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Natal History, Brazil


Jeronimo de Albuquerque commanded a fleet and brought it to the river Potenji in December 1597. Its task was to establish a new city and build a fortress that would assure that the Frenchmen stay away from the Portuguese who were attempting to carry out trade with the native Indians. Manuel Mascarenhas Homem, the governor of Pernambuco,  arrived around the same time by land.

The work commenced and the ‘Fortress of Three Wise kings’ began to be built. A small village also came to be established a mile away from the fort. It was December 25th of 1599 and thus as the day was of Christmas, the village was named after it in Portuguese and came to be called Natal.Natal developed very gradually as its sandy soil was not appropriate to cultivate sugar cane. For the Portuguese, the sugarcane was the main source of wealth.

However the Dutch took over the city in 1633 and named it Keulen. The Portuguese wouldn’t let go so easily and in 1654 it was reclaimed by them.The Portuguese also explored the gold that they found in Minas Gerais. A revolution was endeavored in 1817 by the provinces from the Northeast. They struggled for independence from Portugal, but failed.

This made Natal less of a colony and set it apart from the rest of the country. This is perhaps one of the main reasons that Natal is considered as the most tolerant and progressive areas in Brazil. It is known as the state that was the first to abolish slavery almost a decade before the rest of the country.

Another remarkable aspect that goes to prove Natal as a libertarian region is the fact that a Brazilian woman was elected as a mayor from this region. Hence, this area is definitely a pioneer as far as women liberation and a progressive outlook is concerned.

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