Northeast: facts and history

The quality of life has improved in recent years, but drought is still a major problem in this region

The Northeast has a population of over 53 million people, only 7 million less than Italy. This region comprises nine states: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Maranhão, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, and Sergipe. The three most populous cities are Salvador, Fortaleza, and Recife. In contrast, Sergipe is the smallest state in Brazil, with a population of just over 2 million people. Agriculture and industry in the Northeast are not as competitive as in the South and Southeast. The Northeast still faces a serious problem: the constant droughts affecting the interior of several states. Nevertheless, in recent years there has been some economic growth and a reasonable improvement in the quality of life for Northeasterners.


Porto Seguro, in southern Bahia, was where the Portuguese colonists landed in Brazil, on April 22, 1500. Salvador was the capital of Brazil for over 200 years (between 1549 and 1763). In the 17th century Recife was considered the most prosperous and urbanized city in South America.

1 drought – sêca
2 major – importante
3 to land – desembarcar / chegar

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