Sergipe, Brazil Overview

Sergipe, Brazil Overview

The smallest state in Brazil, Sergipe is also one of the largest producers and exporters of oil and oranges in the country. The coast of the state, with untouched natural landscapes, and the historic cities listed by the heritage are an important pole of tourist attraction in the Northeast region.

The state of Sergipe (in Tupi, “rio dos siris”) occupies an area of ​​22,050km2. It is limited to the east with the Atlantic Ocean, to the north with Alagoas and to the west and south with Bahia. The coast of Sergipe extends for 163km, from the mouth of the São Francisco River to that of the Rio Real. Its capital is Aracaju.

Physical geography


According to, Sergipe has a low and regular relief: about 86% of the territory is below 300m of altitude. Three units make up the morphological picture: the sedimentary trays, the pediplane and the São Francisco alluvial plain. The sedimentary trays are a set of low elevations, in the shape of a table, separated by flat-bottomed valleys, where wide floodplains develop.

Unlike the other northeastern states located to the north, the strip of boards in Sergipe extends to the center of the state. The pediplane dominates the entire western portion of the state, with a regular or slightly undulating topography, in the middle of which isolated peaks (inselbergs) emerge. The São Francisco alluvial plain extends along the border with Alagoas and ends, on the coast, in great delta formation.


Two climatic types are registered in Sergipe: the hot and humid climate with autumn-winter rains (As’) and the warm semi-arid climate (BSh). The first dominates the eastern part of the state, with an average annual temperature of 20 ° C and annual rainfall of more than 1,400 mm. The BSh climate characterizes the entire interior of Sergipe, with equally high temperatures and very low rainfall (800mm per year).


The vegetation cover, today greatly modified by the action of man, comprises the tropical forest, the wild and the caatinga. The tropical forest covered the eastern façade, which it lent the name of the forest zone. The wild, forest vegetation in transition to a drier climate, covers the center of the state. The caatinga grows in the western portion.


The rivers of the Sergipe territory belong to two hydrographic basins: the São Francisco and the Northeast. Only the first has good hydraulic potential. The second is formed by lowland rivers, of which the main four are the Rio Real, Piauí, Vaza-Barris, which bathes the capital, and Sergipe. They all flow into the Atlantic Ocean in wide estuaries and allow navigation to small draft vessels.


The inhabitants of the state are concentrated in the forest and in the wild. More than half of the population lives in urban centers. In addition to the capital, the largest cities are Lagarto, Itabaiana, Estância, São Cristóvão, Tobias Barreto, Simão Dias and Propriá.

The state territory is at the limit of the areas of influence of the cities of Salvador and Recife. Aracaju, in addition to political and administrative capital, is the economic center of the state. Its action is felt throughout the state area.


Agriculture and Livestock

The main agricultural products of the state are oranges, an export culture typical of the agreste; sugar cane, traditionally grown in the forest area; cassava, which, grown mainly in the wild, although it appears dispersed in other regions, is intended for local consumption by rural populations; and the coconut-of-the-bay, of which Sergipe is one of the largest national producers. Also important are the crops of beans and corn and, to a lesser extent, rice, cotton trees (the main product of the sertão) and tobacco.

To tackle the drought problem, the government invested in the development of small rural properties, which play a fundamental role in food production, and implemented combined systems of water mains, dams, weirs, wells, cisterns and cisterns, in addition to spreading crops, crops and drought-resistant animals.

The state herd has increased a lot. The existence of a modern slaughterhouse in the capital contributes to this development. Livestock has expanded both in the wild and in the coastal valleys and in the hinterland areas.

Industry and mining

The industrial activity is concentrated in Aracaju (food products, textiles and processing of agricultural products). In addition to the capital, the industry is also present in Estância and São Cristóvão, textile centers. A cement factory in Aracaju supplies state consumption. Among the industries in the food sector, the production of coconut milk and canned coconut shavings stands out.

The development of Sergipe was stimulated by the implantation, from the 1960s, of the Industrial District of Aracaju, in an area connected to the main highways. The state is among the largest oil producers in the country. Exploration is carried out both on the continent (fields of Carmópolis, Siririzinho, Riachuelo and others) and on the continental shelf. Since 1985, the country’s first potash mine has operated in the state. Sergipe also has large reserves of magnesium, rock salt and sulfur.

The state’s Chlorochemical Pole integrates the various industrial units for processing mineral raw materials, such as oil, gas, potassium, granite, halite, silvinite, carnalite, limestone and sulfur reserves.

Energy and transport

Electricity is supplied by thermoelectric and hydroelectric plants and by the Paulo Afonso plant, located in the state of Bahia. With the inauguration of the Xingó hydroelectric plant, on the border with Alagoas, Sergipe started to have greater availability of energy.

The main paved highway in Sergipe is the BR-101, which cuts across the state from north to south. The railway follows an approximate route. Both cross the São Francisco River through the railroad bridge that connects Propriá to Porto Real do Colégio, in Alagoas. In 1986, the Juscelino Kubitschek highway was inaugurated, which crosses the entire semi-arid area of ​​the state, linking Monte Alegre to Canindé do São Francisco. Eight years later, the Estrada das Dunas, or Estrada do Coco, opened a road that cuts through the south coast of Sergipe and traverses a true paradise of dunes, coconut trees, lagoons, rivers, mangroves and the sea.

The port of Sergipe, an offshore terminal owned by the state, connects with the Chlorochemical Complex, the export processing zone and major irrigation projects, and operates with general cargo, in addition to being a key part to expand Sergipe tourism.


Cultural entities

The main cultural institutions in the state of Sergipe are the Historical and Geographic Institute of Sergipe, the Society of Artistic Culture of Sergipe, the Sergipana Academy of Letters and the Sergipana Press Association, all in the capital.

The most important museums are the Historical and Geographical Institute, the Art and Tradition Museum and the State Pinacoteca, in the capital, as well as the São Francisco Convent Museum, in São Cristóvão, one of the richest sacred art museums in Brazil . Among the libraries, the Public Library of the State of Sergipe, the Federal University of Sergipe, founded in 1967, and the Historical and Geographic Institute, all in Aracaju, stand out.


In Sergipe’s territory are located several monuments listed by the historical heritage: the parish church of Divina Pastora, in Divina Pastora; the former Jesuit residence, now the home of Fazenda Iolanda, and an attached chapel, in Itaporanga d’Ajuda; the Retiro mill house and its Santo Antônio chapel and the church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, in Comendaroba, both founded by the Jesuits; the parish church of Nossa Senhora do Perpétuo Socorro, in Nossa Senhora do Socorro; the chapel of Engenho da Pedra, in Riachuelo; and the Nossa Senhora do Socorro church, in Tomar do Geru.

Other monuments are located in the historic cities of Laranjeiras – the matrix of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (18th century) and the chapel of Engenho Jesus, Maria, José; São Cristóvão – the colonial houses of Praça Getúlio Vargas, Santa Casa de Misericórdia and its church (1627), the church of Nossa Senhora do Rosário (1749) and the parish church of Nossa Senhora da Vitória (17th century); and Santo Amaro das Brotas – the mother church of Santo Amaro and the chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Engenho Caieira.

Folklore and tourism

The major religious festivals in Sergipe are, in the capital, the procession of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes (river procession that runs through the Sergipe River estuary, on January 1st); the Christmas celebrations, from December 25th to January 6th, in which the traditional “Tobias” carousel stands out, a black puppet that plays a large barrel organ; and that of Nossa Senhora da Conceição, on December 8. Inland, the main popular festivals are Senhor do Bonfim, in Estância, which lasts three days; that of Nossa Senhora da Piedade, in Lagarto, on September 8; and that of Passos, in São Cristóvão, in Lent. Typical sergipana cuisine has as main dish the buchada, made of blood and minced lamb.

Aracaju has numerous and beautiful beaches, such as Atalaia Velha, Atalaia Nova, Aruana, Mosqueiro, do Robalo, among others; a forest garden and a stadium with a capacity for around fifty thousand spectators, known as “Batistão” (Lourival Batista stadium). The historic cities, due to their architectural collection, are one of the main tourist attractions of the state.

Sergipe, Brazil Overview