As zonas pioneiras do Brasil


  • Leo H. Waibel
  • Walter Alberto Egler


Geografia da População, Geografia Econômica, Colonização, Fronteiras e Pioneiros


The author, Prof. Leo Waibel, studies past and present pioneer zones in Brazil, comparing their distribution to the one observed in the United States of America, and discussing the problems involved in economic planning for the Brazilian west. The author describes the area economically occupied and emphasizes that it is small in relation to the large extension of the country, on account of these characteristics, the country possesses the last disposable land reserves in the occident. The author defines, then, the expression pioneer zone, a strip of land relatively wide which stands between the virgin forest and the civilized zone, and within which agriculture and peopling caused a rush or boom. Only dynamic pioneer zones are dealt with on account of their similarity to the ones observed in the American middle-west. Examining historic Brazilian pioneer zones, the author concludes they appeared during the second half of the XVIII century when an expansion of cotton cultivation was noted, sugar cane, without causing the establishment of pioneer zones, caused an increase in the number of sugar mills and of the population of the lower Paraiba valley during the period between 1750 and 1820. During the XIX century coffee was brought to the central-eastern part of Brazil, this area presented ideal natural and economic conditions for coffee and this situation caused coffee plantations to expand towards the interior, inducing the advance of classic pioneer fringes. These fringes were the following: the pioneer zone of the depression of the Paraiba valley, which attained its peak during the second half of the XIX. century and where the agricultural system, shifting cultivation, was substituted by the capitalist plantation system, the central zone of the State of São Paulo, where coffee appeared during the same epoch as in the Paraíba as a consequence of the construction of the railroad, the São Carlos-Ribeirão Preto zone, where terra rossa occurs, also benefited from the construction of two railroads, Mojiana and Paulista, and their numerous ramifications. The Botucatu zone, localized on Triassic terrain with occasional occurrences of terra rossa, was initially occupied by farmers, only after the beginning of the present century did coffee expand in this zone. While the pioneer zones of central-eastern Brazil developed, new zones appeared to the north. In the State of Rio Grande do Sul a first zone developed after 1824, the German immigrants spreader on the foothills and on the slopes of the plateau. Another zone appeared in 1890, on the northeastern plateau of the State. In Santa Catarina, a first pioneer zone appeared in the valley of the Itajaí river on account of private enterprise, where the Colônia de Blumenau was founded in 1850. Still another zone appeared during the First World war, occupying parts of the interior plateau, its expansion facilitated by the construction of the railroad connecting São Paulo and Rio Grande. The author distinguishes five pioneer zones in Brazil, in our days: the Xapecó-Pato Branco region to the northeast of Santa Catarina and southwest of Paraná, the north of Paraná, the west of São Paulo, the so-called Mato Grosso of Goiás, the region to the north of the Doce river, in the States of Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais.