1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Goyáz

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GOYÁZ, an inland state of Brazil, bounded by Matto Grosso and Pará on the W., Maranhão, Bahia and Minas Geraes on the E., and Minas Geraes and Matto Grosso on the S. Pop. (1890) 227,572; (1900) 255,284, including many half-civilized Indians and many half-breeds. Area, 288,549 sq. m. The outline of the state is that of a roughly-shaped wedge with the thin edge extending northward between and up to the junction of the rivers Araguaya and Upper Tocantins, and its length is nearly 15° of latitude. The state lies wholly within the great Brazilian plateau region, but its surface is much broken towards the N. by the deeply eroded valleys of the Araguaya and Upper Tocantins rivers and their tributaries. The general slope of the plateau is toward the N., and the drainage of the state is chiefly through the above-named rivers—the principal tributaries of the Araguaya being the Grande and Vermelho, and of the Upper Tocantins, the Manoel Alves Grande, Somno, Paranan and Maranhão. A considerable part of southern Goyáz, however, slopes southward and the drainage is through numerous small streams flowing into the Paranahyba, a large tributary of the Paraná. The general elevation of the plateau is estimated to be about 2700 ft., and the highest elevation was reported in 1892 to be the Serra dos Pyreneos (5250 ft.). Crossing the state N.N.E. to S.S.W. there is a well-defined chain of mountains, of which the Pyreneos, Santa Rita and Santa Martha ranges form parts, but their elevation above the plateau is not great. The surface of the plateau is generally open campo and scrubby arboreal growth called caatingas, but the streams are generally bordered with forest, especially in the deeper valleys. Towards the N. the forest becomes denser and of the character of the Amazon Valley. The climate of the plateau is usually described as temperate, but it is essentially sub-tropical. The valley regions are tropical, and malarial fevers are common. The cultivation of the soil is limited to local needs, except in the production of tobacco, which is exported to neighbouring states. The open campos afford good pasturage, and live stock is largely exported. Gold-mining has been carried on in a primitive manner for more than two centuries, but the output has never been large and no very rich mines have been discovered. Diamonds have been found, but only to a very limited extent. There is a considerable export of quartz crystal, commercially known as “Brazilian pebbles,” used in optical work. Although the northern and southern extremities of Goyáz lie within two great river systems—the Tocantins and Paraná—the upper courses of which are navigable, both of them are obstructed by falls. The only outlet for the state has been by means of mule trains to the railway termini of São Paulo and Minas Geraes, pending the extension of railways from both of those states, one entering Goyáz by way of Catalão, near the southern boundary, and the other at some point further N.

The capital of the state is Goyáz, or Villa-Boa de Goyáz, a mining town on the Rio Vermelho, a tributary of the Araguaya rising on the northern slopes of the Serra de Santa Rita. Pop. (1890) 6807. Gold was discovered here in 1682 by Bartholomeu Bueno, the first European explorer of this region, and the settlement founded by him was called Santa Anna, which is still the name of the parish. The site of the town is a barren, rocky mountain valley, 1900 ft. above sea-level, in which the heat is most oppressive at times and the nights are unpleasantly cold. Goyáz is the see of a bishopric founded in 1826, and possesses a small cathedral and some churches.