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What Does Rio De Janeiro Mean?

What Does Rio De Janeiro Mean?

Rio de Janeiro holds many interesting facts. Its name is already a curious but unmistakable feature of its mysteries:

When the Portuguese conquerors arrived in January 1502, they were amazed by the landscape of the “new continent”. Their first point of arrival was Guanabara Bay. Now we know that this is a beautiful beach, but the Portuguese years ago believed that they were at the mouth of an imposing river.

The water, sand, and fauna were completely different from what they used to see in their colonial cities. They had no idea what awaited them beyond the coasts!

Wondered (and also overwhelmed) by nature, they decided to stay in these lands. And what better way to do it than give it a name? They called it Rio de Janeiro, which literally means “river of January”.

The curious thing about this name is that there is no river close the area that they arrived. However, some scholars believe that, in fact, there was a water inlet at that time.

What Does Rio De Janeiro Mean?
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Another significant word for Rio de Janeiro’s culture is ‘Carioca‘. Its etymological origin is also funny and lends itself to confusion. Its literal meaning from Tupi language is “house of the white man”, supposing that it is in reference to the huts of the Europeans. The native indians from Niteroi side started to call the houses on Rio de Janeiro side of “carioca”. Today just if you born in Rio de Janeiro you are called carioca.

Now that you know what does Rio de Janeiro means you can Discover more about the marvelous city on our private tours.


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