The diverse interior

The interior states of Goiás, Tocantins, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso and the Federal District of Brasilia are covered by an extraordinary range of ecosystems.

Like the neighbouring Amazon region, the Cerrado savannah is another area whose extraordinary biodiversity is threatened by widespread deforestation. Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, lies at the area’s heart. Built in the late 1950s, the concept of a new capital had been discussed since the country became independent in 1822. Moving the capital city from Rio de Janeiro, on the coast, to the centre of the country symbolised the shift from colonial settlement to independent state.

Another World Cup 2014 host city, Cuiabá, lies at the exact geographic centre of South America, at the meeting point of Amazon rainforest, Pantanal wetlands and the Cerrado tropical savannah. The Arena Pantanal, a new stadium that was built for Brazil 2014 in Cuiabá and the virtually rebuilt Estádio Nacional in Brasilia both had recycling, carbon neutrality and ongoing sustainability embedded into their development.

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    Axe head; Minas Gerais;  

    Axe head

    Axe heads with this distinctive shape are typical of those produced by indigenous Brazilians of the ‘Gê’ language group who were spread across the grassland and forested areas of Brazil’s interior. The axe head is ornamental rather than functional.

  • 2

    Feather headdress; Kayapó people; 20th century 

    Feather headdress

    When the bandeirantes began raiding the interior of Brazil to capture slaves, many indigenous groups fled towards the western reaches of the country and into Amazon rainforest. The Kayapó eventually fought back and remain one of few indigenous groups to still occupy large areas of the interior.

  • 3

    Whistle; Krahô people; late 19th – early 20th century 


    This whistle was created for ceremonies by the Krahô indigenous group who have lived for centuries in the interior regions of Brazil. The whistle is made from the claw of a giant armadillo, a species which inhabits the Cerrado savannah area of Brazil.

  • 4

    Child-carrying sling; Cherente people; early 20th century  

    Child-carrying sling

    This woven band would have been used by a member of the Cherente tribe to carry a baby. There are many tribes still living traditional lifestyles in Brazil today, but the deforestation of the Amazon region and lack of resources to protect indigenous land makes this increasingly difficult.