Natal, Brazil, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte state. It is on the Atlantic coast in northeastern Brazil. Principal industries are food processing and the making of cotton textiles. Natal has an airport and railway service southward. Its port accommodates mainly coastal shipping. A federal university is located in Natal. On the coast are attractive beaches and a 16th-century Portuguese fort.
Natal was founded in the late 16th century. During World War II it was the site of a major air base for Allied transatlantic flights to and from Africa.