Province since 1853, when it was separated from São Paulo, Paraná only became part of the Brazilian economy from the first half of the 20th century, when it became the largest coffee producer in the country. Also benefiting from the influx of European immigrants (Poles, Germans and Italians), the state, at the end of the century, presented a panorama of rapid industrialization and progress in all sectors of social life.
According to picktrue.com, the state of Paraná is located in the southern region of Brazil, where it occupies an area of 199,554km2. It is limited to the east with the Atlantic Ocean, to the north with São Paulo, to the south with Santa Catarina, to the northwest with Mato Grosso do Sul, to the southwest with Argentina and to the west with Paraguay. Its capital is Curitiba.
Three climatic types characterize the state of Paraná: the Cfa, Cfb and Cwa climates of the Köppen classification. The Cfa climate, subtropical with well-distributed rains during the year and hot summers, occurs in two distinct parts of the state, on the coastal plain and in the lower portions of the plateau, that is, in its western portion. It registers average annual temperatures of 19o C and annual rainfall of 1,500mm, somewhat higher on the coast than inland.
The Cfb climate, subtropical with well distributed rains during the year and mild summers, occurs in the highest part of the state and involves the crystalline plateau, the paleozoic plateau and the eastern part of the basaltic plateau. Average annual temperatures oscillate around 17o C and rainfall reaches about 1,200mm annually.
The Cwa climate, subtropical with hot summers and dry winters, occurs in the northwestern portion of the state. It is the so-called high altitude tropical climate, because unlike the two described above, which register well-distributed rains throughout the year, it presents rainfall typical of tropical regimes, with dry winters and rainy summers. The annual average temperature oscillates around 20o C and the annual rainfall reaches 1,300mm. Almost the entire state is subject to more than five days of frost per year, but in the southern portion and in the higher parts of the plateaus there are more than ten days. Snow appears sporadically in the Curitiba area.
The drainage network comprises rivers that flow directly to the coast and rivers that flow westward, tributaries of Paraná. The former have short courses, as they are born a short distance from the coast. The longest are those heading for the state of São Paulo, where the waters of the Ribeira de Iguape River will thicken. Most of the state’s surface is thus under the control of the tributaries of the Paraná River, of which the most extensive are Paranapanema, which borders São Paulo, and Iguaçu, which partly borders Santa Catarina and Argentina. The Paraná River marks the western limits of the state, separating it from Mato Grosso and Paraguay.
At the point of convergence of the dividing lines of Mato Grosso do Sul-Paraguay, Paraná-Mato Grosso do Sul and Paraná-Paraguay were the falls of Sete Quedas, formed by the Paraná River when descending from the basaltic plateau to the gorge that led to the platinum plain. In 1982 two jumps were submerged, under protest from environmentalists, by the lake of the Itaipu dam. Further south, the Iguaçu River also descends from the basaltic plateau towards the same gorge. It then forms the falls of Iguaçu, which were not affected by the construction of the dam, since Itaipu is located upstream of the confluence of the two rivers.
High rates of population growth characterized Paraná between the 1940s and 1960s, due to considerable human contingents coming, in large part, from the states of São Paulo, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais. These migratory currents were linked to the expansion, through the territory of Paraná, of agricultural areas in São Paulo and Santa Catarina, which moved in search of still virgin forest soils. The most populated areas of the state are those of Curitiba, from the north and west.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the population of Paraná reached only about 330,000 inhabitants, and in 1950 it was barely more than two million. From that period onwards, there was a rapid urbanization process. Not only has the number of cities increased dramatically, but the most important centers have experienced a sharp increase in population.
The largest cities in the state, in addition to its capital, Curitiba, are Londrina, Maringá, Ponta Grossa, Cascavel, Foz do Iguaçu, Guarapuava, Colombo, Paranaguá, Umuarama, Apucarana and Campo Mourão.
The territory of Paraná is located within the area of influence of the city of São Paulo. The metropolis of São Paulo commands the economic life of the state through the urban centers of Ourinhos, in São Paulo, and Jacarezinho, Maringá, Londrina and Curitiba, in Paraná. Ourinhos and Jacarezinho jointly dominate the eastern portion of northern Paraná; Londrina is the center of the region, and Maringá, the western part.
Curitiba serves the rest of the state of Paraná and almost all of the state of Santa Catarina, excluding the Tubarão region in the east and Chapecó in the west. The action of the capital, in its area of influence of Paraná, is felt directly or through the intermediate centers of Ponta Grossa and Pato Branco. The area of direct influence comprises the entire east and southeast of the state. Pato Branco serves the southwestern portion, and Ponta Grossa, the entire center and west.