Located at the northern end of the Brazilian coast and separated from French Guiana by the Oiapoque River, Amapá became a state in 1988, with the extraction of manganese as its main economic support, of which it is the largest national producer.
With an area of 143,454 km2, the state of Amapá is located in the North and is limited to the east with the Atlantic Ocean, to the north with French Guiana and Suriname, and to the south with the state of Pará. The capital is Macapá .
About 95% of Amapá’s territory is below 300m of altitude, and 72%, below 200m. Four morphological units can be identified: the coastal plain, formed by low and wetlands; the alluvial plains, in the low and medium streams of rivers (floodplains); the low sandstone plateau, a narrow strip of tabular terrain located to the west of the coastal plain; and the crystalline plateau, in the central and western portion of the state, with large expanses of hills and hills, dominated by mountain ridges (Serra do Tumuncumaque, with about 540m).
According to Shoe-Wiki, Amapá is subject to a super humid hot climate (Köpen type Aw). Average monthly temperatures range between 25 and 26oC and annual rainfall totals over 2,500mm. The precariousness of human occupation has allowed the Amazon rainforest, which covers most of the state, to remain almost unchanged. In the eastern portion, clear fields appear, alternating with the forests in the floodplains of rivers and on the coastal plain; closed fields, in the low sandstone plateau; and mangroves, on the coastal fringe. The most extensive rivers in Amapá are Oiapoque, on the border with French Guiana, and Araguari; both run directly into the Atlantic Ocean. Of the tributaries of Amazonas, the main one is Jari, on the border with Pará.
Amapá is one of the most sparsely populated federation units, with less than two inhabitants per square kilometer in the early 1990s. Almost the entire population is found in the eastern portion (coastal plain and low sandstone plateau). Only two small areas of the crystalline plateau were effectively occupied: the region of the headwaters of the Caciporé river (former mines of São Lourenço) and the region of the Serra do Navio (manganese deposits). Just over half of the inhabitants live in urban areas. (For demographic data, see DATAPEDIA.)
Amapá is the largest national producer of manganese, an ore that the state has been exploring since 1957. The Serra do Navio deposits were leased by Icomi (Indústria e Comércio de Minérios SA), a company founded in Belo Horizonte in 1942, with which it was associated, as a minority shareholder, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, North American. Icomi pays royalties of four to five percent per ton of ore exported to the state government. The outlet port is Santana, in Macapá, connected to the Serra do Navio by 194km of electrified railroad. There is also a pelletizing plant.
Before the industrial exploitation of manganese, only primitive extraction and extensive livestock farming were practiced. Icomi has modern facilities, built a railway with a capacity of 700,000 tons of ore and 200,000 tons of other products and a port to which ships of up to 45,000 tons can access.
In the same area of Serra do Navio, small deposits of cassiterite, columbite and tantalite are also explored. In the municipality of Mazagão, rubber and Brazil nuts are exploited.
Agriculture is dispersed on the coastal plain, on the banks of the low sand plateau and in the floodplains of the rivers. It reaches a certain concentration in the vicinity of the cities of Macapá and Mazagão. The main agricultural product is cassava, followed by rice, beans, corn and sugar cane. The breeding occupies mainly the flooded fields of the coastal plain, especially those of the municipalities of Amapá and Calçoene. The culture of black pepper was recently introduced.
Culture and tourism
In Macapá is located the Joaquim Caetano da Silva Historical and Scientific Museum, where you can see samples of minerals, wood and medicinal plants from the Amazon. For bathing in the Amazon River, there are two beaches near the capital: Araxá and Fazendinha. It also deserves a visit to the Bosque Florestal. In Porto de Santana, thirty kilometers from the capital, you can take a boat trip along the Amazon River and neighboring streams. Eight kilometers away is Curiaú, a village founded by Africans. You can also get to know the mine and the extraction of manganese in the Serra do Navio. Near Mazagão is the zero point of the equator.
In Mazagão Velho, from the 6th to the 10th of January, the São Gonçalo festival takes place, with a procession, festivities, litany and revelry; and on July 16, the feast of Saint James takes place, with cavalcade, procession and masquerade. In the capital, the Marabaixo festival (African folklore) stands out, forty days after Holy Week; the tapping of the Lago stream, from June 24 to July 2; and Boi-Bumbá, also in June.