Situation and CharacteristicsThe state of Pernambuco in north-eastern Brazil is bordered on the north-west by Piauí, on the north by Ceará and Paraíba, on the south-east by Alagoas, on the south, beyond the Rio São Francisco and on the south-west by Bahia. Its topography ranges from the coastal plain with its moist, hot climate by way of an upland region to the Brazilian Highlands. The economy depends mainly on arable farming (sugar-cane, fruit, grain) and cattle-rearing.HistoryThe first fortified Portuguese settlement in Brazil was established in what is now Pernambuco, and this was the base from which the whole of northern Brazil was colonized. From 1630 to 1654 this was the main center of the Dutch colonial empire in South America. From the mid 16th century onwards the growing and processing of sugar-cane brought considerable prosperity. An unsuccessful attempt to proclaim a Republic was made in Pernambuco in 1817.
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de NoronhaChief place: RemédiosSituation and CharacteristicsThe Fernando de Noronha archipelago consists of the island of that name and its surrounding islets. It lies in the Atlantic in about latitude 4° south and longitude 33° west, some 350km/215mi north-east of Cabo São Roque (Rio Grande do Norte). Formerly administered as a separate territory, it is now part of the state of Pernambuco.
Marine ParkThe main island, of volcanic origin, rises to a height of 321m/1053ft in a rocky pinnacle. From the 18th century onwards it was a penal colony, and during the Second World War became a United States air base. Now most of the island and its coastal waters are under state protection as a Marine Park (Parque Nacional Marinho de Fernando de Noronha). The only way of getting to the island is by air from Recife (about 1.5 hours), and only a restricted number of visitors are permitted. The charm of the archipelago lies in its clean beaches, crystal-clear water and the magnificent opportunities it offers to divers. The eco-system is highly vulnerable, and visitors should therefore strictly observe the regulations for the protection of the environment.