RondìniaStateSituation and CharacteristicsIn the far west of Brazil, nearer the Pacific than the Atlantic, is the state of Rondìnia (known until 1956 as Guaporé). On the west it has a common boundary of only a few kilometers with Acre; on the north it is bordered by Amazonas, on the east by Mato Grosso; and to the south-west is the neighboring country of Bolivia. The region is still very thinly populated, though since 1975 there has been a considerable influx of peasants from other Brazilian states, threatening the last retreats of the Indians. The economy of the state depends mainly on the mining of tin ore, prospecting for gold and forestry.
Porto Velho, Brazil
Porto VelhoSituation and CharacteristicsPorto Velho, capital of Rondìnia, lies on the Rio Madeira, 901km/560mi south-west of Manaus and 1456km/905mi north-west of Cuiabá.Bus stationAvenida Governador Jorge TeixeiraAirportAeroporto Nacional BelmontHistoryThe settlement of Rondìnia began, for all practical purposes, with the construction of the railway line from Madeira to Mamoré (between Porto Velho and Guajará-Mirim, on the Rio Mamoré). Driven through the primeval forest at the cost of thousands of lives, it became known as the "Devil's Railway". The line, agreed on in the treaty of Petrópolis (1903), was designed for the transport of Bolivian products, by way of compensation for the loss of Acre, which under the treaty was incorporated in Brazil. It also promoted the development of Porto Velho and other places in Rondìnia where many of the construction workers settled.
Railway MuseumAt the end of Avenida 7 de Setembro, close to the harbor, is the former railway station, which now houses the Railway Museum, with relics of the old Madeira-Mamoré line, including a steam engine of 1878 known as Maria-Fumaça ("Smoky Mary").
HarborOn the Rio Madeira, near Avenida 7 de Setembro, is the Cai N'Agua harbor, where boats can be hired for trips on the river.