Recife, Brazil, one of the nation's oldest and largest cities and the capital of Pernambuco state. It lies on the Atlantic coast in northeastern Brazil, about 8 degrees south of the Equator. The downtown area is situated on an island, part of a peninsula, and a section of the mainland—all linked by numerous bridges. Waterways and canals are numerous; the city is sometimes called the "Venice of Brazil."
Recife is located in an area that produces sugarcane, cotton, and tobacco. Industries include food processing and the manufacture of electronic items, leather goods, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. The city is one of Brazil's leading ports and a hub for rail, road, and air transportation. Colonial churches, Portuguese and Dutch forts, pleasant beaches, and a number of museums are among the city's attractions. Recife is the seat of two universities.
Recife was founded by Portuguese settlers in 1548. It was occupied from 1630 until 1654 by the Dutch, who greatly improved the city. At the end of Dutch rule, Recife reverted to the Portuguese, became the capital of Pernambuco, and grew to become the chief commercial city in northeastern Brazil.