1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sergipe

SERGIPE (originally Sergipe d’el-Rey), a small Atlantic state of Brazil, bounded N. by Alagôas, E. by the Atlantic, and S. and W. by Bahia. Area, 15,093 sq. m. Pop. (1900) 356,264, three-fourths half-castes and negroes. The Sāo Francisco forms its northern boundary, and the drainage of the northern part of the state is northward and eastward to that river. The southern half of the state, however, slopes eastward and is drained directly into the Atlantic through a number of small rivers, the largest of which are the Irapiranga (whose source is in the state of Bahia and which is called Vasa Barris at its mouth), the Real, and the Cotinguiba. These streams are navigable for short distances, but are obstructed by sand-bars at their mouths, that of Cotinguiba being especially dangerous. The surface of the state resembles in part that of Bahia, with a zone of forested lands near the coast, and back of this a higher zone of rough open country, called agrestes. There is a sandy belt along the coast, and the western frontier is slightly mountainous. The intermediate lands are highly fertile, especially in the forested region, where the rainfall is abundant. Further inland the year is divided into wet and dry seasons with occasional prolonged droughts. These districts are pastoral, and the lower fertile lands are cultivated for sugar, cotton, maize, tobacco, rice, beans, and mandioca—sugar being the principal product. Rubber and some other natural products are exported. There is only one railway in the state, which runs from Aracajú northward to Capella, with a branch running westward to Simão Dias. The only manufacturing industries of importance are cotton mills, sugar factories and distilleries, one of the largest sugar usines in Brazil being located at Riachuelo near Larangeiras. There are no good ports on the coast because of the bars at the mouths of the rivers.

The capital of the state is Aracajú (pop. 1890, 16,336; 1906 estimate, 25,000), on the lower course, or estuary, of the Cotinguiba river, near the coast. The bar at the entrance to this river is exceptionally dangerous, and the port is frequented only by coasting vessels of light draught. The town stands on a sandy plain, and there are sand dunes within the city limits. The public buildings are a large plain church with unfinished twin towers, the government palace, the legislative halls, a normal school and public hospital. The other principal towns are Estancia (pop. 1890, 14,555) on the Rio Real in the southern part of the state, with manufactures of cotton textiles, cigars and cigarettes, and soap, and an active trade; Laranjeiras (11,350), in a highly productive sugar district N. of the capital; Capella (11,034); Simão Dias (10,984); Lagarto (10,473); São Christovão, formerly Sergipe d’el-Rey (8793), the old capital, near the mouth of the Irapiranga, and Maroim (7851).