Marajó

Marajó

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Marajó is an island
Island
An island or isle is any piece of sub-continental land that is surrounded by water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atolls can be called islets, cays or keys. An island in a river or lake may be called an eyot , or holm...

 located at the mouth of the Amazon River
Amazon River
The Amazon of South America is the second longest river in the world and by far the largest by waterflow with an average discharge greater than the next seven largest rivers combined...

 in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

. It is part of the state of Pará
Pará
Pará is a state in the north of Brazil. It borders the Brazilian states of Amapá, Maranhão, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Amazonas and Roraima. To the northwest it also borders Guyana and Suriname, and to the northeast it borders the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Belém.Pará is the most populous state...

.

Geography



With a land area of 40,100 km² (15,500 sq mi, see List of islands by area), which compares to the size of Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, it is the largest island to be completely surrounded by freshwater in the world. Although its northeast coastline faces the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

, the outflow from the Amazon is so great that the sea at the mouth is quite unbriny
Brine
Brine is water, saturated or nearly saturated with salt .Brine is used to preserve vegetables, fruit, fish, and meat, in a process known as brining . Brine is also commonly used to age Halloumi and Feta cheeses, or for pickling foodstuffs, as a means of preserving them...

 for some distance from shore. The city of Belém
Belém
Belém is a Brazilian city, the capital and largest city of state of Pará, in the country's north region. It is the entrance gate to the Amazon with a busy port, airport and bus/coach station...

 lies to the south, across the southern fork (also called the Pará River
Pará River
The Pará River is the southern arm of the mouth of the Amazon River. It flows round the west and south of the island of Marajó. It takes some water from the main Amazon, however much of its power comes from the Tocantins River flowing from the south. The state capital of Pará, Belém, is located on...

) of the river's mouth. The island sits almost directly on the equator
Equator
An equator is the intersection of a sphere's surface with the plane perpendicular to the sphere's axis of rotation and containing the sphere's center of mass....

.

Together with smaller neighboring islands, separated from Marajó by rivers, it forms the Marajó Archipelago, with an aggregate area of 49,602 km² (19,151 sq mi).

Large parts of the islands are flooded during the rain season, because of higher water levels of the Amazon River along the coast and of heavy rainfall in the interior.

The east of the island is dominated by savanna
Savanna
A savanna, or savannah, is a grassland ecosystem characterized by the trees being sufficiently small or widely spaced so that the canopy does not close. The open canopy allows sufficient light to reach the ground to support an unbroken herbaceous layer consisting primarily of C4 grasses.Some...

 vegetation. There are large fazenda
Fazenda
Fazendas were coffee plantations that spread into the interior of Brazil between 1840 and 1896. They created major export commodities for Brazilian trade, but also led to intensification of slavery in Brazil.- Creation of fazendas :...

s with animal husbandry. This is also the location of Lake Arari, which has an area of 400 km² but shrinks by 80 percent during the dry season. Nowadays there are large herds of domesticated water buffalo
Water buffalo
The water buffalo is a domesticated bovid widely kept in Asia, Europe and South America.Water buffalo can also refer to:*Wild water buffalo , the wild ancestor of the domestic water buffalo...

s on the island. The west of the island is characterized by Várzea
Várzea
-Portugal:* Várzea , a civil parish in the municipality of Amarante* Várzea , a civil parish in the municipality of Barcelos* Várzea , a civil parish in the municipality of Santarém-Other:...

 forests and small farms. Wood and açaí are produced there.

To the north of the large savanna area are palm swamps, mainly with Buriti Palm (Mauritia flexuosa) and Euterpe oleracea. During the rain season, the swamps are flooded one meter high. Little is known about the ecology of these swamps.

There are 20 large rivers on the island.

Because of oscillating water levels and regular floods, many settlements are built on stilts (Palafitas).

The most important towns are in the southeast of the island: Soure
Soure, Brazil
Soure is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 22,244 people. The area of the municipality is 3,512.863 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari....

, Salvaterra
Salvaterra
Salvaterra is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 17,077 people. The area of the municipality is 1,043.504 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari....

, and the largest city, Breves
Breves, Brazil
Breves is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 99,223 people. The area of the municipality is 9,550.454km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

. They feature a basic touristic infrastructure and are popular because of the generous lonely beaches.

The island is shared by 16 municipalities of three microregions:
  • Microregion of Arari:
    • Cachoeira do Arari
      Cachoeira do Arari
      Cachoeira do Arari is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 19,996 people. The area of the municipality is 3,102.080 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari....

    • Chaves
    • Muaná
      Muaná
      Muaná is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 30,117 people. The area of the municipality is 3,765.524 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari....

    • Ponta de Pedras
      Ponta de Pedras
      Ponta de Pedras is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 25,743 people. The area of the municipality is 3,365.126 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari....

    • Salvaterra
    • Santa Cruz do Arari
      Santa Cruz do Arari
      Santa Cruz do Arari is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 6,190 people. The area of the municipality is 1,074.854 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Arari.In 2010, the mayor is Marcelo José...

    • Soure
  • Microregion of Furos de Breves:
    • Afuá
      Afuá
      Afuá is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 32,368 people. The area of the municipality is 8,372.772 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

    • Anajás
      Anajás
      Anajás is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 26,563 people. The area of the municipality is 6,921.709 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

    • Breves
      Breves, Brazil
      Breves is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 99,223 people. The area of the municipality is 9,550.454km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

    • Curralinho
      Curralinho
      Curralinho is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 26,864 people. The area of the municipality is 3.617,240 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

    • São Sebastião da Boa Vista
      São Sebastião da Boa Vista
      São Sebastião da Boa Vista is a Brazilian municipality located in the state of Pará. Its population as of 2008 is estimated to be 21,499 people. The area of the municipality is 1.632,218 km². The city belongs to the mesoregion Marajó and to the microregion of Furos de Breves....

  • Microregion of Portel:
    • Bagre
    • Gurupá
      Gurupá
      Gurupá is a city on the Amazon River in Brazilian state of Pará, located on the world's largest river island, Marajó.The city is a center for palm heart extraction and commerce...

    • Melgaço
    • Portel

History


In the 1918–1919 outbreak of the Spanish influenza, Marajó was the only major populated area not to have documented any cases of the illness. The island was the site of an advanced pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 society, the Marajoara culture
Marajoara culture
The Marajoara or Marajó culture was a pre-Columbian era society that flourished on Marajó island at the mouth of the Amazon River. In a survey, Mann suggests dates between 800 AD and 1400 AD for the culture, while other research posits activity two centuries earlier and persistence two centuries...

. The island is also the location of the Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Marajó
Roman Catholic Territorial Prelature of Marajó
The Territorial Prelature of Marajó is a Roman Catholic territorial prelature located in the city of Marajó in the Ecclesiastical province of Belém do Pará in Brazil.-History:...

.

External links



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