Port of Recife
Review and History

The Port of Recife is capital of the State of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil and the center of a busy industrial area. Named for the many reefs at the city’s shores, The Port of Recife lies where the Capibaribe and Beberibe Rivers meet at the Atlantic Ocean. It is called the “Venice of Brazil” due to the many waterways that cross the city and divide it into separate parts linked by bridges. The Port of Recife is Brazil’s fifth biggest metropolitan area, with about 1.6 million people living there in 2007.

Being the major industrial area for the State of Pernambuco, many industries are located here, many producing products made from sugar cane. Other important industries include the manufacture of electronics and foodstuffs. The Port of Recife is Brazil’s second biggest medical center after Sao Paulo, and it has a fast-growing tourist industry. The nearby beach of Porto de Galinhas has been recognized often as Brazil’s best beach.

Port History

The area around the Port of Recife was one of the first to be settled in Brazil by Portugal, but most of the early attempts to colonize the city failed. One that succeeded was the Captaincy of Pernambuco, assigned to Duarte Coelho Pereira, which prospered from the sugarcane industry. The Portuguese first attempted to use natives as labor on their sugarcane plantations, but they soon found the indigenous peoples unsuitable for the labor. Their solution was to import slaves from Africa. The area received many slaves from the 16th to 19th Centuries, giving it one of modern Brazil’s strongest black cultures.

The mix of indigenous, Portuguese, and black slaves made the Port of Recife a diverse city, then in the 17th Century, Dutch culture was added to that mix as a result of war with the Netherlands. Being an important distributor of sugar in Europe, the Dutch invaded many sugar-producing cities.

From 1630 to 1654, they controlled the Port of Recife, and it became a cosmopolitan city under their influence. It was home to the first Jewish community and synagogue in the Americas. As the residents of the Port of Recife fought to drive out the Dutch, the Jewish community fled to Amsterdam and New Amsterdam in North America, establishing the first Jewish community in what is now New York City.

Riots upset the city during the 18th Century when the rich farmers of nearby Olinda and traders from the Port of Recife struggled for control of the sugar trade. However, Olinda had no harbor, and the Port of Recife’s harbor is one of the biggest on the Atlantic Coast. The struggle ended with the Port of Recife growing to become a large city and Olinda remaining a small town. Today, the Port of Recife is home to opulent colonial buildings and a rich history.

The City of Recife (Portuguese) is a major business center for Brazil because it has two ports: the Port of Recife in the city proper and the nearby port of Suape. The region’s major industrial area is just south of the Port of Recife, where many industries operate (including among many others automotive electronics, brewing and canning, tube manufacturing, and textiles). The Port of Recife benefited from the federal government’s program of development in the 1960s.

The first efforts to modernize port facilities began in 1815, and several initiatives have been undertaken over the years. In 1909, the Societe on Construction du Port de Permanbuco was authorized to build over 2 thousand meters of new docks and three new warehouses at the Port of Recife. Construction began in 1918, and the concession was granted to the state government in 1920. In 1978, the federal government’s Empresa de Portos do Brasil SA (Portobras) took control of the Port of Recife. In 1990, the Portobras was eliminated, and Brazil’s federal government took over management of the Port of Recife.

Review and History    Port Commerce    Cruising and Travel    Satellite Map    Contact Information