São Luís is the capital of Maranhão, Brazil. The city is situated in an island at the delta of Pindaré and Itapicuru rivers, in a bay just off the Atlantic Ocean. It is located at 2.50° South, 44.30° West. The city has a population of some 890,700 people as of 2003.

The city is a sea port, with industries including textile factories and sugar refining. São Luís is home of the Federal University of Maranhão.

The city celebrates the Bumba-meu-boi festival each June. São Luís was the home town of famous Brazilian Samba singer Alcione.


It was the great village of the Tupinambás indians. It was discovered by the French in 1612, who intended to make it a French colony. São Luís ("Saint Louis") was named in honor of King Louis XIII of France. It was invaded by the Netherlands and then conquered for the Portugal in 1648. It was the only state capital in Brazil that was not established by Portuguese.

In 1977 the city's old center was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Starting in 1989 there has been an extensive program to restore and renevate the colonial era buildings of the city's old center.