Amazonas State, Brazil
|Area:||1 570 947 km²
|Inhabitants:||2 812 557 (2000)
|Pop. density:||1.8 inh./km²
Amazonas is the largest state of Brazil, located in the northern part of the country. Neighboring states are (from north clockwise) Roraima, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Acre. It also borders Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. This includes the department Amazonas in Colombia, as well as the Amazonas State, Venezuela (it does not border the Peruvian Amazonas Region).
Other cities include:
Table of contents
The state is almost entirely covered by the Amazon rainforest, and its relief is divided into three categories, viz:
- igapos – permanently flooded land, roots of vegetation always submerged
- varzeas – higher than igapos, land is only submerged when rivers are at their highest during the wet season
- low plateaux – higher still, never submerged
This wide and varied terrain means that the Amazonas region attracts a large number of tourists.
The most recent change in the state's economy is the effort the Brazilian government is making to pursue the development of industries which main focus will be the exporting of consumer goods. Due to its geographical proximity to the markets in the northern hemisphere and amazon countries, like Venezuela, they believe this move will have a great economic impact not only in the north region of Brazil but in the entire country.
The name "Amazonas" was given to the Amazon River by early Spanish explorers, who fought skirmishes with female Amerindian warriors that they named after the fierce mounted female warriors in Greek mythology. Another, less common version states that the term Amazon comes from a local Amerindian word, amassunu, which means "sounds of the waters".
What is today Amazonas state was first taken control of after the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which essentially divided the planet (excluding, of course, Europe) between the Spanish and the Portuguese, territories west of (approximately) 46° 37' W beloning to Spain, those east of that latitude, to Portugal.
Originally, most of South America (except for a small part of the east coast of modern Brazil) was ceded to Spain. However, the Portuguese controlled the area in practicality, with numerous settlements and large numbers of Portuguese soldiers in the Brazil area. Spain officially handed over control of the region with the Treaty of Madrid in 1750.
The state met an era of splendour in the 1850s, at the peak of rubber production and exports. However, the economic gain was largely thanks to great human suffering: untold thousands of enslaved Amerindian seringueiros (rubber tappers) died through disease and overwork.
By the late 1800s, the Brazilian rubber monopoly was slowly dying, as British and Dutch plantations in South-East Asia were producing cheaper, superior quality rubber, and by 1900 the Amazonas state had fallen into serious economic decline because of this. It was not until the 1950s that federal government policy rescued the state from complete financial ruin.
The state capital of Manaus had once been a rich city (it received street lighting and streetcars before London!) but had largely fallen into disrepair since the end of the rubber boom. In 1967, the federal government implemented a plan to revive the city, and today the city is the financial centre of the region.
The flag was adopted by law No. 1513 of January 14, 1982. The 25 stars in the topleft corner represent the 25 municipalities which existed on August 4, 1897. The bigger star represents the capital Manaus. The two horizontal white bars represent hope, while the red bar in the middle represents the struggles overcome.
|States of Brazil|
|Acre | Alagoas | Amapá | Amazonas | Bahia | Ceará | Federal District | Espírito Santo | Goiás | Maranhão | Mato Grosso | Mato Grosso do Sul | Minas Gerais | Pará | Paraíba | Paraná | Pernambuco | Piauí | Rio de Janeiro | Rio Grande do Norte | Rio Grande do Sul | Rondônia | Roraima | Santa Catarina | São Paulo | Sergipe | Tocantins|