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Franca is a municipality in the Brazilian state of São Paulo. The population is 342,112 (2015 est.) in an area of 606 km². Its elevation is 1040 m. It was established in 1805 as a parish within the municipality of Moji Mirim, and became an independent municipality in 1824.HistoryThe history of the region of Franca begins at the time of the Bandeirantes explorers. The bandeira or entrada of Anhangüera (the son) in 1722 established the “way of Goiás,” a trail from São Paulo to the gold mines in Goiás. Along this and other trails settlements were made, becoming the so-called "landings" or way-stations for the gold seekers. Franca was known at the time of the Bandeirantes as the “catfish landing.”At the end of the 18th century, settlers had dispersed into the region in several of these landings. In 1779, around 1000 people lived in the area around Franca. To better organize the settlement, a Decree Company was created and the Portuguese Captain Manoel de Almeida was put in charge. At the beginning of the 19th century, the sons of Manoel de Almeida (Antonio Antunes de Almeida and Vicente Ferreira de Almeida) donated lands for the construction of a chapel, which in turn was blessed by the priest Joaquin Martins Rodrigues. With the decline of mining activity in Minas Gerais and Goiás, more settlers migrated to the "Belo Sertão do Rio Pardo" (beautiful valley of the Pardo River), under the sponsorship of the governador of São Paulo, Antônio José de Franca e Horta, after whom the municipality are named.In 1816 the "village of Franca" was officially founded by King João VI. In 1821, Minas Gerais attempted to annex the region, but due to local resistance, the attempt failed. The city motto stems from this time. The city's name was changed to "Vila Franca do Imperador", but it was shortened afterwards to "Franca".
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