The largest state in Brazil is Amazonas, which is bordered by Roraima, Pará, Mato Grosso, Rondônia, Acre, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. This state is situated in the northwest of this South American country. As its name implies, this state is almost entirely covered by the Amazon Rainforest and enjoys the splendour of the massive Amazon River, which winds its way through Brazil, bringing with it an array of species from the plant and animal kingdoms. In addition, this area is notable for being the home of Brazil’s highest mountain, Pico da Neblina, which is 2 994 metres, or 9 823 feet, above sea level.

During the 15th century, the entire area of the Amazon basin belonged to Spain. However, it was only in the following century that explorers began to traverse this intriguing countryside, investigating its natural abundance and its suitability for settling and for various trade opportunities. With the goal of introducing Christianity to the native people that were living in the jungles,

Pink and white opera house in the middle of the Amazon at Manaus, Brazil.

several Spanish mission stations were established, bringing with them lay preachers and missionaries from Europe. These ones eventually settled, creating a new generation of children from mixed origin.

Over the decades and centuries that followed, Amazonas was a topic of dispute, as different European entities vied for political control. Slavery and deforestation plagued this state, along with many others in Brazil. During the 1800’s, Amazonas experienced an influx of people from around the world, who held high hopes for their part in the rubber boom.

Today, the capital city of Amazonas is Manaus. This was once a very rich city and was, at one stage, more advanced than the likes of London, England. Once the rubber rush was over, though, this epicentre became somewhat neglected and derelict. Still, it is home to approximately 17 million people today.

There are currently just under 3.5 million inhabitants in Amazonas. The major cities in this state include Benjamin Constant, Tefé, Lábrea, Eirunepe, Manicoré, Itacoatiara and Parintins.

Amazonas is subtropical, meaning that it is hot and humid. These conditions are experienced all year round, with no dry season. The vegetation is made up almost entirely of tropical rainforest comprises 1) submerged land, 2) land that is only submerged during very wet seasons and 3) low plateaus.

The population in Amazonas was boosted in an enormous way during the rubber boom, with a huge population in numbers during the 20th century. Over three quarters of the residents of this state are in urban areas, while less than 20% live in the more rural countryside.

In terms of the Gross Domestic Product (or GDP), the industrial sector is the largest in the state, representing about 70%. This is followed by the service and agricultural sectors. Cassava and oranges are two of its main agricultural products.

A regional tourism boat on the Amazon River, Amazonas.

Suggested tourist activities in Amazonas:

• Tour the rain forests and experience the array of plant and animal life contained within
• Go fishing on the Rio Negro River, home to an abundance of fish species

Here is the Amazonas Government web site