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Rio Grande do Sul

Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil. It is bordered on the north by the Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Uruguay, and on the west by Argentina. Its population is estimated at a little over 10 million.

Capital: Porto Alegre.

Governor: Germano Antonio Rigotto

Although mainly rural for much of its early history, Rio Grande do Sul served as the launching pad for several major wars Brazil waged against its southern and western neighbors. It also was a focal point for internal rebellion in the 19th century. Getulio Vargas, who led Brazil as dictator from 1930 and later was elected president in 1950 (before committing suicide), was a native of Rio Grande do Sul.

Rio Grande do Sul's population consists primarily of the descendants of European immigrants, especially Portuguese, Italians, Spaniards, and Germans.

One of the most prosperous Brazilian states, Rio Grande do Sul is known especially for grain production, viticulture, ranching, and for its considerable industrial output. Natives of the state are known as gaúchos, named after the cattle herders and ranchers who settled the state's pampa[?] regions.

In the far western area of the state are the remnants of Brazil's 17th century Jesuit missions or reductions (aldéias) to the Guaraní Indians.

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