Brazil

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For other uses, see Brazil (disambiguation).

The Federative Republic of Brazil (República Federativa do Brasil in Portuguese) is the largest and most populous country in Latin America, and the fifth largest in the world. Spanning a vast area between central South America and the Atlantic Ocean, it borders Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana — every South American nation except for Ecuador and Chile. The name Brazil comes from a specific tree called brazilwood (Pau-Brasil in Portuguese), which was used to tinge textiles with its red pigments. Brazil is home to both extensive agricultural lands and rain forests. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it has the biggest GDP in South America (10th in the world) and is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Portuguese is the national language of Brazil.


República Federativa do Brasil
(Flag of Brazil) (Coat of Arms)
National motto (Portuguese): Ordem e Progresso
(Translated: Order and Progress)
image:LocationBrazil.png
Official language Portuguese
Capital Brasilia
Largest city São Paulo
Government
 • President
 • Vice President
Democratic federal republic
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
José Alencar Gomes da Silva
Area
 • Total
 • % water
Ranked 5th
8,547,403 km²
0.65%
Population
 • Total (2004)
 • Density
Ranked 5th
186,112,794
22/km²
Independence
 • Declared:
 • Recognized:
From Portugal
September 7, 1822
August 29, 1825
GDP (2004)
 • Total
 • GDP/head
Ranked 9th World Bank
$1,482 trillion (PPP)
$8,049 (PPP)
Currency Real (R$ BRL)
Time zone UTC -2 to -5 (Official: -3)
National anthem Hino Nacional Brasileiro
Internet TLD .br
Calling code 55
edit

Contents

History

Main article: History of Brazil

Brazil had been inhabited for at least 10,000 years by semi-nomadic populations when the first Portuguese explorers, led by Pedro Álvares Cabral disembarked in 1500. Over the next three centuries it was re-settled by the Portuguese and exploited mainly for brazilwood at first, and later for sugarcane agriculture and gold mining. Work in the colony was based on slavery. In 1808 Queen Maria I of Portugal and her son and regent, the future João VI of Portugal, fleeing from Napoleon, relocated to Brazil with the royal family, nobles and government. Though they returned to Portugal in 1821, the interlude led to the opening of commercial ports to the United Kingdom — at the time isolated from most European ports by Napoleon — and the elevation of Brazil to the status of a Kingdom united to Portugal's Crown. Then prince-regent Dom Pedro I of Brazil and IV of Portugal declared independence on 7 September 1822, establishing the independent Empire of Brazil. As the crown remained in the hands of the house of Bragança, this was more the severance of the Portuguese empire in two than an independence movement as seen elsewhere in the Americas.

The Brazilian Empire was theoretically a democracy in the British style, though in practice the emperor-premier-parliament balance of power more closely resembled the autocratic Austrian Empire. Slavery was abolished in 1888, and intensive European immigration created the basis for industrialization. Pedro I was succeeded by his son, Dom Pedro II who at old age was caught by a political dispute between the Army and the Cabinet, due to crisis arising as a consequence to the Paraguay War, and not hesitating to sacrifice his crown to avoid a civil war between Army and Navy renounced on 15 November 1889 when a federal republic was established by Field Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca.

Rio de Janeiro
Enlarge
Rio de Janeiro


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Brazil attracted over 5 million European and Japanese immigrants. That period also saw Brazil industrialise, further colonize and develop its interior. Brazilian democracy was replaced by dictatorship three times — 19301934 and 19371945 under Getúlio Vargas, and 19641985 under a succession of generals appointed by the military. Today Brazil is internationally considered a democracy since 1985.

Politics

Main article: Politics of Brazil

The 1988 constitution grants broad powers to the federal government, of which the President and Vice-President are elected on the same ticket by popular vote for four-year terms. The President has extensive executive powers: he appoints the Cabinet, and he is also both head of state and head of government.

The Brazilian legislature, the bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional, consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal of 81 seats, of which three members from each state or federal district are elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third elected after a four-year period, two-thirds elected after the next four-year period. Beside the Senate there is the Chamber of Deputies or Câmara dos Deputados of 513 seats, whose members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms.

See also:

  • Cangaço (criminal hinterland bands in the first years of the 20th century)
  • Café com leite (reference to Brazil's domination by the "coffee oligarchs" in the first years of the 20th century)
  • Coronelismo (reference to machine politics in the first years of the 20th century, still present on a lesser scale in modern days)
  • Integralismo (influential Brazilian fascist movement in the 1930s)

States

Main article: States of Brazil

States of Brazil Flag of Brazil
Acre | Alagoas | Amapá | Amazonas | Bahia | Ceará | Espírito Santo | Goiás | Maranhão | Mato Grosso | Mato Grosso do Sul | Minas Gerais | Pará | Paraíba | Paraná | Pernambuco | Piauí | Rio de Janeiro | Rio Grande do Norte | Rio Grande do Sul | Rondônia | Roraima | Santa Catarina | São Paulo | Sergipe | Tocantins
Federal District: Brazilian Federal District

Beaner plz

Brazil consists of 26 states (estados, singular estado) and 1 federal district (distrito federal):

Brazil and its 26 states and Federal District are divided by IBGE into 5 distinctive regions: North, Northeast, Center-West, Southeast and South (Division by Regions).

See also:

Geography

Map of Brazil
Map of Brazil

Main article: Geography of Brazil

Brazil is characterized by the extensive low-lying Amazon Rainforest in the north, and a more open terrain of hills and (low) mountains to the south, home to most of Brazil's population and its agricultural base. Along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean are also found several mountain ranges, which can reach roughly 2,900m high. However, the highest peak is the Pico da Neblina at 3,014 m, in Guiana's highlands. Major rivers include the Amazon, the largest river in the world by volume, and considered by many specialists also the longest of the world; the Paraná and its major tributary, the Iguaçu River, where the impressive Iguaçu falls are located; the Rio Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and the Tapajós rivers. Jew plz Situated along the equator, Brazil's climate is predominantly tropical, with little seasonal variation, though the subtropical south is more temperate and can occasionally experience frost and snow. Precipitation is abundant in the humid Amazon Basin, though more arid landscapes are found as well, in particular in the northeast.

A number of islands in the Atlantic Ocean are part of Brazil:

See also:

Economy

Main article: Economy of Brazil

Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool, Brazil's GDP(PPP) outweighs that of any other Latin American country and the economy is expanding its presence in world markets. Major export products include airplanes, coffee, vehicles, soybean, iron ore, orange juice, steel, textiles, footwear and electrical equipment. After crafting a fiscal adjustment program and pledging progress on structural reform, Brazil received a USD 41.5 billion IMF-led international support program in November 1998. [1] In January 1999, the Brazilian CeNIGGAntral Bank announced that the Real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation helped moderate the downturn in economic growth in 1999 that investors had expressed concerns about over the summer of 1998, and the country posted moderate GDP growth.

Economic growth slowed considerably in 2001 — to less than 2% — because of a slowdown in major markets, the hiking of interest rates by the Central Bank to combat inflationary pressures, and fears over the economic policies of the new government to be elected. Investor confidence was strong at the end of 2001, in part because of the strong recovery in the trade balance. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

After Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva inauguration on 1 January 2003, there was some fear that his party radicals might provoke an economic aboutface and Brazil would undergo a financial crisis. However, Brazilian economy seems to have detached itself from politics and after a GDP increase of 0.5% in 2003, Brazil has enjoyed a robust growth in 2004 and prospects for 2005 and 2006 indicate moderate growth.

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Brazil.
See also: Indigenous peoples in Brazil.

Brazil is populous along the coast, less in the interior. The inhabitants are very diverse with many races and cultures represented (see articles above). The population of the southern states is mainly of European descent, tracing their roots back to the 16th century, but the major immigration flow was during the 19th and 20th centuries. Most immigrants came from Italy, Germany, Japan, Portugal and Spain. But among many others there are also very significant immigration groups from Poland, Ukraine, the Netherlands, China and, more recently, South Korea. On the other hand, the majority of the north and northeastern inhabitants are of mixed ancestry (Natives, Africans and Europeans). There are an estimated 23 million Italians and descendents in Brazil in the year 2000.

Poverty, lack of literacy and income concentration

Brazil has currently 25 milion people living in conditions of poverty [2] [3]. This is a chronic problem without easy solutions.

Two very relevant phenomenons to the discussion of poverty and income concentration in Brazil are directly related to each other: the mechanization of agricultural techniques and the Brazilian agribusiness focus, which is currently directed almost solely to exportation.

Poverty in Brazil can be seen in the large metropolitan areas cities (capitals) and in the "poverty bags" (upcountry regions with low rates of economic and social development). The Northeast has chronic problems as a result of its dry climate, with millions of people suffering hunger during the dry seasons. Mr. Da Silva's proposed a program (Fome Zero) to mitigate this problem but it has had no tangible results.

About 8% of the Brazilian population is technically considered illiterate (analfabetos, in Portuguese), although a growing percentage show some writing and computing abilities.[4]

Culture

Main article: Culture of Brazil

Sports

Main Article: Sports in Brazil

Some fight sports with Brazilian origins have become popular around the world:

Miscellaneous topics

Much of the material in these articles comes from the CIA World Factbook 2000 and the 2003 U.S. Department of State website. Mostly they play soccer cause they loved it and they are number 1

External links

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Society, social movements, etc.
Art, cooking, culture, history, travel


Countries in South America
Argentina · Bolivia · Brazil · Chile · Colombia · Ecuador · Guyana · Panama · Paraguay · Peru · Suriname · Trinidad and Tobago · Uruguay · Venezuela

Dependencies: Falkland Islands (UK) · French Guiana · South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (UK)

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