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Part of the Gavea-Tijuca Massif, Corcovado (the "Hunchback") stands near the entrance to Guanabara Bay in Rio De Janeiro (see illustration). During the nineteenth century, Corcovado was the site of early coffee plantations and a refuge for runaway slaves, who lived in quilombos (huts) on its slopes. A cog railway, built in 1884 by engineer Pereira Passos, afforded easy access to the peak, which had long been a tourist attraction. Guglielmo Marconi designed an electrical system to light the mountain, which began operating in 1912, further enhancing the area's appeal.

The mountain is best known for the 98-foot concrete and soapstone statue of Christ the Redeemer, which stands at its peak. The statue, planned and directed by Brazilian engineer H. Silva Costa, was completed in 1931. It was designed by French sculptor Paul Landowski and funded by contributions from the people of Rio.

See alsoSlavery: Brazil .


Bruce Weber "On High," in New York Times Magazine, 22 July 1990, p. 46.

Additional Bibliography

Delfino, Jean-Paul. Corcovado. Paris: Métailié, 2005.

de Semenovich, Jorge Scévola. Corcovado, a conquista da montanha de Deus: A história da Estrada de Ferro e do Monumento ao Cristo Redentor. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Editora Lutécia, 1997.

Winter, Agnés P., de Souza Hue, Jorge, and Horta, Luís Paulo. Cor quo vado. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Casa da Palabra, 2003.

                                      Sheila L. Hooker

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