Porto Alegre (literally "Joyous Port") is one of the largest cities in Brazil, and the capital city of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. Porto Alegre is the most important city of Southern Brazil, consisting of a cultural, political and economical center. Porto Alegre held the best standard of living among all Brazilian capitals for many years and it was the only Brazilian city listed on Jones Lang LaSalle's World Winning Cities. It is also home to such famous football clubs as Grêmio and Internacional.
The city is located at a delta resulting from the junction of five rivers, officially called Lake Guaíba (popularly mentioned as a river too). Although its origins date from the mid-18th century, when immigrants from the Azores settled in the area, the city was officially established in 1809.
Before this, Porto Alegre was the port of Viamão on the shore of Lake Guaíba. Its ancient name was Porto dos Casais (Port of the couples), and it was initially settled by Azorians. Many families of settlers also came from the city of Rio Grande (Big River) in the litoral Lagunar region, to the south, a military fortress at that time. Today Rio Grande is the most important port of Rio Grande do Sul state.
More than 70 neighborhoods are part of the city and 2/3 of the population are concentrated in the Zona Norte (Northern Zone), where most of the economic activity takes place.