Fortaleza is a modern city, the state capital of Ceará , now an important industrial center and market of agricultural products, the city is also famous as a seaside resort with its long beaches.
The city lies along the northern coast of Brazil and together with Salvador and Recife is one of the most important cities in the Nordeste of Brazil. Fortaleza is the fifth largest city in Brazil by population, it has a population of over 2,400,000.
Fortaleza now has a modern look, but the old town retains some fine buildings such as the cathedral, the bishop’s palace and the Governor’s palace (Palácio da Luz).
The Portuguese began to colonize the area in 1603 and in the surrounding area of the actual city they founded the fort São Tiago and the small settlement of Nova Lisboa. In 1649 the Dutch, who had in the meantime become masters of the Nordeste of Brazil built a fortification under the name of Fort Schoonenburg, Fortaleza remained in their possession until the capitulation of Recife in 1654, and then became part of the Portuguese possessions.
At the end of the eighteenth centur, Fortaleza was chosen as the capital of the new province of Ceará who was then born from a dismemberment of the province of Pernambuco. The city developed greatly thanks to the production of cotton. Today Fortaleza is an important commercial and tourist center.