Governador Island is Rio de Janeiro’s largest island, located northwest of the Rio’s downtown. The island was given the name, Governador Island, when one of Rio’s first colonial governors built a country house on the island during the 16th century.
Governador Islands sits in the western portion of Bahia de Guanabara. Home to over 450,000 people the island is also the location of Rio de Janeiro’s international airport. Galeao-Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport along with Galeao Air Force Base shares the western portion of the island.
The eastern portion of Governador Island is filled with many favelas (Brazilian Portuguese for slum) with the largest being Morro do Dende. The Island is also home to many middle-class and affluent neighborhoods.
Situated in Bahia de Guanabara , the waters surrounding the island are not the cleanest waters that Rio has to offer. Pollution from the many ships that use the harbors and the cities surrounding the bay have contributed to the waters pollution.
Connection to the mainland is via Fundao Island and several expressway bridges located on the western shore of the island in front of Galeao International Airport.
Today the people of Governador Island are referred to as Ilha (island people) by cariocas (the people of Rio de Janeiro).