Rio de Janeiro welcomed the world to the first Latin American Olympic Games with a message that we should take better care of our planet. The Rio 2016 opening ceremony traced Brazil's history from forested land, through colonisation by Portugal and slavery, into a nation of diversity and contrasts.

The show open-end with performers decked in silvery suits folding and unfolding glittering silver sheets that transformed into giant cushions that they then beat like drums. Fireworks lit up the skies, forming the word "Rio".

After the grandeur of Beijing's opening ceremony in 2008 and the clever inventiveness of London's in 2012, Rio's was more earthy, with funk, samba and joie de vivre laced with serious messages about the need to protect the planet. In all, 4,800 performers and volunteers were involved in the show designed to showcase Brazil as a garden of the world. IBTimes UK presents the best photos of the Rio 2016 Olympic opening ceremony.

Rio 2016 Olympic opening ceremony
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Andy Murray leads Team GB into the stadiumClive Brunskill/Getty Images
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Justin Rose and fellow Team GB membersCameron Spencer/Getty Images
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Michael Phelps and Team USAPaul Gilham/Getty Images
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Paul George and Jimm Butler (C) of the United StatesEzra Shaw/Getty Images
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JamaicaDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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BurundiKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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CroatiaDylan Martinez/Reuters
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United Arab EmiratesDylan Martinez/Reuters
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South AfricaCameron Spencer/Getty Images
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IndonesiaJamie Squire/Getty Images
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JapanDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Flag bearer Rafael Nadal leads Spain into the stadiumLeon Neal/AFP
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SpainKai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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LiberiaStoyan Nenov/Reuters
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Flag bearer Pita Nikolas Aufatofua of Tonga leads his team into the stadiumPaul Gilham/Getty Images
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Flag bearer Pita Nikolas Aufatofua of Tonga leads his teamLeon Neal/AFP
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The Refugee Olympic Athletes' teamDavid Gray/Reuters
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Brazil enter the stadium to huge cheersCameron Spencer/Getty Images
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BrazilLeon Neal/AFP
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