General information about the state

Santa Catarina’s distinctions also include its natural resources. The state’s 500 km coastline has hundreds of beautiful beaches, and splendid mountains rise from the coastal plane and run to the high plateau, where there is often snow.

The ethnic diversity is also notable: the Santa Catarina people are formed of descendants of immigrants from various European countries, as well as Africans and indigenous peoples and by people from all over Brazil and the world, who have chosen the state to work and live.

Santa Catarina remained at the margins in the early days of Portuguese colonization of Brazil which began in 1500. Only in the second half of the 17th century did the first settlements begin on the Santa Catarina coast.

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In the early 18th century, when Portugal began to occupy lands west of the Tordesilhas line (the Papal Line of Demarcation), immigrants came from the Azores and Madeira to settle on the Santa Catarina coast. They developed a subsistence economy based on manioc flour and until the mid 19th century the province of Santa Catarina would be one of the least populated in Brazil.

Between 1850 and 1872, after the independence of Brazil, the population of Santa Catarina doubled. It was a period of large settlements in southern Brazil and the state received German, Italian, Slavic, and other immigrants. The settlers established themselves in the Itajaí Valley and in northeastern Santa Catarina, organized on small and productive family properties. They diversified the economy and began the industrialization of the state.

The variety of people who settled Santa Catarina makes it impossible to define a single culture that is characteristic of the state. Germans, Italians, Portuguese, Poles, Austrians, Japanese, Africans and Indians forged their cultures, establishing new characteristics, while not erasing the original ones. This peculiar diversity is characteristic of the Catarina people and marks the state’s social, economic and cultural characteristics.

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Although the majority of European immigrants who came during the 19th century were farmers, many were also qualified professionals with ties to industry. In the first wave of immigrants that arrived at Blumenau, in the Itajaí valley, there was a surveyor, a carpenter, a mason, cigar maker, tinsmith and an ironsmith, in addition to the farmers. All maintained a strong work ethic without neglecting festive social events. It was these qualities that established two of the strongest economic characteristics of the state: the high degree of industrialization and small family farms.

Meanwhile, the inhabitants of the coast, the Azoreans, who came from the Portuguese islands of the Azores, brought their tradition of fishing, and established Brazil’s largest fishing industry in the state.

The diversity of landscapes is an asset that is decisive in the rise of business opportunities in Santa Catarina. Its coast accounts for 7% of the national coastline and is lined with small islands and bays that have gorgeous white sand beaches. Countless rivers irrigate large plateaus and wind through beautiful mountains, slopes and valleys.

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Terrain

The state’s rugged terrain varies throughout the territory, highlighted by three regions: the western plateau, which occupies the largest part of the territory; the coastal plain, which lines the coast and favors the formation of coves and bays; and the coastal mountains, formed by the Serra do Mar and Serra Geral.

Climate

The climate is predominantly humid subtropical, with rains distributed throughout the year and occasional dry spells. The four seasons are well defined, and the average temperatures vary from 13°C to 25°C most of the year. The climate in general is mesothermic, but the different terrains have different extremes: the summer is very hot on the coast and in the valleys, while the winter is intensely cold and even has snow in the highest regions.

Water resources

There are two large watersheds divided by the Serra Geral and the Serra do Mar: the Atlantic basin, which includes the rivers Itajaí-Açu, Tubarão, Araranguá, Tijucas and Itapocu, and which flow to the sea; and the Paraná watershed, which occupies the largest portion of the state and includes the rivers Iguaçu, Uruguai, Chapecó and Peixe, which pass through the plateau of Canoinhas, the fields of Lages, Chapecó and Joaçaba, and flow to the Plata River Basin.

Vegetation

The state has one of the highest percentage of land covered by native vegetation in Brazil. It is composed of: Atlantic Forest, which is extremely rich in biodiversity, and is predominant in the region of the coastal mountains and the Itajaí Valley; the coastline has mangroves, and regions of sandy soil near the coast are known as restinga and have short trees, bushes and herbs; there are araucária pine forests in the mountain plateau region; as well as the fields of the interior plateau.

FIESC | Rodovia Admar Gonzaga, 2765 - Itacorubi - 88034-001 - Florianópolis/SC - Brazil - +55 48 3231 4662