Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (State) - Encyclopedia


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RIO DE JANEIRO, a maritime state of Brazil, bounded N. by Minas Geraes, E. by Espirito Santo and the Atlantic, S. by the Atlantic, and W. by Sao Paulo. It is one of the smaller states of the republic and has an area of 26,635 sq.m.; pop. (1900) 926,585. The state is traversed longitudinally by the Serra do Mar, which divides it into a low, narrow, irregular coastal zone, and a broad elevated river valley through which the Parahyba flows eastward to the Atlantic. The eastern part of this valley widens out into a great alluvial plain on which are to be found some of the richest sugar estates of Brazil. The central mountainous region is heavily wooded, the coast region is hot and in places malarial, but the valleys are fertile and well watered. The Parahyba valley has long been celebrated for its fertility, and was for many years the centre of the coffee-producing industry. The exhaustion of the soil and antiquated methods of cultivation have caused a great decline in this industry, and many of its coffee plantations are now either abandoned or are producing but a fraction of earlier crops. Stock-raising has been slowly developing since the abolition of slavery (1888) and the decline in coffee production, and the state now possesses large herds of cattle and droves of swine.

The state's agricultural and pastoral products are coffee, sugar, rum, Indian corn, mandioca (both bitter and sweet), cotton, tropical fruits, cattle, hogs, butter, cheese, fresh milk and lard. The state is well watered by the Parahyba (q.v.) and its tributaries and by numerous short streams flowing from the Serra do Mar to the coast. Manufacturing has been developed largely because of the fine water power supplied by the mountain streams, and among the manufactures are cotton, woollen, silk and jute fabrics, brick, tile and rough pottery, sugar, rum, vehicles, furniture, beer and fruit conserves. The state is well provided with railways, which include the Central do Brazil, Leopoldina, Melhoramentos and Rio do Ouro. The Central line runs from the city of Rio de Janeiro N.N.W. across the Serra do Mar to the Parahyba valley, where it divides into two branches at the station of Barra do Pirahy, one running westward to Sao Paulo, and the other eastward and northward into Minas Geraes. Besides these there are a number of short railways called the Theresopolis, Uniao Valenciana, Rio das Flores, Bananal, and Vassourense lines. The total extension of these railways in the state in 1907 was 1445 m. Other than Nictheroy, the ports of the state are Sao Joao da Barra, Macahe or Imbetiba, Cabo Frio and Paraty, but they are visited only by the smaller coasting vessels.

The capital of the state is Nictheroy on the E. side of the Bay of Rio de Janeiro, and other cities and towns, with their populations in 1890 except where otherwise stated, are: Campos (estimate, in 1907, 35,000), on the lower Parahyba in the midst of a rich sugar-producing region; Rio Bonito (19,321); Itaborahy (17,817); Barra Mansa (14,449), on the upper Parahyba; Rezende (14,370), in a fertile district of the upper Parahyba; Petropolis; Cantagallo (about 9000), in a rich coffee district of the Serra do Mar; Paraty (10,765), a small port on the W. side of the bay of Angra dos Reis; Valenta (11,965); Vassouras (9666); Sao Fidelis (11,770), a river port on the lower Parahyba having steamboat communication with Campos; Macahe (about 7000 in 1900), an old port on the eastern coast of the state at the mouth of the Macahe river whose original anchorage has been filled with silt, and that of Imbetiba, in the vicinity, with which it is connected by tramway, is now used by vessels both for the town and the Macahe and Campos railway; Barra do Pirahy (7750), an important station and junction of the Central do Brazil railway on the N. side of the Serra do Mar, with large manufacturing and commercial interests; Parahyba do Sul (7343), in a fertile, long-settled district in the N.E. part of the state; Maria, (10,373); Cabo Frio (10,382); Pirahy (10,429); Saquarema (12,489); Nova Friburgo (9857); and Araruama (9087).

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