Bahia, Brazil Geography

Called “the good land”, Bahia was the birthplace of the Brazilian nation, because there, in Porto Seguro, today Cabrália bay, the Portuguese of the Cabral fleet arrived, on April 22, 1500. And the city of Salvador was the first capital of Brazil.

According to Sunglasseswill, the state of Bahia, in the Northeast region, where it occupies an area of ​​567,295 km2, opens to the Atlantic Ocean in an extension of 932 km. It is limited to the northeast by Sergipe and Alagoas, to the north by Pernambuco and Piauí, to the west by Goiás and Tocantins and to the south by Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. The capital is Salvador.

Physical geography

Geology and relief

Approximately seventy percent of the state’s territory is between 300 and 900m and 23% below 300m. The morphological picture comprises three units: the coastal lowland, the edge of the plateau and the plateau.

The coastal lowlands are the set of lands located below 200m of altitude. They rise there, dominating the beaches and sands of the coastal fringe, land with tabular features, the so-called sandstone boards. Inland, these lands give way to a strip of hills and clayey hills, with thick, relatively fertile soil, especially in the Recôncavo, where the famous Bahian massape is found. Both the strip of hills and hills and the plateau are cut across by the rivers that descend from the plateau; along them extend wide alluvial plains (floodplains) subject to floods that periodically renew their soils with the deposition of new alluviums.

The edge of the plateau rises immediately to the west of the hills and hills, forming a strip of very rugged terrain, through which it rises from the lowlands to the plateau. To the north of Salvador, the edge of the plateau disappears, as the transition between the plateau and the lowlands takes place smoothly.

The plateau occupies most of the state and is divided into five very individual compartments: the south-Bahia plateau, Espinhaço, the São Franciscan depression, the western plateau and the pediplane.

The south-Bahia plateau, carved in ancient crystalline rocks, is located in the southeast of the state. Its surface, with an average altitude of 800 to 900m, is gently undulating, with wide, flat-bottomed valleys. However, the Contas and Paraguaçu rivers opened deep valleys in their midst, dividing it into three sections: the plateau of Conquista, in the south; that of Itiruçu, in the center; and Cruz das Almas, in the north.

Espinhaço consists of a strip of elevated terrain (1,300m on average and 1,850m at the peak of Almas, its culminating point) that cuts across the state from north to south through the center. Its surface is sometimes presented as mountainous alignments (quartziferous ridges), sometimes as tabular elevations or baskets. The latter predominate in the eastern and northern portion, forming a wide range of smooth forms called Chapada Diamantina.

The São Franciscan depression extends to the west of Espinhaço, with a similar disposition, that is, forming a strip of north-south direction. It consists of lands of low altitude (400m on average) and relatively flat, which with a gentle slope fall into the São Francisco River. Along the valleys of some tributaries of the middle course of this river, especially the Corrente and Grande rivers, the depression throws finger-shaped extensions to the west. At the bottom of the depression is the São Francisco alluvial plain, periodically flooded by its floods.

The western plateau, made up of sedimentary rocks, rises west of the San Franciscan depression, with an approximate height of 850m. Its regular top gives it a tabular feature and the character of an extensive chapadão, to which the generic name of Espigão Mestre is applied.

The pediplano comprises the entire northeast portion of the Bahia plateau. There, wide surfaces develop that gently slope towards the coast, to the east, and to the São Francisco channel, to the north, with altitudes between 200 and 500m. These lands exhibit the typical model of a semi-arid climate, observed throughout the sertão of the Northeast region: large plains on which, here and there, isolated peaks and massifs (inselbergs). Ancient crystalline rocks form the subsoil of this region, with the exception of a strip of sedimentary formations, which from the Recôncavo project to the north, giving rise to a series of sandstone plateaus also called plateaus.


Three climatic types are observed in Bahia: the hot and humid climate without a dry season, the hot and humid climate with a dry winter season and the hot semi-arid climate, identified in the Köppen system by the symbols Af, Aw and BSh, respectively. The first dominates along the coast, with average annual temperatures of around 23o C and total rainfall above 1,500mm. The second characterizes the entire interior, with the exception of the northern part and the São Francisco valley. It presents average annual temperatures that vary between 18o C in the highest areas and 22o C in the lowest areas, and total rainfall equivalent to a thousand millimeters. The third type of climate is found in the north of the state and in the São Francisco valley. Average annual temperatures exceed 24o and even 26o C, but rainfall is less than 700mm.


Nearly 64% of the Bahian territory is covered by caatingas, 16% by savannahs, 18% by forests and two percent by fields. The forests occur in the coastal area and occupy a strip of land whose width varies between one hundred kilometers (in the Recôncavo) and 250 km (in the valley of the Pardo River). On the eastern side they appear as perennial forests, in the center as semi-deciduous and on the western side as rough deciduous. The main area of ​​occurrence of cerrados is the western plateau. Other small spots appear in the middle of the caatinga areas. The fields also appear on the western plateau, forming a narrow patch in a north-south direction. Caatingas cover the rest of the state, that is, most of its interior. All of these types of vegetation are now largely modified by human interference.


The rivers of Bahia belong to two groups: the first is integrated by the São Francisco and its tributaries. Among the latter, the tributaries of the left bank stand out, which are born in the western plateau (Carinhanha, Correntes, Grande and its tributary, the Black). The second group comprises the rivers that flow directly into the Atlantic (Mucuri, Jequitinhonha, Pardo, Contas, Paraguaçu, Itapicuru and Vaza Barris). Both groups include intermittent rivers in the semi-arid region.


The population of Bahia has strong contingents of blacks and mulattos, concentrated in the Recôncavo, in addition to numerous caboclos, who predominate in the plateau. The population distribution presents great regional contrasts. In the Recôncavo and in the cocoa region, densities of more than one hundred inhabitants per square kilometer are recorded. In large areas of the interior, the population becomes scarce, dropping these rates to about 15hab./km2 (chapadões, Chapada Diamantina and semi-arid hinterland).

In addition to the functions of political and administrative capital, port and industrial center, the city of Salvador plays the role of a regional metropolis for a vast area, which comprises almost the entire Bahian territory and also the entire state of Sergipe and the extreme south of the state. Piauí. Only small areas located in the extreme north and south, which are linked to Recife, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte, escape from the economic influence of Salvador. However, only the Recôncavo is under its direct action.

The main cities in the state act like so many other economic hubs, especially in the hinterland. They are: Feira de Santana, on the outskirts of Recôncavo; Itabuna and Ilhéus, in the cocoa region; Jequié and Vitória da Conquista, on the plateau; and Juazeiro, on the right bank of the São Francisco. Other important cities are Alagoinhas, Paulo Afonso, Itamaraju, Camaçari, Bom Jesus da Lapa, Jacobina and Valença.

Bahia, Brazil Geography