BRAZIL – Bahia

BAHIA, a tropical sunshine state in north-east of Brazil (and where the city of Porto Seguro is located) has spectacularly beautiful beaches, lush forests and jungle, indigenous reserves, and is a hotspot fordiving and whale watching. Bahia has a lively and earthy mix of people and culture so it’s no surprise Capoeira (brazilian martial art), Lambada, and Axé all originated here. People from Bahia are referred to as “baianos” and are renowned for their relaxed, easy-going personalities, love of life and happiness. Famous baianos include superstar singer Ivete Sangalo, band Olodum, and musicians João Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, and Carlinhos Brown.

Bahia has a strong African influence within its vibrant culture and population. More than 35% of all slaves taken from Africa were sent to Brazil, with most processed in Bahia before being sent to work in sugar-cane and other plantations. An estimated 80% of baianos are of african descent. The cuisine also has strong links to western Africa with its use of spices and coconut milk and palm oil. Popular dishes include moqueca (seafood stew with palm oil), and acarajé (the salted muffin made with white beans, onion and fried in palm oil and is filled with dried shrimp & chilli).

The economy in Bahia is based on tourism, fishing, agriculture, and cattle raising. The main agricultural products are pineapple, sugarcane, banana, rubber, cacau, coffee, coconut, guava, oranges, lemons, papaya, and passion fruit. The capital of Bahia is Salvador da Bahia, formerly the capital of colonial Brazil for over 200 years. Salvador is a city of music and colour, famous for its energetic Carnival, is one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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