The city of Criciúma was colonized by Italian immigrants that arrived in Brazil in the 19th century. The date of its foundation, as considered by historians, is January 6th, 1880. From the agricultural activity, the colony rapidly grew larger, driven by the discovery of mineral coal in
it's territory, around 1910, drawing the attention of investors in central areas of the country, as Rio de Janeiro, and abroad, as English investors. Railroads were soon built to transport the mineral, connecting the city to the main areas of the country, contributing to growth of the city that resulted in its political emancipation on November 4th, 1925.
In the 1960’s, the city experienced a major boost caused by the diversification of its economy, starting by the strong ceramic coating industry. In the following decades, the city was gradually modernized and its industry kept its diversification reaching the disposable packages, clothing, metalworking and chemistry industries, among many others, besides becoming the most important medical and university center between the capital cities of Florianópolis (SC) and Porto Alegre (RS), and the Catarinense mountain range. Criciúma also harbors important food industry companies, supermarkets and construction activities, broadening even further its activities in the State of Santa Catarina and neighboring states. During the 1980’s boom the Crisul Hotel was built, which was then reinvented by Rede Interclass in 2017 and delivered in 2017.
The city has an Exhibition Center, where business fairs take place, and several other convention centers. Every year, Criciúma promotes the Book Fair, considered to be one of the most important fairs in the State of Santa Catarina, and the Festival of Tradition and Culture, current “Nations’ Celebration”, which gathers members of various ethnicities such as Italian, German, Polish, Portuguese, African, Arab and Spanish, with their respective typical foods and dances.
The current estimated population of Criciúma is 208,153 inhabitants (IBGE 2016). The city is located next to the road BR 101, in the Southern Coast, between the capital cities of Florianópolis (199.8 km) and Porto Alegre (279.3 km). The near beaches and lakes are within 30 km and the Italian cuisine center, in the city of Nova Veneza, is located at a distance of 25.9km. The Rio do Rastro mountain range, in the city of Lauro Müller, is at 51.7 km, and the Canyons, in Praia Grande, at 103.4 km.
The closest commercial airport is the Regional Airport Sul Humberto Bortoluzzi, in the city of Jaguaruna, at 43.4 km. Approximately eight kilometers from Criciúma, in the city of Forquilinha, is the Regional Airport Diomício Freitas, currently operating only with private flights. The city can also be reached by intercity and interstate bus services, also offering near access to bus services to neighboring countries.