Natal means ' Christmas ', the first Portuguese expedition by Amerigo Vespucci landed in 1501 on Cape São Roque, 20 kilometres outside the current Natal. At the end of the 16th century many French pirates established themselves here. They were trading with the Indians in this area. The Portuguese Governor reacted to this and decided to confiscate the area on 25 december 1598 (Christmas) and built a fort, forte dos Reis Magos.
A year later he builded outside the fort a settlement, called Natal. Between 1633 and 1654, the area was conquered and occupied by the Dutch. In 1654 the Portuguese retook the area again.
By the climate and sandy soil could the sugar cane cultivation not develop here, therefore, until the end of the 19th century, the main source of income was stock.
Then came the trade in salt and oil products and developed Natal itself as the centre for this
During the Second World War the Americans built a large airport in Natal as a base to Africa and Europe. A new airport is currently being built. This airport is going to be the largest in South America and the eighth of the world. This will allow the city to develop and going to take a huge jump into the future, as being not only Brazil’s biggest airport, but for the whole continent of South America.