Founded by Jesuit missionaries, José de Anchieta and Manuel da Nóbrega in the year 1554, Sao Paulo was located very close to the first coastal Portuguese settlement in Brazil. The fertile lands of Sao Paulo, mainly due to the Tietê River, drew a lot of people and eventually became the wealthiest city in the region. Sao Paulo officially became a city in the year 1711, and soon became an important coffee plantations’ hub in Brazil. Sao Paulo is today Brazil’s economic mainstay.
Slavery was abolished in the year 1888, after which Sao Paulo saw a big influx of European immigrants from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and a few other European countries. Later, between 1908 and 1941 large numbers of Japanese and Arab based immigrants started moving into Sao Paulo. Today, Sao Paulo is home to more number of Japanese people than any other country outside Japan. There are over six million Italians, three million members each of the Portuguese and African community, a million Arabs, almost half a million Japanese and people from several other communities residing in the city of Sao Paulo.