Alagoas, Brazil Overview

by | May 18, 2021

Quilombo dos Palmares, at the end of the 17th century; and the expressive participation of the intellectuals from Alagoas in the struggles for the abolition of slavery and the republic – these are just some of the most outstanding moments in the history of Alagoas, a state that was once called “land of the marshals”.

Alagoas, in the Northeast region of Brazil, is limited to the north with Pernambuco, to the east with the Atlantic Ocean, to the south with Sergipe and to the west with Bahia. It occupies an area of ​​27,933km2. The capital is Maceió.

Physical geography

About 86% of the Alagoas territory is below 300m of altitude, and 61% below 200m. Only one percent is above 600m. Five units make up the morphological picture: (1) the coastal lowlands, with extensive sands (beaches and restingas) dominated by flat top elevations (sandstone boards); (2) a strip of hills and clayey hills, immediately to the west, with thick and relatively rich soils; (3) the pediplane, occupying the entire interior, with rich, but shallow soils, and a slightly undulating topography, from which the Serra Grande and Água Branca mountain ranges emerge, in the extreme west of the state; (4) the southern slope of the Borborema plateau, in the center-north, the highest part of Alagoas; (5) and alluvial plains (floodplains), along rivers, including the delta and the low São Francisco floodplain (left bank),

The state’s hydrographic network consists of rivers that flow directly into the Atlantic Ocean (such as Camaragibe, Mundaú, Paraíba and Coruripe) and rivers that flow into São Francisco (such as Marituba, Traipu, Ipanema, Capiá and Moxotó).

Three types of vegetation cover, largely modified by the action of man, covered the Alagoas territory: the tropical forest in the humid portion of the state (micro region of the Alagoas forest); the wild, transition vegetation to a drier climate, in the center; and the caatinga, in the west. The entire eastern half of the state has a Köppen type As climate, warm (annual averages over 24o C), with relatively abundant autumn-winter rains (more than 1,400mm). Inland, semi-arid conditions dominate, BSh climate, with rainfall falling below 1,000mm; this region is included in the so-called Drought Polygon. The seasons are perfectly defined by the periodicity of the rains. Summer begins in September and ends in February and “winter” begins in approximately March, ending in August. The temperature does not suffer great oscillations, varying, on the coast, between 22.5 and 28o C, and in the hinterland, between 17 and 33o C.


According to Rctoysadvice, Alagoas is one of the most densely populated Brazilian states (about 86 inhab./km2). The average life span of the state’s inhabitants is 46-91 years.

The highest population concentrations occur in the traditional forest zone and on the slopes of Borborema, where densities of more than 100 inhab./km2 occur. The sparsely populated areas correspond to the poor soils of the coastal plateaus and the dry lands of the hinterland. The population is divided into almost equal parts between rural and urban areas.

The main cities in the state are Maceió, Arapiraca, Palmeira dos Índios and Penedo. Maceió, in addition to being a capital, a sugar exporting port and an industrial center (textiles and food products), also performs, in relation to trade and services, the functions of regional capital for the entire Alagoas territory and a small part of the north of Sergipe. Its most direct area of ​​influence is restricted to the eastern façade of the state. In the rest of the area of ​​influence, it operates through two intermediate centers: Palmeira dos Índios, which serves Agreste and Sertão, and Penedo, which serves the southern part of the state and some municipalities in Sergipe. Arapiraca, the second city in the state, is the commercial warehouse of the agreste tobacco region.


Society and culture


At the end of the 1980s, 250 libraries operated in the state of Alagoas, totaling 310,000 cataloged titles. There were seven museums, with emphasis on the History and Sacred Art, by dr. Mário Hélio Gouveia, and that of the Historical and Geographical Institute of Alagoas, in addition to the Pinacoteca of the Palácio dos Martírios. The main cultural entities in the state are the Historical and Geographic Institute of Alagoas, the Alagoas Academy of Letters, the Alagoas Folklore Commission, the University Theater, and the Teatral Association of Alagoas, the Society of Artistic Culture, and the Alagoas Press Association (in Maceió).

Press, radio and TV. Among the state newspapers, Gazeta de Alagoas, Jornal de Alagoas, Folha Mercantil and Jornal de Hoje are the main ones. Radio stations include Radio Broadcaster Alagoas, Radio Educadora Palmares de Alagoas, Radio Gazeta de Alagoas and Radio Progresso de Alagoas. As a TV station, mention TV Gazeta de Alagoas.


Noteworthy in the capital are the metropolitan cathedral and the church of Martírios, the baron palaces of Jaraguá and Tavares Bastos (seat of the Legislative Assembly), the statues of marshals Deodoro da Fonseca and Floriano Peixoto, general Pedro Aurélio de Góis Monteiro and viscount of Sinimbu . In the colonial city of Penedo, mention is made of the retirement house (1781) and the convent and church of Santa Maria dos Anjos. In Porto Calvo, the church of Nossa Senhora da Presentation.

Events & Events

The main parties in Alagoas are the Christmas cycle (reisado, pastoral, warriors, cheganças, quilombos, caboclinhos, toré, marujada). Also in December, the Iemanjá maritime procession (on the 8th) and the sea festival are held. In the June festivities, bands of fife, cavalcades, repentistas and typical foods stand out. In União dos Palmares, the corn festival is celebrated in the second half of July, and the national day of black consciousness (November 20). Another popular traditional festival of prominence is the peja (cattle marking). Among the typical dances, there is a big bang (gymnastic dance) and coco (dance with singing and choir).


Alagoas handicrafts are one of the richest in the Northeast, with emphasis on the famous lace (filet, labyrinth, cross-stitch and redendê), as well as ceramics and woodwork, straw and vines. The artisans sell their products daily at the Handicraft Market, in the Rio Branco park, in the center of Maceió, and at the Alagoan Artisan fair, on the Sete Coqueiros beach.

The typical dish of the land is sururu, shellfish taken from the lagoons, served in fries, pies, salads, etc. And also lobster, shrimp, sun-dried meat, carapeba and crab.

Alagoas, Brazil Overview