List of Rio Samba-School Carnival Champions

List of Rio Carnival Champions


At the Brazilian Carnival, the most disputed, honored and emblematic competition revolves around the official Rio de Janeiro Carnival parade.  This is the contest that drives the ambition, concentration of efforts and financial investment of a at least a dozen of patrons of the samba-schools and their board of directors, so as to reached the desired goal which is the Carnival title.  The carnival parade or samba parade as many call in Rio today has 4 major groups, being the so-called “Special Group” the elite team in Rio de Janeiro,  and composed of 12 samba-schools.

Much  ( or shall we say 90% ) of what we see in today´s carnival activities in Rio, related specifically to the samba-schools life is determined by the year round process of producing a great carnival parade:  Selecting a good team of professionals, deciding for a parade theme, choosing a parade samba, looking for investors to pay for all of this, practicing and executing the parade.  Today´s parade can cost up to US$ 5 million for the larger samba-schools, but it was not always like that.

See below new videos of the Brazilian Carnival:

Salgueiro below, who has won many championships"!

At the first “registered” contest, there were only three samba-schools and not really much to see:  It was won by a small “Bloco de Carnaval”, called “Conjunto Oswaldo Cruz”, that later gave origins to legendary Portela Samba-School.   During this 1929 “championship” , which was disputed literally inside the house of a famous samba-man,  Zé Espinguela.  Mangueira Samba-School and Deixa Falar samba-school also participated of this “contest”.   Read about this first samba constest here. But that´s all history!  Let´s take a look of all Rio de Janeiro Carnival Champions:

Year  -   Carnival Champion          Parade Theme – Plot

1929    “Oswaldo Cruz”, today´s Portela Samba School   

1930´s Champions

1929    “Oswaldo Cruz”, which gave origin to today´s Portela Samba School   
1932     Mangueira                               “Laughing”
1933     Mangueira                               “One Monday at Bonfim from Bahia”
1934     Mangueira                                CARNIVAL PARADE THEME NOT IDENTIFIED
1934     Recreio de Ramos                      PARADE THEME NOT IDENTIFIED
1935     Vai Como  Pode                        “Samba Ruling the World”   
1936     Unidos da Tijuca                       “Delirium Dreams”
1937     Vizinha Faladeira                       “Samba Origins”
1938                                                  PARADE WITH NO CONTEST
1939     Portela                                    “Samba to the Test”   


1940´s Champions

1940     Mangueira                        “Tears, Negroes and Poets"   
1941     Portela                            “Ten Years of Glories”   
1942     Portela                            “The Life of Samba”   
1943     Portela                            “Brazil, Land of Freedom”    
1944     Portela                            “Patriotic Motives”
1945     Portela                            “Glorious Brazil”   
1946     Portela                            “The Dawn of New World “   
1946     Prazer da Serrinha             “Luís Carlos Prestes”
1947     Portela                            “Honors to the Merit”   
1948     Império Serrano                “Antônio Castro Alves “   
1949     Império Serrano                “Elation to  Tiradentes”   
1949     Mangueira                        “Vindication to the Master”
1950     Império Serrano                “Riachuelo  Naval Battle“
1950     Mangueira                        “SALTE Plan: Health,  Farming and Education”    

1950´s Champions

1951     Império Serrano                   “Sixty One Years of Republic    “
1951     Portela                               “The Return of the Prodigal Son”   
1952                                             PARADE WITH NO CONTEST
1953     Portela                               “The Six Great Dates”
1954     Mangueira                           “Rio de Janeiro of Yesterday and Today”   
1955     Império Serrano                    “Elation to  Duque de Caxias”   
1956     Império Serrano                   “The Emerald Hunter”
1957     Portela                               “Legacies of D. João VI “   
1958     Portela                               “Countenances and Events from Brazil “   
1959     Portela                               “Brazil, Panteon of Glories”   

1960´s Champions

1960 *     Portela                          “Rio, the eternal Capital”
1960    Mangueira                         “Glory to Samba”   
1960    Salgueiro                           “Quilombo of the Palmares”   
1960    Unidos da Capela                “Products and Costumes from our Land”
1960    Império Serrano                  “Medals and Blazons”
1961     Mangueira                        “Memories of the Old River”
1962     Portela                            “Rugendas: Colorful trips through Brazil”
1963     Salgueiro                          “Chica da Silva”   
1964     Portela                            “As the Marriage of D. Peter I”   
1965     Salgueiro                         “History of the Carioca Carnival”   
1966     Portela                            “Memories of a Military Sergeant”   
1967     Mangueira                        “The Magic World of Monteiro Lobato”
1968     Mangueira                        “Samba, Party of the people”   
1969     Salgueiro                          “Bahia of all Gods”   

From the 1970´s on, the Carnival Floats started a period of innovation in termos of aesthetics & engineering:

1970´s Champions

1970     Portela                        “Legends and Mysteries of the Amazon”
1971     Salgueiro                     “Party For a Black King’
1972     Império Serrano            “Hello, Hello, This  is Carmem Miranda”
1973     Mangueira                    “Legends of the Abaetéa”
1974     Salgueiro                     “The King of France in the Island of the Haunted”
1975     Salgueiro                     “The Secret of the Mines of King Salomon”   
1976     Beija-Flor                     “To Dream of Lion, Shows up King”
1977     Beija-Flor                     “Grandma and the King of Saturnalia in the Egyptian Court”   
1978     Beija-Flor                     “The Creation of the World in the Nagô Tradition”   
1979     Mocidade                     “The Discovery of Brazil”

1980´s Champions

1980     Imperatriz                    “What does Bahia Has?”
1980     Beija-Flor                     “The Midnight Sun, a trip to the Country of the Wonders”   
1980     Portela                         “Today we have ´Marmelade`!”
1981     Imperatriz                    “Your Hair Does not Deny (Only Lalá)”
1982     Império Serrano             “Bum Bum Paticumbum Prugurundum”    
1983     Beija-Flor                    “The Great Constellation of the Black Star”   
1984     Mangueira                   “Yes, we have Braguinha”   
            Portela                       “Sand stories”   
1985     Mocidade                    “Ziriguidum 2001 - Carnival at the stars”   
1986     Mangueira                   “Caymmi shows the World what does Bahia and Mangueira have”
1987     Mangueira                   “The Kingdom of the Words, Carlos Drummond de Andrade”   
1988     Vila Isabel                   “Kizomba, the party of the race”
1989     Imperatriz                   “Freedom, freedom, open the wings upon us!”

From the 1990´s on, carnival costumes became more elaborate and helped many schools to win their titles: Here we see the Muse Amanda Gomes from Sao Clemente Samba-School

1990´s Champions

1990     Mocidade                 “Vira, virou, Mocidade has Arrived”   
1991     Mocidade                 “Chua... Chuá...The Waters will Flow”
1992     Estácio de Sá           “Paulicéia Desvairada - 70 Years of Modernism”
1993     Salgueiro                 “I caught a Ita in the North”   
1994     Imperatriz                "Catarina de Médicis na corte dos Tupinambôs e dos Tabajéres    
1995     Imperatriz                “Better worth a Donkey that Carries me than a Camel in Ceará”    
1996     Mocidade                 “Creator and Creature”
1997     Viradouro                 “Darknesses! Light! The explosion of the Universe”   
1998     Mangueira                “Chico Buarque from Mangueira”   
1998     Beija-Flor                  “Pará: The Místi World of the Caruanas in Waters of the Patu-anu”
1999     Imperatriz                “Brazil: Show your face in Theatrum Rerum Naturalium Brasiliae”

2000´s Champions

2000    Imperatriz             “Who discovered Brazil was Mr. Cabral, April 22nd, Two months after Carnival”  

2001    Imperatriz             “Caiana sugar cane, purple one, black sugar cane turns yellow. Pernambuco,I      want to see the juice extracted from the ganzá hit”

2002     Beija-Flor             “The people tells its story:  Empty sac doesn’t stand still - The hand that makes the war, makes peace”     

2004    Beija-Flor             “Manôa, Manaus, Amazon, Sacred Land: Feeds the body, balances the soul and brings us peace”

2005    Beija-Flor             “The Wind cuts the lands of the Pampas. In the Name of the Father, the Son and  the Guarani Spirit: Seven peoples in Faith and Pain… Seven    Missions of Love”

2006     Vila Isabel             “Soy loco por ti, América – Vila Sings the Latinidade”   

2007     Beija-Flor             “Africa: From the Royal Cradle to the Brazilian Court”   

2008     Beija-Flor             “Macapabá: Solar Equinox, Fantastic Voyages to Center of the World”

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