It was proclaimed a formal city in 1655 and capital of the state in 1772. During the 17th century, the sugar industry was integral to this city’s economy. From the end of this century, cattle farming became more important, after which rice, cotton and coffee were the most lucrative crops. When the Amazon River, Tocantins River and Tapajós River were made open to navigation in the mid-19th century, a greater area was made available to the Belém industries and a host of new opportunities opened up.
Today, the most important exports coming out of Belém are aluminium, iron, nuts, wood veneers, hardwood, pineapples and cassava, amongst others.
The city of Belém is modern, but retains much of its historical charm and beauty. Many of the main streets are lined with trees, while the city centre is bustling with tall buildings and the hubbub of a thriving metropolis. In the heart of this hub, mango trees are found in abundance, lending Belém a very special look and feel.
The climate of Belém is typically tropical, with rain, heat and humidity all year around. There are certain months that are wetter than others (namely December to May), but there is no dry season.