Located in the northern region, Tocantins is Brazil’s youngest state, having been created in 1989, after it separated from its southern neighbour, Goiás.
The state’s name is a reference to the river which runs through its centre and whose name, in itself, is taken from an indigenous tribe who lived in the region when the first Portuguese settlers arrived. The indigenous population is present today in the state, and is divided into seven different ethnicities, totalising roughly 10,000 people, who preserve their way of life and traditions, with dances and religious festivals.
The economy is based in commerce, agriculture (rice, corn, beans, soya, watermelon) and livestock.
Tocantins is noteworthy for its splendid rivers and highlands.
The state capital, Palmas, was planned from scratch and offers a good overall quality of life. The city lake, 180km long, is a popular spot for those looking to refresh themselves from the dry, hot climate, as well as being a great fishing area.
The state takes in the island of Bananal, the largest river island in the world. For much of the year, the island remains submerged under the river Araguaia, and consequently it is very diverse in its wildlife, being also a meeting point between the Amazon Rainforest and the Cerrado.
For those who enjoy ecotourism, the Jalapão State Park is picture perfect, with its trees with twisted branches and crystalline rivers, stretching over a landscape of sand dunes, tablelands, waterfalls and hiking trails. The park is also popular amongst those seeking adventure, and is a good place for abseiling, climbing, sand surfing and canoeing.
Tocantinense gastronomy is influenced by indigenous river-fishing culture, as well as neighbouring states’ traditions. Among the most famous local delicacies, there are Arroz Cirigado, Arroz com Pequi, Polvilvho buiscuits, Feijão tropeiro, Galinhada, Pamonhada, Peixe na Telha, Tigelada de Guariroba, and Tocantinense banana desert.
Replete with natural attractions, and with a Strong differential of preserving the indigenous culture, Tocantins is one of Brazil’s least well-known states, but one which has plenty of potential to become a fantastic tourist destination, thanks to the extraordinary diversity of Brazil’s natural delights.
Area (km2): 277,720.520
Population: 1,515,126 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: tocantinense
Dial code: 63
Bordering states: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará, Maranhão, Piauí and Bahia