Vassouras, a now-quiet town 118km north of Rio, was the most important city in the Paraíba valley in the first half of the 19th century. Local coffee barons, with titles of nobility granted by the Portuguese crown, built huge fazendas (plantations) in the surrounding hills. With the abolition of slavery in 1888, the depletion of the soil and the relocation of coffee production to São Paulo state, the importance of...
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