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State of Alagoas
Flag of State of Alagoas Coat of arms of State of Alagoas
Location of State of Alagoas in Brazil
(and largest city)
Demonym Alagoano
 -  Governor Teotônio Brandão Vilela Filho PSDB
 -  Vice Governor José Wanderley Neto
 -  Total 27,767.661 km2 (10,721.154 sq mi) (25th)
 -  2006 estimate 3,050,652 (16th)
 -  2005 census 3,018,632 
 -  Density 109.9 /km2 (285 /sq mi) (4th)
GDP 2006 estimate
 -  Total R$ 15,753,000,000 (20th)
 -  Per capita R$ 5,164 (25th)
HDI (2005) 0.677 (medium) (26th)
Abbreviation BR-AL
Time zone BRT (UTC-3)
 -  Summer (DST) BRST (UTC-2)

Alagoas (AL) (Manyponds) (Portuguese pronunciation: [alaˈɡoɐs][1]) is a small state in northeastern Brazil lying between the states of Pernambuco and Sergipe; touching the state of Bahia along a part of its southwestern border. The southern border of Alagoas is defined by the Rio São Francisco (São Francisco River). From the lagoons came the name of the state, which, in the 16th century, was invaded by Portuguese and French searching for pau-Brazil (a type of wood). The Dutch first arrived in the neighboring state of Pernambuco and ended up conquering the territory.

The capital, Maceió, which borders the Rio Mundaú, is famous for its beaches and seafood and is Alagoas' most popular tourist attraction.



Summer in Maceió.

The state's name originates with the lakes along its coast near the city of Maceió. The coast is bordered by fringing reefs and many fine beaches. Behind the beaches, sometimes only hundreds of meters and defined by steep scarps, lies a stretch of green coastal hills having enough rainfall for considerable agriculture and scarce remnants of the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rain Forest) that now is largely limited to steep hill tops or steep valley sides and bottoms. This is the area long dominated by sugar cane.

Still further inland lies the Sertão of the Northeast region of the nation. The Sertão is a high dry region dominated by scrub that is often thorn filled and sometimes toxic, the caatinga. This area and its people is famed in legend and song. It is the land of the cowboy who is clad from head to toe (if he is lucky) with very thick leather to avoid the tearing vegetation.


Convent of Santa Maria, Marechal Deodoro.

During the first three centuries of its history, Alagoas was part of the captaincy of Pernambuco, only changing into an independent captaincy in 1817. As a reprisal against the Pernambucan Revolution, the King John VI of Portugal ordered a vast portion of the Pernambucan territory to be taken from it, most including its southern portion, one part given to the captaincy of Bahia, the other portion made independent and creating Alagoas as a new Brazilian captaincy.

Initially, in the first years of the 16th century, Alagoas settlement went on slowly, however helped by Africans turned into slaves whose work urged the local economy. In the period of the 16th and 17th centuries, French pirates invaded its territory attracted by the commerce of Brazil wood.

Some time later, Duarte Coelho, owner of the captaincy of Pernambuco, gave the control of the region back to the Portuguese, running the territory as part of his captaincy. He increased the number of sugar cane plantations and built some sugar mills, as well as founding the cities of Penedo and Alagoas – this last one originally baptized by Portuguese as Santa Maria Madalena da Alagoa do Sul (Saint Mary Magdalene of the Southern Lake), currently the historic heritage town of Marechal Deodoro.

In 1570, a second expedition ordered by Duarte Coelho and led by Cristóvão Lins, explored the north of Alagoas and founded the settlement of Porto Calvo and five sugar mills, which two of them still endure, Buenos Aires and Escurial.

In 1630, the territory was taken by the Dutch, whose interest was to manage the commerce of sugar in most parts of the northeastern region of Brazil. As part of one of the wealthiest Brazilian captaincies, Alagoas prospered along with the sugar trade. They built Fort Maurits in Penedo, on the river São Francisco. However, the Dutch colonizers abandoned the territory after being defeated in 1646.

Decades before Alagoas was formed in 1817, its sugar industry had 200 mills, and agriculture also involved cotton, tobacco and corn plantations. With Brazilian independence from Portugal in 1822, Alagoas becomes a province. In 1839, the capital of the province was changed definitively from the town of Alagoas to Maceio, mainly due to the increasing growth of the city because of its port.


Pajuçara Beach in Maceió.

According to the IBGE of 2008, there were 3,173,000 people residing in the state. The population density was 109.9 inh./km².

Urbanization: 67.4% (2006); Population growth: 1.3% (1991-2000); Houses: 779,000 (2006).[2]

The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census revealed the following numbers: 2,100,000 Brown (Multiracial) people (66.18%), 964,000 White people (30.39%), 96,000 Black people (3.02%), 11,000 Asian people (0.35%).[3]



Ponta Verde Beach in Maceió.

Alagoas is one of the poorest states of Brazil[5].The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 55.8%, followed by the industrial sector at 36.9%. Agriculture represents 7.3%, of GDP (2004). Alagoas exports: sugar 58.8%, alcohol 29.4%, chemicals 9%, tobacco 2.1% (2002).

Share of the Brazilian economy: 0.7% (2004).[6]

The economy has been agricultural, dependent largely on large sugar cane plantations with some tobacco farming that is concentrated around the city of Arapiraca. Sugar cane formed the basis for an alcohol industry that is in decline. Small to medium sized tanker ships took alcohol onboard in Maceio's port with considerable frequency during the peak period. Such loads still take place with less frequency. Another local industry is based on chemical products from brine pumped from deep wells on the outskirts of Maceió.

In the last twenty years the tourist industry has found the beaches and Maceió itself has changed from a rather sleepy little port with coconut palm plantations along its beaches to high rise hotels. The northern coast, particularly around the towns Maragogi and Japaratinga is beginning to see some of this development in the form of resorts attracting people from the south and from Europe. There is considerable European investment (as of 2007) in beach property north of Maceió with walled compounds of beach homes.


Portuguese is the official national language, and thus the primary language taught in schools. But English and Spanish are part of the official high school curriculum.


Educational institutions

  • Universidade Federal de Alagoas (UFAL) (Federal University of Alagoas);
  • Universidade Estadual de Alagoas (Uneal) (State University of Alagoas);
  • Universidade de Ciências da Saúde de Alagoas (Uncisal) (University of Sciences of the Health of Alagoas);
  • Centro Federal de Educação Tecnológica de Alagoas (Cefet-AL);
  • Centro de Ensino Superior de Maceió (CESMAC) (Center of Higher Education of Maceió);
  • Faculdade de Alagoas (FAL) (College of Alagoas);
  • and many others.


Festa Junina (Saint John Festival)

Festa Junina was introduced to Northeastern Brazil by the Portuguese for whom St John's day (also celebrated as Midsummer Day in several European countries), on the 24th of June, is one of the oldest and most popular celebrations of the year. Differently, of course, from what happens on the European Midsummer Day, the festivities in Brazil do not take place during the summer solstice but during the tropical winter solstice. The festivities traditionally begin after the 12th of June, on the eve of St Anthony's day, and last until the 29th, which is Saint Peter's day. During these fifteen days, there are bonfires, fireworks, and folk dancing in the streets (step names are in French, which shows the mutual influences between court life and peasant culture in the 17th, 18th, and 19th-century Europe). Once exclusively a rural festivity, today, in Brazil, it is largely a city festival during which people joyfully and theatrically mimic peasant stereotypes and cliches in a spirit of joke and good time. Typical refreshments and dishes are served. It should be noted that, like during Carnival, these festivities involve costumes-wearing (in this case, peasant costumes), dancing and visual spectacles (fireworks display and folk dancing). Like what happens on Midsummer and St John's Day in Europe, bonfires are a central part of these festivities in Brazil.


The four-day period before Lent leading up to Ash Wednesday is carnival time in Brazil. Rich and poor alike forget their cares as they party in the streets.


This is a typical Alagoas revelry that resulted from the union of Reisado (an Epiphany celebration), Auto dos Caboclinhos (Caboclinhos’ Play), Chegança (public folk play depicting a naval battle) and Pastoril (outdoor folk play). Its captivating choreography and costumes with colored ribbons and beads reproduce the cathedral’s façades on the monumental hats covered with mirrors.

Pajuçara Beach in Maceió.


This is a dramatic dance motivated by the sea. It tells the sea adventures of the first navigators in its songs accompanied by guitar and ukulele.

Carnival Bull

Boi do Carnaval is a popular culture display derived from Bumba-Meu-Boi. It is always presented together with La Ursa (The Bear), Vaqueiro (Cowboy) and a percussion band whose rhythms captivate all who hear them.


International Airport

Alagoas gained a new airport complex, Zumbi dos Palmares International Airport, in Maceió Metropolitan Area, designed by homegrown architect Mário Aloísio, which combines glass, metal and granite. It includes space for art exhibitions, a panoramic deck, chapel, seven escalators, nine elevators and four boarding bridges. The whole terminal was designed to permit access by the physically disabled, with ramps and special bathroom fixtures.

In the new terminal, Infraero also brings to Maceió “Aeroshopping” – a concept that is transforming the country’s airports into centers for leisure and high-quality products and services. The entire building has a computerized air conditioning, with commercial spaces that will be occupied gradually. The parking area was more than tripled. Demand will be able to grow to 1.2 million passengers a year since the new passenger terminal has 24,000 square meters, the triple of its former size. The check-in counters were doubled and can reach higher numbers without any structural remodeling. The building is “intelligent”, meaning controlled by a computerized system that regulates factors ranging from the lighting level to air temperature and even the speed of the escalators. This system also controls access to restricted areas and the fire protection system, among others.

Mundaú Lake.


  • BR-101
  • BR-104
  • BR-110
  • BR-316
  • BR-423
  • BR-424


The Port of Jaraguá is located in Maceió. The commercial and economic development of the Port of Jaraguá, on the margins of the Mundaú lagoon, was responsible for the emergence of an important settlement that received the name of Maceió and later became the present capital of Alagoas. The Port of Jaraguá is situated in a natural port area that facilitates the ships docking. During the Brazilian colonial period, the most important products exported through the port were sugar, smoke, coconut and spices.


Alagoas provides visitors and residents with various sport activities. There are several soccer clubs based in Maceió, such as ASA de Arapiraca, CRB, CSA and Corithians Alagoano.

Maceió was one of the 18 candidates to host games of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, for which Brazil is the selected host, but it did not make the final cut.

Major cities

Maceió is the largest city in Alagoas.

Notable people


The coat of arms symbolizes the first Alagoan settlements, Porto Calvo and Penedo. Some plantations, sugar cane and cotton, that stood out as the foremost wealth in the past are incorporated in the design. The colors in each stripe, red, white and blue, that bring to mind the French flag, symbolize exactly the motto of the French Revolution: liberty, equality and fraternity. The star above the coat represents the state itself.


  1. ^ In Brazilian Portuguese. The European Portuguese pronunciation is [ɐlɐˈɣoɐʃ].
  2. ^ Source: PNAD.
  3. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF). Alagoas, Brazil: IBGE. 2008. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2010-01-18. 
  4. ^ Source: IBGE.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ (in Portuguese) (PDF) List of Brazilian states by GDP. Alagoas, Brazil: IBGE. 2004. ISBN 85-240-3919-1. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Alagoas is a state in Northeast Brazil

  • Barra de São Miguel
  • Coruripe - a small city, 80km south of Maceio.
  • Maceio - the State's capital
  • Maragogi
  • Penedo - a historic city
  • Coruripe

Other destinations

There are a lot of small villages, all located at the beaches.

  • Barra de Santo Antonio - a beach town.
  • Pontal de Coruripe - A small fisherman village where there are reefs to scuba diving.
  • Lagoa do Pau - A small village, about 5km north of Pontal de Coruripe. The beach is handsome and in some places very good for surfing.
  • Duas Barras - 20 km north of Pontal de Coruripe. It has a huge lagoon and the mouth of the river is a "have to see" place.
  • Piaçabuçu city, 45km south of Pontal de Coruripe. Take a boat to the San Francisco River Mouth. It's one of the most beautiful places to see in Brasil, although not well known.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ALAGOAS, a maritime state of Brazil, bounded N. and W. by the state of Pernambuco, S. and W. by the state of Sergipe, and E. by the Atlantic. It has an area of 22,584 sq. m. A dry, semibarren plateau, fit for grazing only, extends across the W. part. of the state, breaking down into long fertile valleys and wooded ridges towards the coast, giving the country a mountainous character. The coastal plain is filled with lakes (lagoas), in some cases formed by the blocking up of river outlets by beach sands.. The valleys and slopes are highly fertile and produce sugar,. cotton, tobacco, Indian corn, rice, mandioca and fruits. Hides, and skins, mangabeira rubber, cabinet woods, castor beans and rum are also exported. Cattle-raising was formerly a prominent industry, but it has greatly declined. Manufactures have been developed to a limited extent only, though protective tariff laws have been adopted for their encouragement. The climate is hot and humid, and fevers are prevalent in the hot season. The capital, Maceio, is the chief commercial city of the state, and its port (Jaragua) has a large foreign and coastwise trade. The principal towns are Alagoas, formerly the capital, picturesquely situated on Lake Manguaba, 15 m. S.W. of Maceio, and Penedo,. a small port on the lower Sdo Francisco, 26 m. above the river's mouth. Before 1817 Alagoas formed part of the capitania of Pernambuco, but in that year the district was rewarded with a. separate government for refusing to join a revolution, and in 1823 became a province of the empire. The advent of therepublic in 1889 changed the province into a state.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Proper noun


  1. State in north-eastern Brazil which has Maceió as its capital.

See also


Simple English

File:Bandeira de
Flag of Alagoas
File:Brazil State
See other Brazilian States
Capital Maceió
Largest City Maceió
Area 27,767 km²
  - Total (2005)
  - Density

101.84 inh./km²
Governor Teotônio Vilela Filho (PSDB)
Demonym Alagoano
Timezone GMT-3
ISO 3166-2 BR-AL

Alagoas is a small coastal state in the Northeast Region of Brazil. Its capital city is Maceió, where tourism industry is one of the basis for the local economy. Other important cities in Alagoas are Arapiraca, Palmeira dos Índios, Penedo, Marechal Deodoro, and Maragogi. The state has a total of 101 cities.

Alagoas coastline has several beaches with coconut trees and a lot of them have placid waters, consequence of the Atlantic Ocean sand banks and coral reefs. The name of the state was originated from some lagoons along the ocean coast.

Other websites

States of Brazil
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Federal District: Brazilian Federal District


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