Random Fact: Rio de Janeiro

The stars on Brazil’s flag depict the night sky as seen from Rio on 15 November 1889, which was the date Brazil declared itself a republic. “Rio de Janeiro” was the name given to the area by Portuguese explorers in January 1502; it means “River of January” and was based on the mistaken belief that the bay they sailed into was the mouth of a river.

The famous statue of Christ that overlooks Rio is the world’s fourth tallest statue of Jesus. Poland, Bolivia and the Philippines have taller ones. The Rio Jesus lost the tip of its thumb when it was hit by lightning in January 2014. Its right middle finger was damaged in a storm the previous month.