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port city and capital, Sergipe estado (state), northeastern Brazil, lying on the Continguiba River at the base of a ridge of sand hills 6 miles (10 km) from the coast. The city, which was founded in 1855 as a new state capital, is laid out in an unusual grid pattern. It is a regional commercial and industrial centre, processing oranges, leather, bananas, cassava, feijao (beans), mangoes, cashews, salt, cotton, and sugar. It is also home to a burgeoning service industry sector. In addition, chemicals are produced in Aracaju, and limestone is quarried in the vicinity. Anchorage at the port is good, but a dangerous bar at the river's mouth prevents the entrance of vessels drawing more than 12 feet (4 metres). Offshore petroleum drilling was begun in the late 1970s. Aracaju is linked by air, coastal shipping, and paved roads to Salvador, Maceio, and Recife. The Federal University of Sergipe was founded there in 1967. Aracaju is a Roman Catholic episcopal see with a cathedral. Pop. (2005 est.) 498,600.
smallest estado (state) of Brazil, located on the southern coast of that country's northeastern bulge into the Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded on the east by the Atlantic, on the south and west by the state of Bahia, and on the north by the state of Alagoas, from which it is separated by the Sao Francisco River. The state capital is Aracaju. Sergipe is named after Serigy, who was a gallant native Indian chief.