States of Brazil

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The Federal Republic of Brazil is a union of twenty-seven Federal Units (Portuguese: Unidades Federativas (UF)): twenty-six states (estados) and one federal district (distrito federal), where the federal capital, Brasília, is located. The states are generally based on historical, conventional borders which have developed over time. The Federal District is not a state in its own right, but shares some characteristics of a state as well as some of a municipality. The Federal District is bordered by the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais. The codes given below are defined in ISO 3166-2:BR.

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The first administrative divisions of Brazil were the hereditary captaincies (capitanias hereditárias), stretches of land granted to Portuguese noblemen or merchants with a charter to colonize the land. These captaincies were to be passed from father to son, but the crown retained the power of revoking it, which the king indeed did in the 16th century[disputed ]. Then the vast Portuguese dominion in South America was divided between the State of Brazil, in the southern half, and the State of Maranhão, in the northern half (note that Maranhão by then referred not only to current Maranhão, but rather to the whole of the Amazon region; the name marã-nã in old Tupi language means "wide river", i.e. the Amazon River).

After the Iberian Union (1580–1640), the territory of Portuguese colonial domains in South America was more than doubled, and the land was divided into captaincies, royal captaincies and provinces. Unlike Spanish America, the whole territory was united under a single viceroy, with a seat in Salvador (and after 1763, Rio de Janeiro). This situation contributed later to keeping Brazil as a unified nation-state and avoiding the fragmentation of the Spanish domains.

With independence, in 1822, the colony became an empire and all captaincies were turned into provinces. Most internal borders were kept unchanged from the colonial period, generally following natural features such as rivers and mountain ridges. Minor changes were made to suit domestic politics (such as the Triângulo Mineiro from Goiás to Minas Gerais, the splitting of Paraná and ceding the south bank of the São Francisco River from Pernambuco to Bahia), as well as additions resulting from diplomatic settlement of territorial disputes by the end of the 19th century (Amapá, Roraima, Palmas). When Brazil became a republic in 1889, all provinces were immediately turned into states.

In 1943, with the entrance of Brazil into the Second World War, the Vargas regime detached seven strategic territories from the border of the country in order to administer them directly: Amapá, Rio Branco, Acre, Guaporé, Ponta Porã, Iguaçu and the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. After the war, the first three territories became states, with Rio Branco and Guaporé being renamed Roraima and Rondônia, respectively, whilst Ponta Porã and Iguaçu remained as territories. In 1988, Fernando de Noronha became part of Pernambuco.

In 1960, the square-shaped Distrito Federal was carved out of Goiás in preparation for the new capital, Brasília. The previous federal district became Guanabara State until in 1975 it was merged with Rio de Janeiro State, retaining its name and with the municipality of Rio de Janeiro as its capital.

In 1977, Mato Grosso was split into two states. The northern area retained the name Mato Grosso while the southern area became the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, with Campo Grande as its capital. The new Mato Grosso do Sul incorporated the territory of Ponta Porã and the northern part of Iguaçu. Central Iguaçu went to Paraná, and southern Iguaçu went to Santa Catarina.

In 1988, the northern portion of Goiás became Tocantins State, with Palmas as its capital.

Evolution of state divisions[edit]

Two states 
Greatest extent of São Paulo state 
Imperial provinces 
At the start of Republic 
Border territories 

Proposed division of Pará[edit]

On 11 December 2011, a plebiscite was held in the state of Pará to consult the population about the possibility of splitting the state of Pará into three different states (Pará, Tapajós and Carajás). Both Tapajós and Carajás were rejected by the population by approximate margins of 2:1.[1]

List of Brazilian states[edit]

FlagStateAbbreviationCapitalArea (km²)Population (2014)Density (2014)GDP (% total) (2014)GDP per capita (R$) (2014)HDI (2014)Literacy (2014)Infant mortality (2014)Life expectancy (2014)
Bandeira do Acre.svgAcreACRio Branco152,581.4790,5005.27,520,000 (0.2%)12,8980.79094%16‰75.4
Bandeira de Alagoas.svgAlagoasALMaceió27,767.73,322,000119.62,160,000 (0.6%)7,8740.78090%17‰73.5
Bandeira do Amapá.svgAmapáAPMacapá142,814.6751,0005.36,765,000 (0.2%)14,0200.80799%16‰75.4
Bandeira do Amazonas.svgAmazonasAMManaus1,570,745.73,859,7002.559,450,254 (1.6%)14,7870.81496%19‰73.7
Bandeira da Bahia.svgBahiaBASalvador564,692.715,127,00026.8181,798,000 (3.7%)13,8810.78791%20‰74.3
Bandeira do Ceará.svgCearáCEFortaleza148,825.68,448,05556.879,800,000 (1.9%)13,7350.78493%16.5‰74.9
Bandeira do Distrito Federal (Brasil).svgDistrito FederalDFBrasília5,822.12,886,520490.7215,572,000 (3.9%)49,0450.91498.8%6.5‰79.8
Bandeira do Espírito Santo.svgEspírito SantoESVitória46,077.53,511,67276.269,870,000 (2.3%)20,2310.87299%4.8‰80.1
Bandeira de Goiás.svgGoiásGOGoiânia340,086.76,524,00019.2118,275,000 (2.5%)20,9310.85497%9‰75.9
Bandeira do Maranhão.svgMaranhãoMASão Luís331,983.36,851,00020.668,487,000 (1.2%)8,7100.76290%19‰72.5
Bandeira de Mato Grosso.svgMato GrossoMTCuiabá903,357.93,225,0003.678,023,000 (1.6%)17,7020.82894%13‰74.6
Bandeira de Mato Grosso do Sul.svgMato Grosso do SulMSCampo Grande357,125.02,620,3007.346,145,000 (1.1%)21,0380.86297%7‰76.1
Bandeira de Minas Gerais.svgMinas GeraisMGBelo Horizonte586,528.320,736,00035.4368,522,000 (9.1%)24,0530.86798.6%6.1‰78.7
Bandeira do Pará.svgParáPABelém1,247,689.58,075,0006.571,519,000 (1.9%)14,5670.79994%16‰74.2
Bandeira da Paraíba.svgParaíbaPBJoão Pessoa56,439.83,945,00069.932,500,000 (0.9%)9,3650.76892%17‰74.1
Bandeira do Paraná.svgParanáPRCuritiba199,314.911,084,00055.6365,270,000 (6.1%)23,8240.87698%7‰77.8
Bandeira de Pernambuco.svgPernambucoPERecife98,311.69,279,00094.470,441,000 (2.3%)13,3320.77292%19‰74.8
Bandeira do Piauí.svgPiauíPITeresina251,529.23,119,01512.416,761,000 (0.5%)5,3730.74090%18‰72.7
Bandeira do estado do Rio de Janeiro.svgRio de JaneiroRJRio de Janeiro43,696.116,385,000375.0465,182,000 (11.2%)26,7770.86399%13‰77.1
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Norte.svgRio Grande do NorteRNNatal52,796.83,421,00064.841,481,000 (0.8%)16,0980.82195.1%13.8‰76.7
Bandeira do Rio Grande do Sul.svgRio Grande do SulRSPorto Alegre281,748.511,352,00040.3255,499,000 (5.6%)25,7280.87999%4‰79.3
Bandeira de Rondônia.svgRondôniaROPorto Velho237,576.21,752,0007.425,900,000 (0.6%)13,0750.78494.6%18.5‰73.7
Bandeira de Roraima.svgRoraimaRRBoa Vista224,299.0497,0002.29,253,000 (0.2%)13,6650.79894.5%15.1‰73.5
Bandeira de Santa Catarina.svgSanta CatarinaSCFlorianópolis95,346.26,668,25069.9240,500,000 (4.9%)26,0110.90699%3.0‰81
Bandeira do estado de São Paulo.svgSão PauloSPSão Paulo248,209.444,065,000177.51,395,600,000 (33.9%)29,4730.86999%4.5‰79.8
Bandeira de Sergipe.svgSergipeSEAracaju21,910.32,225,000101.619,522,000 (0.7%)13,2650.78893%18‰73.0
Bandeira do Tocantins.svgTocantinsTOPalmas277,620.91,500,0005.421,091,000 (0.4%)15,5060.79194%17‰74.5

See also[edit]


External links[edit]