Known as the Cidade Morena for its red earth rather than for its beautiful women (morena also means 'brunette'), Campo Grande is the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul and the main gateway to the southern Pantanal. It's a vast, modern metropolis, where highrises tower above the shopping malls and streets are lined with restaurants – contrasting with the source of its wealth, which mainly lies in cattle and farming. Home to no less than four universities, Campo Grande is young at heart, its large student population producing an almost insatiable demand for nocturnal entertainment (hence the proliferation of bars and live music venues).
Founded around 1875 as the village of Santo Antônio de Campo Grande, Campo Grande really began to grow when the railway came through in 1914. The city was declared the capital of Mato Grosso do Sul by decree of military president Ernesto Giesel in 1977.