Fortaleza: general data, flag, economy

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strength is a Brazilian city in the Northeast region of the country. It is located in the Ceará and houses the seat of the state government. It went through a fast and intense process of urbanization and economic development, being today one of the main industrial centers in the region. The city is considered a metropolis and, with more than 2.6 million inhabitants, it is one of the most populous capitals in Brazil.

Read too: What are the capitals of Brazilian states?

General data for Fortaleza

  • Gentile: Fortaleza.

  • Location: Northeast region.

  • Parents: Brazil.

  • Federative unit: Ceará.

  • Intermediate region[1]: Strength.

  • Immediate region[1]: Strength.

  • Metropolitan region: Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza or Greater Fortaleza.

    • Composed of the following municipalities: Fortaleza, Trairi, Paraipaba, Paracuru, São Gonçalo do Amarante, São Luís do Curu, Caucaia, Maranguape, Maracanaú, Guaiúba, Pacatuba, Itaitinga, Eusébio, Aquiraz, Horizonte, Pacajus, Pindoretama, Chorozinho, Rattlesnake.

  • Bordering municipalities: Caucaia, Maracanaú, Pacatuba, Itaitinga, Eusébio, Aquiraz.

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  • Total area: 312,353 km² (IBGE, 2020).

  • Total population: 2,686,612 inhabitants (IBGE, 2020).

  • Density: 7,786.44 inhab./km² (IBGE, 2010).

  • Climate: tropical.

  • Altitude: 16 meters.

  • Time zone: GMT -3 hours.


  • Foundation: April 13, 1726.

Read too: Manaus capital of the state of Amazonas and the most populous city in the North

Fortaleza geography

fortress is a Brazilian municipality located on the northeast coast of the country, in the federative unit of Ceará. It plays the role of state capital, as it houses the seat of the government of Ceará. The city of Fortaleza is a metropolis and forms the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza (RMF)or Greater Fortaleza, comprising 19 municipalities.

the capital of Ceará has an area of ​​312,353 km², being the 22nd Brazilian capital in area. Your territory has exit to the Atlantic Ocean to the north and part of the east, while borders with six other municipalities:

  • Caucaia, to the west and northwest;

  • Maracanaú, Pacatuba and Itatinga, to the south;

  • Eusebius, to the south-east and east;

  • Aquiraz to the east.

Aerial photo of the city of Fortaleza.
View of a part of the city of Fortaleza, capital of Ceará.

Let's see, next, some of the main physical characteristics of the city of Fortaleza.

  • Fortaleza climate

Located on the northeast coast, the municipality of Fortaleza has a sub-humid hot tropical climate. Temperatures are high for most of the year, with lows in excess of 20º C and an average of 27º C. The rains are concentrated in the months of summer and autumn (January to May), annually recording 1,338 mm of rainfall.

  • Fortress relief

The lands that make up Fortaleza belong to the dominance of the coastal plains and lowlands, according to the classification of Aziz Ab’Sáber. Thus, the city has a predominantly flat relief, composed of the plains rivers and coastal areas, in addition to the pre-coastal plateaus. Its altitude is 16 meters above sea level.

  • Fortress vegetation

As well as the entire state of Ceará, Fortaleza integrates the biome Caatinga. However, due to its position and high levels of humidity, it exhibits vegetation cover characteristic of coastal areas, such as forests,mangroves and dunes.

  • Fortaleza Hydrography

Some of the main rivers that bathe Ceará cross the capital to its mouth on the coast of Fortaleza. are they the Ceará, Maranguapinho, Pacoti, Cocó and Pacoti rivers.

Among the lakes that formed on the limits of the municipality, Lagoa de Parangaba stands out, the largest of them and an important leisure and recreation area for residents of the neighborhood of the same name, and the Lagoa de Precaution.

Fortaleza Map

Image of part of the map of the Brazilian northeast coast with the marking over the city of Fortaleza.
Location of Fortaleza, capital of Ceará.

Fortaleza Demographics

The city of Fortaleza currently has a population of 2,686,612 people, according to IBGE estimates for 2020. It is the largest city in Ceará and comprises a contingent of 29% of the state population. fortress is still the fifth largest Brazilian capital and the second of the Rnortheastern region, behind only savior (BA). The IBGE 2018 information shows that the Metropolitan Region of Fortaleza has just over 4 million inhabitants, making it the sixth most populous metropolitan region in Brazil and the first in its region.

In addition to being populous, the capital of Ceará is one of the most populated Brazilian cities. The population distribution of Fortaleza is around 7,786.44 inhab./km² (IBGE, 2010). It is noteworthy that almost all homes in Fortaleza are part of its urban area.

Regarding the population composition, it has to be:

  • 57.23% of the people of Fortaleza declare themselves to be brown;

  • 36.78%, white;

  • 4.52%, black;

  • 1.35%, yellows;

  • 0.13%, indigenous.

O IBGE it also raises information related to the religiosity of populations. In Fortaleza, most declare themselves Catholic (67.8%), 21.3% are Evangelicals and 1.2% are Spiritists.

See too: The 20 most populous cities in the world

Geographical division of Fortaleza

The city of Fortaleza is currently composed of 121 neighborhoods. In 2019, a new territorial division of the capital of Ceará was approved, whose implementation process began two years later, in 2021.

The new configuration establishes that the neighborhoods are grouped in 39 administrative territories, which, according to the Municipality of Fortaleza, were determined by criteria such as size, number of inhabitants, cultural aspects and use of public facilities |1|. The territories make up, in turn, the so-called Regionals, which now number twelve.

Fortaleza Economy

Fortaleza represents the largest municipal economy in the Northeast Region, having surpassed the Bahian capital, Salvador, in 2018, as shown by IBGE data. The city of Ceará has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of approximately BRL 67 billion, which also places it in 9th place among cities throughout Brazil. Fortaleza is considered as one of the main regional economic centers and an important national reference.

O tertiary sector accounts for the largest share of GDP, with great emphasis on commerce and the activities directly and indirectly linked to the tourism sector. The city of Fortaleza is one of the main tourist destinations in the Northeast, according to the Ministry of Tourism in 2021. The capital of Ceará has 34 km of coastline, where dozens of beaches are located, such as Praia do Futuro, one of the most famous and busy, in addition to other attractions such as water parks, ecological parks, cultural centers and complexes hoteliers.

Aerial shot of a water park with several slides.
With many attractions, Fortaleza is one of the main tourist destinations in the Northeast of Brazil.[1]

The RMF concentrates the main industrial centers of Ceará, where companies from different productive sectors can be found. In the capital itself, the transformation industry is the main one, especially textile and clothing production. A Petrobras refinery, a producer of asphalt and lubricating oils, is located in Fortaleza. The oil sector stands out in exports with the shipment of bituminous oils and minerals abroad.

THE fishing and the sale of fish and shellfish, especially for the foreign market, is one of the main component activities of the primary sector. Agriculture has a low participation in the economy of Fortaleza, with foodstuffs such as coconut, mango, banana and cashew nut.

Fortaleza government

The government of Fortaleza is of the representative democratic type. The population elects its representatives through the municipal election, which is held every four years. At the head of the Executive Branch is the Mayor, While the city's Legislative Chamber is formed by 43 councilors.

The city also plays the role of capital of Ceará, housing the seat of the state government. This is located in the Palácio da Abolição building.

Fortaleza Infrastructure

The city of Fortaleza has approximately 710,000 households, most of which are located in the urban area. Most of them are connected to the municipal water supply network, while almost all of them have access to electricity. It stands out that the state of Ceará is one of the biggest generators of wind energy from Brazil, which is due to its favorable geographic position.

The first wind farm in Ceará, the Central Eólica Mucuripe, was built in the capital in 1997. Also regarding the urban infrastructure of Fortaleza, the IBGE Census indicates that 74% of the city has adequate sanitation.

The displacement in the city and its metropolitan region can be made by means of buses, taxis, private cars and also the subway network, known as Metrofor. The city is connected to several other urban areas in the region and across the country through federal and state highways, in addition to airports. The main one is the Pinto Martins International Airport, located in the center of Fortaleza. The waterway transport of cargo and passengers is carried out by the ports, with an emphasis on the Port of Mucuripe (or Port of Fortaleza).

Fortaleza Culture

THE culture Fortaleza was constituted with the contribution of different peoples who made up the population of Ceará since the beginning of its formation, as Portuguese, Africans, indigenous people and migrants from various other regions of the country.

Fortaleza brings together many cultural centers and structures aimed at the preservation and enhancement of local and state culture, such as the Museum of Ceará, the Casa José de Alencar, where the writer of the same name lived and listed as a national heritage, the Ceará Humor Museum, in addition to several other museums, theaters and leisure centers.

Some of the celebrations held in the capital of Ceará are the city's anniversary on April 13th, O Çarnaval, the day of maracatu, the religious festivals of Our Lady of Fátima and of the city's patron saint, Our Lady of Assumption, film, music and fashion festivals, the Ceará Book Biennial and others.

history of fortress

Today the economic and political center of the state of Ceará, the city of Fortaleza did not always have this status. At the beginning of the 17th century, when the colonization process of that territory began, the area where the city is located today did not arouse the interest of the Portuguese, and a long time passed before they established their dominion over her.

The settlement of Fortaleza began on the outskirts of Fort Nossa Senhora de Assunção, near the Pajeú River. THE Dutch invasion in northeastern Brazil, in the mid-17th century, it encompassed the then village, which drew the attention of the Portuguese to the need to expand their presence in that territory. After the expulsion of the Dutch, the settlers headed for that region and created Vila de Fortaleza in 1699. Little by little, it developed economically, but it still did not exert regional influence.

strength officially became a municipality in the year 1725, through a regal resolution. A year later, on April 13, 1726, it became the seat of the district. The city started to stand out locally with the decline of economic activities that were developed in the region, notably livestock, and the gain of autonomy of the Ceará captaincy at the end of the 18th century. During this same period, it became the capital of Ceará.

The process of urbanization of Fortaleza gained strength in the beginning of the 20th century, coinciding with its rapid occupation and economic development, which took place from the 1950s onwards. With its current status as a metropolis, Fortaleza has become the fifth largest city in the country and an important economic hub in the Northeast Region.


|1| Understand the new administrative territorialization of Fortaleza. Fortaleza City Hall, 07 Jan. 2021. Available on here. Accessed on June 11 2021.

Image credit

[1] Caio Flints / Shutterstock

By Paloma Guitarrara
geography teacher
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