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Natal is also one of the most important educational centers of Brazil, with three public universities and several private institutes. The city has a large concentration of medical schools (including Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte), engineering and technology colleges, leading to Natal being known as "Brazilian Athens". It also hosts two well-known football teams: Clube Náutico Capibaribe (which plays in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A) and Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras (which plays in the Campeonato Paulista). History [ edit ] The first European to settle near today's Natal was João Ramalho, a Portuguese sailor who arrived in 1536. In 1549–1550 he built a fortress on top of a hill at Umirim Beach that would defend Portuguese ships en route from Salvador da Bahia to Pernambuco. The settlement would be abandoned after Ramalho left.