Roraima is the least populated state of Brazil, South America, with fewer than 500 000 inhabitants. It is the northernmost state, which places it firmly within the beautiful Amazon Jungle. It covers a total area of 224 299 square kilometres or 86 602 square miles. The capital city of Roraima is Boa Vista.

The semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes inhabited the jungles of Roraima for centuries. They lived in small communities, using the land for their survival. Then, when the Europeans started to explore the world, they ‘discovered’ South America, settling in various areas to colonise and develop them.

Because Roraima was so abundant in valuable minerals, the European settlers and colonisers soon began to vie for the official ownership of its territory. These ones included the Dutch, English, Spanish and Portuguese. These feuds continued for about 400 years until, in 1943, Roraima was combined with a section from Amazonas to form the territory of Rio Branco. In 1962, the territory was renamed Roraima and, in 1988, it became a formal state.

Although much of Roraima is covered in the dense tropical rain forests of the Amazon Jungle, the areas in the north are occupied by open grasslands while the east boasts a small section of savannah. Due to its equatorial position, the climate of this state is hot and humid. It is only on the higher mountain slopes that the temperature drops significantly. One of Brazil’s highest mountains is Monte Roraima and a small part of this towering rock is situated in the state of Roraima. It reaches a height of 2 734 metres or 8970 feet.

The minerals that made this state such a coveted one include gold, diamonds, copper, marble and bauxite. Due to legal restrictions, these are now only mined in formal indigenous reserves.

The state of Roraima is not a common tourist hotspot, but recommended attractions include:

• Mount Roraima on the border of Brazil, Venezuela and Guyana
• The National Park of Monte Roraima
• Serra da Mocidade and Viruá

Here is the Roraima government web site: http://www.rr.gov.br/

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