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Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is variably defined either as being a region of the Americas in its own right or as the southern portion of North America. Physiographically, Central America is a tropical isthmus that connects North and South America. It includes 7 countries and many small offshore islands. Overall, the land is fertile and rugged, and dominated through its heart by a string of volcanic mountain ranges with a few active volcanos.
Canoas is the third largest city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Its population is of just over 300,000 people. The city is adjacent to the capital of the gaucho state is Porto Alegre. Canoas is the center of some important industries and the Canoas Air Base, used by the Brazilian Army.
Canoas currently has no rural areas, but it started as a village of large landowners. The first of them was conquistador Francisco Pinto Bandeira, who received from the Portuguese Crown, in 1740, an area north of the Gravatai River.
History has that 1871 was the beginning of the village of Canoas, when the first section of the railway that would link Porto Alegre to Sao Leopoldo was inaugurated. Canoas was then part of the municipalities of Gravatai and Sao Sebastiao do Cai. Soon large farms would lose space to small properties. After obtaining city status, Canoas experienced rapid growth, especially after 1945. Today, many call it a cidade-dormitorio, because thousands of people commute to neighboring Porto Alegre to work, as happens with all cities in the greater Porto Alegre metropolitan area.
Canoas consists of mostly large sprawling neighborhoods and a lively business district, as well as numerous large factories that provide the city with the second highest GDP in Rio Grande do Sul, among them the Refinaria Alberto Pasqualini, a Petrobras oil refinery. In addition, a new high-end district is gradually emerging in the suburbs. As happens with many Brazilian cities, there can arguably be seen two different countries in the same municipality.

Canoas is generally poorer and more disorganized than less populated areas of Rio Grande do Sul known as the interior of the state, but it has an ever-growing upper middle class that is fleeing Porto Alegre, which has higher crime rates and is more expensive to live in.

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