São Luis, the capital of Maranhao, is located on a beautiful tropical island. It was founded in 1612 by Daniel de la Touche de la Ravardihre, a French naval officer, and named in honor of Louis XIII. It was captured by the Portuguese in 1615, and from 1641 to 1644 it was held by the Dutch. São Luis is the chief seaport for the states of Maranhao and Piaui. Its principal industries are sugar refining, a rum distillery, cotton mills, plants for processing cacao, and factories for metallurgical products, chemicals, and hammocks. Exports include babassu palm oil, castor beans, balsam, hides and skins, lumber, cotton, sugar, rice, cassava, and corn. The city has many beautiful historic buildings, many of which are undergoing restauration. The population is about 1,000,000.
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The State of Maranhão
accesses October 10, 1995.
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