Paraíba is in the eastern region of the Northeast of Brazil. The Ponta do Seixas, in the capital João Pessoa, is the eastern most point of Brazil and the Americas. The state is one of the smallest, but oldest in the country.
Paraíba was founded in 1585 by the Portuguese at the waterfall of the river with the same name as the state. During the first few decades of the 17th century, it was occupied by the French, who made contact with the Potiguar people, and later on the Dutch took hold for a period. The state was involved in a few revolutions and for quite some time it was a part of the captaincy of Pernambuco.
Since the end of the 16th century, when the Europeans first set foot on its land, Paraíba’s economy has been centred around farming, principally focussing on sugar cane. Even today, this sector is strong, along with mining and raw materials.
With an extensive coastline (over 100kms) Paraíba’s coast is a succession of spectacular views, with a strong appeal to tourists. Paradises like Cabo Branco, Coqueirinho and Tambaba feature among the state’s over 50 beaches, all of which are blessed with warm, green waters, and some of which are in the list of Brazil’s most beautiful beaches.
The state also has dozens of environmentally protected areas, great for adventure tourism, such as Tambaba beach and the Pedra da Boca state park in Araruna, and the Cabedelo Municipal Park.
Paraíba’s cuisine is characterised by its beach huts, which prepare prawn dishes and other snacks, such as crab with coconut milk, and fried local fish.
João Pessoa, the capital, features historic day trips, urban beaches with bustling nightlife, a good tourism infrastructure, and a rich popular culture, with trademark hospitality.
Campina Grande, in the interior of the state, is a cultural highlight. It is the stage of the biggest St John’s festival in the world, a traditional event which, for a whole month, attracts tourists from all of Brazil and the world. It consists of 30 days of Forrómusic, group presentations, local craft fairs, and stalls replete with traditional foods like pamonha, boiled corn and canjica.
With beautiful beaches, culture and warm locals, Paraíba is one of the most enjoyable and loveable destinations in Brazil.
Capital: João Pessoa
Area (km2): 56,469.778
Population: 3,972,202 (2015)
Term for a person from this state: paraibano-paraibana
Dial code: 83
Bordering states: Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte and Ceará