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Urca: Small Town in Botafogo Bay

By Clarissa Butelli, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO - Urca is known by most tourists as the point of departure for the world-famous cable cars, leading up to the Sugarloaf Mountain. What many don't know is that if things had gone differently in the neighborhood in 1565, Brazilians just might be speaking French today.

It was at the base of the Sugarloaf Mountain and Morro da Urca hills that Estácio de Sá, a Portuguese soldier and officer, disembarked with his companions in 1565 to wage war on French invaders. There, he founded the first Portuguese settlement in the . . .

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