Goiás is a state of Brazil, located in the central part of the country. The name Goiás (formerly, Goyaz) comes from the name of an indigenous community. The original word seems to have been 'guaiá', a compound of gua e iá, meaning "the same person" or "people of the same origin." Neighboring states are (from north clockwise) Tocantins, Bahia, Minas Gerais, the Federal District, Mato Grosso do Sul and Mato Grosso.
The most central of the Brazilian states and the most populous of the region, Goiás is characterized by a landscape of chapadões (plateaus). In the height of the drought season, from June to September, the lack of rain makes the level of the Araguaia River go down and exposes almost of beaches, making it the main attraction of the State. At the Emas National Park in the municipality of Mineiros, it is possible to observe the typical fauna and flora from the region. At the Chapada dos Veadeiros the attractions are the canyons, valleys, rapids and waterfalls. Other attractions are the historical city of Goiás (or Old Goiás), from Goiânia, established in the beginning of 18th Century, and Caldas Novas, with its hot water wells attracting more than one million tourists per year.
The first European exploration of this interior part of Brazil was carried out by expeditions from São Paulo in the 17th century. Gold was discovered in the gravel of a tributary of the Araguaia River by the bandeirante Bartolomeu Bueno da Silva (the Anhanguera) in 1682. The settlement he founded there, called Santa Anna, became the colonial town of Goiás Velho, the former state capital. In 1744 the large inland area, much of it still unexplored by Europeans, was made a captaincy general, and in 1822 it became a province of the empire of Brazil. It became a state in 1889. The Brazilian constitution of 1891 specified that the nation's capital should be moved to the Brazilian Highlands (Planalto Central), and in 1956 Goiás was selected as the site for the federal district and capital national, Brasília. The seat of the federal government was officially moved to Brasília in 1960.
Goiânia, the largest city and capital was planned in 1933 to replace the old, inaccessible former state capital of Goiás, northwest. In 1937 the state government moved there, and in 1942 the official inauguration was held. Goiânia is now one of the fastest growing cities in Brazil and is regularly voted one of the most livable cities in the country.
Due to the immense territory of the state, which was over , communications were obviously very difficult. The northern part of the state began to feel abandoned by the southern government and began a movement for separation. Local political leaders, many of whom were large landowners and were eager to gain important positions such as governor or senator and financial gain with the construction of a new capital, also encouraged the movement. In 1989 the northern half of Goiás became a separate state called Tocantins.