Passo Fundo - Brazil

Passo Fundo is a municipality in the north of the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. It is named after its river. It's the twelfth largest city in the state with an estimated population of 194,432 inhabitants living in a total municipal area of 780 km2.

Lying near latitude 28° at an elevation of 690 Passo Fundo has a humid subtropical climate. The annual mean temperature is 17.7 °C with highs of 28.4 °C in January and 18.3 °C in July and lows of 17.7 °C in January and 8.8 °C in July. Winters can be slightly cool with temperatures below 0 °C, frequent frosts and occasional snowfalls. Rainfall is spread out throughout the year with September receiving the highest amount (183.4 mm) and May receiving the lowest amount (133.5 mm). Humidity is around 70% every month.

The economy is predominantly based on services, with some light industry and agriculture in the surrounding area. Transformation industries employed 8,731 workers in 2006, with commerce employing 19,287, public administration employing 2,808, education employing 3,374, and health employing 4,624 workers.

In the agricultural sector there was limited cattle-raising activity due to the small area of the municipality. The poultry industry was of some significance. The main crops were corn, soybeans, and wheat. In 2006 there were 887 farms employing around 3,600 workers, most of whom were relatives of the farm owner.

Rio Grande do Sul (Portuguese: [ˈʁiw ˈɡɾɐ̃dʒi du ˈsuw] (About this sound listen); lit. Great Southern River) is a state located in the southern region of Brazil. It is the fifth most populous state and the ninth largest by area. Located in the southernmost part of the country, Rio Grande do Sul is bordered clockwise by Santa Catarina to the north and northeast, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Uruguayan departments of Rocha, Treinta y Tres, Cerro Largo, Rivera and Artigas to the south and southwest, and the Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones to the west and northwest. The capital and largest city is Porto Alegre. The state has the highest life expectancy in Brazil, and the crime rate is considered to be low.

Despite the high standard of living, unemployment is still high and according to data census its one of most difficult states in Brazil for foreigners finding jobs.

The state has a gaucho culture like its foreign neighbors. It was originally inhabited by Guarani people. The first Europeans there were Jesuits, followed by settlers from the Azores. In the 19th century it was the scene of conflicts including the Farroupilha Revolution and the Paraguayan War. Large waves of German and Italian migration have shaped the state.

Several ecoregions cover portions of the state. In the northeastern corner of the state, between the Serra do Mar/Serra Geral and the Atlantic, lies the southern extension of the Serra do Mar coastal forests, a belt of evergreen tropical moist forests that extend north along the coastal strip as far as Rio de Janeiro state. The high plateau behind the Serra do Mar is occupied by the Araucaria moist forests, a subtropical forests characterized by evergreen, laurel-leaved forests interspersed with emergent Brazilian Pines (Araucaria angustifolia). The Paraná-Paraíba interior forests lie on the lower slopes of the plateau south and east of the Araucaria forests, including much of the lower basin of the Jacuí and its tributaries. These forests are semi-deciduous, with many trees losing their leaves in the winter dry season. The Atlantic Coast restingas, distinctive forests which grow on nutrient-poor coastal dunes, extend along the coast, as far as the Uruguayan border.

The southeastern portion of the state is covered by the Uruguayan savanna or Pampa, which extends south into Uruguay, in a plateau named Serras de Sudeste (Southeastern Mountain Ranges).

During this long and bloody war against Paraguay, Rio Grande do Sul remained usually a secondary front. But in 1865 a Paraguayan division invaded the state, occupying Uruguaiana by August 5. By August 16, troops of the Triple Alliance put siege to Uruguaiana, and by September 17, an ultimatum was delivered to General Estigarribia, commander of the Paraguayan division. Having no possibility of breaking the siege or defending the position, the Paraguayans surrendered, under conditions, the following day.

But if the territory of Rio Grande do Sul was spared most action, its dwellers provided a very significant part of the Brazilian troops: about 34,000 soldiers, more than 25% of the Brazilian army. This military characteristic of Rio Grande do Sul lasted long after the Paraguayan War: in 1879, of a standing army of less than 15,000, more than 5,000 were in Rio Grande do Sul. On the other hand, during the late Empire, more Brazilian generals were from Rio Grande do Sul than from any other province. In 1889, of 25 generals born in Brazil, four were from Rio Grande do Sul; and of the three born abroad, two were born in Uruguay but made their careers in Rio Grande do Sul.

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