Skip to main content

Santa Catarina

Santa Catarina

Santa Catarina, state in southern Brazil bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Argentina, and along the south by the Pelotas and Uruguay rivers. The interior region of Santa Catarina lagged significantly behind the coast in population and economic development until the twentieth century, even as Santa Catarina as a whole was overshadowed by states in Brazil such as São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. Lages, the largest city in its interior, was founded in 1770 by cattle ranchers who gradually expanded land development west and north toward Paraná.

Until the expansion of the Brazil Railway Company into Santa Catarina after 1906, and its subsequent lumbering, sawmill, and colonization enterprises, landowners largely depended upon share-cropping to attract workers to the interior. One of Santa Catarina's most famous historical figures was José Maria, whose millenarian movement within the Contestado called for a restoration of the monarchy in opposition to the capitalist transformations of the beginning of the twentieth century. The railroad expansion and subsequent land boom had led to a convergence of national, international, and private interests in the removal of subsistence peasants or "squatters." To defeat the 15,000 peasant followers of José Maria after his death, the Brazilian army utilized nearly half its forces and $250,000 from 1912 to 1916.

In 2000 Santa Catarina had a population of 5,356,360. Since 1823 its capital city has been Florianópolis (originally Destêrro; renamed for President Floriano Peixoto in 1893). At present Santa Catarina's economy depends on cattle raising, coal mining, food processing, textiles, and petrochemical production. It has one of the best economies of any Brazilian state, and its inhabitants enjoy a relatively high standard of living. It is also a popular tourist destination, as its coastline boasts more than 500 beaches, including the famous beach resort Balneário Camboriú, where the two main beaches are linked by a cable car.

See alsoBrazil, Geography .


Diacon, Todd A. "Peasants, Prophets, and the Power of a Millenarian Vision in Twentieth-Century Brazil," in Comparative Studies in Society and History 32 (1990): 488-514.

Diacon, Todd A. Millenarian Vision, Capitalist Reality: Brazil's Contestado Rebellion, 1912–1916. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1991.

Lenard, Alexander. The Valley of the Latin Bear (1965).

Mello, Amilcar d'Avila de. Expedições: Santa Catarina na era dos descobrimientos geográficos. Florianópolis, Brazil: Editora Expressão, 2005.

Otto, Claricia. Catolicidades e itallianidades: Tramas e poder em Santa Catarina (1875–1930). Florianópolis, Brazil: Editora Insular, 2006.

Piazza, Walter F. Santa Catarina: Sua historia (1983).

Ribiero, Edaléa Maria. Movimientos sociais em tempos de democracia e globalizaçao em Santa Catarina: Os años 90. Florianópolis, Brazil: Fundaçao Boiteaux, 2005.

                                      Carolyn E. Vieira

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Santa Catarina." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . 19 Oct. 2018 <>.

"Santa Catarina." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . (October 19, 2018).

"Santa Catarina." Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. . Retrieved October 19, 2018 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.