Ore exports and prospecting and oil production are the engines of the development of Espírito Santo . The state has intense port activity in the capital, Vitória.
In the year 1535, the grantee Vasco Fernandes Coutinho founded the village of Espírito Santo, the first population group in Espírito Santo. In 1551, the need for defense in the face of constant indigenous attacks resulted in the foundation, on an island, of a second nucleus, called Vila Nova do Espírito Santo (present-day city of Vitória ); thus, the first settlement became known as “Vila Velha”.
It was only in the second half of the 19th century that Espírito Santo began to gain importance in the national economic and political scenario.
This change was mainly due to the expansion of coffee farming in the Capixaba mountain range – which led, in fact, to a demographic redistribution, since until that time the population was concentrated on the coast. In their small mountain properties, German and Italian immigrants grew coffee.
In the following century, it was the turn of cocoa crops to gain importance; Bahian farmers extended the limits of their land to the border between Espírito Santo and Bahia.
At the beginning of the 21st century, the export of minerals, oil production, agriculture, industry and tourism boosted the Espírito Santo economy.
Located in the Southeast region, Espírito Santo has as its limits the states of Bahia (to the north), Minas Gerais (to the west and northwest) and Rio de Janeiro (to the south); to the east, it is bathed by the Atlantic. It occupies an area of 46077,51 km 2 .
In the geography of Espírito Santo, sandy beaches stand out, covered with low vegetation and extensive dunes. At 1,140 km from the coast, there are the islands of Trindade and Martim Vaz. All are in the middle of the Atlantic, but their administration is the responsibility of the Espírito Santo government.
The relief features two very distinct units: the Baixada Espírito-Santense and the Capixaba mountain range.
- The Baixada Espírito-Santense occupies approximately 40% of the state territory and runs along the entire coast, from the border with Bahia to the limit with Rio de Janeiro. It is narrower to the south, starting to widen from Vitória, towards the north. Its average altitude is 40 to 50 m.
- The Capixaba mountain range, the second unit of the relief, is a mountainous area cut by several rivers, which form deep valleys. It is crowned by mountain massifs, such as Serra do Caparaó, where the peaks of Calçado and Bandeira are located, with altitudes that exceed 2700 m. The altitudes are noticeably lower to the north of the Doce River (the main river in the state, 977 km long), where there are some rocky elevations called “pontoons”.
In addition to the Doce River , which is born in Minas Gerais, the Itabapoana rivers, which separate Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro, are also important, the Santa Maria da Vitória, which flows into the bay of Vitória, the São Mateus, located in the north of the state, Itapemirim, Itaúnas and Jucu.
Lagoons are another important chapter in hydrography. The largest, Juparanã , is 90 km long.
As for the climate, it can be said that in the state the rainy tropical (typical of the coast, with average annual temperature above 22 ° C), the tropical altitude (in the mountain region, where the average annual temperature is below 18, are observable) ° C) and a transition zone to the semi-arid north of the Doce River, close to the border with Bahia.
The rich biodiversity deserves to be highlighted. Inheritance of a period in which the entire territory of Espírito Santo was covered by the tropical forest, 17 conservation units are established, two national parks, two areas of environmental preservation, six biological reserves, three private reserves of natural heritage and an ecological station, in addition to of three national forests.
The population of Espírito Santo, in 2018, was estimated at 3,972,388 inhabitants. More than two thirds lived in the urban area, especially in the mountainous regions, where the demographic density reaches 50 inhab./km 2 . In the coastal lowlands, an index equal to or higher is found only in the vicinity of the capital, Vitória.
Ethnically, according to PNAD data, the population is approximately divided into browns (53.3%), whites (39.3%), blacks (7.2%) and indigenous people (0.2%).
It is worth highlighting the strong impact of immigration. Among whites, approximately 60% are of Italian origin. There are also many descendants of Germans and to a lesser extent, Swiss, Poles, Austrians, Tyroleans, Belgians and Lebanese.
Agricultural, extractive and industrial activities are the mainstay of support for the Espírito Santo economy. The capital occupies a prominent place in the national export of iron ore. In the mineral extraction sector, the municipalities of Guarapari (producer of monazitic sand, rich in cerium, thorium, tin and titanium) and São Mateus (where oil reserves are explored on the continental shelf) are also important.
In agriculture, coffee, rice, cocoa, beans, sugar cane, corn and fruits are the most prominent, and cattle ranching, both beef and dairy, stands out.
The most important industrial segments are food products, wood, paper and cellulose (the state has one of the giants in the sector, which is the Aracruz Celulose SA factory), textiles, furniture and steel. In the municipality of Serra, which is part of the metropolitan region of Grande Vitória, Vale’s pelletizing plants and Companhia Siderúrgica de Tubarão (CST) are installed. Since 2005, CST has been joined by the French group Arcelor, one of the leading in the world.
Tourism and culture
The exuberant nature – with emphasis on the beaches, lagoons and ecological reserves – has made ecological and adventure tourism grow a lot in the state. It can be said that, today, this native wealth and popular festivals are the main tourist attractions of Espírito Santo.
In the interior of the state, the Italian presence gave rise to great celebrations. Noteworthy are the festivals, such as Domingos Martins’ Winter International and Sanfona and Viola of São Pedro do Itabapoana.
There are also traditional religious festivals, such as Corpus Christi, which takes place between May and June. In addition to the traditional carnival, “Vital” is also famous, a type of off-season carnival that takes place in November, also in Vitória.