Ceara, a maritime province of Brazil, bounded N. by the Atlantic ocean, E. by the provinces of Rio Grande do Norte and Parahyba, S. by Pernambuco and W. by Piauhy; area, 42,G34 sq. m.; pop. about 550,000. The province is divided into two portions by a line of mountains running from the coast, near the capital, S. S. W. to the Serra de Ibiapaba, a narrow range of highlands bordering the W. portion of the province. The S. E. half forms a single basin watered by the Jaguaribe, the most important river in the province, and its affluents; and the W. half is drained by a host of small rivers all flowing directly into the sea. The coast line is one vast sandy belt of inconsiderable elevation, varying in width from 12 to 18 m.; and the lands beyond, though so low and fiat as to remind one of the pampas of the Argentine Republic, are very fertile. Still further westward the face of the country gradually rises toward the mountains, the whole region adjacent to which is made extremely fertile by innumerable springs forming small streams.

The climate, moist and tempered by refreshing sea breezes on the coast, is in the interior very hot and dry, although the temperature never rises above 95° F., nor descends below 64°. The rainy season begins about February and lasts till June; the remainder of the year being without rain, all the running streams and rivers dry up, and the want of water is such at times as to oblige the inhabitants to abandon their homes. Among the more important natural productions are quina, ipecacuanha, tatajuba, mahogany, cedar, pao d'arco, carnahuba, and numberless other species of timber and woods valuable for building, dyeing, etc. The caoutchouc tree (coryplia cerifera, Martins) is so abundant in some parts that Gardner says he " rode for about two days through a forest of almost nothing else. Cotton, coffee, sugar cane, mandioca, maize, rice, some wheat, and other cereals are cultivated; and most varieties of intertropical fruits are exceedingly abundant. The exports consist mainly of cotton, sugar, hides, India rubber, coffee, horns and bones, horse and cow hair, carnahuba wax and half-tanned hides. Ceara has about 100,000 horses and 600,000 head of horned cattle, and considerable cheese is made; but large quantities of butter, cheese, and lard are imported.

Much has been done by government to improve the communication with the interior, and a railway from the capital to the great coffee district called Serra de Batu-rite is now (1873) in process of construction. The mineral productions are amethysts, gypsum, saltpetre, salt, alum, magnesia, carbonate of potassium, amianthus, lignite, gold, copper, zinc, galena, and graphite. Bones, and even perfect skeletons of huge mastodons, mega-theria, and other mammals, are abundant in many parts. The capital is Portaleza, and there are seven other small cities.