Alagoas is the second smallest Brazilian state, but one of the biggest producers of sugar-cane and coconut.
Its strong agricultural tradition dates back to the days of the Empire, when it was still part of the Captaincy of Pernambuco. During the 17th century it became a significant producer of mandioc flour, tabacco, cattle and fish.
The famous São Francisco river, also known as the Velho Chico, retains an important economic role in the state to this day.
Most of the Alagoana population is made up of mixed race descendents of native Indians, black slaves and Portuguese settlers. These days, a growing number of foreigners, from places such as Italy, Portugal, Spain and England are moving to Alagoas to enjoy its coastal beauty.
Strongly propelled by tourism, the state’s most popular destinations are its gorgeous beaches, with warm, turquoise water, coconut trees and colourful rafts. Among the most well-known beaches are those of Maceió, Maragogi, Japaratinga, Barra de São Miguel and Piaçabuçu. Other popular destinations are the historical cities of Marechal Deodoro and Penedo.
Typical Alagoana cuisine is based on seafood, with one of its most famous delicacies the sururu, a type of mollusc served with coconut milk.
Cultural highlights include the Bom Jesus dos Navegantes festival, from 8 to 15 January, during which ferries set sail between Alagoas and neighbouring state Sergipe and return to Penedo, where fireworks are set off to celebrate their arrival, and traditional music groups perform for spectators.
Alagoas may be a small state, but its great beauty makes a visit more than worthwhile.
Capital: Maceió Area (km2): 27,778.506 Population: 3,340,932 (2015) Term for a person from this state: alagoano-alagoana Dial code: 82 Bordering states: Sergipe, Pernambuco and Bahia
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