Mato Grosso

Mato Grosso (Brazilian Portuguese: [ˈmatu ˈɡɾosu] (listen) – lit. "Thick Bush") is one of the states of Brazil, the third largest by area, located in the western part of the country.[3]

State of Mato Grosso

Estado de Mato Grosso


Coat of arms
Anthem: Hino de Mato Grosso
Location of Mato Grosso (in red) in Brazil
Coordinates: 15°34′S 56°04′W
Country Brazil
Capital and largest cityCuiabá
  GovernorMauro Mendes (DEM)
  Vice GovernorOtaviano Pivetta (PDT)
  SenatorsJayme Campos (DEM)
Selma Arruda (PSL)
Wellington Fagundes (PR)
  Total903,357 km2 (348,788 sq mi)
Area rank3rd
  Density3.4/km2 (8.7/sq mi)
  Density rank25th
  Year2014 estimate
  TotalR$ 101.235 billion (14th)
  Per capitaR$ 31,396,81 (8th)
  Category0.772[2]high (9th)
Time zoneUTC-4 (BRT-1)
  Summer (DST)UTC-3 (BRT-1)
Postal Code
78000-000 to 78890-000
ISO 3166 codeBR-MT

Neighboring states (from west clockwise) are: Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul. The nation of Bolivia is located to the southwest. A state with a flat landscape that alternates between vast chapadas and plain areas, Mato Grosso contains three main ecosystems: the Cerrado, the Pantanal and the Amazon rainforest. Open pasture vegetation covers 40% of the state.

The Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, with caves, grottoes, tracks, and waterfalls, is one of its tourist attractions. In the north is the biodiverse Amazonian forest, which originally covered half of the state. Much of this has been disrupted and cleared for logging, agricultural purposes and pastures. The Xingu Indigenous Park and the Araguaia River are in Mato Grosso. Further south, the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, is the habitat for nearly one thousand species of animals and many aquatic birds.


The terrain of Mato Grosso is varied and includes cliffs, canyons, and waterfalls. It is home to the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, a unique environment of sandstone mountains that have eroded into amazingly varied terrain.

The biologically rich Pantanal, one of the world's largest wetland/prairie ecosystems, is also located within this state. Much environmental degradation has occurred to the Pantanal since the late 20th century because of development, and efforts to contain or slow it have had limited success. The Pantanal has a habitat similar to that of the Everglades in Florida in the United States, although the Pantanal is on a much larger scale.


See also: History of Mato Grosso

The Bororo Indians live in the Mato Grosso area. As late as 1880, soldiers patrolled lands on the outskirts of Cuiabá, Mato Grosso's capital and largest city, to protect settlers from Bororo raids.

By the end of the 19th century, although severely reduced by disease and by warfare with explorers, slave traders, prospectors, settlers, and other indigenous groups, as many as five to ten thousand Bororo continued to occupy central and eastern Mato Grosso, as well as western Goiás.[4] The southwestern part of this state was ceded by Brazil to Bolivia in exchange for the then-Bolivian territory of Acre, according to the Treaty of Petrópolis in 1903.

This historically remote area attracted expeditions of exploration in the early 20th century that sought to find lost civilizations. A notable example was British Captain Percy Fawcett's expedition to find the Lost City of Z which he believed existed in the jungles of Brazil. Certain proponents of the Hollow Earth hypothesis speculated that the region had sites of access to the interior of the earth and its settlements.

In 1977, the state was split into two halves, and the neighboring state of Mato Grosso do Sul was created from the other part of its territory.


Mato Grosso had a high rate of population growth in the 20th century due to timber, ranching and agricultural development. The state as a whole has one of the lowest population densities of any Brazilian state. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), 3,441,998 people resided in the state as of 2018. The population density was 3.8 inhabitants/km2.

Ethnically, the state includes a relatively high proportion of caboclos (persons of mixed European and Indian ancestry), as do other areas of interior Brazil. The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 1,532,000 Brown (Mixed) people (50.92%); 1,179,000 White people (39.16%); 239,000 Black people (7.93%); 41,000 Amerindian people (1.37%); and 14,000 Asian people (0.45%).[6]

Largest cities


Agriculture is the largest component of the state's GDP at 40.8%, followed by the service sector at 40.2%. The industrial sector represents 19% of the GDP (2004). Mato Grosso's major exports include soybeans (83%), wood (5.6%), meats (4.8%), and cotton (3.3%) (2002).

The state's share of the Brazilian economy is 1.8% (2014).


  • Vehicles: 1,614,797 (January 2015)
  • Mobile phones: 4,500,000 (January 2015)
  • Telephones: 527,000 (April 2007)
  • Cities: 141 (2007)[8]


Portuguese is the official national language and the primary language taught in schools. English and Spanish are also taught as part of the official high school curriculum.

More than 58 universities are located in the state of Mato Grosso.[9]

Cuiabá is home to the following universities:


The local culture is very rich due to the influences of and encounters with various cultures, such as indigenous peoples, colonial Spanish and other European settlers, Africans enslaved and transported there in the Atlantic slave trade, originally by the Portuguese, and other Europeans; and immigrants and settlers since the late 19th century. Two long periods of isolation also contributed to its development along different lines than the coastal areas of Brazil. Recent immigration has brought many urban influences to the state. Cuiabá has a rich cuisine influenced by natives. They have maintained traditional dances, craftwork and music.

Dance and music were traditionally connected to the worship of Catholic saints and their festivals, Saint Benedict (the city's patron saint) being one of the favorites.


The four-day period before Lent leading up to Ash Wednesday, known as Carnival, is well celebrated. As with every state in Brazil, Mato Grosso celebrates this holiday in a typical fashion - including parades, music, and dance - with wide participation.

Tourism and recreation

Alta Floresta

Fishing in the Teles Pires, São Benedito and Azul rivers is productive practically all year long.

With more than 570 species of catalogued birds and new species being discovered every year, the region of Alta Floresta, Cristalino and the Azul River Basin receives constant visits from ornithologists and bird watchers.

Chapada dos Guimarães

The largest sandstone cavern in Brazil, Aroe Jari, extends nearly 1,550 metres (5,090 ft), and several prehistoric inscriptions can be found inside.

North Pantanal

The Pantanal's backbone is the Paraguay River, which cuts through the region from north to south. The Miranda, Aquidauna, Taquari and Cuiabá rivers flow into the Paraguay River. From October to April, the high waters reveal outsized lakes, bays, river branches and outlets.

The Transpantaneira Highway connects the town of Poconé to Jofre Port, along the Cuiabá River bank. It is a dirt road with 126 wooden bridges, and extends for 149 kilometres (93 mi). On the way, it is possible to observe wild animals, especially alligators, capybaras and birds, among other wild animals.

SESC's Private Natural Heritage Reserve (RPPN) increases by one-third the total area of this preserved ecosystem in Mato Grosso.

Over 160 different species of birds have been observed in the Pantanal, and still many species in the area have not yet been identified.

Águas Quentes State Park

The 1,487 hectares (3,670 acres) Águas Quentes State Park, the first protected area in Mato Grosso, is known for the healing powers of its thermal waters.[10]

Lagoa Azul State Park

The Gruta da Lagoa Azul State Park (Portuguese: Parque Estadual Gruta da Lagoa Azul) is a state park in the municipality of Nobres, Mato Grosso, with an area of 12,513 hectares (30,920 acres).[11] Its primary attraction is a limestone cave with a pool of blue water and unusual cave formations. These have suffered from vandalism, causing the cave to be closed until measures to protect it could be implemented. The blue lagoon cave holds a pool of blue water formed from underground water of the Saloba River.[12] The main entrance is filled in part by the water. The hall contains columns over 5 metres (16 ft) in size and 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) in diameter. There may be archaeological remains in the cave. The park has several other limestone caves. It is covered with deciduous forests, and is home to howler monkeys, tapirs, jaguars and macaws.[13]


International Airport

The runway at Marechal Rondon International Airport was opened to traffic in 1956. In February 1975, Infraero took over the airport's administration and began various upgrades to meet the needs of the airport complex.

Marechal Rondon International Airport, located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the city center, started receiving international flights in 1996. It now serves more than half a million passengers a year.


  • BR-070;
  • BR-173;
  • BR-174;
  • BR-158;
  • BR-163;
  • BR-197;
  • BR-242;
  • BR-252;
  • BR-364;
  • MT-100;
  • MT-358.


Cuiabá was one of twelve cities chosen to host the games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, which took place in Brazil.


The state flag has similar colors to the flag of Brazil, with blue symbolizing the sky, green the vegetation, and white standing for peace. The star is yellow to symbolize the gold which attracted the first settlers. The flag was adopted by Decree No. 2 of January 31, 1890, just a few days after the adoption of the national flag. The Mato Grosso state flag was abolished by Law No. 1.046 of October 8, 1929, but reinstated by article 140 of the Constitution of the State of Mato Grosso on July 11, 1947.

See also


  1. "Projeção da população do Brasil e das Unidades da Federação" [Projected population of Brazil and the Federal States] (in Portuguese). Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística. 1 March 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on 18 September 2017. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  2. "Radar IDHM: evolução do IDHM e de seus índices componentes no período de 2012 a 2017" (PDF) (in Portuguese). PNUD Brasil. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  3. Note: also once spelled "Matto Grosso". The town of Matto Grosso was formerly called Villa Bella." Source: Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon, vol.2, by Lieut. USN. Lardner Gibbon 1853; chapter 11. p. 275
  4. "Myths of pacification: Brazilian frontier settlement and the subjugation of the Bororo Indians", Encyclopedia
  5. Source: PNAD.
  6. "Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de Domicílios: Tabela 262 - População residente, por cor ou raça, situação e sexo" [National Household Sample Survey: Table 262 - Resident population, by color or race, situation and sex] (PDF) (in Portuguese). Mato Grosso, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2010-01-18.
  7. "Estimativas da população residente nos municípios brasileiros com data de referência em 1º de julho de 2011" [Estimates of the Resident Population of Brazilian Municipalities as of July 1, 2011] (in Portuguese). Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. 30 August 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 August 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  8. Source: IBGE.
  9. "Ser Universitário - Tudo sobre o mundo universitário e estudantil!".
  10. PES Águas Quentes (in Portuguese), ISA: Instituto Socioambiental, retrieved 2016-08-01
  11. PES Gruta da Lagoa Azul – ISA, Informações gerais.
  12. PES Gruta da Lagoa Azul – ISA, Características.
  13. Parque Estadual Gruta da Lagoa Azul – Via Rural.
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