Recife was built as a port city along tropical, white-sand beaches lined with palm trees. It is the capital of the northeastern state of Pernambuco. Recife is a fast-growing urban area that has been called the "Venice of Brazil" because it is dissected by numerous waterways and connected by many bridges. The city got its name from the coral reefs that line the coast. Local fishermen go out into the high seas in jangadas, crude log rafts with beautiful sails unique to the area, that require expert navigational skills to maneuver. Recife exports great quantities of the hinterland's products, including sugar, cotton, and coffee. Its population is around 1,500,000 inhabitants.(Source: Brazilian Embassy, Washington, DC.)

Olinda, now a UNESCO designated world heritage city, was founded in 1537 as the capital of the Portuguese captaincy of Pernambuco. Its economy depended heavily on sugar cane and slave labor. In 1630 the Dutch captured the city abd held it for about 25 years. The town prospered under the governorship of Count John Maurice of Nassau. By the early 1700's Recife (5 miles away) started to overshadow the economic importance of Olinda. The city is noted primarily for its 16th- and 17th-century ornate churches and monasteries and for other colonial buildings. There is a large colony of artists who produce wood carvings and pottery.

For a little more history in Portuguese & English visit this site.

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The State of Pernambuco

Area : 98,281
Population : 7,360,900
Capital : Recife

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