Recife is the fourth-largest urban area in Brazil and the capital and largest city of the state of Pernambuco in the north-east corner of South America. The first slave port in the Americas, Recife was founded in 1537, during the early Portuguese colonisation of Brazil, as the main harbour of the Captaincy of Pernambuco, known for its large scale production of sugar cane.
The city is located at the confluence of the Beberibe and Capibaribe rivers before they flow into the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a major port on the Atlantic. Its name is an allusion to the stone reefs that are present by the city's shores. The many rivers, small islands and over 50 bridges found in Recife city centre characterise its geography and led to the city being called the "Brazilian Venice". As of 2010, it is the capital city with the highest Human Development Index in Northeast Brazil.
The Metropolitan Region of Recife is the main industrial zone of the State of Pernambuco; major products are those derived from cane (sugar and ethanol), motor vehicles, ships, oil platforms, electronics, software, and others. With fiscal incentives by the government, many industrial companies were started in the 1970s and 1980s. Recife has a tradition of being the most important commercial hub of the North/North-eastern region of Brazil, with more than 52,500 business enterprises in Recife plus 32,500 in the Metro Area, totalling more than 85,000.
Recife is Brazil's second largest medical hub; modern hospitals with state-of-the-art equipment receive patients from several neighbouring States.
Recife stands out as a major tourist attraction of the Northeast, both for its beaches and for its historic sites, dating back to both the Portuguese and the Dutch colonisation of the region. The Historic Centre of Olinda, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the cities' Brazilian Carnivals are among the world's most famous.
The city is an education hub, and home to the Federal University of Pernambuco, the largest university in Pernambuco.
Recife is rated Sufficiency by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network (GaWC) which evaluates and ranks the relationships between world cities in the context of globalisation. Sufficiency level cities are cities that have a sufficient degree of services so as not to be overly dependent on world cities.
Recife has a population of over 1,653,000 people. Recife also forms part of the wider Recife metropolitan area which has a population of over 4,078,000 people.
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