It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size. It is also one of the most important states in terms of history and culture, in Brazil's, and it's only comparable to Pernambuco in Brazilian's Northeast Region.
Bahia's capital is the city of Salvador, or more properly, São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos, that is located at the junction of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of All Saints. The name is an archaic spelling of the Portuguese word meaning bay and comes from All Saints' Bay, first seen by European sailors in 1501.
The state's geographical regions comprise the Atlantic Forest. The Recôncavo region radiating from the Bay (the largest in Brazil), the site of sugar and tobacco cultivation. And the Planalto, which includes the fabled sertão region of Bahia's far interior. Bahia is bordered, in counterclockwise fashion, by Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco and Piauí to the north, Goiás and Tocantins to the west, and Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo to the south. The State of Bahia is crossed from north to south by a mountain chain which is marked, in the map, as Chapada Diamantina. This same chain receives other names, like Serra do Espinhaço, in Minas Gerais, and Borborema, in Pernambuco and Paraíba.
In some parts, the chain has the shape of "Chapadões", flat top plateaus with abrupt edges, the most visited of such chapadões are in the National Park of Chapada Diamantina, in the middle of the State. The chain divides Bahia in two clearly distinct geographical zones. To the east, where once existed the exhuberant Atlantic Forest, the soil is fertile and, despite high temperatures, rainy seasons are regular. The predominant vegetation in the west is "cerrado". These tough conditions caused the interior to be much less developed than the coast. The state is also crossed by the river São Francisco, the most important of Brazilian northeast. São Francisco River is a permanent river, which continuously supplies water to this arid region when many other smaller rivers dry out. The São Francisco starts in Minas Gerais and goes on until the Atlantic, making borders between Bahia and Alagoas. There are short stretches of the river which are navigable, but mainly for cargoes. The large blue spot at the north is a huge dam built to hold water for the hidroelectric plant of Itaparica.
In addition to its considerable size, it has the longest coastline of the country: 1.103 km long (685 miles; north coast: 143; Todos os Santos Bay: 124; and southern: 418). With 68% of its territory located in the semi-arid zone, the State presents diversified climates and an average rainfall that varies from 363 mm to 2,000 mm/year, depending on the region. Regarding the weather, Bahia is one of the most privileged states of the country with the following temperatures: 19.2 to 26.6ºC (66.6 to 79.9ºF) annual average; 6.1ºC (42.5ºF) absolute minimum at the municipality of Caetité. And 41ºC (105ºF) maximum at the municipality of Remanso.
The Portuguese Pedro Álvares Cabral landed at what is now Porto Seguro, on the southern coast of Bahia in 1500, and claimed the territory for Portugal. In 1549, Portugal established the city of Salvador, on a hill facing the Bay of All Saints. The city and surrounding captaincy served as the administrative and religious capital of Portugal's colonies in the Americas until 1763. The Dutch held control of Bahia from May 1624 through April 1625. Charles Darwin visited Bahia in 1832 on his famous Voyage of The Beagle.
The state was also the last area of Brazil to join the independent confederation. Some members in the elite remained loyal to the Portuguese crown after the rest of the country was granted independence. After several battles, mostly in Pirajá, the province was finally able to expel the Portuguese on July 2, 1823, known as Bahia Independence Day, a great popular celebration. In the state there is an ongoing discussion about the exact moment of Brazilian independence, because for almost all baianos, it really happened in Bahia with the battles, and not on September 7, when the Emperor, Pedro I, declared independence.
Bahia was a center of sugar cultivation from the 16th to the 18th centuries, and contains a number of historic towns, such as Cachoeira, dating from this era. Integral to the sugar economy was the importation of a vast number of African slaves; more than 37% of all slaves taken from Africa were sent to Brazil, mostly to be processed in Bahia before being sent to work in plantations elsewhere in the country. The oldest Roman Catholic cathedral and the first medical college in the country are located in Bahia's capital, which also has one of the highest percentage of churches of any state capital in Brazil. The Catholic Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia, Geraldo Majella Agnelo, is the Cardinal Primate of Brazil.
According to the IBGE of 2007, there are 13,974,000 people residing in the state. The population density was .
The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 8,831,000 Pardo (Brown) people (63.2%), 2,864,000 White people (20.5%), 2,193,000 Black people (15.7%), 83,000 Asian or Amerindian people (0.6%).
|Salvador (the capital)||2,892,625|
|Feira de Santana||571,997|
|Vitória da Conquista||313,898|
|Lauro de Freitas||144,492|
The industrial sector is the largest component of GDP at 48.5%, followed by the service sector at 40.8%. Agriculture represents 10.7% of GDP (2004). Bahia exports: chemicals 22.4%, fuel 17.5%, mineral metallics 13%, paper 9.4%, cacao 5.6%, vehicles 4.8%, soybean 4.5% (2002).
Share of the Brazilian economy: 4.9% (2004).
The state has the biggest GDP of the states of the North/Northeast of Brazil. Bahia is the main producer and exporter of cacao in Brazil. In addition to important agricultural and industrial sectors, the state also has considerable mineral and petroleum deposits. In recent years, soy cultivation has increased substantially in the state. Bahia is the sixth largest economy of the country. In the mid 1950s, the Bahian economy could be considered a typical example of the primary-exporting model, which followed the subsistence production. For ten years this dynamic was led by cocoa crop that used to be the state's main product and its most important source of income.
With the acceleration of the industrialization process in the 70s', which started in the 50s, the productive structure began to change. This process, which was not limited to the regional market, was inserted in the Brazilian industry matrix through the chemical (specially petrochemical) and metallurgical segment. Consequently, for the last twenty years, the dynamism of the Bahian economy has surpassed the national economy and the State was able to present higher growth rates than the ones presented by the national economy. The industrial sector is expected to be the main contributor to this growth, particularly from 1999 on, when the investments that are being made now in the chemical, petrochemical and automotive segment, in agroindustry and food production will be consolidated.
The Bahian economy begins 2005 in a very healthy state, with an exceptional trajectory of growth, once again presenting activity indicators superior to those of the Brazilian economy. Those numbers are the result of the endeavours of the Bahian Government, the result of increasing productive investment, and therefore, potential production, something that has been carried out through attractive enterprise policies in all segments of the economy, placing Bahia in a privileged position in the regional and national scenario. Today, the State has a differentiated economic profile, not just depending on one or two sectors. Bahian industry diversified and widened its productive base, with the implantation of new industrial segments, like the automobile and tyre industries, footwear and textile, furniture, food and beverages, cosmetics and perfumes, Information technology and naval.
Exceptional results can be seen in agriculture, commerce and tourism, where Bahia appears as one of the principle national destinies. For this to happen, the strategic position model of Bahia in the international tourism route was fundamental, with direct and regular flights to Europe, the United States, and the Southern Cone, due to the complementary governmental and private initiatives, besides the development of new tourist poles integrated to the local culture.
Bahia's Petrochemical Pole is the largest integrated complex in the Southern Hemisphere, and is the result of R$10 billion in investments, accounting for a third of the state's exports and for nearly half of the industrial production value.
Bahia is one of the richest states in minerals in the country, ranking third in Brazilian mineral production. The State's main products are gold, copper concentrate, magnesite, chromite, rock salt, barite, manganese, ornamental rocks, precious stones, talcum, phosphates and uranium.
In Bahia, the automotive sector has gained prominence since the creation of the Northeast Ford Complex in Camaçari (2001), and has become one of the most promising sectors of the Bahian economy. This enterprise, which was developed with the aim of generating 5,000 direct jobs and 55,000 indirect ones in 2005 has surpassed those expectations by creating 8,500 direct job positions and 85,000 indirect ones since its development.
Nowadays, Bahia produces about 10% of all vehicles produced in Brazil, occupying the third position in the national rankings. The Bahian automotive sector, led by Ford was in 2005 the third largest contributor (14.6%) to the Bahian GDP. It is important to highlight that Bahia had a 4.8% overall increase in its GDP, double the national performance, according to the Superintendency of Economic and Social Studies of Bahia (SEI)/Secretariat of Planning and IBGE.
The largest bay on the Brazilian coast, Todos os Santos has a large number of islands with tropical beaches and vegetation. In its 1,052 square km, it contains 56 islands, receive sweet water from numerous rivers and creeks, especially the Paraguaçú and Subaé and bathes the first capital of Brazil and the largest in the Northeast, Salvador, and more than ten municipalities. It is the largest navigable bay in Brazil and one of the most favorite spots for nautical sports, due to its regular breezes, medium annual temperature of 26ºC (77ºF) and sheltered waters. Todos os Santos Bay offers various leisure options, with hundreds of vessels of all different types, especially saveiros, schooners, motor boats, jet ski that criss-cross its crystalline waters on maritime excursions to the islands, and boat races. Major popular events and sport activities occur throughout the year, beginning on January 1, with the Procession of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes greeting the New Year.
Todos os Santos Bay has also been traditionally the venue for rowing contests at the Enseada dos Tainheiros, in Salvador, and now the bay is included in the routes of the great international regattas, such as the Ralley Les Iles du Soleil, regatta Hong Kong Challenge and the Expo 98 Round the World Ralley, which consider the bay an important stop along the route. The islands of the bay are a separate attraction. Some are privately owned, others were declared a state heritage and transformed into Environmental Protection Areas or ecological stations. Other islands are the patrimony of 12 municipalities located around the bay. Only a few are uninhabited and many have small communities where the natives live on fishing and tourism. All have common characteristics, such a calm sea, dense vegetation, especially coconuts and bananas, as well as vestiges of the Atlantic Forest. Of the 56 islands, the most important are Itaparica, Madre de Deus, Maré, Frades, Medo, Bom Jesus dos Passos.
The Dendê Coast, south of Salvador, is surrounded by verdant vegetation, clear waters, islands, bays, coral reefs and a very diversified fauna. It is connected to Salvador and the southern part of the state by ferryboats and the BA-001 highway, the second ecological highway along the Bahian coast, which connects the southern coastline and the extreme southern part of the state. It includes the municipalities of Valença, Cairu and the International attractions of Morro de São Paulo, Camamu, Taperoá, Ituberá and Maraú. The mouth of the Rio Una, in the form of a delta, contains 26 islands, the largest of which is Tinharé, where the Morro de São Paulo is located. At Boipeba and Cairú, which are part of the archipelago of Tinharé, the diversity of the ecosystems enables visitors to practice water sports, walk along the beach, follow trails in the rain forest and bathe on completely deserted beaches such as Garapuá.
The Discovery Coast preserves, virtually intact, the landscape seen by the Portuguese fleet described in the first pages of the History of Brazil. There are approximately 150 km (93 mi) of beaches, inlets, bays, cliffs, numerous rivers and streams surrounded by the verdant coconut groves, wetlands and the Atlantic Forest. Over land and sea the excursions are always associated with nature, and there are various types of water sports, walks, trips on horseback, surfing and deep sea diving. Recife de Fora, Coroa Alta and Trancoso for one day schooner excursions. BA-001 and two ferryboat systems over the Rio João de Tiba and Rio Buranhém connect the municipalities with the coast. Trips from Barra do Cai, passing through the Parque Nacional do Monte Pascoal, Caraíva, Trancoso, Arraial d'Ajuda, the environmental protection areas of Santo Antônio and Coroa Vermelha, to the mouth of the Rio João de Tiba as far as the Rio Jequitinhonha are among the various ecological trips for visitors.
The geographical center of Bahia is the Diamantina Tableland region. In this mountainous region with a diversified topography, 90% of the rivers of the Paraguaçu, Jacuípe and Rio das Contas basins have their source here. There are thousands of kilometers of clear waters that spring from these mountains and descend in cascades and waterfalls to plateaus and plains, forming beautiful natural pools. The vegetation mixes cactus species of the caatinga dry lands with rare examples of the mountain flora, especially bromeliads, orchids and "sempre vivas" (member of the strawflower family). On the area one can find the three highest mountains in the state: Pico do Barbado, 2,080 m high, Pico Itobira, 1,970 m, and Pico das Almas, 1,958 m.
Another scenic attraction is the Cachoeira da Fumaça (Waterfall), that falls 420 m, the Gruta dos Brejões, the largest cavern opening of Bahia, and the amazing Poço Encantado, which fascinates visitors to the region. There are so many natural attractions that it is possible to choose between subterranean routes in caves, or trip to waterfalls, trek along old gold mining trails or follow the steps of the Prestes Column, rapel, climb mountains, or go horseback riding in the Vale do Capão or Vale do Paty, in the midst of esoteric and alternative communities. Many of the sites are protected by the National Park of Diamantina Tableland region and the Environmental Preservation Area Serra do Barbado and Marimbus, Iraquara. There are opportunities to take long bikes, or travel on horseback, mountain bike or off-road vehicles.
Bahia is the principal tourist center of the Northeast and 2nd of the country. The tourist product in Bahia, 50% of its global flow centered in Salvador, unites in a same space the characteristics of a natural landscape and an unique culture in the country, in which the typical culinary arts, the colonial architecture and popular feasts reveal a strong integration of elements of European and African origin in the formation and in the way of life of the people of Bahia. By its natural and historic-cultural attractions, Bahia presents an enormous potential for the development of the tourist activity. Owner of the biggest portion of seacoast of the country and of singular views in its interior, Bahia possesses specific cultural, folklore and religious characteristics, manifest in its extensive calendar of popular festivities, in its architectonic patrimony and in its typical food.
Salvador, with its Historical Center registered by UNESCO as Patrimony of Humanity and with its coast clipped into many beaches and dozens of islands, has a varied receptive infrastructure, composed of 170 hostelry units (of which 20 are of international standard hotels) and 25 thousand beds, further to restaurants, bars, nightclubs, malls, theaters, crafts centers, Convention and Fairs Center, rental agencies, tourist agencies, and other equipment and services. In the last few years, the State Government promoted the total restoration of the Pelourinho, the biggest set of colonial style buildings in Latin America, today transformed into an important point for visitation by tourists, that will find there a synthesis of what best Bahia has to offer in specialized services, in regional and international cooking, in architecture of the XVII and XVIII centuries and in music, with daily shows by the great artists of Bahia, famous in the country and abroad. The period of popular festivities in Bahia has its high point between December and March (summer months) and has in carnival its supreme point, with more than one million tourists in Salvador, Porto Seguro and other cities of the State's Tourist circuit.
As the chief locus of the early Brazilian slave trade, Bahia is considered to possess the greatest and most distinctive African imprint, in terms of culture and customs, in Brazil. These include the Yoruba-derived religious system of Candomblé, the martial art of capoeira (especially the style of capoeira de Angola), African-derived music such as samba (especially samba's Bahian precursor samba-de-roda), afoxé, and axé, and a cuisine with strong links to western Africa.
Bahia is the birthplace of many noted Brazilian artists, writers and musicians. Among the noted musical figures born in the state are Dorival Caymmi; João Gilberto; Gilberto Gil, the country's Minister of Culture; Caetano Veloso and his sister Maria Bethânia (Gil and Veloso being the founders of the Tropicália movement (a native adaptation of the hippie movement) of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which ultimate gained international recognition); Gal Costa; Luis Caldas; Sara Jane; Daniela Mercury; Ivete Sangalo; Carlinhos Brown and Margareth Menezes.
The city of Salvador is also home to internationally famous groups known as "blocos-afros," including Olodum, Ara Ketu, É o Tchan, and Ilê Aiyê. Additionally, groups such as Chiclete com Banana also are based in Bahia. The first well-known rock'n roll singer in Brazil was also from Bahia. Born Raul Seixas, he was known as "Maluco Beleza" or "Peaceful Lunatic" (To be "beleza" in this sense means to be either "in peace" or "high").
During the 19th century, one of Brazil's greatest poets, the Bahian abolitionist poet and playwright Castro Alves, a native of the recôncavo city of Cachoeira, penned his most famous poem, Navio negreiro, about slavery; the poem is considered a masterpiece of Brazilian Romanticism and a central anti-slavery text.
Other notable Bahian writers include Gregório de Matos, who wrote during the 17th century and was one of the first Brazilian writers, and Fr. Antonio Vieira, who during the colonial period was one of many authors who contributed to the expansion of the Portuguese language throughout the Brazilian territory.
The major Brazilian fiction writer of the 20th Century, Jorge Amado, was born in the southeastern Bahian city of Itabuna, and resided for many years in Salvador. His major novels include Gabriela, Cinnamon and Cloves; Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands; and Tieta, the Goat Girl, all of which became internationally renowned films. More recent writers from Bahia include the fiction writers João Ubaldo Ribeiro and Jean Wyllys, winner of Big Brother Brasil 5 in 2005. In the visual and plastic arts, one of the best known Bahian figures was the multigenre artist and Argentinian native Hector Julio Páride Bernabó, also known as Carybé (1911-1997). Fine examples of his work are visible in the Afro-Brazilian Museum in Salvador.
Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport is located in an area of more than 6 million square meters between sand dunes and native vegetation. The road route to the airport has already become one of the city's main scenic attractions. And lies 20 km (12 mi) north of Downtown Salvador. In 2007, the airport handled 5,920,573 passengers and 91,043 aircraft movements, placing it 5th busiest airport in Brazil in terms of passengers. The airport's use has been growing at an average of 14% a year and now is responsible for more than 30% of passenger movement in Northeastern Brazil. Nearly 35 thousand people circulate daily through the passenger terminal. The airport generates more than 16 thousand direct and indirect jobs, to serve a daily average of over 10 thousand passengers, 250 takeoffs and landings of 100 domestic and 16 international flights.
There are good cafes and fast food restaurants at the airport. A bar offers alcoholic or soft drinks. There are several shops in the terminal building selling a variety of items, including fashion clothing, jewellery, gift items and books and magazines. There is also a pharmacy in the terminal building. Buses between the city centre and the airport are fairly frequent. Take the Praça da Sé (Sé Square)/Aeroporto bus. It is much cheaper than going by taxi. Buses also go to Rodoviária (Bus Terminal), which is the city's main bus station and located 5 km (3 mi) from the city centre. The car park of the airport, is located near the terminal building and has parking spaces for 600 cars.
The International Airlines are: Lufthansa, TAP, United Airlines, American Airlines, Alitália, Air France, Air Europa, Ibéria, Aerolíneas Argentinas, LanChile. In addition to domestic and regional services, the airport has non-stop flights to Lisbon, Madrid, Frankfurt, Montevideo, London, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Asunción and Miami. Its IATA airport code is SSA and it is the sixth busiest airport in the country, the first in northeastern Brazil, behind Congonhas International, Guarulhos International, Juscelino Kubitschek International, Santos Dumont Regional and Galeão International.
BR-101, BR-116, BR-242, BR-251, BR-324, BR-342, BR-367, BR-407, BR-418, BR-420, BR-445, BR-498.
The ability to handle high shipping volume has positioned the port of Salvador for new investments in technological modernization, and the port is noted for implementing a high level of operational flexibility and competitive rates. The goal of port officials is to offer the necessary infrastructure for the movement of goods, while simultaneously meeting the needs of international importers and exporters.
The State of Bahia has been assigning a significant part of its revenues to public investments. The investment programs of the state have been backed basically by its own resources and, in a complementary fashion, with resources originating from credit operations signed with international organizations (World Bank, IDB, KFW, OECF, etc), and with national creditors (CEF, BNDES, etc). There are governmental investments in progress in the fields of environmental and urban sanitation (Bahia Azul), popular housing (Viver Melhor), transportation (Corredores Rodoviários), tourism (Prodetur), urban development (Produr), and regional development (Sertão Forte).
The airports of the State received special attention from the Government, with the development of a systematic program of reforms and improvements of the small airports of the interior, and, simultaneously, with the construction and/or improvements of the airports of the regions with some tourist appeal. Some distinction must be given in this work, for instance, to the construction of the airports of Piritiba and Mimoso do Oeste, in Barreiras region, both finished by now. To the landing runway and marshalling yard enlargements of the Porto Seguro Airport, enabling it to receive large aircrafts like the 767-400 Boeing. To the construction (in progress) of two new airports in the interior: one in Valença, near Morro de São Paulo, and the other in Lençóis, in the Diamantina Tableland region; also to some repairs and improvements of the airports of Jequié, Irecê, Barreiras, Feira de Santana and Esplanada, among many others.
The Government policy for transportation, has emphasized the integration of different transportation systems aiming to facilitate the flow of production, to reduce costs and to increase the competitiveness of the Bahian economy. For this purpose, the Government has conceived and is already implementing the "Corredor Intermodal de Transporte" (an intermodal transportation system), situated in the São Francisco River, that combines in one system waterways, roads and a railway. The system connects all the sailable part of the river (1371 km (851 mi) within the State) to many roads and to one railroad, the "Centro Atlântica". This system conducts to the Salvador and Aratu ports all the economic production of the West and São Francisco regions, at a reduced cost.
Social areas have also been given priority by current and previous administrations. The construction of new teaching facilities, the set up of a training and career development center for teachers, as well as new hospitals and health centers, and the acquisition of equipment and the modernization of the civil and military polices are examples of this Government's action. The significant increase in the amount of investments in the year 1997 is explained by the success of the state privatization program, confirming the purpose of the government in intensifying public development projects throughout the state. The State of Bahia has the best Human Development Index of Northeastern Brazil.
Football (soccer in the US) is the most popular sport. The two most popular soccer teams are Esporte Clube Bahia (Bahia Sport Club) and Esporte Clube Vitoria (Victory Sport Club). In 2008, Bahia plays in the Brazilian Serie B, while Vitoria plays in the Brazilian Serie A. Bahia has won the premier national soccer competition twice: The Taça Brasil in 1959 and the national league (Campeonato Brasileiro) in 1988. Bahia is also one of the original founders of the Clube dos Treze (Club of the Thirteen). Vitoria was the national league runner-up in 1993.