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AMAZONAS, the extreme north-western and largest state of Brazil, bounded N. by Colombia and Venezuela, E. by the state of Para, S. by the state of Matto Grosso and Bolivia, and W. by Peru and Colombia. It embraces an area of 742,123 sq. m., wholly within the Amazon basin. A small part bordering the Venezuelan sierras is elevated and mountainous, but the greater part forms an immense alluvial plain, densely wooded, traversed by innumerable rivers, and subjected to extensive annual inundations. The climate is tropical and generally unfavourable to white settlement, the exceptions being the elevated localities on the Amazon exposed to the strong winds blowing up that river. The state is very sparsely populated; two-thirds of the inhabitants are Indians, forming small tribes, and subject only in small part to government control. The principal products are rubber, cacao and nuts; cattle are raised on the elevated plains of the north, while curing fish and collecting turtle eggs for their oil give occupation to many people on the rivers. coffee, tobacco, rice and various fruits of superior quality are produced with ease, but agriculture is neglected and production is limited to domestic needs. The capital, Manaos, is the only city and port of general commercial importance in the state; other prominent towns are Serpa and Teffe on the Amazon, Borba and Crato on the Madeira, and Barcellos on the Rio Negro. Up to 1755 all the Portuguese territory on the Amazon formed part of the capitania of Para. The upper districts were then organized into a separate capitania, called S. Jose do Rio Negro, to facilitate administration. When Brazil became independent in 1822, Rio Negro was overlooked in the reorganization into provinces and reverted, notwithstanding the protests and an attempted revolution (1832) of the people, to a state of dependence upon Para. In 1850 autonomy was voted by the general assembly at Rio de Janeiro, and on the 1st of January 1852 the province of Amazonas was formally installed. In 1389 it became a federal state in the Brazilian republic.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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