Located in the northwest of Brazil, Roraima, which was upgraded from territory to state
in 1988, is the least populated of the 26 Brazilian states, with a mere 1.16 inhabitant by
square km (0.39 square mile). Brazil’s extreme northern point, the Roraima mount at the
Pacaraima mountain range, is in Roraima, right on the border with Venezuela and Guyana.
According to the 1995 census, the state has 262,201 residents, 40,000 of whom are
Indians, constituting the third largest Indian population in the country. The reservations
take up half of the state 225,116 square km (86,900 square miles) territory, roughly the
size of Utah. The native presence, especially of the Yanomami, whose reservation occupies
9.4 million hectares, has created several conflicts. Many see it as an impediment to the
growth of the state.
Roraimenses contribute a diminutive 0.11% to the Gross Domestic Product. The main crops
in the area are manioc, orange and corn. They also raise cattle and swine. Logging,
diamond and gold mining, and ceramics are some of the other economic activities.
Despite all the uproar in the last two decades and a half, the
Amazon is still an impressive and mostly intact forest with a size two thirds of the