Land and Resources, Coastline
Sao Francisco River, Paranagua, Marajo, coastal plain, marshlands
The nature of the Brazilian coastline varies considerably. In the North the mouth of the Amazon is the dominant feature, with major river channels, lowlands subject to seasonal flooding, swamps of mangrove trees, and numerous islands, of which Marajo is the largest. The coast of the Northeast is smoother, with substantial areas of beaches and dunes along the northern strip, and more varied formsódunes, mangroves, lagoons, and hillsósouth of Cape Sao Roque. Major features of this area are the mouth of the Sao Francisco River and Todos os Santos Bay.
The Southeastern coast is also varied, with lagoons, marshlands, sand spits, and sandy beaches. Particularly in the states of Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo, and in much of the South, the mountains are very close to the coast, leaving a coastal plain that is narrow or nonexistent. Only in Rio Grande do Sul does the plain widen again. The major natural harbors are those of Salvador, Vitoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santos, Paranagua, and Rio Grande. Portuguese settlers established their first communities along the coast, and most Brazilians still live within about 300 km (about 200 mi) of the coast.
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