This map of Bahia (Brazil) shows the most typical locations of Bahia state. Additional details are available in the local maps by choosing corresponding geographic zones in the menu on the top left. If you want to look at the maps featuring Pousadas, then choose “Bahia Pousadas” (or Click here).
Bahia is a state of Brazil, located in the North East (Nordeste) macro-region of Brazil (zoom out on the map above to see the whole Bahia state)
Brazil is divided into five macro-regions;
The North; which includes the Amazonia state and cities like Manaus and Belem,
The Northeast (Nordeste), where Bahia is situated, is formed by an alignement of nine states including among others Maranhão famous for its white sand dunes, Ceara and Pernambuco. The main cities of Nordeste are Fortaleza, Natal, Recife and Salvador de Bahia
The Central-West where Brazilia (east) and the Pantanal (south west) are situated. This part of Brazil was hard to reach until recently when the town of Brazilia was founded and a transportation network developped to ease access to the rich mineral resources of this region.
The Southeast where the cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte are located. Southeast includes the states of Espírito Santos and Minas Gerais with its famous touristic city of Ouro Preto.
And the South with cities like Florianopolis, Curitiba and Porto Alegre where central european influence is more dominant.
These 5 regions are made of 26 states, Bahia being one of the largest. You can see on the map on the right that Bahia covers an area of nearly half of Nordeste. Most of the population (14 million inhabitants) is located on the atlantic coast line.
<-- Map showing the macro-regions and the federal states of Brazil. Source : www.ibge.gov.br
See on a map the evolution of Brazilian states within Macro-Regions including Bahia.
The geographical location of Bahia in South America has had a major influence in its history and its current economy and its development of tourism. Nordeste is the further east point of Brazil which makes it closest to Europe and South Africa. As you will see this was an important element in the conquests of the 15th century.
Cabral departs from Lisbon on the 9 March 1500, navigates south west, crosses the Atlantic Ocean, intending to profit from the prevailing winds, which would take him south east in the direction of the Cape of Bonne Esperance and the Indies. The large tack south west brings him, on the 22nd April 1500, to an unknown land, later called the Discovery Coast, in the south of Bahia, where he and his crew see the Monte Pascoal for the first time.
From there Cabral heads north and finally calls in at Porto Seguro (literally Secure Port). Out of this event Porto Seguro will create its slogan "It is here that Brazil was born".
Since then, Bahia is an important hub for Portuguese fleets on the road to Africa and the Indies.
A vessel is immediately chartered to bring the news to Lisbon. The treaty of Tordesillas recently signed between Portugal and Spain (1494) officially declares the new land as Portuguese territory. This land that Cabral thought to be merely an island falls under Portuguese jurisdiction and Cabral becomes the first European to claim the discovery of Brazil in the year 1500.
At the beginning of its colonization the portuguese crown is interested in Bahia for its raw materials and as a stop over on the route to India. Indeed, the luxury goods such as silk, carpets, porcelain and spices from Asia are popular in Europe and generate interesting profits. Bahia is then used as a stop over for refueling and the repair of boats. Agricultural production of sugar cane will have a growing importance spawning a significant importation of slaves to sustain this industry at low cost. Coffee and cocoa (imported from amazonia) will be cultivated later on.
Bahia will retain its natural geographic predominance, Salvador becoming the capital of brazil and the link between India, Africa, Europe and South America. The city and the state will witness a significant movement of slaves used for trade with Europe and for the economic development of this part of the world. For this reason Bahia today, is not only the birthplace of Brazil but also the cradle of African culture in Brazil.
Salvador will become rich and remain the capital of Brazil for more than 250 years. There are many testaments to this past (see map of Salvador) which makes Salvador and Bahia among the most interesting places of Brazil in terms of culture and tourism.
Today other Bahianese cities have risen in economic importance; Feira de Santana, Vitoria da Conquista, Ilhéus, Itabuna, Juazeiro, and others in tourism; Porto Seguro, Ilheus, Morro de Sao Paulo, Itacare, Trancoso, Costa do Sauipe.
Bahia has a strategic position in the quasi circular web of Brazilian main cities. As Brazil touches almost all the other countries of South America Bahia touches almost all the macro-regions of Brazil. And has a frontier with the Ocean.
Bahia, together with his north and south neighbours has a montain range which devides west from east impacting its climate. One of the most spectacular montain ranges (“serra”) is the Chapada Diamantina (seen more clearly on the map in Terrain mode). Chapada means plateau. These mountains have vertical sides as shown on the Chapada Diamantina photo (see photo in the Chapada marker in the interactive map).
The division of Bahia into two areas, on each side of the montain range creates two different eco-systems; the east area which originally sheltered the Mata Atlantica (Primitive Atlantic Forest), with a moist and fertile soil, and the Cerrado, in the west zone with a dry climate and sparser vegetation. The montain range acts as a wall trigerring precipitation on the east side from the wet winds coming off the ocean and limiting humidity on the west side.
The forest areas that have been preserved from human invasion are mostly located in the highlands, where access is difficult. The Mata Atlantica eco-system and its climate favours a large hydrolic network providing nearly 80 million of Brazilians with water. The authorities became aware of the need to preserve this natural resource with its biodiversity that exceeds that of the Amazon with regards to species of trees.
Bahia coast is divided into 6 touristic areas indicated in orange on the interactive map; the Coconut Coast north of Salvador (which includes the Sauipe Coast), Baia de Todos os Santos (the bay of all Saints), the Dende Coast (the dende is a palm tree, the fruit of which is used for producing oil), the Cocoa Coast, the Discovery Coast and the Whale Coast. The Coconut Coast and the Discovery Coast are the most developed in terms of tourism.
The map on the left shows the railway network in Bahia connecting Salvador de Bahia with Belo Horizonte in Minas Gerais. The train usually does not follow touristic routes and has been developed essentialy for agricultural and industrial purposes. The two other routes connect Salvador with Juazeiro (Petrolina) and the Atlantic Coast cities of the Nordeste.
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