João Pessoa (zhwouN pəsôˈə) [key], city (1991 pop. 497,600), capital of Paraíba state, NE Brazil, at the confluence of the Sanhauá and Paraíba do Norte rivers. Cotton, sugar, and minerals are exported through its port, Cabedelo. Industries in the city produce chemicals, plastics, metals, and electrical goods. The city was established in the late 16th cent. and named (1585) Filipea, in honor of Philip II of Spain and Portugal. During the brief Dutch occupation (17th cent.) it was called Frederickstadt, and, after its reconquest by the Portuguese, Paraíba. Its present name was acquired in 1930, in honor of the state governor who was assassinated in Recife during the Vargas revolution. João Pessoa is the site of a state university. The city's Franciscan convent and church are excellent examples of colonial architecture. Nearby are several resort areas.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: South American Political Geography