A pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. It is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone's own beliefs. Many religions attach spiritual importance to particular places: the place of birth or death of founders or saints, or to the place of their "calling" or spiritual awakening, or of their connection with the divine, to locations where miracles were performed or witnessed, or locations where a deity is said to live or be "housed", or any site, seen to have special spiritual powers; such sites may be commemorated with shrines or temples that devotees are encouraged to visit for their own spiritual benefit: to be healed or have questions answered or to achieve some other spiritual benefit. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim; as a common human experience, pilgrimage has been proposed as a Jungian archetype by Wallace Clift and Jean Dalby Clift.
The Holy Land acts as a focal point for the pilgrimages of the Abrahamic religions of Judaism and Islam. According to a Stockholm University study in 2011, these pilgrims visit the Holy Land to touch and see physical manifestations of their faith, confirm their beliefs in the holy context with collective excitation, connect to the Holy Land. Bahá'u'lláh decreed pilgrimage to two places in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas: the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Baghdad and the House of the Báb in Shiraz, Iran. `Abdu'l-Bahá designated the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji, Israel as a site of pilgrimage. The designated sites for pilgrimage are not accessible to the majority of Bahá'ís, as they are in Iraq and Iran and thus when Bahá'ís refer to pilgrimage, it refers to a nine-day pilgrimage which consists of visiting the holy places at the Bahá'í World Centre in northwest Israel in Haifa and Bahjí. There are four places that Buddhists pilgrimage to: Lumbini: Buddha's birthplace Bodh Gaya: place of Enlightenment Sarnath: where he delivered his first teaching Kusinara: where he attained mahaparinirvana.
Other pilgrimage places in India and Nepal connected to the life of Gautama Buddha are: Savatthi, Nalanda, Vesali, Kapilavastu, Rajagaha. Other famous places for Buddhist pilgrimage include: India: Sanchi, Ajanta. Thailand: Sukhothai, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Doi Suthep. Tibet: Lhasa, Mount Kailash, Lake Nam-tso. Cambodia: Angkor Wat, Silver Pagoda. Sri Lanka: Polonnaruwa, Temple of the Tooth, Anuradhapura. Laos: Luang Prabang. Malaysia: Kek Lok Si, Cheng Hoon Teng, Maha Vihara Myanmar: Bagan, Sagaing Hill. Nepal: Boudhanath, Swayambhunath. Indonesia: Borobudur. China: Yung-kang, Lung-men caves; the Four Sacred Mountains Japan: Shikoku Pilgrimage, 88 Temple pilgrimage in the Shikoku island. Japan 100 Kannon, pilgrimage composed of the Bandō and Chichibu pilgrimages. Saigoku 33 Kannon, pilgrimage in the Kansai region. Bandō 33 Kannon, pilgrimage in the Kantō region. Chichibu 34 Kannon, pilgrimage in Saitama Prefecture. Chūgoku 33 Kannon, pilgrimage in the Chūgoku region. Kumano Kodō Mount Kōya. Christian pilgrimage was first made to sites connected with the birth, life and resurrection of Jesus.
Aside from the early example of Origen in the third century, surviving descriptions of Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land date from the 4th century, when pilgrimage was encouraged by church fathers including Saint Jerome, established by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. The purpose of Christian pilgrimage was summarized by Pope Benedict XVI this way:To go on pilgrimage is not to visit a place to admire its treasures of nature, art or history. To go on pilgrimage means to step out of ourselves in order to encounter God where he has revealed himself, where his grace has shone with particular splendour and produced rich fruits of conversion and holiness among those who believe. Above all, Christians go on pilgrimage to the Holy Land, to the places associated with the Lord’s passion and resurrection, they go to Rome, the city of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, to Compostela, associated with the memory of Saint James, has welcomed pilgrims from throughout the world who desire to strengthen their spirit with the Apostle’s witness of faith and love.
Pilgrimages were, are made to Rome and other sites associated with the apostles and Christian martyrs, as well as to places where there have been apparitions of the Virgin Mary. A popular pilgrimage journey is along the Way of St. James to the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, in Galicia, where the shrine of the apostle James is located. A combined pilgrimage was held every seven years in the three nearby towns of Maastricht and Kornelimünster where many important relics could be seen. Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales recounts tales told by Christian pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral and the shrine of Thomas Becket. According to Karel Werner's Popular Dictionary of Hinduism, "most Hindu places of pilgrimage are associated with legendary events from the lives of various gods.... Any place can become a focus for pilgrimage, but in most cases they are sacred cities, rivers and mountains." Hindus are encouraged to undertake pilgrimages during their lifetime, though this practice is not considered mandatory.
Most Hindus visit sites within their locale. Kumbh Mela: Kumbh Mela is one of the largest gatherings of humans in the world where pilgrims gather to
Brazil the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, its most populated city is São Paulo; the federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers, it borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats; this unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries, is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. Independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system; the ratification of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following a military coup d'état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil's current constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history, the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Brazil is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the ninth largest GDP in the world by nominal, eight and PPP measures, it is one of the world's major breadbaskets, being the largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power and sometimes considered a great or a middle power in international affairs. On account of its international recognition and influence, the country is subsequently classified as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries, it is that the word "Brazil" comes from the Portuguese word for brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast.
In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from brasa and the suffix -il. As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was valued by the European textile industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Throughout the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders in return for assorted European consumer goods; the official Portuguese name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross", but European sailors and merchants called it the "Land of Brazil" because of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and supplanted the official Portuguese name; some early sailors called it the "Land of Parrots". In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama"; this was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
Some of the earliest human remains found in the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago; the pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, complex social formations such as chiefdoms. Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing and migrant agriculture; the indigenous population of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups. The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, there were many subdivisions of the other gro
Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. It belongs to microregion of Fortaleza. Located 2285 km from Brasilia, the federal capital, the city has developed on the banks of the creek Pajeú, its name is an allusion to Fort Schoonenborch, which gave rise to the city, built by the Dutch during their second stay in the area between 1649 and 1654; the motto of Fortaleza, present in its coat of arms is the Latin word Fortitudine, which means "with strength/courage". In 2013, Fortaleza was the twelfth richest city in the country in GDP and second in the Northeast, with 49 billion reais, it has the third richest metropolitan area in the North and Northeast regions. It is an important industrial and commercial center of Brazil, the nation's eighth largest municipality in purchasing power. According to the Ministry of Tourism, the city reached the mark of second most desired destination of Brazil and fourth among Brazilian cities in tourists received; the BR-116, the most important highway of the country, starts in Fortaleza.
The municipality is part of the Common Market of Mercosur Cities, the Brazilian state capital, closest to Europe, 5608 km from Lisbon, Portugal. To the north of the city lies the Atlantic Ocean. Residents of the city are known as Fortalezenses. Fortaleza is one of the three leading cities in the Northeast region together with Recife and Salvador; the city was one of the host cities of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Fortaleza's history began on February 2, 1500, when Spaniard Vicente Pinzón landed in Mucuripe's cove and named the new land Santa Maria de la Consolación; because of the Treaty of Tordesillas, the discovery was never sanctioned. Colonisation began in 1603, when the Portuguese Pero Coelho de Souza constructed the Fort of São Tiago and founded the settlement of Nova Lisboa. After a victory over the French in 1612, Martins Soares Moreno expanded the Fort of São Tiago and changed its name to Forte de São Sebastião. In 1630 the Dutch invaded the Brazilian Northeast and in 1637 they took the Fort of São Sebastião and ruled over Ceará.
In battles with the Portuguese and natives in 1644 the fort was destroyed. Under captain Matthias Beck the Dutch West Indies Company built a new fortress by the banks of river Pajeú. Fort Schoonenborch opened on August 19, 1649. After the capitulation of Pernambuco in 1654, the Dutch handed over this fortress to the Portuguese, who renamed it Fortaleza da Nossa Senhora de Assunção, after which the city of Fortaleza takes its name. Fortaleza was founded as a village 1726, becoming the capital of Ceará state in 1799. During the 19th century, Fortaleza was consolidated as an urban centre in Ceará, supported by the cotton industry. With the transformation of the city into a regional export center and with the increase of direct navigation to Europe, the customs building of Fortaleza was built in 1812. Silva Paulet played an important role in the structural evolution of the city, erecting works like the Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assunção in 1812, in the place of what remained of the old fort, the public promenade in 1820, besides having been the author of the first urban plan of the city in 1812.
In 1824, the city was targeted by the revolutionaries of Confederation of the Equator. In the second half of the century, as a result of the fertile cotton era, the city was seized by a great period of urban development and construction of remarkable equipment, such as the Lyceum of Ceará and the Lighthouse of Mucuripe in 1845, Santa Casa de Misericórdia in 1861, the Prainha Seminary in 1864, the water supply system in 1866, the public library in 1867, the public prison in 1870, the Ceará Railroad Network, the Fortaleza port on the Ponte Metálica, textile factories, intellectual centers and Communication vehicles, for example; the period was marked as the belle époque of Fortaleza, representing a time of economic consecration, reflected in areas such as architecture and intellectual production. Between the years 1846 and 1877, the city went through a period of enrichment and infrastructural improvement. In order to discipline the growth of the city, Adolpho Herbster continued the urban planning scheme conceived by Silva Paulet in 1818, characterized by a checkerboard street grid, inspired by the reforms carried out in Paris by Baron Haussman, designed the topographic plan of the fortress and suburbs in 1875 a definitive landmark of municipal urbanism.
In the 1870s and 1880s, the Ceará Abolitionist Movement and the republican ideals that culminated in the liberation of the slaves in Ceará on March 25, 1884, four years before the Golden Law came into being and were strengthened. The main event of the abolitionist cause of Ceará in the capital was the popular uprising, between January 27 and 31, 1881, led by the Dragon-headed raiders, who ended the slave trade in the capital, fueling the state libertarian impetus and National level; the intellectuals of the literary movement of the Spiritual Bakery, which emerged in 1892 contributed to the diffusion of progressive ideas in Fortaleza. In the twentieth century, Fortaleza underwent significant urban changes, with improvements and the rural exodus to the city, with growth towards the end of the decade of 1910, this made the city the seventh most populated city in Brazil. In 1922, Fortaleza reached its fi
Crato is a city of 150,000 inhabitants on the banks of the river Granjeiro in the south of the state of Ceará, in the northeast of Brazil. It was founded on June 1764 by the Capuchin friar Carlos Maria de Ferrara, it was a small village in which the population were principally native Kariris, it gained official status as a city on October 17, 1817. The Brazilian city of Crato was named in honor to Crato, a Portuguese town, founded in the 13th century; the people of Crato credit their city's blossoming to a priest, Padre Cicecero, outcast from the nearby town of Juazeiro do Norte in the late 1800s and settled in Crato with his various followers thereafter. Various images and statues of the priest can be found around Crato as a sign of appreciation for the priest. Crato is about 550 km from Fortaleza, the capital of the state of Ceará, its county has a surface area of 1,117 km². It is at an altitude of 426m, 07°14′03″S 39°24′34″W, its population of 110,000 makes it the sixth largest city in Ceará.
The economy is a mix of agriculture. The region is rich in minerals gypsum and marble. Crato has its Roman Catholic Diocese which has contributed for the educational system of the region with schools; the main campus of UFCA is located here. The city is surrounded by a tropical wood in the Araripe basin near the border of the state of Pernambuco; the climate is mild, with somewhat more rain than is typical of the region. Crato is connected to the nearby city of Juazeiro do Norte by a commuter rail line called the Cariri Metro that opened in 2009–2010. List of municipalities in Ceará
Northeast Region, Brazil
The Northeast Region of Brazil is one of the five official and political regions of the country according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics. For the socio-geographic area see Nordeste. Of Brazil's twenty-six states, it comprises nine: Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Alagoas and Bahia, along with the Fernando de Noronha archipelago. Chiefly known as Nordeste in Brazil, this region was the first to be discovered and colonized by the Portuguese and other European peoples, playing a crucial role in the country's history. Nordeste's dialects and rich culture, including its folklore, cuisines and literature, became the most distinguishable across the country. To this day, Nordeste is recognized for its history and culture, as well as for its beautiful natural sights and its hot weather. Nordeste stretches from the Atlantic seaboard in the northeast and southeast and west to the Amazon Basin and south through the Espinhaço highlands in southern Bahia, it encloses the São Francisco River and drainage basin, which were instrumental in the exploration and economic development of the region.
The region lies within the earth's tropical zone and encompasses Caatinga, Atlantic Forest and part of the Cerrado ecoregions. The climate is hot and semi-arid, varying from xeric in Caatinga, to mesic in Cerrado and hydric in the Atlantic Forest; the Northeast Region represents 18% of Brazilian territory, has a population of 53.6 million people, 28% of the total population of the country, contributes 13.4% of Brazil's GDP. Nearly three quarters of the population live in urban areas clustered along the Atlantic coast and about 15 million people live in the hinterland, it is an impoverished region: 58% of the population lives in poverty, defined as less than $2/day. Each of the states' capitals are its largest cities, they include Recife, Fortaleza and São Luís, all lying on the Atlantic coast, each with a population above a million inhabitants. Nordeste has nine international airports, the region has the second largest number of passengers in Brazil; the Zona da Mata comprises the rainforest zones of Nordeste in the humid eastern coast, where the region's largest capital cities are located.
The forest area was much larger before suffering from centuries of exploration. For many years, sugar cane cultivation in this region was the mainstay of Brazil's economy, being superseded only when coffee production developed in the late 19th century; the sugar cane is cultivated on large estates and the owners of these had and maintain tremendous political influence. Since the escarpment does not generate any further rainfall on its slopes from the lifting of the trade winds, annual rainfall decreases inland. After a short distance, there is no longer enough rainfall to support tropical rainforest since the rainfall is erratic from year to year; this transitional zone is known as the agreste and because it is located on the steep escarpment, was not used whilst flatter land was abundant. Today, with irrigation water available, the agreste, as its name suggest, is a major farming region. Despite containing no major city, it contains well developed medium large cities such as Caruaru, Campina Grande and Arapiraca.
In Portuguese, the word sertão first referred to the vast hinterlands of Asia and South America that Lusitanian explorers encountered. In Brazil, the geographical term referred to backlands away from the Atlantic coastal regions where the Portuguese first settled in South America in the early sixteenth century. Geographically, the Sertão consists of low uplands that form part of the Brazilian Highlands. Most parts of the sertão are between 200 and 500 meters above sea level, with higher elevations found on the eastern edge in the Planalto da Borborema, where it merges into a sub-humid region known as agreste, in the Serra da Ibiapaba in western Ceará and in the Serro do Periquito of central Pernambuco. In the north, the Sertão extends to the northern coastal plains of Rio Grande do Norte state, whilst in the south it fades out in the northern fringe of Minas Gerais; because the Sertão lies close to the equator, temperatures remain nearly uniform throughout the year and are tropical extremely hot in the west.
However, the sertão is distinctive in its low rainfall compared to other areas of Brazil. Because of the cool temperatures in the South Atlantic Ocean, the intertropical convergence zone remains north of the region for most of the year, so that most of the year is dry. Although annual rainfall averages between 500 and 800 millimeters over most of the sertão and 1300 millimeters on the northern coast at Fortaleza, it is confined to a short rainy season; this season extends from January to April in the west, but in the eastern sertão it occurs from March to June. However, rainfall is erratic and in some years the rains are minimal, leading to catastrophic drought. Meio-Norte is a transition area between the high rainfalls region of Amazon Rainforest and the semi arid region of Sertão covering the state of Maranhão and half of Piaui; the Northeast region comprises the drainage basins of the São Francisco, Canindé, Parnaíba Rivers. Geographically, Nordeste consists chiefly of an eroded continental craton with many low hills and small ranges.
The highest peaks are around 1,850 metres in Bahia, while further north there are no
Cícero Romão Batista, known as Padre Cícero, was a Brazilian Roman Catholic priest who became a spiritual leader to the people of Northeastern Brazil. In the course of his ministry, he was accused of heresy by Church officials becoming suspended but not formally excommunicated. Batista has been declared a saint by the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church, he was listed in the Top 100 Greatest Brazilians of All Time in July 2012. Reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church happened in December 2015. Batista was born in the Municipality of Crato, Ceará, in 1844, the son of Joaquim Romão Batista and Joaquina Vicência Romana; when he was six years old, he started to study under Rufino de Alcântara Montezuma. In his youth, he took a vow of chastity, made; this was influenced by his reading the life of St. Francis de Sales. In 1860, Batista went to school in Cajazeiras, but because of the untimely death of his father in 1862, he had to return home to his mother and sisters; the death of his father, a small businessman in Crato, brought serious financial difficulties to his family.
Batista was ordained a priest on November 30, 1870. After his ordination he returned to Crato and taught Latin in the Colégio Padre Ibiapina and directed by José Joaquim Teles Marrocos, his cousin and friend. For Christmas of 1871, invited by his teacher Simeão Correia de Macedo, Batista visited for the first time the small community of Juazeiro and celebrated the traditional Missa do galo. Batista, 28 years old, white-skinned, light haired, who had penetrating blue eyes, impressed the locals, and he was impressed by them. So after a few months on 11 April 1872, he was back in Juazeiro with his family and suitcases, to stay there as a permanent resident. Many books state that Batista decided to stay in Juazeiro because of a vision that he had; this supposed dream occurred after a long day of hearing confessions, when he looked for a room to rest in and fell asleep. According to his close friends, he saw Jesus Christ, the twelve apostles sitting at a table, similar to Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper.
The place was full of poor Northeastern Brazilians. Christ, looking to the poor, said that he was upset with humanity, but that he was still willing to do the last sacrifice to save the world. But, if men didn't repent He was going to destroy everything at once. At that moment, he pointed to the poor and, said, "And you, Padre Cícero, take care of them!" In 1889, when Maria de Araujo received Holy Communion from Batista, her mouth started to bleed. While the local people saw this as a miracle, Church authorities suspected other causes; the Holy Office in Rome charged him of mystification. His faculties to celebrate Mass and the sacraments were suspended in 1894, though he continued to celebrate Mass at his church. In 1898, he met with Pope Leo XIII in Rome, he was granted a partial reprieve. Batista started work on the small local chapel, getting different images with the offerings of the faithful. Afterwards, touched by the burning desire to win over the people that God confided into his care, he started intense preaching.
He gave many counsels, made many visits to homes, starting to exercise great leadership in the community. He began to try to change the immoral customs of the people getting rid of excessive drunkenness and prostitution. With harmony restored, the community started to grow. Many people from neighboring communities were attracted by the new large chapel. Batista was involved in the political of his time and was a member of the Conservative Republican Party of Brazil; when Juazeiro was raised to the status of a municipality, he was appointed its first mayor. He governed the city in this capacity for most of the next twenty years. Despite some attempts to relate Batista to communism and, much to Liberation Theology, he was anti-communist. In an interview given in 1931, he stated: "Communism was started by the Devil. Lucifer is his name and the dissemination of his doctrine is the war of the Devil against God. I know communism and I know that it's evil. It's the continuation of the war of the fallen angels against the Creator and His children."
Batista died on July 20, 1934, in Juazeiro do Norte, Brazil, at the age of 90. He was buried in the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. Today, a large statue of Padre Cícero stands in Juazeiro do Norte, to which he is considered to be the patron saint of the city. A pilgrimage to this statue takes place in his honour every November, attracting hundreds of thousands of followers. Batista was canonized by an Independent Catholic church, he is not recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, though Pope Benedict XVI proposed a study on Padre Cícero as a candidate for canonization. On 13 December 2015, as part of the opening ceremonies of the Holy Year proclaimed by Pope Francis, the Bishop of Crato, Fernando Panico, M. S. C. declared the rehabilitation of Batista's status with the Roman Catholic Church. He further declared Cícero to have been a man of extraordinary virtues, formally reconciling him with the Church. Https://web.archive.org/web/20120119054747/http://www.sfiec.org.br/noticias/padrecicero260704.htm http://www.cruzterrasanta.com.br/padre-cicero/#historia https://web.archive.org/web/20120410211033/http://www.padrecicero.org.br/
Ceará is one of the 27 states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Atlantic coast. It is the eighth-largest Brazilian State by the 17th by area, it is one of the main tourist destinations in Brazil. The state capital is the city of the country's fourth most populous city; the name Ceará means "sings the jandaia". According to José de Alencar, one of the most important writers of Brazil and an authority in Tupi Guaraní, Ceará means turquoise or green waters. There are theories that the state name would derive from Siriará, a reference to the crabs from the seashore; the state is best known with 600 kilometers of sand. There are mountains and valleys producing tropical fruits. To the south, on the border of Paraíba, Pernambuco and Piauí, is the National Forest of Araripe. Ceará has an area of 148,016 square kilometres, it is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba, on the south by Pernambuco state, on the west by Piauí.
Ceará lies upon the northeast slope of the Brazilian Highlands, upon the sandy coastal plain. Its surface is a succession of great terraces, facing north and northeast, formed by the denudation of the ancient sandstone plateau which once covered this part of the continent; the latter are the remains of the ancient plateau, capped with horizontal strata of sandstone, with a uniform altitude of 2,000 to 2,400 feet. The flat top of such a range is called a chapada or taboleira, its width in places is from 32 to 56 miles; the boundary line with Piauí follows one of these ranges, the Serra de Ibiapaba, which unites with another range on the southern boundary of the state, known as the Serra do Araripe. Another range, or escarpment, crosses the state from east to west, but is broken into two principal divisions, each having several local names; these ranges are not continuous, the breaking down of the ancient plateau having been irregular and uneven. The rivers of the state are small and, with one or two exceptions, become dry in the dry season.
The largest is the Jaguaribe, which flows across the state in a northeast direction. Ceará has a varied environment, with mangroves, jungle and tropical forest; the higher ranges intercept considerable moisture from the prevailing trade winds, their flanks and valleys are covered with a tropical forest, typical of the region, gathering species from tropical forests and cerrado. The less elevated areas of the plateaus are either thinly open campo. Most of the region at the lower altitudes is characterized by scrubby forests called caatingas, an endemic Brazilian vegetation; the sandy, coastal plain, with a width of 12 to 18 miles, is nearly bare of vegetation, although the coast has many enclaves of restingas and mangroves. The soil is, in general and porous and does not retain moisture; some areas in the higher ranges of Serra da Ibiapaba, Serra do Araripe and others are more appropriate for agriculture, as their soil and vegetation are less affected by the dry seasons. The beaches of the state is a major tourist attraction.
Ceará has several famous beaches such as Canoa Quebrada, Morro Branco, Taíba and Flexeiras. The beaches are divided into two groups: Sunrise Coast. Ceará lies in one of the few regions of the country. In 1980 an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale struck near Quixeramobim in the center of the state, rattling the city of Fortaleza but causing no injuries. The climate of Ceará is hot all year; the temperature in the state varies from 22 to 36 °C. The coast is humid, tempered by the cool trade winds. In the higher ranges the temperatures are cooler and vary from about 14 to 18 °C; the record minimum temperature registered in Ceará was 8 °C, recorded in Jardim, a small city in Chapada do Araripe. The year is divided into a rainy and dry season, the rains beginning in January to March and lasting until June; the dry season, July to December, is sometimes broken by slight showers in September and October, but these are of slight importance. Sometimes the rains fail altogether, a drought ensues, causing famine and pestilence throughout the entire region.
The most destructive droughts recorded in the 18th and 19th centuries were those of 1711, 1723, 1777–1778, 1790, 1825, 1844–1845, 1877 to 1878, the last-mentioned destroying nearly all the livestock in the state, causing the death through starvation and pestilence of nearly half a million people, or over half the population. Because of the constant risk of droughts, many dams have been built throughout Ceará, the largest of them the Açude Castanhão; because of the dams, the Jaguaribe River no longer dries up completely. The t