The capital of the Amazonas State was founded in the second half of the XVII
century, with the construction of the Forte de São José da Barra
do Rio Negro (São José da Barra do Rio Negro Fort), created to
protect the region against the invasion of foreigners.
The name Manaus is a reference to the Indian manaós, who lived there. During so many years, the city lived almost isolated. However, from the XIX century, the growth of the international commerce of rubber, whose raw material was extracted from native rubber trees of the forest, Manaus start to be attractive to the businessmen from all over the world.
On the end of the XIX century, the wealth produced by the exportation of rubber financed the construction, in the middle of the tropical forest, of luxurious buildings that reproduced the architectonic styles that were in the high European fashion.
On one of the major symbol of the economic development from that period, the Teatro Amazonas (Amazonas Theater), there were exhibitions of famous European opera companies.
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