São José dos Campos (meaning Saint Joseph of the Fields) is a municipality and city in the state of São Paulo, Brazil and one of the most important industrial and research centers in Latin America. It is located in the Paraíba Valley, between the two most active production and consumption regions in the country, São Paulo ( from the city) and Rio de Janeiro. According to a 1999 UN study, São José dos Campos was rated one of the top 25 Brazilian cities for quality of life. With its high per capita income, long life expectancy and high level of infrastructure, São José dos Campos is a, for Brazilian standards, safe and secure city that offers a wide variety of stores and services. A native of São José dos Campos is called a joseense.
The origins of São José dos Campos lie at the end of the 16th Century when Jesuits founded a cattle farm, Aldeia do Rio Comprido. The farm was created through a concession of settlements around 1590 to the Society of Jesus. The farm was located on the banks of the Rio Comprido, natural division between São José and the city of Jacareí today.
The farm status was an artifice to hide a religious outpost, one of the several Jesuit Reductions in Brazil, known for their resistance to enslavement, from the Portuguese expedition leaders and indigenous people hunters, known as the Bandeirantes.
On September 10, 1611, the local was officially recognized and the farmers precluded from utilizing the Natives as slaves. However, a turmeric conflict between farmers and the religious led to the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1640 from the region and the consequent dispersion of the mission.
Nevertheless, the Jesuits returned and reestablished a new settlement, where the current city center is spotted. It was about northeast of the previous mission, on a higher plain with a privileged view above a geological depression, which guaranteed security against invasions and floods. Again, despite being a new mission, it was officially treated as a cattle farm.
The initial urbanization plan is attributed to the Jesuit priest Manoel de Leão, whose main occupation was really to be an administrator of the community.
In 1692, documents named the village as Residência do Paraíba do Sul; in 1696 as Residência de São José.
At the beginning of the gold mining economic cycle in Brazil, the settlement goes through serious difficulties due to the exit of labor to the mines.
After the definitive expulsion of Jesuits from the Portuguese Empire in 1759, all the religious order's assets, such as farms, colleges and villages were taken under the Portuguese Crown's custody. The governor, D. Luis Antonio Botelho Mourão, had as a priority to turn these new assets into productive units and increase tax collection. For that, Boutelho Mourão successfully requested authorization from the Viceroy to create civil parishes, known as freguesias, and to change the fiscal status of villages to the category of Vila (town).
Then, on July 27, 1767, São José reached the official status of town, with a hall and a pillory, passing over the status of civil parish; and the name Vila de São José do Paraíba was formalized. But for many years it maintained the same rural characteristics. The main difficulty was the fact that the Estrada Real (Royal Road) passed by its limits, far from the village.
Cotton and coffee
In the middle of the 19th century, the village of São José do Paraíba had demonstrated some signs of economic growth through the development of agriculture. Cotton production evolved rapidly in the region, exported to the English textile industry. The production reached a peak in 1864.
In the same year, on April 22, the town became the seat of a municipality, acquiring finally, in 1871, the current name of São José dos Campos, followed by the creation of a judiciary district in 1872. Almost simultaneously, there was development of coffee crops in Paraíba Valley, which started to take off in 1870.
In 1886, after the opening of the Estrada de Ferro Central do Brasil railway (1877), the coffee production peaked. Then started to decay, running steady until the 1930s.
Hydro-mineral retreat and industrialization
Former sanatoria (date of opening/beds):
The call for the municipality of São José dos Campos for the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis by sanatoriums became noticed at the beginning of last century, due to its supposedly favorable climate conditions. The city became to be known as the Sanatorium City. The country’s then largest hospital, the Vicentina Aranha Sanitarium, was opened in town in 1924, and in 1935 the municipality was officially recognized as a health retreat.
With the advent of antibiotics in the 1940s, tuberculosis begins to be treated anywhere, thus ending the healthcare advantage carried out by São José, whereas the establishment of industries was about just to start.
The industrialization process of the municipality takes hold from the installation of the Technological Institute of Aeronautics in 1950 and also with the opening of the Dutra Highway (BR-116), thus making possible a faster connection between Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and cutting into the urban area of São José dos Campos. Altogether, these factors allowed the municipality to make strides towards fulfilling its scientific and technological potential.