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Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso State in central-west Brazil, lies in the geographical center of South America on the Cuiabá River, a tributary of the Paraguay River, and has a population of roughly 480,000 (2000). The city was founded in 1718 when the gold boom hit Mato Grosso, but its gold fields proved to be shallow, with most deposits lying within two feet of the surface. Cuiabá persisted as a permanent settlement, unlike most boom towns, becoming the provincial capital in 1820. At times it has taken center stage in the land struggles between the soybean agro-industry and Amerindians of Brazil. It is home to the first federally protected indigenous territory, the Xingu National Park, created in 1961.

Cuiabá is an important commercial and industrial center for much of Mato Grosso's economy, including rubber manufacturing, cattle raising, agriculture, tourism, and mining. It is responsible for roughly 20 percent of the state's gross domestic product (2003) and 23 percent of the electric energy generated in the state (2005). Its thermal power station runs on natural gas, most of which is imported from Bolivia. In August 2007 the station suspended its activities because of unsuccessful price negotiations between Brazil and Bolivia.

See alsoMato Grosso .


Foweraker, Joe. The Struggle for Land: A Political Economy of the Pioneer Frontier in Brazil. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Poppino, Rollie E. Brazil: The Land and People, 2nd edition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Swarts, Frederick A., ed. The Pantanal: Understanding and Preserving the World's Largest Wetland. St. Paul, MN: Paragon House, 2000.

                                        Carolyn E. Vieira

                                       Ana Janaina Nelson