Introduction of Fortaleza
City, chief port, and capital of Ceara state, NE Brazil, on the Atlantic coast, approximately 400 mi NW of Recife. Founded by the Portuguese in 1609, it was occupied by the Dutch from 1637 to 1654. Fortaleza has been a center of sugar plantations since the colonial era. The city grew after being opened to international trade in 1808. Its greatest growth, however, has come since 1957, when Fortaleza became headquarters for the Brazilian government’s efforts to develop the poverty-stricken Northeast.