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Republican Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, 1892. The capital of the recently proclaimed Federative Republic of the United States of Brazil was being modernized. Since 1889 the country was no longer the only monarchy among republics in South America, and the change of the government's political system was going to be expressed by the architectural complex of the city.

Engineer Luiz Schreiner, of German origin, received the task of designing the one that would be the first great mark of the republican buildings: the headquarters of the Bank of Brazil. However, the building was not occupied by this financial institution, but by the Federal Supreme Court (STF), and later on by the Superior Electoral Court (TSE).

The place chosen for the building was one of the noblest in Rio: Primeiro de Março Street, at the corner of Rosário Street, beside the church of the Holy Cross of the Military. The historical importance of Primeiro de Março Street goes back to the end of the 16th century, when it was the first "plain street" of the colonial Brazil, connecting Castle Mount to Saint Benedict Mount, in which the Portuguese had initially settled.

It is around this axis, known also as Praia Street and later on Direita Street, that the city of Rio de Janeiro developed. The name Primeiro de Março [in English "First of March"] would come only in the 1870's, amid the commemorations for the Brazilian victory in the Paraguay War (1864-1870).