About Brazil

Powdery white-sand beaches, the Amazon rainforest, carnival, capoeira, football, music-filled metropolises and enchanting colonial towns. These are just some words that describe Brazil. But Brazil is much more than that. The country covers nearly half of South America and is the continent's largest nation and the fifth largest nation in the world. The total area of the country is about 8,500,000 km2, and borders every nation on the continent except Chile and Ecuador. It is also the only Portuguese speaking country on the continent. Its population is about 190 million. 

Brazil is named one of the BRIC countries, which means that it is a fast-growing developing economy with enormous potential. Besides that Brazil is the host of the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Rio de Janeiro is the host city of the Olympic Games of 2016. This all together makes Brazil booming!


Brazil is the only Latin American nation that derives its language and culture from Portugal. The native inhabitants mostly consisted of the nomadic Tupí-Guaraní Indians. Adm. Pedro Alvares Cabral claimed the territory for Portugal in 1500. The early explorers brought back a wood that produced a red dye, pau-brasil, from which the land received its name. Portugal began colonization in 1532 and made the area a royal colony in 1549.

Following more than three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil peacefully gained its independence in 1822, maintaining a monarchical system of government until the abolition of slavery in 1888 and the subsequent proclamation of a republic by the military in 1889. Brazilian coffee exporters politically dominated the country until populist leader Getulio Vargas raised to power in 1930. Brazil underwent more than half a century of populist and military government until 1985, when the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers.

Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power. Today’s president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected for 2006 till 2010, brought Brazil finally its long-sought political and economical stability. But there is still much poverty and social inequity in the whole country.


The core culture of Brazil is derived from Portuguese culture; they introduced the Portuguese language, Roman Catholicism and colonial architectural styles. The culture was, however, also strongly influenced by African, indigenous and non-Portuguese European cultures and traditions. The indigenous Amerindians influenced Brazil's language and cuisine; and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion.

Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of native and immigrant populations. This has created a national cuisine marked by the presevation of regional differences. The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazil's native liquor. Cachaça is distilled from sugar cane and is the main ingredient in the national cocktail, Caipirinha.

Music is an important thing in Brazilian culture, with samba as the best known style. With samba automatically carnival comes up. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is known worldwide for the elaborate parades staged by the city’s major samba schools in the Sambadrome and is one of the world’s major tourist attractions. In other regions such as Bahia and Pernambuco (and throughout Brazil), Carnival takes on a unique regional flavor. Carnival celebrations in Brazil feature locally-originating traditions and music.

Sports are very popular in Brazil, the most notable being football. Football is a passion for Brazilians, who often refer to their country as "o país do futebol" ("the country of football"). Brazil is also the home of several sports which have become internationally popular, such as capoeira, footvolley and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Brazil’s unparalleled natural treasures include not only the dense tropical rainforests of the Amazon that covers almost half of the country. On the west is the Pantanal, the world's largest wetlands. Northeastern Brazil is desert, with patches of tropical moist forest on the coast. Southeastern Brazil hosts Atlantic rain forests, less well known than the Amazon but 20 million years older. The great Serra do Mar mountain range follows up much of the southeastern coast and inland north of Rio de Janeiro. Near the border of Argentina and Paraguay is one of the best known waterfalls of the world; The Iguaçu Falls which contains about 300 waterfalls. Given its awesome size, Brazil offers the opportunity to see many different ecosystems.

The Amazon is the most well known treasure of Brazil. It is the most biodiverse place on earth, it harbors incredible wildlife and numerous indigenous cultures that maintain little or no contact with the outside world. The Amazon also plays a key role in regional and global carbon cycles and climate. The Amazon River Basin harbors nearly one-third of the world’s species and contains nearly one-quarter of the earth’s fresh water. In addition to its wealth of discovered and undiscovered flora and fauna, the Amazon is home to many diverse traditional and indigenous human populations.


This text is based on:

- Wikipedia, Brazil (2009) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil 

- Lonely Planet, Brazil (2008)