Pôrto Alegre (pōrˈtŏ əlĕˈgrə) [key], city (1991 pop. 1,263,403), capital of Rio Grande do Sul state, SE Brazil, on the Guaíba River. One of the chief industrial and commercial centers of Brazil, it is also a major river port, exporting the products of the rich agricultural and pastoral hinterland. It has a modern shipyard, meatpacking plants, foundries, and varied processing industries and assembly plants. Pôrto Alegre's power comes from both coal and hydroelectric facilities. The city was founded (c.1742) by immigrants from the Azores. Since the 19th cent. its development has been aided by numerous German and Italian settlers. A modern city with handsome business and government buildings, Pôrto Alegre has also preserved many old, narrow streets and colonial buildings. It is the seat of two large universities and is an important cultural and literary center.