The second largest state in Brazil, Pará has the highest population in the Northern region of the country.
Once belonging to Spain at the time of the Treaty of Tordesilhas, the territory passed into the hands of the Portuguese who, in an effort to consolidate their presence in the region, founded the fort of Presépio, in the then titled city of Santa Maria de Belém do Grão-Pará.
In the 1600s, the region, which at the time was a part of the captaincy of Maranão, started to prosper thanks to farming and agriculture. In 1751, with the expansion to the west, the state of Grão-Pará was created. The economy grew rapidly over the course of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, with the historic Rubber Cycle. In the 60s, the state had another boost to its prosperity with the development of its agricultural activities. In the 70s, growth continued with mine exploration, in particular for Iron, in the Serra dos Carajás, and Gold, in the Serra Pelada.
With beautiful natural landscapes, there are countless options for nature tourism.
The island of Marajó has river beaches with calm water, bush and bayous, as well as buffalo farms – an animal which features in Pará’s cuisine, handicraft and local forms of transport.
The capital, Belém, has an adequate infrastructure for tourists to visit the historic town centre, its port area at the margins of the Marajó Bay and the surrounding areas.
Places such as Santarém, the birthplace of the Tapajós indigenous people, and the Alter do Chão village, with its River Beaches with clear water and white sand, invite tourists to come to the region for both adventure and relaxation.
The Tapajós National Forest, a 600-thousand-hectare area of conservation, is another highlight of the state, and has varied fauna, with centuries old trees, including castanheiras and andirobas.
Maranhense gastronomy has a strong influence from the indigenous culture, not only in the way dishes are prepared, but also on names, such as maniçoba, tacacá and the famous pato no tucupi, a yellow sauce extracted from mandioc root, which is a base for the local gastronomy.
The regional craft is significant for items inspired by the indigenous peoples, with the use of seeds and other naturally found raw materials.
Paraense culture is marked, above all, by its traditional dances, such as the Carimbó, and for legendary characters from the amazon, such as the boto and the uirapuru.
The natural landscapes, the colours and the happiness of the people make Pará a underrated destination in Brazil, but one that is capable of surprising those who visit.
Area (km2): 1,247,954.666
Population: 8,175,113 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: paraense
Dial code: 91 / 94
Bordering states: Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Tocantins, Maranhão, Amapá and Roraima