The city of Rio de Janeiro is in one of the most beautiful bays in the world, the Bay of Guanabara, in a natural setting without equal, dotted with coves, famous beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema, and mountain formations with bizarre shapes, among them the famous Pão de Açúcar (Sugar Loaf) and the Corcovado.
The city is the most important of Brazil after São Paulo, of which it was the capital until 1960. Rio de Janeiro has over 7,000,000 inhabitants, with the metropolitan area it has almost 14,000,000 inhabitants.
The bay of Rio de Janeiro was discovered by the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci in January, 1502, the name of Rio de Janeiro (River of January), is due to the fact that Vespucci mistook the bay for the mouth of a river.
The first attempt to colonize the zone of Rio de Janeiro was made by the French who in 1555 founded on an island of Guanabara Bay the colony of Antarctic France (France Antarctique) and built Fort Coligny, then the Portuguese, in 1560, attacked and destroyed the French colony, in 1565, another Portuguese expedition founded the city of Rio de Janeiro.
In 1676, Rio de Janeiro became a bishopric and in 1680 the city controlled and administered a territory that included the current Brazilian states of São Paulo and Espiritu Santo. Between 1762 and 1960 Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil.