Mato Grosso


The inland Brazilian state of Mato Grosso is surrounded by Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso do Sul and Bolivia. It was originally larger but, during the 1980’s, was split into Mato Grosso (the northern part) and Mato Grosso de Sul (in the south).

Its capital city is Cuiabá. Mato Grosso has a total population of approximately 2 500 000 people. Pantanal is one of the state’s chief tourist attractions, acclaimed for its intriguing biodiversity.

Farm Worker named Jose photographed while working on the Pousada Piuval in the Northern Pantanal, State Mato Grosso.

Centuries ago, Bororo Indians lived in the area now known as Mato Grosso. However, when the European explorers began making their way to South America during the 16th century, they colonised it, introducing their cultures, religions, languages and genes. The fight for territory and power between the Bororo Indians and the Europeans continued right up until the 1800’s. Despite the conflict, as well as rampant diseases, these Indians still boasted a population of up to 10 000 inhabitants by the end of the 19th century.

In 1903, the Treaty of Petropolis dictated that the southwest of Mato Grosso be given to Bolivia in exchange for the state of Acre. Cuiabá, the capital city, was founded in 1719. At first, Mato Grosso was a district under the captaincy of São Paulo. In 1748, though, it became an independent captaincy. 13 years later, the capital was moved to Vila Bela and then, in 1820, back to Cuiabá. The state was made a province of Brazil in 1822 and a state in 1889.

Mato Grosso lies predominantly on the western part of the Brazilian Plateau. It is elevated approximately 3 000 feet above sea level along the Mato Grosso Plateau, which is home to the line that separates the neighbouring drainage basins, the Amazon River basin and the Río de la Plata basin.


This state is characterised by towering cliffs, mighty waterfalls and deep canyons, making for exquisite scenery and idyllic backdrops to your photographs. The western part of Mato Grosso is a floodplain, yielding magnificent grazing lands. In fact, these are recognised as some of the best grazing lands, not only in Brazil, but the world over.

The whole state is hot throughout the year, but the lowlands are far more humid than those situated higher up.

Agriculture is the largest sector in terms of its contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Mato Grosso is Brazil’s most valuable soybean producer and is also a major producer of cotton.

Visitors to Mato Grosso are urged to see the following attractions:

• The National Park Chapada dos Guimarães – famous for its gorgeous caves, trails and waterfalls, this attraction is situated in the Amazonian forest
• The Xingu National Park
• Pantanal – the most extensive wetland in the world
• Alta Floresta
• Fishing in São Benedito
• Bird watching in Alta Floresta and the Cristalino River Basin
• Chapada dos Guimarães
• Aroe Jari – the biggest sandstone cavern in Brazil
• SESC's Private Natural Heritage Reserve

Here is the Mato Grosso government web site:

Truck on a scale with a load of soybeans in Brazil, soy storage silos in the background.

This web site is in no way connected to any government agency in any shape or form.