Joinville (or ) is the largest city in Santa Catarina State, in the Southern Region of Brazil. It is the third largest municipality in the southern region of Brazil, after the much larger state capitals of Curitiba and Porto Alegre. Joinville is also a major industrial, financial and commerce center.
In 2014, the population of Joinville reached approximately 560,000 people, many of whom are of German descent. The metropolitan area is home to 1,212,997 residents according to the 2010 census by IBGE.
Owing to urban development and relatively good infrastructure, Joinville has become a major center for events and business conferences. The city has one of the highest standards of living in Latin America.
The first inhabitants in the region of Joinville were probably a Tupi people. Archeological indications and more than forty sambaquis (middens) found locally indicate human habitation as far back as 4800 BC. Although there are signs of agricultural activity, the principal elements in the diet at that time were apparently fish and shell-fish.
Even though it is considered a German-Brazilian city, its name is French (Joinville was named after François d'Orléans, prince of Joinville, son of King Louis-Philippe of France, who married Princess Francisca of Brazil, in 1843). The city's former name was Colônia Dona Francisca (Lady Francisca Colony), but was changed to Joinville in 1851.
The land where Joinville is located was part of the French and Brazilian Royal Family wedding gift, even though the Prince of Joinville and his Brazilian bride had never been to the land.
However, a Royal Palace was built in their honor around 1870. In 1851, the French prince, after a financial crisis, sold almost all his lands in Southern Brazil to the German Senator Mathias Schröder.
Senator Schröder was a member of the Colonization Society of Hamburg. This society, made up of bankers, businessmen and merchants, attracted immigrants to be sent to Brazil and thereby establish commercial ties between Germany and the German communities in Brazil. In 1851, the first 118 German and Swiss immigrants arrived, followed by 74 Norwegian immigrants.