Natal is a Brazilian municipality, capital of the state of Rio Grande do Norte, in the Northeast Region of the country. With an area of approximately 167 km², it is the second Brazilian capital with the smallest territorial area and the sixth largest capital in the country in population density, 2,222 kilometers from Brasília, the federal capital.
Founded in 1599, on the banks of the Potenji River, the city has important monuments, parks and museums and tourist attractions, such as the Alberto Maranhão Theater and the Capitoline Column, in the Historic Center, in addition to other attractions, among them the Newton Navarro Bridge, the Câmara Cascudo Museum, the Dom Nivaldo Monte City Park, the Popular Culture Museum, the Parque das Dunas, the Metropolitan Cathedral and beaches like Ponta Negra and the Artists, and events of great repercussion, such as the International Handicraft Fair ( FIART), Carnatal, June festivities and Christmas celebrations.
Historically, the city had great importance during the Second World War in 1942 during Operation Torch, since the planes of the American allied base were supplied with fuel in the place where for a long time was Augusto Severo International Airport, being classified as "one of the four most strategic points in the world ". Due to the operations of the first rocket base in South America, at the Barreira do Inferno Launch Center, today located in the neighboring municipality of Parnamirim, Natal also came to be known as the "Space Capital of Brazil". The capital of Rio Grande do Sul was also one of the twelve venues of the 2014 World Cup.
According to the estimate made by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2018, the population of the municipality is 877 640 inhabitants, being the nineteenth most populous municipality in the country and its metropolitan region, formed by thirteen other municipalities in Rio Grande do Norte, has a population of just over 1.5 million inhabitants, forming the fourth largest urban agglomeration in the Northeast and the nineteenth in Brazil.