became a town in 1842. Growth was based on the cattle trade, being half way between cattle breeding country to the South and markets to the North. Waves of European immigrants started arriving after 1850, mainly Germans, Italians, Poles and Ukrainians. Traders established bases The Universidade Federal do Paraná (Federal University of Paraná), the first in Brazil, was established in Curitiba in 1913, the same year in which electric streetcars were first deployed.

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