Natal city profile
Federal State: Rio Grande do Norte
Airports: Augusto Severo International Airport
Origins: Natal was built on the right bank of river Potenji, right where the river meets the Atlantic; the soil is very sandy, with dunes and bays protected by reefs which appear all along the shore line. In December of 1597, a fleet commanded by Jeronimo de Albuquerque arrived to the river Potenji, with the assignments of founding a new city.
Football Clubs: Amrica de Natal
The city developed very slowly; differently from Pernambuco, the sandy soil of Natal was not adequated to cultivate sugar cane (which was by then the main source of wealth that the Portuguese explored from their colony). In 1,633, the Dutch took over the city; the fortress was renamed to Keulen, and so it was until 1,654, when the Portuguese reclaimed it. Like the Portuguese, the Dutch didn't see much interest in developing the region; again, the situation was very different in Pernambuco, which the Dutch also dominated but developed, leaving traces visible until today, like in the city of Olinda.
The sugar cane was largely cultivated from Bahia to Paraiba, just crossing the southern border of Rio Grande do Norte; after the sugar cane, Portugal explored the gold which was found in Minas Gerais; when the Portuguese kingdom moved temporarily to Brazil, the king settled in Rio de Janeiro. In 1817, provinces from the Northeast attempted a revolution (Revolucao Pernambucana) to try go gain independence from Portugal (the revolution failed, the independence was proclaimed in 1822).
In 1597, after some years during which French pirates, led by Jacques Riffault, established regular commercial activities with the native population, the ninth Portuguese Governor-General of Brazil, Francisco de Sousa, ordered the expulsion of the buccaneers. The successful expedition against 50 Frenchmen and their Indian allies was led by the Captain-Major of the Captaincy of Pernambuco, Manuel de Mascarenhas Homem, with the assistance of Jernimo de Albuquerque Maranho.
Last century, Natal benefited from the growth of the industries of salt (the north of Rio Grande do Norte is the largest producer in Brazil) and petroleum (the largest inland Brazilian reserves are in the State). Natal grew quickly, but in a somewhat planned way (compared to other major Brazilian cities); transit flows smoothly, public services are well distributed, ecologic conscience is visible; violence levels are low.