Tocantins is a state in central Brazil. It is the newest of the 26 Brazilian states, formed in 1988 and encompassing what had formerly been the northern two-fifths of the state of Goiás. Construction of its capital, Palmas, began in 1989; most of the other cities in the state date to the Portuguese colonial period. With the exception of Araguaína there are few other cities with a significant population in the state. The government has invested in a new capital, a major hydropower dam, railroads and related infrastructure to develop this primarily agricultural area.
Because it is in the central zone of the country, Tocantins has characteristics of the Amazon Basin, and also semi-open pastures, known as cerrado. The Bananal Island (Ilha do Bananal), in the southwest of the State, is the largest fluvial island in the world. Tocantins is also home to the Araguaia National Park, the Carajás Indian reservations, and Jalapão state park, which is about 250 kilometres from Palmas. There, the rivers create oases in the dry landscape, attracting many ecotourists to the region.
Tocantins geography is varied. It straddles both the Amazon Rainforest and the coastal savanna. Many rivers (including the Tocantins River) traverse the state. Researchers have identified more than 20 archaeologically significant sites related to indigenous cultures.
Tocantins is bordered to the northeast by the states of Maranhão and Piauí, Bahia to the east, Goiás to the south, Mato Grosso to the west, and Pará to the northwest. Tocantins was created from the northern two-fifths of Goiás state in 1989 and is divided into 139 municipalities.
The "cerrado" landscape cover 87% of Tocantins and is characterized by extensive savanna formations crossed by gallery forests and stream valleys. Cerrado includes various types of vegetation. Humid fields and "buriti" palm paths are found where the water table is near the surface.
Along the western boundary of the state is the floodplain of the Araguaia River, which includes extensive wetlands and Amazon tropical forest ecosystems. Bananal Island, formed by two branches of the Araguaia, is said to be the largest river island in the world. It consists mostly of marshlands and seasonally flooded savannas, with gallery forest. Where the two branches meet again they form an inland delta called Cantão, a typical Amazonian igapó flooded forest. The Araguaia is also one of the main links between the Amazonian lowlands and the Pantanal wetlands to the south, but the river is not fully navigable.
Most of Tocantins (except the extreme western and northern regions) is situated within a vast Brazilian area known as the cerrado. The cerrado region's typical climate is hot and semi-humid, with pronounced seasonal variation marked by a dry winter from May through October. The annual rainfall is around 800 to 1,600 mm.
Palmas–Brigadeiro Lysias Rodrigues Airport (IATA: PMW, ICAO: SBPJ) offers flights to/from Belo Horizonte-Confins, Brasília, Campinas, Goiânia, Belém, São Paulo-Congonhas, Goiânia and Araguaína.
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