Limeira is a city in the eastern part of the Brazilian state of São Paulo. The population in 2004 is 270,733 and the area is 582.48 km². The elevation is 588 m. It is 154 km far from São Paulo, the state capital, and 1011 km far from Brasilia, Brazil's capital. The city can be easily reached from São Paulo by two highways: Rodovia Anhanguera and Rodovia dos Bandeirantes. It was formerly known as the "Brazilian orange capital" because of the great citrus production that occurred there in the past. Nowadays the main crop cultivated in the city is sugar cane.
Limeira is also known for its new plated jewelry and semi-jewelry industry which attract customers from all over the world, giving the city the title of "Brazil's plated jewelry capital." There are more than 450 companies that are responsible for half of Brazil's exports in this sector.
There is a famous farm located in Limeira named Fazenda Ibicaba that belonged to Nicolau de Campos Vergueiro, which brought the first immigrants from Europe, specially from Germany, Portugal, Switzerland and Belgium, to replace the enslaved African-Brazilian workers, which was basically a government effort to "bleach" the race, as it was feared Brazil had become a "black" country. Limeira is thus said to have accomplished the first "positive" experience with immigrant workers in Brazil. Probably because Northern Europeans preferred to run their own farms rather than to subject themselves to indentured work and the Portuguese tended to work in commerce, Italian immigrants were brought to work the fields. Such immigrant group was greater in numbers than all the others all over São Paulo state. Northern Europeans and the first Italians to arrive at the country often came with the promise of being granted lands in exchange for their work but the last ones to come suffered besides suffering prejudice were treated a little better than enslaved African-Brazilians. The latter, nonetheless, had nowhere to go for jobs as slavery ended and many begged to be rehired for food. The situation of some of them improved when the British installed the railway in the country and gave them prestigious jobs with housing. Today, Limeira is located in a prosperous region in São Paulo State, having Campinas as the center of its hub.
Associação Atlética Internacional is a traditional football club based in Limeira. Independente Futebol Clube is another football club based in the city. The city's biggest stadium is Major José Levy Sobrinho stadium, built in 1977.