Known as the Cidade Morena (dark-complexioned city) for its red earth, 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 high-rises 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 fewer than four universities, Campo Grande is young at heart, its large student population producing an almost insatiable demand for nocturnal entertainment.
Founded around 1875 as the village of Santo Antônio de Campo Grande, things 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.