The state of Rio de Janeiro lies on the south-east coast of Brazil, separated by the Rio Preto and Rio Paraíba do Sul from the neighboring state of Minas Gerais to the north.
To the north-east is Espírito Santo, to the south-west São Paulo. The coastline of the state is much indented; Guanabara Bay, between the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Niterói, is claimed to be the best natural harbor in the world. The relatively narrow coastal plain is watered by numerous rivers and bounded inland by the steep scarp of the Brazilian Highlands (Serra da Mantiqueira, 2890m/9482ft).
In the coastal region sugar-cane, grain and citrus fruits are grown. Industry is concentrated in the Rio de Janeiro region and in Petrópolis and Niterói. Following the transfer of the national capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília in 1960 the state of Guanabara, which had been formed out of the former Federal District, was incorporated in Rio de Janeiro state.