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Alagoas

State Flag of Alagoas
  1. Introduction
  2. Capital: Maceió
  3. Beaches in Alagoas
  4. Data Table for Alagoas

Introduction

The beautiful beaches of the capital, Maceió, with their blue-green sea set against a history of almost five centuries of dissent of all kinds, show the extent to which Alagoas is a land of contrasts. One of the regions invaded by the French early in the 16th century when France was in conflict with Portugal over vast areas of the Brazilian territory, Alagoas became a stage where war and peace have provided contracting scenarios.

The region was liberated from the French in 1535 only to be invaded by the Dutch, who were driven out by the Portuguese, only fifteen years after occupation in 1645. During that period - between 1590 and 1694 - the region was the scene of the most important resistance movement by slaves in Brazil, during which thousands of Negroes fled from the estates, towns and villages of the Northeast and took refuge in the Quilombo dos Palmares. Alagoas was also the land of brave Indian warriors who, like the Negroes, bravely resisted slavery but who nowadays are reduced to around 6,000 individuals spread over eight groups.

AlagoasAlagoas

The State of Alagoas was one of the regions patrolled by Virgolino Ferreira da Silva, known as "O Lampião" (the lantern), Brazil's most famous, mythical highwayman who died in 1938. He was a kind of righteous rogue who for more than a decade instilled terror across the entire Northeast of Brazil. This "king of the highwaymen", his wife and nine other gang members were brutally beheaded by the police who organized a gruesome procession in which their heads were displayed along 145 km of bushland.

Alagoas is known as the "land of the marshals" because it was the birthplace of Brazil's first two presidents - Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca and Marshal Floriano Peixoto. The same State was the political cradle of Fernando Collor de Mello, who was president of Brazil for almost three years before his impeachment in 1992 in the face of accusations involving corruption. Responsible for financial irregularities during the period, Paulo César Farias, a key player in the impeachment process, was imprisoned and, upon release, was murdered in the State.

AlagoasAlagoas

Alagoas was also the birthplace of Graciliano Ramos whose novels - chiefly "Vidas Secas" (Dry Lives) - best described the cyclic phenomenon of drought in the Brazilian Northeast. Initially a provincial politician, Ramos discovered his vocation as a writer when he was mayor of Palmeira dos Índios and wrote to friends protesting against the corruption and bureaucracy that were a feature of the administration in his region. Graciliano Ramos joined the Brazilian Communist Party in the underdeveloped city which he governed and was later to become a political prisoner during the first dictatorship in the history of Brazil. It was in prison that he wrote "Memórias do Cárcere" (Prison Memoires), another of his masterpieces.

Over recent decades, the State of Alagoas has become one of Brazil's main tourist areas, attracting visitors mainly because of its beautiful beaches, in particular that of the capital, Maceió.

In economic terms, the State is also a major producer of sugar and alcohol, although this has declined in recent years. At present, its economy centres mainly around small industrial production, oil drilling, livestock and agriculture with products such as avocado, coconut, beans, tobacco, cassava and maize. The State has mineral reserves consisting of rock-salt and natural gas.

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Capital: Maceió

MaceióMaceió

Situated between the Mundaú Lake and the Atlantic Ocean, the capital of the State of Alagoas, linked to all the cities along the coastal strip by highway BR-101, boasts some of the best beaches in the Northeast, many with natural swimming pools. This scene from paradise is complemented by lakes, coconut trees and a rich and appetising cuisine based on seafood, couscous and tapioca.

The most popular beaches for tourists are Coruripe, Barra de São Miguel e do Francês, in Marechal Deodoro, a town 21 kilometres from Maceió and the birthplace of the first president of Brazil, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. To the south, the town offers the attractions of beaches at Avenida, Sobral, Trapiche and Pontal da Barra, all with access to lakes. Near the lakes of Mundaú and Manguaba, fishing villages sprang up, intersected by navigable canals containing a large quantity of molluscs and crustaceans.

In some places, the beaches form lakes two kilometres inland, offering opportunities for bathing and trips by raft. The best known of these is the one starting from the beach at Pajuçara with trips on lakes formed by coral reefs and sandbanks that emerge at low tide. Some rafts have been converted into bars where the tourist can enjoy a typical meal. Six kilometres from Maceió is Jatiúca beach, a surfers' paradise and well-served with inns and hotels.

In addition to beaches, Maceió has attractions such as buildings dating back to previous centuries, in particular, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Pleasures, 1840; the Deodoro Theatre, the Municipal Market, the Historical Institute Museum and the Floriano Peixoto Palace housing the State government headquarters.

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Beaches in Alagoas

Pajuçara (Pajussara)

Located on the city coast, its beach is one of the most frequented in Maceió. Pajussara has modern streets and avenues, diverse shops, clubs and hotels, hostels and lodgings occupied by tourists all the year round. The place has inspired many Brazilian composers and singers, one such is Djavan (a famous Brazilian singer born in the city), who composed several songs inspired by the moments in which he walked along its beach. One of the best attractions in Pajussara beach is its natural swimming pool, located on an ocean sandbank just about 1.500 meters of the coast and that is available when tide is low. The only way to get there is by jangada, a typical boat of Brazilian northeast region. One of the best soccer teams of the city is located there, the team is the CRB (Clube de Regatas Brasil), with its stadium (Estádio Severiano Gomes Filho).

Ponta VerdePonta Verde
Ponta Verde

Considered by many natives and tourists as the most beautiful urban beach of Maceió, Ponta Verde (Green Point) is a neighborhood with intense traffic and movement of people. In earlier days the place was just a beach surrounded by very greenish coconut trees. Its name comes from an old plantation named Ponta Verde whose area was as wide as the beach was long, indeed a wilderness! Nowadays, it is impossible to feel isolated in Ponta Verde as most famous city events and shows take place there. The neighbourhood serves as base for good hotels and restaurants and its seacoast has plenty of “barracas”, typical beach bars found on all Maceió's urban beaches.

Farol

Farol means lighthouse in Portuguese. Farol is an urban highland just a short distance away from the sea in which the former lighthouse aided navigation along the coast and guided ships coming up to the port of Jaraguá, as the port of Maceió is known. Its privileged altitude allows one to see all along the sea and Mundaú Lake. The place was of great military importance during the Colonial period.

Jatiúca

Like Ponta Verde, the settlement in Jatiúca started from an old coconut plantation whose space is still preserved by its owners. Today it has some of the most valuable real estate in the city. It is home to excellent hotels, resorts and restaurants that have become more attractive due to their location in front of the sea or nearby that region. Its coastline is served by a lot of ”barracas” such as those in Ponta Verde.

MaceióMaceió
Jaraguá

Jaraguá is the historic centre of the city and it could be appropriately named The Old Town. Once it was the central metting and commercial point where in the 19th century the village of Maceió transformed into a city which grew up around the port that takes pride of place, the port of Jaraguá. Old port warehouses have now been converted into bars, night clubs and restaurants which makes for a lively and colourful leisure spot at the weekends. The history of Maceió has been preserved to some extent in the classical colonial buildings, churches, warehouses and houses of Jaraguá.

Pontal da Barra

In earlier days this district was known as a place of dunes, high sand mountains between the Atlantic Ocean and Mundaú Lake that urbanization eroded away. Nowadays, Pontal da Barra (or simply Pontal) is a village inhabited by fishermen and artisans. It has lost its dunes but still preserves the friendliness of the people and the marvelous handcrafts made by the artisans. Pontal welcomes lot of tourists delighted with the artisans’ works and incredible taste of its typical seafood dishes, made with fish, crabs and shrimps abundantly present in the lake portion and sea.

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Data Table for Alagoas

Capital Maceió
Area 27,933.1 km2
Towns 102
Location East of the North-East Region
Population 2,819,172 inhabitants (2000)
Population in the Capital 900,000 inhabitants
Climate Tropical
Mean Annual Temperature (capital) 26º C
Time in Relation to Brasília The same
Density of Population 101.3 inhabitants/km2
Urbanization Index 68% (2000)
Infant Mortality 64.4 per thousand live-born (2000)
Illiteracy Rate 32.8% (2000)
Contribution to GDP 0.9%
Representation at National Congress 12 Members of Parliament
Vegetation Tropical rain forest, coastal swamps and dry scrub and thorn forest

Sources

  • IBGE 2000 and Projections for 2002
  • Abril Almanac
  • Gabeira, Gabriel Luiz - "Synthesis of the Brazilian Economy", Rio de Janeiro, National Trade Confederation (CNC), 1999