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Country  Brazil
Elevation  7.00 m
Area  1,609 km2
State  Rio Grande do Sul
Region  South
Founded  1812
Mayor  Eduardo Leite (PSDB)
Population  306,193 (2010)
Colleges and Universities  Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Universidade Catolica de Pelotas

Pelotas is a Brazilian municipality (municipio), the third most populous in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul. Pelotas is located 270 km (168 mi) from Porto Alegre, the capital city of the state, and 130 km (80.8 mi) from the Uruguayan border. The Lagoa dos Patos lies to the east and the Sao Goncalo Channel lies to the south, separating Pelotas from the city of Rio Grande.


Map of Pelotas

In the 19th century, Pelotas was Brazils leading center for the production of dried meat (charque), a staple food made by slaves and destined to feed the slaves of sugarcane, coffee and cocoa plantations across the country.

Currently Pelotas hosts two major universities, the Federal University of Pelotas, and the Catholic University of Pelotas. Together, they account for a population of 22 thousand higher education students.

The city has three football clubs: Esporte Clube Pelotas (founded 1908), Gremio Esportivo Brasil (also known as Brasil de Pelotas; founded 1911) and Gremio Atletico Farroupilha (founded 1926).


Pelotas in the past, History of Pelotas

The history of the city begins in June 1758, through a donation that Gomes Freire de Andrade, Count of Bobadela, made to Colonel Thomaz Luiz Osorio, giving him land that lay on the banks of the Lagoa dos Patos. In 1763, fleeing the Spanish invasion, many inhabitants of the village Rio Grande sought refuge in the land belonging to Osorio. Later, there also came refugees from Colonia do Sacramento, which had been handed over by the Portuguese to the Spanish in 1777.

In 1780, the Portuguese rancher Jose Pinto Martins established himself in Pelotas. The prosperity of his establishment stimulated the creation of other ranches and growth in the region, creating a population that would define the early city.

The Civil Parish of Sao Francisco de Paula, founded on June 7, 1812, by Father Pedro Pereira de Mesquita, was elevated to the category of town on April 7, 1832. Three years later, in 1835, the town was declared a city, bearing the name Pelotas.

In Brazil, pelota can refer to a leather raft, and the name of the city comes from the boats made of cockspur coral tree covered with animal skins, used to cross rivers in ranching times.

In the first years of the 20th century, progress was stimulated by the Banco Pelotense (Bank of Pelotas), founded in 1906 by local investors. Its liquidation, in 1931, was devastating to the local economy.

In 1990, the Urban Conurbation of Pelotas was created as a result of a state law. In 2001, it became the Urban Conurbation of Pelotas and Rio Grande, and in 2002 the Urban Conurbation of the South. The goal is to integrate the participating towns and is the embryo of a future metropolitan region including the towns os Arroio do Padre, Capao do Leao, Pelotas, Rio Grande and Sao Jose do Norte, which have a total population of around 600,000 inhabitants.


Pelotas Beautiful Landscapes of Pelotas

As it is situated on a plain near the ocean, the urban area lies on a low elevation, being, on average, 7 meters (23 ft) above sea level. The interior of the municipality is on a plateau called Serras de Sudeste (Southeastern Mountain Ranges). Consequently, the altitude in Pelotas rural area reaches 429 meters (1,407.4 ft) in the Quilombo district.

Pelotas Beautiful Landscapes of Pelotas

The city stretches to the Laranjal, a bairro on the coast of the Lagoa dos Patos. Beyond the coastal regions Santo Antonio and Valverde, the area also has an even more remote area, the Balneario dos Prazeres (popularly known as Barro Duro, lit. "hard mud"), and Colonia Z-3, a fishing village that primarily explores the art of shrimping.


Pelotas is the birthplace and home of many nationally famous people, like the regional writer Joao Simoes Lopes Neto (1865–1916), author of Cancioneiro Guasca (1910), Contos Gauchescos (1912) and Lendas do Sul (1913); Hipolito Jose da Costa, the founder of the printing press in Brazil; the painter Leopoldo Gotuzzo, whose works have surpassed the borders of Pelotas, winning awards and expositions even in Europe; and Antonio Caringi (1905–1981), an internationally recognized sculptor.

Also from Pelotas are the poet Lobo da Costa (1853–1888), the lyrical singer Zola Amaro (1891–1944), the singers and composers Kleiton & Kledir and Vitor Ramil, the actress Gloria Menezes, and the football players Emerson Ferreira da Rosa and Daniel Carvalho.


The economy of Pelotas is mostly agricultural and commercial. The latter is largely represented by Arabs, mostly Lebanese (erroneously referred to as turcos, or Turks), and a few other foreigners.


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