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State of Espírito Santo
Flag of State of Espírito Santo Coat of arms of State of Espírito Santo
Trabalha e Confia (Portuguese)
"Work and Trust"
Location of State of Espírito Santo in Brazil
Capital Vitória
Largest city Vila Velha
Demonym capixaba or espiritossantense
 -  Governor Paulo César Hartung Gomes
 -  Vice Governor Ricardo Ferraço
 -  Total 46,077.519 km2 (17,790.630 sq mi) (23rd)
 -  2006 estimate 3,464,285 (14th)
 -  2005 census 3,412,746 
 -  Density 75.2 /km2 (195 /sq mi) (7th)
GDP 2006 estimate
 -  Total R$ 52,782,000,000 (11th)
 -  Per capita R$ 15,236 (5th)
HDI (2005) 0.802 (high) (6th)
Abbreviation BR-ES
Time zone BRT (UTC-3)
 -  Summer (DST) BRST (UTC-2)
For the Portuguese company, see Espírito Santo Financial Group

Espírito Santo (Portuguese pronunciation: [isˈpiɾitu ˈsɐ̃tu][1]) is one of the states of southeastern Brazil, often referred to by the abbreviation "ES". Its capital is Vitória and the largest city is Vila Velha. Those who are born in the state are known as "Capixabas", although the precise word is "espiritossantenses". The name means literally "holy spirit" after the Holy Ghost of Christianity. With an extensive coastline (40% of the territory is on the coast), the state has some of the country's main ports but the beaches are the best tourist attractions. Vitória, the capital, is on an island, next to Guarapari, well known by its sands. In the extreme north is the Itaúnas part of the municipality of Conceição da Barra, whose sand dunes and forró are famous. Also on the coast, the typical gastronomy is another attraction with the moquecas capixabas and many fruits from the ocean and seafood. In the country of the state are many natural beauties, such as the parks of Pedra Azul and Alto Caparaó, and the Italian and German colonies.



Geography of Espírito Santo.

With 46,180 square kilometers (17,830 sq mi), it is about the size of Estonia, or half the size of Portugal, and has a variety of habitats including coastal planes, lakes, mountain forest, mangroves and many others.

The islands of Trindade and Martim Vaz, 715 kilometers (444 mi) East of Vitória in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, also belong to Espirito Santo state.


The main river in the state is the Doce. Other important river basins include the Santa Maria River Basin which is the northern branch of rivers which join the sea at Vitoria, and Jucu River Basin which flows into the sea at roughly the same place, but corresponds to the southern branch (which seems to come out of Vitoria). (See also Espírito Santo Municipalities)


Espírito Santo's climate is tropical along the coast, with dry winters and rainy summers. North of Doce River it's generally drier and also hot. In the moutaineous regions in the south and south west of the state, the tropical climate is strongly influenced by altitude, and the average temperatures are colder.


Espirito Santos's beaches in Guarapari.

One of the most important lake districts in Brazil lies on the banks of the Doce river. The area contains some 26 large lakes, the biggest of which is called Juparanã Lake.


The state can be divided into two areas: the low lying coastline and the highland area known as Serra (where one can find the 2,890 m Pico da Bandeira mountain), which is part of the larger Serra do Caparaó, the Caparaó Highlands.

In the map to the right it is in the gray area in the extreme southwest of the state, and is shared with Minas Gerais.


Espírito Santo and its municipalities.

This Brazilian state is in the east of the southeastern subdivision of Brazil, which also contains the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), the state of Bahia (N), the state of Minas Gerais (N) and (W), and the state of Rio de Janeiro (S). Espírito Santo's main cities (outside of the Greater Vitória region) are Cachoeiro de Itapemirim, Colatina, Linhares, São Mateus and Aracruz.


There are doubts as to the origin of the term Capixabas, as those born in Espírito Santo are called. It may derive from the name of a local tribe, from when the Portuguese arrived in the area during the colonial period. A more accepted explanation states that the local Amerindians gave the name to the inhabitants of Vitória island, which means plantation or even corn plantation, as plantations of various crops were interspersed with their houses. "Capixaba" is a word from Tupi-Guarani, a group of languages of some of Brazil's native population. It means " cabelo de milho" (Corn Hair) because when the Portuguese arrived they were blonde so their hair reminded the native people of the golden colour of the corn hair.


View of Vila Velha.

Espírito Santo was first inhabited by Amerindians, whose different tribes were usually semi-nomadic. The area was colonized by the Portuguese, and subsequently descendants of black slaves, and, later, by European immigrants of various origins.

Colonial Era

The area had been granted to Vasco Coutinho just after the discovery of Brazil in 1500. He arrived in the district (capitania, in Portuguese) of Espírito Santo on May 23, 1535, bringing 60 soldiers, slaves and servants with him.

The capital of the district was at first Vila Velha, but because of frequent raids by Amerindians, it was moved to the current capital of Vitória, founded on September 8, 1551, on an island near Vila Velha.

In 1556, after the arrival of missionaries, Serra, Nova Almeida and Santa Cruz were founded.

Political history

Carlos Gomes Theatre, in Vitória.

The district remained under the influence of Coutinho's family for 140 years. It remained a district for 287 years until 1821, when it became a province.

With the Brazilian declaration of independence in 1822, the District Directors became known as Provincial Presidents. In the same way the district of Espírito Santo became Espírito Santo Province. During this period in 1860 the Emperor Pedro II, who was on good terms with the provincial President, visited the state on one of his tours of Brazil. There are still surviving accounts of what he saw and recorded.

In 1889, with the advent of the Brazilian Republic, Espírito Santo finally became a state.

After the adoption of a republican system, Afonso Cláudio de Freitas Rosa became, by appointment, the first governor of Espírito Santo State. He was followed by four other appointed governors (José Horácio Costa, Constante Gomes Sodré, Henrique da Silva Coutinho and Antonio Gomez Aguirre) until the inauguration of the first elected governor of Espirito Santo, Alfeu Adolfo Monjardim de Andrade e Almeida, in June 7 1891.

After Getúlio Vargas took power, the governors were elected by the national congress, and after this, a number of interveners were sent to govern the state. A short period of democracy returned when Carlos Monteiro Lindenberg was elected by Capixabas. However, after the 1964 military coup interveners were once again chosen by the national assembly. After Cristiano Dias Lopes, Arthur Carlos Gerhard Santos, Élcio Álvares and Eurico Rezende were chosen this way, open elections were used to choose all leaders from Gerson Camata through to José Inácio Ferreira, who came into office in 1999.


During the first 300 years, the main cash crop was sugarcane, until 1850 when coffee, in high demand by Europeans, overtook it. During the colonial era, there were also periods of "gold rush" when agriculture was neglected, leading to food shortages, but not much gold was found in Espirito Santo. Another factor that impeded expansion was the prohibition of roads opening into Minas Gerais, where it was feared smuggling would be encouraged through Espírito Santo.


Beach of Canto, a rich neighboorhood of Vitória.
National Park of Caparaó.
Vila Velha is the largest city of the state.
Canaã Valley, in Espírito Santo.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 3,530,000 people residing in the state. The population density was 72.7 inhabitants per square kilometer (188 /sq mi).

Urbanization: 82.2% (2006); Population growth: 2% (1991-2000); Houses: 1,056,000 (2006).[2]

The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 1,662,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (48.20%), 1,495,000 White people (43.36%), 277,000 Black people (8.05%), 8,000 Asian people (0.24%), 5,000 Amerindian people (0.15%).[3]

Espírito Santo is a state which had a large percentage of white population in the past, about 70-80% in the 1940s, it was settled mainly by Italians, Germans and Poles, but the population of Espírito Santo was not big at all, so a big part of the border states population, mainly Bahia, the state with the biggest Afro-Brazilian population of the country, start immigrating into ES, and now a days the white population on ES is 42.2%, but, in cultural facts, its still represented by the Italian colonizer, the typical Capixaba (Born in Espírito Santo).[4]


The pre-colonial Amerindians groups in Espírito Santo were the Tupiniquim, the Temininó, the Aymoré, the Puri and the Botocudo. They have largely been absorbed into the Portuguese-Brazilian civilization, few of them still living in reservations following subsistence farming methods and trying to preserve their fragile culture. Especially back in 1500s, a number of towns in Espírito Santo were founded with primarily Amerindian populations converted to Catholicism, such as Serra and Santa Cruz. Amerindian food has made its way permanently into Capixaba life, featuring the fish-based Moqueca Capixaba as the state dish, among other local typical seafood dishes.


Espírito Santo has many people of Italian origin. They founded many towns in the area and have significant influence on Capixaba society. There are still a number of traditional Italian dance groups in the state and Italian culture festivals, such as the one held in the town of Venda Nova do Imigrante. Italian food is also a large part of Capixaba cuisine, and even industry. Italian cheeses like mozzarella are produced locally, and pasta is also made there, with Firenze Pastas being a local producer. Small scale farming, which is recently turneing increasingly towards agrotourism, is today returning to Italian roots to exploit that market. This is another prominent aspect of Capixaba life.


The first party of Portuguese colonists arrived in the area called Vila Velha in May 23, 1535 along with Vasco Fernandes Coutinho, the first Portuguese "Captain" of Espirito Santo. Later they also settled on Vitoria Island in the Bay of Vitória.

Rhinean and Bavarian Germans

A strong local influence, Germans were among the first colonists to cultivate land away from the coastal zone. The first German settlement, Santa Isabel, was founded in 1844. Like today's Capixaba Italian community, they still hold on to many aspects of their ancestor's homeland's culture, still having active traditional dance groups and festivals such as the Sommerfest in Domingos Martins. Testimony to this is the small museum to colonization in Domingos Martins where one can find old photos, artifacts and documents pertaining to that settlement movement.

Pomeranian Germans

Espírito Santo is home to the biggest community of Pommersch/Pomeranian speakers of the world. More than a century after arriving to Espírito Santo, the Pomeranian continues to be spoken and it remains an important part of Espírito Santo's heritage for many people. To this day they continue centuries old customs within their communities. One of the pillars of which is marriage.


Spaniards, especially from the Basque Provinces, settled in Espirito Santo in the times of the Iberian Union (1580-1640). Their main activity was the hunting of the whales, which were still easily found along Espirito Santo's coast at that time. Highlighting this fact we find that one of Espirito Santo's History's most important heroines, Maria Ortiz, who took part on the resistance against the Dutch invaders in the early XVII Century, was of Basque origin. This trend of Spanish immigration ceased after the Portuguese monarchy's restoration (see Iberian Union), however, a later wave of Spaniard immigrants would arrive in larger numbers in the late XIX century.



The first African slaves in Espirito Santo arrived in Vitoria in 1609. And years of slavery ensued. However, Espirito Santo was still to play a significant part in the Brazilian abolitionist movement in the guise of the Espirito Santo slave rebellion of 1848-1849, which demanded intervention of Imperial troops. Slavery started losing its economical importance in Espirito Santo after such event.

Tyroleans, Romanians, East-European Gypsies

It's difficult to pin down the exact numbers of immigrants of each of these groups to Espirito Santo because they usually arrived under a common Austrian-Hungarian passport, or, in the case of the Tyroleans, under a Swiss passport. An important fact regarding Tyrolean immigration was that these groups were formed by young couples who left Tyrol due to the Austrian laws that imposed difficulties for Tyrolean men to marry before the age of 30 (they were supposed to remain in the Austrian army for a longer time), so large numbers of them started crossing the border to marry in Switzerland, and to leave Europe after the wedding. Tyrolean settlers were both of German and Italian language and concentrated in the region of Santa Leopoldina. Romanians and Roma usually arrived under Austrian passports. Large groups of Gypsies settled in Espirito Santo's countryside in the late 1800s, being absorbed by the mainstream of its society later.


Vitória's harbour entrance with the tallest bridge in Brazil and Camburi Beach in the background.

The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 50%, followed by the industrial sector at 44%. Agriculture represents 5% of GDP (2004). Espírito Santo exports: manufacturing of iron and steel 35.8%, ore of iron 25.2%, paper 17.6%, coffee 7.7%, granite 6.5% (2002).

Share of the Brazilian economy: 2.2% (2005).

The main crops of the state are rice, coffee (one of the most important cash crops in Brazil), cacao, sugarcane, beans, fruit (mostly bananas and papayas), and maize. The livestock industry, important throughout Brazil, is primarily cattle raised for milk and beef. Industry consists mainly of canning, forestry, textiles, iron and steel works. The latter two are concentrated around Cariacica and the "Vale do Rio Doce" ironworks.

Vitória is an important port for exporting iron and steel. Indeed, it is the biggest steel producer in the world. In São Mateus, petroleum reserves have been found on its continental shelf, and today are being commercially exploited.

Tourism plays an ever-increasing role in the state economy. However, most of the visitors are from neighbouring states, rather than foreign countries. Popular destinations include coastal areas such as Guarapari, Jacaraípe and Manguinhos, but mountain retreats such as Domingos Martins are also popular. Guarapari is also a local tourist destination, known for its curative black sand beaches.

Interesting facts

Vehicles: 850,141 (March/2007); Mobile phones: 1.8 million (April/2007); Telephones: 800 thousand (April/2007); Cities: 78 (2007).[5]


Educational institutions


National Airport

Eurico de Aguiar Salles Airport is located on a land plot of just over 5.2 million square meters (1,300 acres). Since construction of its first step, finished in 1946, Vitória Airport has undergone several expansions and modernizations, but current demand has surpassed its capacity of 560 thousand passengers a year. The passenger terminal is air conditioned, with a constructed area of nearly 4,000 square meters (43,000 sq ft), a check-in concourse, 25 check-in counters and boarding and arrival lounges. The recent construction of new aircraft parking boxes on the aprons has improved the airport’s operational efficiency. In 2003 more than 1.2 million passengers used the airport, and in 2004 this rose to some 1.25 million. Vitória is one of the 32 airports in the Infraero network that has a cargo terminal. In May 1999 the first direct international freight connection to the United States (Miami) began operating to Vitória, facilitating imports to the state of Espírito Santo. Today there are five such flights a week

Notable Structures

The most notable structures in Espirito Santo are Terceira Ponte (Third Bridge, the Tallest Bridge in Brazil) , and Convento da Penha (Penha Convent).


BR-101, BR-259, BR-262, BR-482.


The Port of Vitória has the most difficult access for ships of any port in Brazil. The Bay of Vitória is extremely narrow, with stones and mountains making it challenging for freighters and maritiime cruisers to reach the docks. This narrow approach also results in shipping passing closely to population centers. In Vitória, ships pass side by side with cars and pedestrians. The situation of the port in the center of the city also results in schedule complications, with limitations resulting from traffic constraints. Currently the main use of the port is for ship and oil platform repair, as well as for receiving medium-sized shipping.


The words in the central bar of the flag, Trabalha e Confia, translate to "Work and Trust [in God]". This motto is a truncated version of the Jesuit (well spread by the Spanish Catholic missionaire José de Anchieta) motto "work as if everything depended on you, and trust as if everything depended on God", and was chosen by Jerônimo Monteiro, who governed the state from 1908 to 1912. The flag was designed in 1908, with colours inspired by those of Saint Our Mother of Vitória's (Nossa Senhora da Vitória) in Portuguese vestments. It is one of the only flags in the world which uses the colour pink.


View of Vitória.
Vitória at afternoon.
Instituto dos Advogados in Vitória.
Anchieta Palace in Vitória.
Atlantic Forest in Morro do Moreno.
Costa Beach.

(See also Espírito Santo municipalities and List of cities in Brazil (all cities and municipalities))


  1. ^ In the local variety of Brazilian Portuguese. The European Portuguese pronunciation is [(ɨ)ʃˈpiɾitu ˈsɐ̃tu].
  2. ^ Source: PNAD.
  3. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF). Espírito Santo, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ Source of the text above: Studies of immigration made by the Journalism professors of UFES, the federal university of Espírito Santo
  5. ^ Source: IBGE.

See also

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Espirito Santo article)

From Wikitravel

South America : Brazil : Southeast : Espirito Santo

Espirito Santo is a state in the southeast of Brazil.

  • O Frade e a Freira (The Monk and the Nun) - An interesting rock formation near Itapemirim.
  • Caranguejada, a local stuffed crab dish.
  • Moqueca Capixaba - a delicious seafood stew cooked in a traditional clay pot. This version in milder than the Bahiana version because it does not contain dende oil.
  • Torta Capixaba
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Espírito Santo


Espírito Santo

  1. State in south-eastern Brazil which has Vitória as its capital.

See also

w:Espírito Santo


Espírito Santo

Proper noun

Espírito Santo

  1. Holy Ghost (one of the three figures of the Holy Trinity)

This Portuguese entry was created from the translations listed at Holy Ghost. It may be less reliable than other entries, and may be missing parts of speech or additional senses. Please also see Espírito Santo in the Portuguese Wiktionary. This notice will be removed when the entry is checked. (more information) July 2009

Simple English

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