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Parana, Brazil

PARANA, BRAZIL, a state of southern Brazil, bounded N. by Sao Paulo, E. by the Atlantic, S. by Santa Catharina and the republic of Argentina, and W. by Matto Grosso and the republic of Paraguay, with the Parana river as its western boundary line. Area, 85,451 sq. m.; pop. (1890), 249,491; (1900), 327,136. It includes two dissimilar regions - a narrow coastal zone, thickly wooded, swampy, and semi-tropical in character, and a high plateau (2500 to 3000 ft.) whose precipitous, deeply eroded eastern escarpments are known as the Serra do Mar, or Serra do Cubatao. The southern part of the state is densely forested and has large tracts of Paraguay tea (Ilex paraguayensis), known in Brazil as herva mate, or matte. The plateau slopes westward to the Parana river, is well watered and moderately fertile, and has a remarkably uniform climate of a mild temperate character. The larger rivers of the state comprise the Paranapanema and its tributaries the Cinza and Tibagy, the Ivahy, Piquiry, Jejuy-guassu, and the Iguassu with its principal tributary the Rio Negro. The Paranapanema and a smaU tributary, the Itarare,Vorm the boi^dary line with Sao Paulo west of the Serra do Mar, and the Iguassu and Negro, the boundary line with Santa Catharina and Argentina - both streams having their sources in the Serra do Mar and flowing westward to the Parana. The other streams have shorter coiyses, and all are obstructed by falls and rapids. Twenty miles tibove the mouth of the Iguassu are the Iguassu Falls, 215 ft. high, broken into twenty or more falls separated by rocks and islands, and surrounded by a wild, unsettled and wooded country. The falls are reached by occasional light-draught steamers on the Parana between Posadas (Argentina) and the mouth of the Iguassu, and thence by canoe to the vicinity of the falls. The surface of the plateau is undulating and the greater part is adapted to agricultural and pastoral purposes. There are two railway systems - the Paranagua to Curityba (69 m.) with an extension to Ponta Grossa (118 m.) and branches to Rio Negro (55 m.), Porto Amazonas (6 m.) and Antonina (10 m.); and the Sao Paulo & Rio Grande, which crosses the state from northeast to south-west from" Porto Uniao da Victoria, on the Iguassu, to a junction tvith the Sorocabana line of Sao Paulo at Itarare. The upper Parana is navigable between the Guayra, or Sete Quedas, and the Urubu-punga Falls. The chief export of Parana is Paraguay tea (a forest product). There is a large foreign element in the population owing to the immigrant colonies established on the uplands, and considerable progress has been made in small farjfiing and education. Besides the capital, Curityba, the principal towns are Paranagua; Antonina, at the head of the Bay of Paranagua, with a population of 7739 in 1890; Campo Largo, 20 m. west of Curityba (pop. 10,642 in 1890); Castro, N.N.W. of the capital on the Sao Paulo & Rio Grande line (pop. of the municipio, 10,319 in 1890^ and Ponta Grossa (pop. of municipio, 4774 in 1890), north-west of Curityba at the junction of the two railway systems of the state. t Parana was settled by gold prospectors from Sao Paulo and formed part of that captaincy and province down to 1853, when it was made an independent province. The first missions of the Jesuits on the Parana were situated just above 'the Guayra Falls in this state and had reached a highly prosperous condition when the Indian slave hunters of Sao Paulo (called Mamelucos) compelled them to leave their settlements and emigrate in mass to what is now the Argentine territory of Misiones. The ruins of their principal mission, known as Ciudad Real, are overgrown with forest.

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

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