Situated in Brazil’s extreme north, the state of Roraima borders Venezuela and Guiana. The country’s least populated state, the capital Boa Vista, is the only Brazilian capital located entirely north of the equator.
Roraima’s history is interconnected with that of the Rio Branco. It was the crossing of this river that allowed the Portuguese to make their arrival. The River Branco Valley, originally occupied by indigenous Venezuelan tribes, was a target of the English and Dutch, who made their way into Brazil across the Planalto das Guianas. The Spanish also left their footprint on the region, entering via Venezuela, before being expelled by the Portuguese who, during the 18th century named the region the Captaincy Real de São José do Rio Negro. In 1943 the area was designated a Federal territory and in 1988 the new Brazilian Constitution named it as a state.
Roraima boasts unique natural beauties, across varies landscapes, such as savannas dotted with waterfalls and mountainous regions.
With one of the country’s largest indigenous populations, the state is blessed with a rich historic and cultural heritage, full of ancient customs, myths, dances, legends and belief-systems.
Indigenous culture is visible in the regional crafts, ceramic sculptures, different types of accessories made from seeds and items made from wood, bamboo and straw.
Local gastronomy is also marked by the tribal traditions, with delicacies such as Tacacá (traditional Amazonian soup, with varied seasonings, prawn and jambu) and Paçoca (a seasoned flour made with mandioc root, meat and onion).
Monte-Roraima is a regional post card, at an altitude of 2,785 metres, situated in the National Park which borders Brazil, Venezuela and Guiana. The park is on an immense table shaped plateau, and is one of Earth’s most ancient places. Cave inscriptions tell us that the region was inhabited thousands of years ago, and are visible in places such as the Pedra Pintada, 140km from the capital city.
The powerful indigenous influence, spectacular landscapes and remote distance ensure that Roraima is a little-known, but fascinating Brazilian gem.
Capital: Boa Vista
Area (km2): 224,300.506
Population: 505,665 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: roraimense
Dial code: 95
Bordering states: Pará and Amazonas