Maranhão (mərənyouN´), state (1996 pop. 5,218,442), 126,897 sq mi (328,663 sq km), NE Brazil, on the Atlantic Ocean. The capital is São Luís (also known as Maranhão). Agriculture and livestock remain central to the economy of the region, which has been the site of major agricultural and industrial colonization projects since the 1970s. Industries now include steel manufacture and food processing. Brazil operates a satellite launch facility at Alcântara in N Maranhão. Maranhão had long been inhabited by the Tupinambás when the Portuguese established the first European settlement there in 1534.
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