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Postcard of a French tourist in Rio de Janeiro (1903)

Postcard of a French tourist in Rio de Janeiro (1903)

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In 1903, a French tourist does not recommend the city of Rio De Janeiro, charming but sad.

Postcard sent by a French tourist from Rio de Janeiro to Paris. In French. 14cm x 9.2cm. Rio de Janeiro, February 28, 1903. Good condition. Single piece.

Never come to Rio de Janeiro, it's a very beautiful, charming but sad and hot country

At the end of the 1800s, there was an important increase in poverty in the center of Rio de Janeiro, with a serious housing crisis. Despite having very beautiful private buildings and public monuments, the capital of Brazil lacked basic infrastructure (water, sewage, garbage collection) which had an international reputation as a dirty tropical port. Violent epidemics of yellow fever, smallpox and cholera multiplied: between 1897 and 1906, thousands of European immigrants died of yellow fever in Rio de Janeiro.

In 1902, the new President of Brazil decided to modernize the city and gave carte blanche to the mayor of the city, Pereira Passos, and the General Director of Public Health, the renowned Professor Oswaldo Cruz. Hundreds of old buildings were destroyed and replaced by large avenues, gardens, high standard houses and industries. Thousands of poor people had to move to the outskirts of the city. Brigades entered houses to exterminate yellow fever mosquitoes and kill rats, distributing poison and imposing strict waste management. However, these campaigns were poorly received by the people of Rio de Janeiro, who revolted, for example, in 1904, with the famous Vaccine Revolt.

As this French tourist reports to a Parisian nurse, Rio de Janeiro in 1903 was already facing enormous social difficulties, despite its natural and cultural charms, a reality that is still very current.

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