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Inhabitants:1,712,786 (?)
Pop. density:? inh./km²
ISO 3166-2:BR-SP
Governor:João Alves Neto

Sergipe is the smallest state of Brazil, located on the north eastern Atlantic coast of the country. It borders on two other states, Bahia and Alagoas.


As with most of the states on the Brazilian coast, inland Sergipe is almost entirely savanna (caatinga), and its coastline is characterised by mangroves, swamps and sandy beaches. A small strip of tropical rainforest runs down the coast.


Sergipe's economy is focused around the production of sugarcane, and the enormous cane fields, taking advantage of the wet and fertile soil, produce over 1.4 million tonnes of sugar annually. Unlike many Brazilian states, cattle is not a major industry, as the land area of the state prevents large scale grazing. Along with sugarcane, cassava (617,400 tonnes annually) and orangess (14.4 million oranges annually) are grown. A small scale leather and textiles industry also exists.

The federal Brazilian government is also encouraging the development of a fledgling petroleum and natural gas industry.


A settlement built by the Portuguese, São Cristóvão (which is today a major city), was the site of the first colonisation attempt by Europeans in what is today Sergipe. The name Sergipe is actually a Tupi word, meaning "crab".

As with other states in the north east, Sergipe has been invaded numerous times by the Dutch, and frequently raided by French buccaneers. During the 1600s, the state was known throughout the Americas for its king-wood, a prized commodity that was the primary attraction in the buccaneer raids, and probably a factor in Dutch military expeditions. By 1700s, the Portuguese military had driven off the pirates permanently.

In the 1930s Sergipe became notorious for its outlaws, including Virgolino Ferreira da Silva, the "King of Bandits", who terrorised the state for almost a decade until his beheading by the Brazilian police in 1938. His head was later displayed on a pole in a village square.


The stars on the flag of Sergipe represent the number of river estuaries in the state, and the green and yellow stripes represent Sergipe's union with the rest of Brazil. It was designed by José Rodrigues Bastos Coelho, a businessman who felt that Brazilian ships should carry flags to identify their state of origin. It was officially adopted on October 19, 1920.

In 1937, dictator Getúlio Vargas abolished all state flags and symbols, but allowed them again in 1946. In 1951, when the Sergipe legislature began to consider restoring the state flag, it decided to change the number of stars, so that there would be one for every municipality in the state. In 1952, this new design was scrapped and replaced by the original 5 star design.

External Link

Brazilian embassy in London's Sergipe page

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