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Fernando de Noronha is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, part of the State of Pernambuco, around 354 km offshore from the Brazilian coast. Its area is 18.4 km˛and its population a little over 2000 inhabitants. The climate is tropical, with two well defined seasons which are the rainy season from January to August, and the dry season for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, the original land vegetation of the islands has been cut down, and nowadays is made up mostly of vines and bushes. The island was mostly forested until the 19th century, when it was cleared to prevent prisoners incarcerated there from building rafts. The islands are now predominantly covered by shrublands, with some areas of secondary forest. Fernando de Noronha is considered one of the best scuba diving locations in Brazil. The warm water and exuberant subaquatic fauna and flora can be found in dives from 25 to 40 meters deep. A Brazilian warship, the corvette Nael Ipiranga, sank in 1987 and is lying in pristine condition at around 190 feet. In 1942, during World War II, the archipelago was made a Federal Territory that also included Rocas Atoll and Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and political and ordinary prisoners were sent to the local prison. In 1988 approximately 70% of the archipelago was declared a maritime national park, with the goal of preserving the land and sea environment. On October 5, 1988, the Federal Territory was dissolved and added to the state of Pernambuco. Nowadays, Fernando de Noronha's economy depends on tourism, restricted by the limitations of its delicate ecosystem. In addition to the historical interest noted above, the archipelago has been the subject of the attention of various scientists dedicated to the study of its flora, fauna, and geology. In 2001, UNESCO declared Fernando de Noronha, with Rocas Atoll, as a World Heritage Site.
More information can be found on the Pousada do Frances website at: www.noronha.info
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