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Interpreting the Evidence

Saturday Market in Rio de Janeiro, 1934

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    The Great Depression and WW II (1929 - 1945)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    Global History and Geography

  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:


  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Saturday Market in Rio de Janeiro, 1934 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A Saturday outdoor market set up around the massive columns of the Carioca Aquaduct in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, August 1934.
Historical Context
Rio de Janeiro received its name from Portuguese explorers who discovered the mouth of Guanabara Bay in January of 1502 and named it Rio de Janeiro, or the River of January.  Founded in 1565 as Sao Sebastiao do Rio de Janeiro, the city grew in size and importance in the early 1700s as a shipping port for gold and diamonds, which had been discovered in the area.  It served as the capital of Brazil from 1763 until 1960, when a new capital city, Brasilia, was constructed from scratch by the government.  When Napoleon invaded Portugal in 1807, Rio de Janeiro even became the capital of the Portuguese Empire for several years.

Rio is called "Cidade Maravilhosa" ("Marvellous City"), and with good reason.  Tourists flock to the city, which is situated among inspiring mountains, spectacular beaches, and tropical rainforest.  An active nightlife and the world-famous Carnival give Rio de Janeiro a reputation for being an exciting city to visit.

The Carioca Aqueduct in this photograph was built in the 1700s to bring water to Rio de Janeiro.  Because of its forty-two arches, “os Arcos” is one of the names that have been given to the aqueduct.

Essential Question
How does geography impact human settlement and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the market in Rio de Janeiro using evidence from the photograph and discuss the impact of geography on the development and economy of the city.
Historical Challenges
This photograph was originally labeled the "Carioca Viaduct." How is a viaduct different from an aqueduct? Research the Carioca Aqueduct. Why can it be called a viaduct, and why can it be called an aqueduct? Make a list of some of the different names used for the Carioca Aqueduct. Choose which name you think is the best name for the aqueduct and explain why you chose it.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: What kind of money do Brazilians use? How much Brazilian money would equal $100?
Science: Explain how an aqueduct like the one in the photograph would work. Why are there two rows of arches in this aqueduct?
English Language Arts: Create a shopping list of items you would buy in a market like the one in the photograph.
Art: Construct a model of the Carioca Aqueduct.