Forte de Reis Magos, or Three Wise Men Fort, stands at the mouth of the Potengi River, separated from Natal by a sand bar that is covered by high tides. Construction of the fort started on January 6, 1598, a day when Catholic Portugal celebrated Epiphany, hence the name.
Construction of the fort preceded the foundation of Natal ("Christmas"), on December 25, 1599.
In 1633, the fort was taken by the Dutch who invaded northeastern Brazil, and recovered by the Portuguese colonizers in 1654.
Marco de Touros, a colonial marker brought from Portugal to a beach north of Natal in 1501 to signal the occupation of Brazil, was moved to Forte dos Reis Magos in the 1970s. The marker's original location is now named for it. Marco Beach, on the border of Pedra Grande and São Miguel do Gostoso, now has a replica of the marker.