Espírito Santo (ES)
Espírito Santo is part of the southeast region and the fourth smallest state in Brazil.
Its name was given to it by Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, who made land there in 1535, on a Sunday dedicated to the Holy Spirit. In 1535 the Portuguese colonizers arrived in the Prainha region. At around this time the first village started to be built, and was called Vila do Espírito Santo. After it was re-taken by the natives, Coutinho founded another another town on a neighbouring island, and called it Vila Nova do Espírito Santo. The old village went on to be known as Vila Velha, and the new one, Vitória.
The population of Espírito Santo, similar to many other Brazilian states, is a mix of indigenous, African and European influences. Before the Portuguese colonization, the state already had a large indigenous and African population. From the 1800s onwards, it started to receive a considerable amount of immigrants, most of whom were Italian, but also including Germans, Portuguese and Spanish.
Nowadays, the capital Vitória is a significant iron exporter. In terms of agriculture, highlights are coffee, rice, cocoa, sugar cane, beans, fruit and corn. In livestock, the state has a strong production of cattle. Industrial strengths are food products, wood, cellulose, textiles, steel and furniture. The bay of Vitória consists of 34 islands and is a stunning backdrop to the state’s capital. The city also has one of the country’s most important ports, playing an integral part in the biggest port system in South America.
Tourism in the state can be done by touring the most beautiful beaches, like Guarapari and Aracruz, or visiting the cooler mountains, with their hiking trails, in municipalities such as Domingos Martins. For water sports, the most famous place is Camburi beach, in the capital.
The highlight of capixaba cuisine is the moqueca. A traditional fish stew, seasoned with local specialities. The full name is moqueca capixaba, as to differentiate it from the version originating from Bahia, which uses palm oil and coconut milk, unlike the capixaba dish.
The state’s culture revolves around annual festivals, such as the Festa da Polenta, in Venda Nova do Imigrante; the Festa da Penha, in Vila Velha; and the Festival de Arte e Música in Alegre.
All these characteristics make Espírito Santo a tranquil and enjoyable state to visit, with attractions for all tastes.
Area (km2): 46,095.583
Population: 3,929,911 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: capixaba; espírito-santense
Dial code: 27 / 28
Bordering states: Bahia, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro