1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alagoas
ALAGOAS, a maritime state of Brazil, bounded N. and W. by the state of Pernambuco, S. and W. by the state of Sergipe, and E. by the Atlantic. It has an area of 22,584 sq. m. A dry, semi-barren plateau, fit for grazing only, extends across the W. part of the state, breaking down into long fertile valleys and wooded ridges towards the coast, giving the country a mountainous character. The coastal plain is filled with lakes (lagoas), in some cases formed by the blocking up of river outlets by beach sands. The valleys and slopes are highly fertile and produce sugar, cotton, tobacco, Indian corn, rice, mandioca and fruits. Hides and skins, mangabeira rubber, cabinet woods, castor beans and rum are also exported. Cattle-raising was formerly a prominent industry, but it has greatly declined. Manufactures have been developed to a limited extent only, though protective tariff laws have been adopted for their encouragement. The climate is hot and humid, and fevers are prevalent in the hot season. The capital, Maceio, is the chief commercial city of the state, and its port (Jaragua) has a large foreign and coastwise trade. The principal towns are Alagoas, formerly the capital, picturesquely situated on Lake Manguaba, 15 m. S.W. of Maceio, and Penedo, a small port on the lower São Francisco, 26 m. above the river’s mouth. Before 1817 Alagoas formed part of the capitania of Pernambuco, but in that year the district was rewarded with a separate government for refusing to join a revolution, and in 1823 became a province of the empire. The advent of the republic in 1889 changed the province into a state.