Rio Grande do Norte (NATAL) is the Portuguese for "Long River of the North"; notice that Brazil has also an State called Rio Grande do Sul .
Except for the eastern coast, the State of Rio Grande do Norte is in the semi-arid zone, meaning that rains are scarce and irregulars. The zone of the semi-arid reaches the Atlantic Ocean, and this is the cause of some cities (including the capital, Natal) present a landscape of dunes and sand hills.

Culinary: the most typical food is "carne de sol", a kind of jerked beef whose preparation process was developed over the centuries; this is garnished by several other regional products, like cooked manioc, green beans, and cuscuz (corn flour);
Because of climate and soil, the culture of sugar cane in the State, during the colonial times, was restricted to just the southern half of the eastern coast (up until Goianinha); a consequence is that the influence of black people is felt less intensely than in Paraíba, Pernambuco and Bahia.