WATCH: Thousands of years of history go up in flames in Rio de Janeiro

A huge fire engulfed Brazil's 200-year-old National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, lighting up the night sky with towering flames as firefighters and museum workers raced to save historical relics from the blaze.

According to its website, the museum has more than 20 000 items related to the history of Brazil and other countries, and that many of its collections came from members of Brazil's royal family.