The place name comes from a word in the Tupi language that means "place where the fish stops". The name arises from the fact that the waterfalls of the Piracicaba River, which bisects the city, is a point at which "piracema"—fish swimming upstream to reproduce. Larger fish species such as the dourados can still be observed.
In 1766, Antonio Correa Barbosa, charged with the task of establishing a settlement on the estuary of Piracicaba river, opted for a location about 90 km from it. The settlement was officially founded on August 1, 1767, as a povoação subordinated to the vila of Itu. In 1784, Piracicaba gets emancipated from Itu, becoming a freguesia.
In 1821, the freguesia is promoted to vila, known as Vila Nova da Constituição. In 1856, Vila Nova da Constituição is promoted to city status and in 1877 it is officially named "Piracicaba", following a law by the then councilman and future Brazilian president Prudente de Morais.
In 1944, the city was made the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Piracicaba.
Piracicaba is famous for sugarcane plantations, traditional cachaça production, and traditional music.
In particular, its economy, as of this year, is fueled by the cultivation of sugarcane. The harvest of sugarcane produces many products, including sugar, oil, and ethanol. Copersucar, a large company that has a center of research on genetic improvement of sugarcane participates in this growing industry.
Another characteristic economic feature is the presence of large industries, where the main ones are Caterpillar, ArcelorMittal, and Hyundai.
Piracicaba's altitude is 554 meters. Temperatures through the year vary from 37.5° Celsius maximum to 16.0° Celsius minimum, and Piracicaba experiences annual rainfall of 123 centimeters. The area of the city is 1,378 square kilometers, making it the 19th largest city in the State of São Paulo. The urban area of Piracicaba is approximately 158 square kilometers, and 95% of the population resides in it.
The population in 2015 was 391,449. The Human Development Index for the city was 0.710 in 2000, and 0.785 in 2010, both falling in the "high" category.
As of 2010, water and power are supplied at a level approaching 100% of the households. As of 2013 there were approximately 164 telephones, and 333 cars, both statistics per thousand people. Seongnam, South Korea
José Altafini, also known as "Mazola", a Brazilian footballer.
André Cypriano, documentary photographer
Evaristo Conrado Engelberg, engineer and inventor
Marcos Pizzelli-Brazilian footballer.
Rubens Ometto Silveira Mello, owner of Cosan.