The coffee production is directly linked with the city’s development. The coffee bean arrived in Brazil on the 18th century, brought from the French Guiana. After going through the North of the country, being Belém the first destination, the plantation of coffee got to the south and southeast of the country. With favorable climate conditions, the ‘black gold’ found proper conditions at west of Paulista territory: terra roxa (purple land region), communication and easy flow through the Porto de Santos (Santos Harbor). It was in 1817 that the capital had its first coffee farm, at Vale do Rio Paraíba do Sul.
During the 19th and 20th century, coffee was the main economic base of the capital and Brazil. The coffee plantations brought a favorable scenario to invest in the constructions of harbors, railways and development of inner market.
|The ‘Coffee Cycle’ relied on slave work from the African slave trafficking ships. After the signing of Lei Eusébio de Queirós in 1850, which put an end to African slave trafficking in Brazil, the landowners started to employ immigrants.
Still in the 1850s, farmers employed German and Swiss immigrants. Later, there was an enormous Italian immigration, resulting from the unification conflicts from the country that had its resolution in 1870.
However, it was in 1880 that the immigration process got really intense. This was due to São Paulo’s Government initiative of paying the immigration expenses and investing on the construction of the Hospedaria do Imigrante, which was opened in 1885, on the neighborhood of Brás. Hence, by the 20th century, São Paulo employed immigrant labor force from Europe and Japan.
|Grain producers gathered a large amount of capital and invested in their own coffee production, on promoting spectacles to Brazil and on the construction of majestic houses. The Coffee Barons, as they were called, started to build their houses in the city, in between the rural estate and the Porto de Santos (Santos Harbor), highlighting the ones located in Avenida Paulista. The architecture was inspired mostly on France, as also other European countries. Little by little, constructions like Viaduto do Chá, in 1892, and Estação da Luz, in 1902, connected the major points of the capital.|
The Paulista coffee farmers’ enrichment was such that they reached powers in the República Oligárquica, known as the República do Café com Leite (Coffee and Milk Republic), in which São Paulo alternated power with Minas Gerais.
The crisis in production came in 1929 with the crash of the New York Stock Market; however, Brazil recovered from the blow and it is to this day considered the largest producer worldwide.