English: Flag of the State of Tocantins, Brazi...
English: Flag of the State of Tocantins, Brazil. Português: Bandeira do Estado do Tocantins, Brasil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As EcoHouse Group continues to pay out hundreds of thousands to it’s Singaporean investors the question on everyone’s lips is that when the current Bosque projects currently under construction near Natal, Rio Grande do Norte are finally completed early next year which will be the next state to benefit from EcoHouse’s Minha Casa Minha Vida developments which have been reported as being some of the highest quality social housing units ever constructed in Brazil.

Many people have speculated that their will be further projects launched in Rio Grande do Norte, after all this is where EcoHouse has it’s main offices, but EcoHouse’s purchase of a controlling stake in the Brazilian construction company Conisa last earlier this year means that that have more resources to build further a field and other north east states such as Maranhão, Ceará, Paraíba and Piauí have been mentioned on a number of occasions, but what about state north typically classed and North Eastern state such as Tocantins for example?

Tocantins is the newest state of Brazil. It’s only existed in the central zone of the country since 1988 when it was separated from Goias. Its new capital city, Palmas, was started the following year. The other main towns and settlements in Tocantins mostly date from the old Portuguese colonial period. The state has mixed geographical features, influenced as it is by the Amazon and other river systems. These include huge hydroelectric potential which involve the Tocantins and Araguaia Rivers. In contrast, other parts of the state have extensive open grasslands and pasture areas as well as some rainforest near the Amazon river. Another interesting aspect of Tocantins is the Ilha do Bananal in the south west which is in fact the largest river-island in the world. It’s in the Araguaia River, between two forks, and has a huge area of 7,400 square miles (which is about twice the size of Jamaica).

Although the area has significant rainfall the soil is generally not very good for farming as it lacks natural nutrients. This is a feature of the ‘cerrado’ landscape which covers a wide area of central Brazil. The main feature of this kind of land is extensive grassland and savanna, mixed with some alpine style pastures. Agriculture was always possible; however, it just required more soil-management than in some other areas. Nowadays modern fertilizer and nutrition techniques have made food-growing not just viable but much more profitable than it used to be.

The history of the region started back in the early seventeenth century. The fist recorded penetration by European explorers was in 1625 when Jesuit missionaries first arrived, Their main purpose was of course to convert the local people to Christianity but eventually they were followed by settlers who had much more worldly intentions. These often involved the indigenous tribespeople (and not usually to their advantage). Until 1988 Tocantins was the northern, relatively inaccessible part of Goias State. Over the years, however a sense of separate identity had been slowly but surely developing which eventually led to separation. The new state has steadily extended its agriculturally based economy since then. The main city of the state of Tocantins is its capital, Palmas which has about a quarter of a million people in its metropolitan area. Other major towns and settlements include Araguiana with about 150,000 people and Gurupi with seventy-five thousand. There are about a dozen other significant towns with populations above twenty thousand or so.

These days the state is seen as having great potential for the future and every year thousands of immigrants from all over the country immigrate to live and work in the area.