City (pop., 2003 est.: 1,517,500), northwestern Brazil. Located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, it lies along the northern bank of the Negro River above its junction with the Amazon River. The first European settlement was a small fort built in 1669. The village, called Villa da Barra, became the capital of the Río Negro captaincy general in 1809. It prospered from 1890 to 1920 as the hub for the region's only supply of rubber, after which it declined. Though 900 mi (1,450 km) from the sea, it again became a major inland port and commercial centre, reviving economically in the mid-20th century. It has botanical gardens and an opera house, and the National Research Institute of Amazonia (INPA) and the Federal University of Amazonas are located there.