The conquest of the Amazon estuary gave rise, in 1616, to the Forte do Presépio, intended to halt the smuggling of products from the region – medicinal plants, herbs, cocoa, vanilla, cloves, cinnamon, Brazil nut and guaraná – which were very appreciated in Europe. The little Feliz Lusitânia settlement that was formed around the fort survived only from subsistence farming, fishing and livestock. However, the regular export strengthened the extractive activity in the forest and the village evolved; it was then renamed and gave way to one of the most promising cities in the country

At the end of the nineteenth century, Belém do Grão Pará emerged into the world. The Rubber Cycle, 1879-1912, brought wealth and prestige to the city. Residences of wealthy rubber lords, banking houses and other institutions were built in line with the abundance of new times, as symbols of success and power. Belém keeps the memory of that time with pride; but, being cosmopolitan and modern, it lives the present intensely and surprises visitors by its effervescence.