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São Paulo state of Brazil: coasts, mountains and highlands

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The state of São Paulo is by far the most important in Brazil. This state from an economic point of view produces a third of the wealth of the whole country and hosts a fifth of the Brazilian population.

This Brazilian region was colonized by the Portuguese from 1532, when they founded the town of São Vicente along the coast. In the following years, several expeditions went into the interior of the state in search of precious metals. In 1554 the city of São Paulo de Piratininga, the current São Paulo of Brazil, was founded on the highlands.

The state of São Paulo is bordered by the states of Paraná in the south, Minas Gerais in the north and north-west, Mato Grosso do Sul in the west, Rio de Janeiro in the east. Lastly, to the south-east, on the Atlantic Ocean, there is a coast over 600 km long. Especially to the north there are numerous islands, the largest of which are the ilha de São Sebastião and the ilha de Santo Amaro.


Along the coast there are vast flat areas, but soon the territory tends to rise with the chains of the coastal sierras. The Serra do Mar, the Serra da Mantiqueira, the Serra de Paranapiacaba. In the Serra da Mantiqueira, along the border with the state of Minas Gerais, there is Mount Pedra da Mina (2,797 meters) which is the highest mountain in the state.

Beyond the coastal chains there is the vast Paulista plateau (Planalto Paulista) with average heights varying between 300 meters and 700 meters. The state of São Paulo is made up largely of highlands. About 85% of the state’s territory is located at altitudes between 300 and 900 meters.

There are numerous rivers in the country. The Rio Tietê crosses the whole state for about 1,000 km from east to west. While in the western part of the state there is the basin of the Paraná river, which marks the border with Mato Grosso do Sul. Furthermore, part of the northern border with Minas Gerais is marked by the Rio Grande river. While the southern border with Paraná is marked by the Rio Paranapanema.

Centered on its capital, São Paulo. Which is the largest and most industrialized city in Brazil and one of the most important and inhabited metropolises in the world. The state of São Paulo has other important cities such as Campinas, an important industrial center, Santos, which is the largest port in South America, and Ribeirão Preto.

The climate of the state of São Paulo.

  • Area: 248,209 km²
  • Population: 41,252,160 (2010) (whites 67.9%, mulattos 24.7%, blacks 5.8%, Asians 1.3%, indigenous 0.3%)
  • Capital: São Paulo
  • Time zone: UTC-3 (Summer UTC -2)



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