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Rio Grande do Norte
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Rio Grande do Norte

Area:53,015 km²
Population:2,770,730 2000
Pop. density:52.61 inh./km²
Timezone:GMT -3
ISO 3166-2:BR-RN
Governor:Wilma Maria de Faria

Rio Grande do Norte is one of the states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the edge of the South American continent.

Table of contents
1 Geography
2 History
3 Economy
4 Flag
5 External links


Rio Grande do Norte is dominated by its coastline. The state is famed for its beaches and sand dunes, and the air is, according to NASA, the cleanest in South America. There are also many mangroves in the state, and the interior is dominated by rainforest.


What is today Rio Grande do Norte was originally settled by the French, probably sometime between 1535 and 1598. However, this colonisation project was soon abandoned and during the 1600s, the area became a battleground between the expansionistic Portuguese, seeking to take more land for their Brazilian territories, and the Dutch, who were attempting to gain a foothold in South America.

For a long time starting in 1633, Rio Grande do Norte was under Dutch control, and under this colonial master, the economy flourished, with vast sugarcane fields being planted and many cattle being raised. It is largely thanks to this development that the state is as prosperous as it is today.

During World War II, Rio Grande do Norte was used as an Allied airbase from which to launch air raids on German-occupied North Africa.

In 1964, Latin America's first space launch site was constructed in Rio Grande do Norte; Barreira do Inferno (Hell's Barrier), which is often referred to as the "Brazilian NASA".


Historically, Rio Grande do Norte has relied upon sugar and cattle for economic gain. However, since the 1980s, the state government has realised that tourism is a lucrative industry, and more money is being poured into the construction of tourist resorts, and restoring colonial buildings in major cities.

Fruit is also grown in Rio Grande do Norte, with the state supplying 70% of Brazil's melons, and the state is famed for its mango and cashew fields. The world's largest cashew tree is located in the state; it has a circumference of 500 metres and occupies an area of 7,300m², making it 70 times the size of average cashew trees.

Other cities include:


The flag was adopted on December 3 1957. It is based on a design by Luis de Camara Cascudo. In the middle of the flag is the coat of arms of the state, which was adopted on July 1 1909. It shows a sailing boat at the coast in the middle, representing the fishing and salt industries. Above it is a bar which shows two flowers on the sides and two cotton bolls in the center. To the sides of the shield are a coconut palm to the right and a carnauba palm to the left, connected by two branches of sugar cane. The star above represents the state as part of Brazil.

External links

States of Brazil
Acre | Alagoas | Amapá | Amazonas | Bahia | Ceará | Federal District | Espírito Santo | Goiás | Maranhão | Mato Grosso | Mato Grosso do Sul | Minas Gerais | Pará | Paraíba | Paraná | Pernambuco | Piauí | Rio de Janeiro | Rio Grande do Norte | Rio Grande do Sul | Rondônia | Roraima | Santa Catarina | São Paulo | Sergipe | Tocantins