Bahia (Port, and Span., bay). I. A province of Brazil, bounded E. by the Atlantic, N. W. and N. by Pernambuco and Sergipe, W. by Goyaz, and S. by Minas Geraes and Espiritu Santo; area, about 200,000 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, estimated at 1,400,000, including nearly 300,000 slaves. It is traversed from S. W. to N. E. by a mountain range having various local names and sending forth lateral offshoots. The magnificent primeval forests are disappearing before the increasing cultivation of the soil, though many of them, especially in the Berra-Mar region, noted for their wealth of timber, still remain. The mountainous regions are the least fertile, owing to excessive dryness. The principal river is the Sao Francisco, which forms the N. and N. W. boundary, and has a rather fertile valley; but the most productive region of Bahia and the most densely populated of Brazil is the country along the const, called the Reconcavo, with many villages, farm houses, plantations, and over 20 small towns. The province is rich in palm trees of prodigious size; in cashew, nayha, and gum-yielding trees; in medicinal plants, and in manioc, fruits, and vegetables. Minerals abound, but are not worked. The discovery of diamond fields by a slave in 1844, in the Serra Sincura, led to a great influx of population.
Bahia exports more sugar than all the rest of Brazil. It is famous for its tobacco and for the increasing production of cotton, rivalling that of Pernambuco. The rice is of superior quality; the Brazil wood equals that of Pernambuco, but the coffee is inferior to that of Rio. It was one of the first of the Brazilian provinces peopled by Europeans, and the aborigines, who chiefly inhabit the mountains, are more rapidly declining here than in any other part of the empire. II. Bahia, or San Salvador, capital of the preceding province and of a district of the same name, situated on All Saints' bay (Bahia de Todos os Santos), about 800 m. N. E. of Rio de Janeiro, in lat, 13° S., lon. 38° 30'W.; pop. over 150,000, composed about equally of whites, blacks, and mixed races. Among the whites are many foreign merchants, especially from Hamburg and Bremen. The bay from which the city and province derive their name is one of the finest in the world, being 37 m. long from N. to S., and 27 m. wide from E. to W., with two entrances from the south, on either side of the island of Itapariea, and a depth of water varying from 8 to 40 fathoms. The bay contains several small islands, and is defended by a few forts.
The city is situated on the E. shore, near the entrance and just inside Cape Sao Antonio. It is built partly on the shore, but chiefly on high ground. The lower town is dirty and has very narrow streets. The houses are chiefly of stone, and some of them five stories high. In the Praya, the great business street, which runs 4 m. along the wharves, are the church of the Conception, built of stone imported from Europe, the exchange, the warehouses, the arsenal, and ship yards. The number of churches and religious houses exceeds 60. The archbishop of Bahia is primate of Brazil. In the upper town, which is well paved and has pleasant streets and a number of handsome residences, constructed with balconies and blinds in place of windows, is the most renowned Brazilian cathedral (formerly the Jesuit church), built of European marble and containing pictures of Loyola and St. Francis Xavier. The ancient Jesuit college has become a military and medical school. There is a large ecclesiastical seminary, an extensive library, and a theatre. Among other public buildings of the upper town are several hospitals (partly supported by lotteries), and the palaces of the governor and the archbishop.
In the wooded promenade, laid out on an abrupt promontory, is an obelisk in honor of John VI. The exports include sugar, cotton, coffee, tobacco, nuts, cacao, hides, horns, rum, piassara, tapioca, dyewoods, and rosewood. The value of diamonds exported is estimated at $3,000,000 annually. The imports are cotton goods, woollen and linen cloths, fish, flour, provisions, hardware, wine, copper and iron, soap, coals, and other articles. Estimated value of exports, $8,000,000; value of imports, nearly $10,000,000. The importations from England, which formerly constituted the greatest part of the import trade, have lately declined, and the trade with the German ports is also less active than formerly. About 400 British vessels enter and leave the port annually, and the shipping of all nations includes nearly 800 vessels. The commerce with the United States in the nine months ending June 30, 1870, included 61 inward and outward vessels, with cargoes of an aggregate value of about $400,-000. The coasting trade is exclusively carried on by Brazilian vessels. - The bay was discovered in 1503 by Americus Vespucius, and the city was founded in 1510 by the Portuguese navigator Correa, who called it San Salvador. In 1549 the present name was adopted on its becoming the capital of the Portuguese possessions, which distinction was transferred to Rio de Janeiro in 1703. The city Buffered greatly during the commotions which led to the separation of Brazil from Portugal. The Portuguese evacuated it on July 1, 1823, since which it has acquired vast commercial importance as the foremost Brazilian city next to Rio. Since 1858 there has been railway communication between Bahia and Joazeiro. Captain Collins of the United States steamer Wa-chusett captured here on Oct. 7, 1804, the confederate cruiser Florida.