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São Leopoldo, Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

Last modified: 2020-08-08 by ian macdonald
Keywords: rio grande do sul | são leopoldo |
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São Leopoldo, RS (Brazil) image by Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020

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The municipality of São Leopoldo (229,678 inhabitants in 2016; 10,273 ha) is located 30 km of Porto Alegre.

São Leopoldo was established on 27 July 1824 by 39 German immigrants who settled close to the Imperial Hemp Factory, on the left bank of Bells' River. São Leopoldo was granted the title of "Cradle of immigration".

The founder of São Leopoldo is José Feliciano Fernandes Pinheiro (1774-1847), better known as the Viscount of São Leopoldo.
José Feliciano Fernandes Pinheiro graduated at the University of Coimbra (Portugal) and went back to Brazil in 1800. Appointed in 1811 Troops' Superviser, he joined the Uruguayan expedition commanded by Diogo de Souza, Captain-General of Rio Grande do Sul. During his inspections through Rio Grande do Sul, he accumulated material that would be published in 1819 as "Anais da Capitania de São Pedro", still considered as a main source of information on the early ages of Rio Grande do Sul.
After the Portuguese Constitutionalist Revolution of 1820, José Feliciano Fernandes Pinheiro was elected as a Representative to the Lisbon Cortes, both in Rio Grande do Sul and in his birth state, São Paulo, and subsequently, to the Brazilian Constituent Assembly.

Appointed on 8 March 1824 President of the Province of Rio Grande do Sul, he pushed and supervised the establishment of a German colony near the Imperial Hemp Factory, which he considered as "one of the most salient facts of my tenure". In 1825, Emperor Peter I named him Minister and State Secretary of Imperial Commerce, which allowed him to introduce study of Law to Brazil. He was subsequently elevated to Viscount of São Leopoldo and appointed State Councillor and Senator for São Paulo.

The name of José Feliciano Fernandes Pinheiro, Viscount of São Leopoldo, was inscribed on the Book of National Heroes kept in the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom by Federal Law No. 1,599 promulgated on 8 January 2018.
Instituto Histórico e Geográfico do Rio Grande do Sul

Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020


A green flag, bearing the municipal arms in the centre.
Dirk Schönberger, 3 April 2012

The coat of arms of São Leopoldo is prescribed by Municipal Law No. 1,159 promulgated on 22 June 1962.

Article 1.
A classic shield divided per bend sinister by Bells' River, the settlement's original artery and main source of income of today's region of São Leopoldo, on a field vert (green). In chief on a field gules (red), the arms of the Viscount of São Leopoldo, founder of the modern town, a lion rampant a Brazilian pine proper; in base, azure (blue) the Immigrant's Monument inaugurated in 1924 argent. A four-towered mural crown argent. The shield surrounded by acanthus leaves or, gules and azure.
Leis Municipais database

The coat of arms was originally prescribed by Municipal Law No. 276 promulgated on 19 May 1951.

Article 1.
A shield diagonally divided. In the upper part, on a red field a lion or rampant a Brazilian pine proper fructed or rooted argent, in the lower part, on a field azure the miniaturized reproduction of the Immigrant's Monument proper.
Leis Municipais database

The Immigrant's Monument was erected in 1924 on Centenary Square, São Leopoldo's oldest square, to commemorate the centenary of German immigration.


Ivan Sache, 5 August 2020