Brazil States

map of brazil with the flag. headline: "o brasil é o maior país da américa do sul"

What’s up, all good? Well, in our Dica for foreigners today, we will discuss the different regions of Brazil. No… it’s not a Geography class. It is still a Portuguese class. But you will learn a bit more about Brazil states, and not just Rio de Janeiro, ok? Today we’ll learn about the richest, the largest, the poorest, and the smallest states in Brazil. The number of states we have in Brazil can be confusing sometimes because of Federal District. But today we will solve your doubts once and for all! Also, let’s take a look at a map of Brazil and understand where each state is!

The States of Brazil

map of brazil with its 26 states. headline: "o brasil tem 26 estados, além do distrito federal"
Map of Brazil states plus the Federal District, Brasília.

Do you know how many states Brazil has? Well, we got a total number of 26 states in Brazil plus the Federal District, our capital Brasília. If you want to learn more about the most famous cities in our country, we have a special Dica just for you!

Our states are divided into regions. We have five different regions in Brazil: norte (north), nordeste (northeast), centro-oeste (central-west), sudeste (southeast) and sul (south). Take a look at the map of Brazil regions below and try to identify where our states are!

map of brazilian states and regions.
Map of Brazil States and Regions.

Let’s learn a bit about each region of Brazilian States! Click on the links below to jump to each section of the article if you want to!

North RegionNortheast RegionCentral-West RegionSouth RegionSoutheast Region
AcreMaranhãoMato GrossoParanáMinas Gerais
AmazonasPiauíMato Grosso do SulSanta CatarinaEspírito Santo
RoraimaCearáGoiásRio Grande do SulSão Paulo
RondôniaRio Grande do NorteBrasíliaRio de Janeiro

North Region

The North Region has seven states and includes just over 45% of the Brazilian territory. The most important economic activities in the region are mineral and vegetal extraction, agriculture and livestock, and industrial activities. You already know this: the Amazon Forest is in this region, as well as the largest hydro-graphic basin in the world, the Amazon River Basin. In the north the climate is humid equatorial, traditionally with defined rains and great humidity. An incredible region for you to venture into nature!


AC – Acre
Capital: Rio Branco

Acre was not always Brazilian: it was bought from Bolívia in 1877. In some parts, you can find historical geoglyphs in these lands, which are big drawings made on the soil that can only be seen from above on a plane!


Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus.
Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus. Picture by Neil Palmer at Wikicommons.
AM – Amazonas
Capital: Manaus

Amazonas is the largest Brazilian state by area and home of the Amazon Forest! Did you know this state is bigger than the areas of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile combined?


RR – Roraima
Capital: Boa Vista

Roraima is not the smallest state in Brazil, but it is the least populous one. Roraima means Green Peak in the Pemon language!


RO – Rondônia
Capital: Porto Velho

Rondônia is very important to Brazil’s economy, specifically its agriculture and livestock. It is responsible for almost half of the country’s production of soy and frozen beef!


PA – Pará
Capital: Belém

This state is also home to part of our Amazon rainforest! The name of the state comes from the main river that runs through the state, the Pará River. It is home to one of the most danceable musical styles in Brazil: brega music!


AP – Amapá
Capital: Macapá

Amapá was once called Portuguese Guiana! It only became a separate state from Pará in the 1940s, which makes it one of the youngest states in Brazil.


TO – Tocantins
Capital: Palmas

This is Brazil’s youngest state! Tocantins was just considered a state in 1988 and receives its name from the Tocantins River. It is considered a very important state because of its hydroelectric power!

Northeast Region

This is the second most populous region in Brazil. Tourism is one of the strongest and most important activities in the Northeastern economy. Mining and agricultural activities are also carried out in the region. The landscape here is Caatinga, Atlantic Forest and a bit of Cerrado. The predominant climate is semiarid. Huge parts of this region suffer from a lack of rain, which hinders development and everyday life. One of the most incredible things you will find here are the stunning beaches! There are nine states in the Northeast. It’s the Brazilian region with the greatest number of states even though it’s not the largest region. Here you can find the smallest state in Brazil: Sergipe.


MA – Maranhão
Capital: São Luís

Maranhão is an especially important state for our environment and climate. Yes, there is more to environment in Brazil than just the Amazon rainforest! The dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses are a key area of environmental preservation. The state capital, São Luís, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its important history!


PI – Piauí
Capital: Teresina
rock art at serra da capivara national park in piauí.
Rock art at Serra da Capivara National Park in Piauí. Photo by Wikicommons.

Piauí is incredible! The National Park of Serra da Capivara is in the state, and besides being a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also has more than 400 archaeological sites! This park has the largest concentration of rock paintings in the world! We consider it not only part of our own history, but of the entire world!


CE – Ceará
Capital: Fortaleza

Ceará is very diverse! The territory was originally inhabited by different indigenous groups, who had commercial relations with various European people, including the French! The state is also responsible for a large share of exports of leather shoes, which are of a very good quality!

Rio Grande do Norte

RN – Rio Grande do Norte
Capital: Natal

The capital and largest city of Rio Grande do Norte is Natal (yes, that’s our word for Christmas too, isn’t that cool?). The state has the only Brazilian atoll in the Atlantic Ocean, which is especially important for oceans and marine life preservation.


PB – Paraíba
Capital: João Pessoa

Paraíba is known as the birthplace of some of the biggest names in Brazilian literature, such as Augusto dos Anjos, José Américo de Almeida, José Lins do Rego and Ariano Suassuna! It’s also famous for a type of literature created in Brazil, called Cordel Literature.


PE – Pernambuco
Capital: Recife

Pernambuco has a rich cultural tradition thanks to its varied history! Carnival in Recife is renowned: the Galo da Madrugada parade has held world records for its size!


AL – Alagoas
Capital: Maceió

Alagoas is considered to possess the country’s richest folklore, including famous figures as Bumba-Meu-Boi. It’s also home to one of our traditional dances, the fandango, which is based on the movement of the sea!


SE – Sergipe
Capital: Aracaju

Sergipe is the smallest state in Brazil! The state has barely 1% of our entire population. It is home to the Xingó Canyon and incredible beaches!


BA – Bahia
Capital: Salvador
people in small boats celebrating iemanjá day. headline: "a maior festa de iemanjá acontece na bahia!"
The greatest party for the Iemanjá goddess happens in Bahia!

Oh, Bahia! It’s one of the most famous states for its amazing Carnival, but also for its historical sites like Pelourinho. The food there is also amazing, have you ever heard of acarajé?

Central-West Region

The country’s capital, Brasília, is in this region. The economy is based on agriculture and livestock, being responsible for some of the country’s largest exports, such as soybeans. Tourism is also important in this region, due to Chapada dos Veadeiros and Chapada dos Guimarães, which attract many adventurers and nature lovers. The predominant climate in the region is seasonal tropical, which has two well-defined seasons: a dry winter and a rainy summer. The Cerrado and Pantanal predominate in the region.

Mato Grosso

MT – Mato Grosso
Capital: Cuiabá

Mato Grosso is important for so many environmental reasons! The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park is there, with its caves, grottoes, tracks, and waterfalls! The state has a small part of Amazon Forest and also Xingu Indigenous Park, an important preservation of indigenous groups and their culture!

Mato Grosso do Sul

MS – Mato Grosso do Sul
Capital: Campo Grande

If Mato Grosso do Sul was a country, it would be the world’s fifth largest producer of oilseeds! So, there is no need to tell you how important this state is for our agriculture! It produces, not only, but mainly cassava, grains, soy, and sugarcane.


GO – Goiás
Capital: Goiânia

Goiás is a state specialist in livestock! It has the third biggest cattle herd in Brazil, and also represents 35% of our industrial sector!


DF – Distrito Federal

Brasilia, also called Distrito Federal, is Brazil’s capital! It was built by Juscelino Kubitschek and designed by our famous Oscar Niemeyer!

South Region

The Southern Region is the one that is most different from the other regions of the country, due to its colonization mainly by Germans and Italians. The economic activity here is based on plant extraction and also on agriculture. This region has the second highest national GDP. Because of its location, below the tropics, this region that has well-defined seasons. Winters can have really low temperatures and rain is distributed evenly throughout the year. It is the coldest region of Brazil, and it is sometimes even possible to see snow :O


PR – Paraná
Capital: Curitiba
Iguaçú Waterfalls on the border between Argentina and Brazil. Picture by W. Bulach at Wikicommons.

Paraná and Argentina share the National Park of Iguaçu, considered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site! It has a huge waterfall (and when I say huge, it’s huge as hell!!!) that can be seen by both sides. It’s also home to the world’s largest dam, the Hidroelétrica de Itaipu.

Santa Catarina

SC – Santa Catarina
Capital: Florianópolis

Santa Catarina is one of the oldest states in Brazil, and it was separated from São Paulo in 1738! It has one of the highest social indicators in Brazil, and people love to live there!

Rio Grande do Sul

RSRio Grande do Sul
Capital: Porto Alegre

This is the southernmost state in our country. It is responsible for the gaúcho culture, which is beloved throughout the country!

Southeast Region

Now we arrived in our region of Brazil, where our school is located! It is one of the regions that attracts most internal migrants looking for better opportunities and quality of life and attracts many tourists. Its GDP corresponds to more than half of the national GDP. The economy is based on the industrial, financial, and commercial sector, with tourism also playing its part. The state of Rio de Janeiro attracts millions of tourists throughout the year. The predominant climates are tropical and tropical altitude. The landscape here is Atlantic Forest and there are strips of Cerrado and Caatinga. Now that you know the names of states in Brazil, come here and have Portuguese classes with us and get to know the marvelous city!

Minas Gerais

MGMinas Gerais
Capital: Belo Horizonte
minas gerais state, in brazil: important cities as ouro preto

Minas Gerais is the state of pão de queijo and authentic Brazilian coffee! But it’s not just food that the state lives on: it is also known for being the second most populous in the country!

Espírito Santo

ES – Espírito Santo
Capital: Vitória

Espírito Santo means Holy Spirit in Portuguese! This is a historical state, dating from the 16th century! People from Espírito Santo are called capixaba!

São Paulo

SPSão Paulo
Capital: São Paulo
mercado municipal in são paulo.
Municipal Market in São Paulo.

São Paulo is our business state, considered the 4th largest city in the world and the wealthiest in Brazil. It is also the largest economy in South America! :O

Rio de Janeiro

RJRio de Janeiro
Capital: Rio de Janeiro
gringos enjoying carnival in one of brazil smallest state: rio de janeiro.

Finally, we arrive at our beloved city, Rio de Janeiro! We have so many states in Brazil, right? Did you know Rio de Janeiro was the capital of Brazil for a long time? It’s also known as the hometown of Carnival and Brazilian samba!

Did you know that Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world? Really big, isn’t it? The country is so big, that it’s hard to memorize all the 26 states of Brazil. Well, that’s it, now you know a lot about Brazil’s states and cities! Do you think you can point other states in a map of Brazil besides Rio de Janeiro?

Thank you very much, all of you. We will be waiting for all of you, here in Rio de Janeiro, to come and visit our school and learn Portuguese with us while having fun, ok?

Bye Bye!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Brazilian Flag
Holidays in Brazil

Independence Day in Brazil
Brazilian Republic Day

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

2 Responses

  1. Thank so much for this lesson. Now I know more about the 26 states and Brazil. One of these days, I would love to be a student at your school!

    1. Thank you so much, Jorge! We will be waiting for you! But until there, why don’t you take some online classes with us? You will love it!

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