In 1565, Jesuit priests who set the platation of sugar cane settled in the region of Tijuca. At the time, a chapel, dedicated to São Francisco Xavier, was built in the site. The farm nearest to the center of Rio was named after the saint. When the Jesuits were expelled from Brazil, in 1759. The farms were sold to hundreds of new ranchers, and the region came to be characterized by small farms.
In the 19th century, the neighborhood became famous for being the forerunner in the operation of the first transportation line in rail vehicles in Rio de Janeiro with animal traction, prior to the electric trams, connecting Largo do Rocio (the current Tiradentes Square) to Alto da Boa Vista. In the 20th century, its residents, made up, basically, of a conservative middle class, were collectively identified as “tijucanos”, something that has no equivalent in any other neighborhood in the city. The region is home to the 3rd largest urban forest in the world, Tijuca Forest, which was reforested by the initiative of D. Pedro II in 1861.