Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V20, Page 759 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PARAHYBA (PARAHIBA Or PARAHYBA DO NORTE), a state of north-eastern Brazil, bounded N. by Rio Grande do Norte, E. by the Atlantic, S. by Pernambuco, and W. by Ceara. Pop. (1890), 457,232; (1900), 490,784. Area, 28,854 sq. m. It consists of a narrow coastal zone, 30 to 40 M. wide, along the seaboard, behind which the country rises sharply to a highland region forming part of the great central plateau of Brazil. The long, dry season (April to October), together with occasional devastating droughts (seeccas) lasting two or more years, prevents the development of forests and damages the agricultural and pastoral industries of the state. There is only one river of importance, the Parahyba do Norte, which crosses the southern part of the state from west to east with a course of about 240 M. The state is poorly watered and covered with a scanty vegetation suitable for pasturage only. Stock-raising is favoured by the existence of a bromeliaceous plant, called mecambira, which is sufficiently juicy to satisfy the thirst of the animals. On the low lands and along some of the river valleys agriculture is the chief occupation of the people; cotton and sugar are largely produced and some tobacco is grown. The exports include hides, skins, cotton, sugar and tobacco. Rubber of the Ceara type is also found and forms an item among the smaller exports. The eastern extremity of the state is served by a railway originally called the Conde . d'Eu railway but now forming part of the Great Western of Brazil system, which runs westward and northward from Parahyba to Independencia (72 m.), where it connects with the extension of the Natal and Nova Cruz line, and a branch runs southward to Pilar, 15 M. from its junction and 46 m. from Parahyba. Another small branch runs westward from the station of Mulungu to Alag8a Grande (14 M.). The capital is Parahyba (q.v.), and other important towns, with the populations (in 189o) of their municipalities, which include large rural districts and sometimes several other towns, are: Arcia (26,590); Bananeiras (20,058); Campina Grande (21,475); Guarabira (26,625); Mananguape (20,754); Pilar (10,133, town); Pombal (12,804); and Souza (11,135). Parahyba formed part of the original grant, known as the capitania of Itamaraca, from the Portuguese crown to Pero Lopes de Souza. It was not settled until 1584, when a fort was erected near the present port of Cabedello under the name of Sao Filippe.

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