Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Bahia (1.)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

BAHIA, a province of the Brazilian empire, situated on the S.E. coast, and extending from the Rio Grande do Belmonte in the S. to the Rio Real in the N. It is bounded by Sergipe and Pernambuco on the N., by Piauhi on the N.W., by Goyaz on the W., and on the S. by Minas Geraes and Espirito Santo. It has an area of 202,272 square miles, and its population is stated at 1,450,000. Bahia sends 14 deputies to the general assembly of the empire, and 7 senators to the upper house, while its own legislative assembly consists of 36 members. Besides Bahia the capital, Olivenga, Branca, Jacobina, and Joazeira are important towns. A chain of mountains, broken into numerous sierras, runs from N. to S. through the province at the distance of 200 miles from the coast, while the intermediate district gradually rises in successive terraces. The maritime region, the so-called Keconcavo, is remarkably fertile, and is studded with thriving towns and villages, but the interior is often very dry and barren, and is only thinly peopled in many places with wandering Botacudos. The main sources of the wealth of the province are cotton, coffee, sugar, and tobacco, all of which are cultivated with the greatest success. Mandioc, rice, beans, and maize are grown ; also jalap, ipecacuanha, and saffron, as well as oranges, mangoes, and various other fruits. A large portion is still covered with primeval forest, but the woodman is rapidly diminishing the extent. The mineral wealth of the province is but partially explored and still more partially utilised. In 1844 diamond mines were discovered to the N. of the River Peraguass, and, till the deposits near the Cape of Good Hope were brought to light, afforded employment to a large number of garimpdros or " washers." The discovery of amethysts at Catite" in 1872 attracted numerous searchers; and about the same time coal was found in the island of Itaparica. Gold is present in the alluvium of the River San Francisco.