Main article: Indigenous peoples in Brazil
Brazilian natives, by Jean-Baptiste Debret.
Within Brazil's current borders,
most native tribes who were living in the land by the year 1500 are thought to
have descended from the first wave of migrants from North Asia (Siberia), who
are believed to have crossed the so-called Bering Land Bridge at the end of the
last Ice Age, around 9000 BC. At the time of European discovery, the territory
of modern Brazil
had as many as 2,000 nations and tribes, an estimated total population of
nearly 3,000,000 Amerindians. A somewhat dated linguistic survey found 188
living indigenous languages with 155,000 total speakers. On 18 January 2007, Fundaçao
Nacional do Índio reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different
uncontacted tribes in Brazil,
up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil
has now overtaken the island
of New Guinea as the
country having the largest number of uncontacted peoples. When the Portuguese
arrived in 1500, the Indians were mostly semi-nomadic tribes, living mainly on
the coast and along the banks of major rivers.
Unlike Christopher Columbus, who
thought he had reached the East Indies, the Portuguese, most notably by Vasco
da Gama, had already reached India
via the Indian Ocean route when they reached Brazil. Nevertheless the word índios
('Indians'), was by then established to
designate the peoples of the New World and stuck being used today in the
Portuguese language to designate these peoples, while the people of India, Asia are
called indianos in order to distinguish the two peoples. Initially, the
Europeans saw the natives as noble savages, and miscegenation of the population
began right away. Tribal warfare, cannibalism and the pursuit of brazilwood for
its treasured red dye convinced the Portuguese that they should civilise the
Main article: Colonial Brazil
Map of Brazil
issued by the Portuguese explorers in
Initially Portugal had little interest in Brazil, mainly because of high profits gained
through commerce with Indochina. After 1530,
the Portuguese Crown devised the Hereditary Captaincies system to effectively
occupy its new colony, and later took direct control of the failed captaincies.
Although temporary trading posts were established earlier to collect brazilwood,
used as a dye, with permanent settlement came the establishment of the sugar
cane industry and its intensive labor. Several early settlements were founded
across the coast, among them the colonial capital, Salvador, established in
1549 at the Bay of All Saints in the north, and the city of Rio de Janeiro on
March 1567, in the south. The Portuguese colonists adopted an economy based on
the production of agricultural goods that were exported to Europe.
Sugar became by far the most important Brazilian colonial product until the
early 18th century 10] Even
though Brazilian sugar was reputed as being of high quality, the industry faced
a crisis during the 17th and 18th centuries when the Dutch and the French
started producing sugar in the Antilles, located much closer to Europe, causing
sugar prices to fall.
During the 18th century, private
explorers who called themselves the Bandeirantes found gold and diamond
deposits in the state of Minas Gerais. The exploration of
these mines were mostly used to finance the Portuguese Royal Court's expenditure with
both the preservation of its Global Empire and the support of its luxury
lifestyle at mainland. The way in which such deposits were exploited by the
Portuguese Crown and the powerful local elites, however, burdened colonial Brazil
with excessive taxes. Some popular movements supporting independence came about
against the taxes established by the colonial government, such as the Tiradentes
in 1789, but the secessionist movements were often dismissed by the authorities
of the ruling colonial regime. Gold production declined towards the end of the
18th century, starting a period of relative stagnation of the Brazilian
hinterland. Both Amerindian and African slaves' man power were
largely used in Brazil's
In contrast to the neighbouring
Spanish possessions in South America, the Portuguese colony of Brazil
kept its territorial, political and linguistic integrity due to the action of
the Portuguese administrative effort. Although the colony was threatened by
other nations across the Portuguese rule era, in particular by Dutch and French
powers, the authorities and the people ultimately managed to protect its
borders from foreign attacks. Portugal
had even to send bullion to Brazil,
a spectacular reversal of the colonial trend, in order to protect the integrity
of the colony 14]
Main article: Empire of Brazil
Emperor Dom Pedro II of Brazil,
In 1808, the Portuguese court,
fleeing from Napoleon’s troops who had invaded Portugal,
established themselves in the city of Rio de Janeiro,
which thus became the seat of government of Portugal
and the entire Portuguese Empire, even though being located outside of Europe. Rio de
Janeiro was the capital of the Portuguese empire from
1808 to 1815. After then the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
(1815-1825) was created with Lisbon as its capital. After Joao VI returned
to Portugal in 1821, his heir-apparent Pedro became regent of the Kingdom of
Brazil, within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves.
Following a series of political incidents and disputes, Brazil achieved its independence from Portugal
on September 7, 1822. On October 12, 1822, Dom Pedro became the first Emperor
of Brazil, being crowned on December 1, 1822. Portugal
would recognize Brazil
as an independent country in 1825.
In 1824, Pedro closed the
Constituent Assembly, stating that the body was 'endangering
liberty'. Pedro then produced a constitution modeled on that of Portugal (1822) and France (1814). It specified
indirect elections and created the legislative, executive and judicial branches
of government; however, it also added a fourth branch, the 'moderating
power', to be held by the Emperor. Pedro's government was considered
economically and administratively inefficient. Political pressures eventually
made the Emperor step down on April 7, 1831. He returned to Portugal leaving behind his
five-year-old son Pedro II. Until Pedro II reached maturity, Brazil was governed by regents from
1831 to 1840. The regency period was turbulent and marked by numerous local revolts
including the Male Revolt, the largest urban slave rebellion in the Americas, which took place in Bahia
in 1835 15]
On July 23, 1840, Pedro II was
crowned Emperor. His government was marked by a substantial rise in coffee
exports, the War of the Triple Alliance, and the end of slave trade from Africa in 1865, although slavery in Brazilian territory
would only be abolished in 1888. Brazil
stopped trading slaves from Africa in 1850, with the Eusébio de Queirós law 16] and abandoned slavery altogether
in 1888, thus becoming the last country of the Americas to ban slavery.
When slavery was finally abolished, a large influx of European immigrants took
place. By the 1870s, the Emperor's control of domestic
politics had started to deteriorate in face of crises with the Catholic Church,
the Army and the slaveholders. The Republican movement slowly gained strength.
In the end, the empire fell due to a military coup d'etat and because the
dominant classes no longer needed it to protect their interests and deeply
resented the abolition of slavery 22]
Indeed, imperial centralization ran counter to their desire for local autonomy.
By 1889 Pedro II had stepped down and the Republican system had been adopted to Brazil.
Main articles: History of Brazil
(1889–1930), History of Brazil
(1930–1945), History of Brazil
(1945–1964), History of Brazil
(1964–1985), and History of Brazil
The Chamber of
Deputies of Brazil at the National Congress
in Brasília, the capital of Brazil.
Pedro II was deposed on November
15, 1889 by a Republican military coup led by general Deodoro da Fonseca 23] who became the country’s first de
facto president through military ascension. The country’s name became the Republic
of the United States of Brazil. From 1889 to 1930, the dominant states of Sao Paulo and Minas
Gerais alternated control of the presidency 24]
A military junta took control in 1930. Getúlio Vargas took office soon after,
and would remain as dictatorial ruler (with a brief democratic period in
between), until 1945. He was re-elected in 1951 and stayed in office until his
suicide in 1954. After 1930, successive governments continued industrial and
agricultural growth and the development of the vast interior of Brazil 25] Juscelino Kubitschek's
office years (1956-1961) were marked by the political campaign motto of
plunging '50 anos em 5' (English: fifty years of development
The military took office in Brazil
in a coup d'état in 1964, and remained in power until March 1985, when it fell
from grace because of political struggles between the regime and the Brazilian
elites. In 1967 the name of the country was changed to Federative Republic
of Brazil. Just as the Brazilian regime changes of 1889, 1930, and 1945
unleashed competing political forces and caused divisions within the military,
so too did the 1964 regime change 28]
Democracy was re-established in 1988 when the current Federal Constitution was
enacted. Fernando Collor de Mello was the first president truly
elected by popular vote after the military regime. Collor took
office in March 1990. In September 1992, the National Congress voted for
Collor's impeachment after a sequence of scandals were uncovered by the media 30] The vice-president, Itamar
Franco, assumed the presidency. Assisted by the Minister of Finance at that
time, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Itamar Franco's administration implemented the
Plano Real economic package 30]
which included a new currency temporarily pegged to the U.S. dollar, the real.
In the elections held on October 3, 1994, Fernando Henrique Cardoso ran for
president and won, being reelected in 1998. Brazil's current president is Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006.
Government and politics
Main articles: Government of Brazil and Politics of Brazil
The National Congress.
The Brazilian Federation is based
on the union of three autonomous political entities: the States, the Municipalities
and the Federal District 3]
A fourth entity originated in the aforementioned association: the Union. There is no hierarchy among the
political entities. The Federation is set on six fundamental principles 3] sovereignty, citizenship, dignity
of the people, social value of labor, freedom of enterprise, and political
pluralism. The classic tripartite division of power, encompassing the Executive,
Legislative and Judiciary branches under the checks and balances system, is
formally established by the Constitution. The Executive and
Legislative are organized independently in all four political entities, while
the Judiciary is organized only in the Federal and State levels.
All members of the executive and
legislative branches are directly elected 32]
Judges and other judicial officials are appointed after passing entry exams.
Voting is compulsory for those aged 18 or older. Four political
parties stand out among several small ones: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian
Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Democrats
(formerly Liberal Front Party - PFL). Practically all governmental and
administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated
to the Executive. The form of government is Republican and democratic 3] and the system of government is Presidential.
The President is Head of State and Head of Government of the Union
and is elected for a four-year term, with the possibility of
re-election for a second successive term. Currently the President of Brazil is Luiz
Inácio Lula da Silva. He was elected on October 27, 2002, and
re-elected on October 29, 2006. The President appoints the Ministers
of State, who assist in governing. Legislative houses in each
political entity are the main source of laws in Brazil. The National Congress is
the Federation’s bicameral legislature, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies
and the Federal Senate. Judiciary authorities exercise jurisdictional duties
Main article: Law of Brazil
The finance minister, Guido Mantega, and the former president of the Supreme
Federal Court, Ellen Gracie Northfleet.
Brazilian Law is based on Roman-Germanic
traditions 37] Thus, civil law
concepts prevail over common law practices. Most of Brazilian law is codified,
although non-codified statutes also represent a substantial part of the system,
playing a complementary role. Court decisions set out interpretive guidelines;
however, they are not binding on other specific cases except in a few
situations. Doctrinal works and the works of academic jurists have strong
influence in law creation and in law cases. The legal system is bases on the
Federal Constitution, promulgated on October 5, 1988, and is the fundamental
law of Brazil.
All other legislation and court decisions must conform to its rules 38] As of April 2007, it has been
through 53 Amendments. States also adopt their own Constitutions, but they must
also not contradict the Federal Constitution. Municipalities and
the Federal District do not have their own
Constitutions; instead, they adopt 'organic laws' (leis organicas). Legislative entities are the
main source of statutes, although in certain matters judiciary and executive
bodies may also enact legal norms.
Jurisdiction is administered by
the judiciary entities, although in rare cases, the Federal Constitution allows
the Federal Senate to pass on legal judgments 3]
There are also specialized military, labor, and electoral courts.
The highest court is the Supreme Federal Tribunal. This system has been
criticised over the last decades due to the slow pace at which final decisions
are issued. Lawsuits on appeal may take several years to resolve, and in some
cases more than a decade to see definitive rulings 41]
Foreign relations and the military
Main articles: Foreign relations of Brazil and Military of Brazil
troops before boarding for MINUSTAH peacekeeping
mission in Haiti.
Brazil is a political and economic leader in Latin America. However, social and
economic problems prevent it from becoming an effective global power.
Between World War II and 1990, both democratic and military governments sought
to expand Brazil's
influence in the world by pursuing a state-led industrial policy and an
independent foreign policy. More recently, the country has aimed to strengthen
ties with other South American countries, engage in multilateral diplomacy
through the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
Brazil's current foreign policy is based on the country's position as a regional
power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world
power. Brazilian foreign policy has generally reflected multilateralism,
peaceful dispute settlement, and nonintervention in the affairs of other
countries. The Brazilian Constitution also determines the
country shall seek the economic, political, social and cultural integration of
the nations of Latin America.
The Armed forces of Brazil comprise the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian
Navy, and the Brazilian Air Force 3]
The Military Police (States' Military Police) is described as an ancillary
force of the Army by constitution, but under the control of each state's
governor. The Brazilian armed forces are the largest in Latin America. The Brazilian Air Force is the aerial
warfare branch of the Brazilian armed forces, being the largest air force in Latin America, with about 700 manned aircraft in service 51] The Brazilian Navy is
responsible for naval operations and for guarding Brazilian territorial waters.
It is the oldest of the Brazilian Armed forces and the only navy in Latin
America that operates an aircraft carrier, the NAeL Sao Paulo (formerly FS
Foch of the French Navy). Finally, the Brazilian Army is
responsible for land-based military operations, with a strength of
approximately 190,000 soldiers.
Main article: Subdivisions of Brazil
Politically, Brazil is a Federation
of twenty-six states (estados) and one federal district (Distrito Federal) which contains the capital city, Brasília. The
states are subdivided into municipalities. States are based on historical,
conventional borders and have developed throughout the centuries; though some
boundaries are arbitrary. The federal district is not a state on its right, but
shares some characteristics of a state and some of a municipality. The national
territory was divided in 1969 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and
Statistics (IBGE), for demographic and statistical purposes, into five main
regions: North, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast and South.
In 1943, with the entrance of Brazil into the Second World War, the Vargas
regime detached seven strategic territories from the border of the country in
order to administrate them directly: Amapá, Rio Branco, Acre, Guaporé, Ponta
Pora, Iguaçu and the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha.
After the war, the first three territories were retained as states, with Rio
Branco and Guaporé being renamed Roraima and Rondônia, respectively. Ponta Pora
and Iguaçu resorted to territorial status. In 1988, Fernando
de Noronha became part of Pernambuco.
In 1960, the square-shaped Distrito
Federal was carved out of Goiás in preparation for the new capital, Brasília.
The previous federal district became the state of Guanabara until in 1975 it
was merged with the state of Rio de Janeiro,
becoming the municipality
of Rio de Janeiro.
In 1977, Mato Grosso was split
into two states. The northern area retained the name Mato Grosso while the
southern area became the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, with Campo Grande as its capital. The new Mato
Grosso do Sul incorporated the territory
of Ponta Pora and the northern
part of Iguaçu. Central Iguaçu went to Paraná,
and southern Iguaçu went to Santa Catarina. In 1988, the northern portion of Goiás
became the state of Tocantins, with Palmas as
Main article: Regions of Brazil
The five regions of Brazil.
The North region covers 45.27% of
the surface of Brazil,
and has the lowest number of inhabitants. With the exception of Manaus, which hosts a
tax-free industrial zone, and Belém, the biggest metropolitan area of the
region, it is fairly unindustrialized and undeveloped. It accommodates most of
the rainforest vegetation of the world and many indigenous tribes. The Northeast
region is inhabited by about 30% of Brazil's population 53] It is culturally diverse, with
roots set in the Portuguese colonial period, and in Amerindian and Afro-Brazilian
elements. It is also the poorest region of Brazil 54]
and suffers from long periods of dry climate. The Central-West
region has low demographic density when compared to the other regions,
mostly because a part of its territory is covered by the world's largest
marshlands area, the Pantanal as well as a small part of the Amazon
Rainforest in the northwest. However, much of the region is also covered by Cerrado,
the largest savanna in the world. The central-west region contributes
significantly towards agriculture 58]
The Southeast region is the
richest and most densely populated. It has more inhabitants than
any other South American country, and hosts one of the largest megalopolises of
the world, and has the country's two largest cities; Sao Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro. The region is very diverse, including the major business center of Sao Paulo, the historical cities of Minas Gerais and its
capital Belo Horizonte, the third-largest
metropolitan area in Brazil,
the beaches of Rio de Janeiro, and the coast of Espírito Santo. The South region is the wealthiest by GDP
per capita 54] and has the
highest standard of living in the country. It is also the
coldest region of Brazil,
with occasional occurrences of frost and snow in some of the higher altitude
areas. It has been settled mainly by European immigrants, mostly
of Italian, German and Portuguese ancestry, being clearly influenced by these
Main article: States of Brazil
The twenty-six states
The Equatorial line cuts through
the state of Amapá, in the North, the Tropic of Capricorn line cuts through the
state of Sao Paulo.
Rio Grande do Sul, the southernmost Brazilian state, for comparison: the entire
European continent is further to the north than Rio Grande do Sul is to the south 62] Acre is in the far west side of
the country, covered by the Amazon forest; Paraíba is the most oriental state
of Brazil; Cabo Branco, in
the city of Joao Pessoa, is the easternmost
point of Brazil and Americas. Along with Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina is a state
in temperated climate.
Sao Paulo is the economic center of Brazil.
Agriculture, industry, commerce and services are the most diversified of Brazil;
although a large proportion is exported to other states and other countries,
the consumer market of the state is also the biggest in the country.
Differently from other states, where settlement started in the coast and moved
inwards, in Sao Paulo
the center of the economy was in a non-coastal city. The state of Rio de Janeiro has as capital the city of Rio de Janeiro, the most well known Brazilian
city, with famous landmarks. Old books may still bring references to the state
of Guanabara: after the Federal District (capital of the Republic) was moved to
Brasília, in 1960, the city of Rio de Janeiro was elevated to the condition of
state of Guanabara (name of the large bay which washes the city or Rio);
however, in 1975, Guanabara was incorporated to the state of Rio, and returned to
the condition of municipality, with the old name of city of Rio de Janeiro.
Main article: Geography of Brazil
Brazil occupies roughly half of South America,
bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Brazil
covers a total area of 8,514,215 km² (3,287,357 sq mi) which includes 8,456,510
km² (3,265,076 sq mi) of land and 55,455 km² (21,411 sq mi) of water. Brazil is bordered by the countries of Argentina, Bolivia,
Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru,
Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela. It spans four time zones,
the westernmost of which, in Acre State, is the same as Eastern Standard Time in the United States.
The time zone of the capital (Brasília) and of the most populated part of Brazil
along the east coast is two hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, except when
it is on its own daylight saving time, from October to February. The Atlantic
islands are in the easternmost time zone.
Brazil has one of the world's most extensive river
systems, with eight major drainage basins, all of which drain into the Atlantic Ocean. Major rivers include the Amazon, the
largest river in terms of volume of water, and the second-longest in the world;
the Paraná and its major tributary, the Iguaçu
River, where the Iguaçu
Falls are located; the Negro, Sao
Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and the Tapajós
rivers. Several small islands and atolls in the Atlantic Ocean are part of Brazil: Abrolhos, Atol das Rocas, Penedos de Sao
Pedro e Sao Paulo,
and Trindade and Martim Vaz.
Brazilian topography is diverse,
including hills, mountains, plains, highlands, scrublands, savannas, rainforests,
and a long coastline. The extensive low-lying Amazon Rainforest covers most of Brazil’s
terrain in the North, whereas small hills and low mountains occupy the South.
Along the Atlantic coast there are several mountain ranges, with a highest
altitude of roughly 2,900 meters (9,500 feet (2,900 m)). The
highest peak is the 3,014 metres (9,890 ft) Pico da Neblina (Peak of Mist/Fog
or Misty Peak) in Guiana's highlands.
Main article: Climate of Brazil
Catarina, the first hurricane in the South Atlantic Ocean.
Brazil's climate has little seasonal variation
since most of the country is located within the tropics. However, although 90%
of the country is located within the tropical zone, year-long climate varies
considerably from the mostly tropical North (the equator traverses the mouth of
the Amazon) to temperate zones below the Tropic of Capricorn (23°27' S
latitude), which crosses the country at the latitude of the city of Sao Paulo. Brazil
has five climatic regions: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical,
Temperatures along the equator
are high, with averages above 25 °C (77 °F) 65]
and occasionally reaching the summer extremes of up to 40 °C (104 °F)
in the temperate zones. Southern Brazil has a
subtropical temperate weather, normally experiencing frost in the winter
(June-August), and snowfall in the mountainous areas, such as Rio Grande do Sul
and Santa Catarina. Precipitation levels vary widely. They are higher in the
humid Amazon Basin, and lower in the somewhat arid
landscapes of the northeast. Most of Brazil has moderate rainfall of
1,000 to 1,500 millimeters a year, with most of the rain falling in the
summer (between December and April), south of the Equator. The Amazon region is
notoriously humid, with rainfall generally of more than 2,000 millimeters
per year, getting as high as 3,000 millimeters in parts of the western
Amazon and near Belém. Despite high annual precipitation, the Amazon rain
forest has a three-to-five-month dry season, the timing of which varies according
to location north or south of the equator.
Main article: Wildlife of Brazil
The Jaguar is a
typical animal of the Brazilian rain forests.
Brazil's large area comprises different ecosystems,
such as Amazon Rainforest, Atlantic
Forest and Cerrado, which
together sustain some of the world's greatest biodiversity. Because of the
country's intense economic and demographic growth, Brazil's ability to protect its environmental
habitats has increasingly come under threat. Extensive logging in the nation's
forests, particularly the Amazon, both official and unofficial, destroys areas
the size of a small country each year, and potentially a diverse variety of
plants and animals 71] Brazil's
environment is under threat because of the rapid economic and demographic rise.
Extensive legal and illegal logging destroys forests the size of a small
country per year, and with it a diverse series of species through habitat
destruction and habitat fragmentation 72]
Between 2002 and 2006, an area of the Amazon Rainforest equivalent in size to
the State of South Carolina was completely deforested for the purposes of
raising cattle and woodlogging. By 2020, at least 50% of the
species resident in Brazil
may become extinct.
There is a general consensus that
has the highest number of both terrestrial vertebrates and invertebrates of any
single country in the world. Also, Brazil has the highest
primate diversity, the highest number of mammals,
the second highest number of amphibians and butterflies, the third
highest number of birds, and fifth highest number of reptiles.
There is a high number of endangered species, many of them
living in threatened habitats such as the Atlantic Forest.
Main article: Economy of Brazil
Sao Paulo is the largest financial center of the
Brazil's GDP (PPP and Nominal) is the highest of
Latin America with large and developed agricultural,
mining, manufacturing 76] and service
sectors, as well as a large labor pool. The country has been expanding its
presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is regarded as
one of the group of four emerging economies called BRIC.
Major export products include aircraft, coffee, automobiles, soybean, iron ore,
orange juice, steel, ethanol, textiles, footwear, corned beef and electrical
has a diversified middle income economy with wide variations in development
levels. Most large industry is agglomerated in the Southern and South East
states. The Northeast is the poorest region of Brazil, but it has attracted new
investments in infrastructure for the tourism sector and intensive agricultural
schemes. According to the International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank, Brazil has the ninth largest economy in the world by purchasing
power parity (PPP) and tenth largest at market exchange
had pegged its currency, the real, to the U.S. dollar in 1994. However, after
the East Asian financial crisis, the Russian default in 1998 and
the series of adverse financial events that followed it, the Brazilian central
bank has temporarily changed its monetary policy to a managed-float scheme
while undergoing a currency crisis, until definitively changing the exchange
regime to free-float in January 1999.
Brazil received an IMF rescue package in
mid-2002 in the amount of USD 30.4 billion 88]
a record sum at that time. The IMF loan was paid off early by Brazil's
central bank in 2005 (the due date was scheduled for 2006). One
of the issues the Brazilian central bank is currently dealing with is the
excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country in the past few
months, which might explain in part the recent downfall of the U.S. dollar
against the real in the period. Nonetheless, foreign direct
investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in
production, is estimated to be USD 193.8bn for 2007. Inflation
monitoring and control currently plays a major role in Brazil's Central Bank
activity in setting out short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure.
Main article: Energy policy of Brazil
Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric plant by energy generation.
Brazil is the 10th largest energy consumer in
the world and the largest in Latin America. At
the same time it is also a large oil and gas producer in the region and the
world's largest ethanol producer. Because of its ethanol fuel production Brazil has been sometimes described as a
bio-energy superpower 94] Brazil's
ethanol fuel is produced from sugar cane, the world's largest crop in both
production and export tonnage.
With the 1973 oil crisis the
Brazilian government initiated in 1975 the Pró-Álcool program. The Pró-Álcool
or Programa Nacional do Álcool (National Alcohol Program) was a
nation-wide program financed by the government to replace automobile fuels
derived from fossil fuels in favor of ethanol. The program successfully reduced
the number of cars running on gasoline in Brazil by 10 million, thereby
reducing the country's dependence on oil imports. Brazil's production and consumption
of biodiesel relative to its energy matrix is expected to reach to 2% of diesel
fuel in 2008 and 5% in 2013. Brazil
is the third largest hydroelectricity producer in the world after the People's
Republic of China and Canada. In 2004 hydropower accounted 83% of Brazil power
production. The gross theoretical capability exceeds 3,000 TWh
per annum, of which 800 TWh per annum is economically exploitable.
Also in 2004, Brazil
produced 321TWh of hydropower, which was the third largest hydropower
production in the world. The installed capacity is 69 GW.
Brazil co-owns Itaipu hydroelectric power plant on the Paraná River which is
the world largest hydroelectric power plant by energy generation with the
installed generation capacity of 14 GW by 20 generating units of 700 MW each.
Science and technology
Main article: Science and technology in Brazil
An Embraer E-175 jet airliner, developed in Brazil and used by airlines around
Brazilian science effectively began
in the first decades of the 19th century, when the Portuguese Royal Family,
headed by John VI, arrived in Rio de Janeiro,
escaping from the Napoleon's army invasion of Portugal in 1807. Until then, Brazil was a Portuguese colony, without universities,
and a lack of cultural and scientific organizations, in stark contrast to the
former American colonies of the Spanish Empire, which although having a largely
illiterate population like Brazil
had, however, a number of universities since the 16th century.
Technological research in Brazil
is largely carried out in public universities and research institutes.
Nonetheless, more than 73 % of funding for basic research still comes from
government sources 99] Some of
Brazil's most notables technological hubs are the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, the Butantan
Institute, the Air Force's Aerospace
the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation and the INPE. Brazil has the most advanced space program in Latin
America, with significant capabilities to launch vehicles, launch sites and
satellite manufacturing. On October 14, 1997, the Brazilian
Space Agency signed an agreement with NASA to provide parts for the ISS.
Uranium is enriched at the Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory to fuel the country's energy
demands. Plans are on the way to build the country's first nuclear submarine 102] Brazil
is one of the two countries in Latin America
with an operational Synchrotron Laboratory, a research facility on physics, chemistry,
material science and life sciences.
Main article: Demographics of Brazil
Recife, the most important
metropolitan region of the Northeast.
Brazil's population comprises many races and ethnic
groups. The last PNAD (National Research for Sample of Domiciles) census
revealed the following numbers: 93.096 million White people (49.7%), 79.782
million Pardo people (42.6%), 12.908 million Black people (6.9%), 919 thousand Asian
people (0.5%) and 519 thousand Amerindian people (0.4%) 104]
Most Brazilians can trace their ancestry
to the country's indigenous peoples, Portuguese colonists and African slaves.
Since 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, miscegenation between these
three peoples took place. During over 3 centuries of Portuguese colonization, Brazil
received 700 thousand Portuguese settlers and over 3 million African slaves 105]
Starting in the late 19th
century, Brazil opened its
doors to immigration: people of over 60 nationalities immigrated to Brazil.
About 5 million European and Asian immigrants arrived from 1870 to 1953, most
of them from Southern Europe (Italy,
Portugal and Spain) and from Germany. In the early 20th century,
people from Japan
and the Middle-East also arrived 106]
The immigrants and their descendants had an important impact in the ethnic
composition of the Brazilian population and many diasporas are present in the
country. Brazil has the largest population of Italian origin outside of Italy,
with over 25 million Italian Brazilians, the largest Japanese population
outside of Japan, with 1.6 million Japanese Brazilians, as well the second
largest German population outside of Germany, with 12 million German Brazilians.
A characteristic of Brazil
is the race mixing. Genetically, most Brazilians have some degree of European,
African and Amerindian ancestry. All the population can be
considered a single 'Brazilian' ethnic group, with highly varied
racial types and backgrounds, but without clear ethnic sub-divisions.
The largest metropolitan areas in
Brazil are Sao
Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte,
respectively with 19.7, 11.4, and 5.4 million inhabitants 112]
Almost all capitals are the largest city in their corresponding state, except
for Vitória, the capital of Espírito Santo, and Florianópolis, the capital of
Santa Catarina. There are also non-capital metropolitan areas in the states of Sao Paulo (Campinas, Santos and the Paraíba
Gerais (Steel Valley),
Rio Grande do Sul (Sinos
Valley), and Santa Catarina (Itajaí Valley).
Poverty in Brazil is most
visually represented by the various favelas, slums in the country's
metropolitan areas and remote upcountry regions that suffer with economic
underdevelopment and below-par standards of living. An attempt to mitigate
these problems is the 'Fome Zero' hunger-eradication program
implemented by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Part of this is 'Bolsa
Família' 113] a major
anti-poverty program that gives money directly to impoverished families. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
has serious problem with crime in Brazil
such as muggings, robberies, kidnappings
and gang violence. In response Brazil established in June 2004 the
National Public Security Force, to act in situations in the emergency, in times
Education and health
Main articles: Education in Brazil
and Health in Brazil
of Paraná, in Curitiba.
The Federal Constitution and the
1996 General Law of Education in Brazil (LDB) determine the Federal
Government, States, Federal District, and
Municipalities will manage and organize their respective education systems.
Each of these public educational systems is responsible for its own
maintenance, which manages funds as well as mechanisms and sources for
financial resources. The new Constitution reserves 25% of state and municipal
taxes and 18% of federal taxes for education 117]
Private school programs are available to complement the public school system.
In 2003, the literacy rate was 88 percent of the population, and the youth
literacy rate (ages 15–19) was 93.2 percent 117]
However, according to UNESCO Brazil's
education still shows very low levels of efficiency by 15-year-old students,
particularly in the public school network. Higher education
starts with undergraduate or sequential courses, which may offer different
specialist choices such as academic or vocational paths. Depending on choice,
students may improve their educational background with Stricto Sensu or Lato
Sensu postgraduate courses 119]
The public health system is
managed and provided by all levels of government, whilst private healthcare
fulfills a complementary role 3]
Several problems feataure in the Brazilian system. In 2006, these were infant
mortality, child mortality, maternal mortality, mortality by non-transmissible
illness and mortality caused by external causes (transportation, violence and
Main articles: Languages of Brazil
and Brazilian Portuguese
The Museum of the Portuguese Language in Sao Paulo.
Portuguese is the only official
language of Brazil 121] It is spoken by nearly the
entire population and is virtually the only language used in schools,
newspapers, radio, TV and for all business and administrative purposes.
Moreover, Brazil is the only
Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, making the language an
important part of Brazilian national identity, giving it a national culture
distinct from its Spanish-speaking neighbors.
However, many minority languages
are spoken daily throughout the vast national territory of Brazil.
Some of these are spoken by indigenous peoples. 180 Amerindian languages are
spoken in remote areas 122]
Others are spoken by immigrants and their descendants. Brazilian Portuguese has
had its own development, influenced by the Amerindian and African languages.
Due to this, the language is
somewhat different from that spoken in Portugal and other
Portuguese-speaking countries, mainly for phonological and orthographic
differences, similar to the difference between American English and British
English. There are important communities of speakers of German (mostly the Hunsrückisch,
part of the High German languages) and Italian (mostly the Talian dialect, of Venetian
origin) in the south of the country, both largely influenced by the Portuguese
Main article: Culture of Brazil
Brazilian Carnival parade in Rio
A wide variety of elements
influenced Brazilian culture. Its major early influence derived from Portuguese
culture, because of strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. Among
other inheritances, the Portuguese introduced the Portuguese language, the Catholic
religion and the colonial architectural styles. Other aspects of Brazilian
culture are contributions of European and Asian immigrants, Native South
American people (such as the Tupi), and African slaves. Thus, Brazil is a multicultural
and multiethnic society. Italian, German and other European
immigrants came in large numbers and their influences are felt closer to the
Southeast and South of Brazil. Amerindian peoples influenced
Brazil's language and cuisine and the Africans, brought to Brazil as slaves,
influenced Brazil's music, dance, cuisine, religion and language.
Brazil's cultural tradition extends to its music
styles which include samba, bossa nova, forró, frevo ,
pagode and many others. Brazil
has also contributed to classical music, which can be seen in the works of many
composers. Brazilian Carnival (Portuguese: Carnaval) is an annual celebration held 40 days before Easter and marks the
beginning of Lent. Brazilian Carnival has distinct regional characteristics.
Other regional festivals include the Boi Bumbá and Festa Junina (June
Main article: Religion in Brazil
Redeemer, in Corcovado mountain.
One of the New Seven Wonders of the
The most popular religion in Brazil
is Roman Catholicism and the country has the largest Catholic population in the
world. Adepts of Protestantism are rising in number. Until 1970, the majority
of Brazilian Protestants were members of 'traditional churches',
mostly Lutherans, Presbyterians and Baptists. Since then, numbers of Pentecostal
and Neopentecostal members have increased significantly. Although Islam was
first practiced by African slaves 128]
the Muslim population of Brazil
is comprised mostly by Arab immigrants. However, a new trend has been the
increase in conversions to Islam among non-Arab citizens 129]
only 27,000 Muslims live in Brazil
as of 2000. The largest population of Buddhists in Latin
America lives in Brazil,
mostly because the country has the largest Japanese population outside Japan.
The latest IBGE census presents
the following numbers: 74% of the population is Catholic (about 139 million);
15.4% is Protestant (about 28 million), including Jehovah's Witnesses (1,100,000)
and the Latter-day Saints (600,000) 132] ;
7.4% considers itself agnostics or atheists or without a religion (about 12
million); 1.3% follows Spiritism (about 2.2 million); 0.3% follows African
traditional religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda and 1.7% are members of
other religions. Some of these are Buddhists (215,000), Jews (150,000), Islamic
(27,000) and some practice a mixture of different religions 130]
Main article: Sport in Brazil
Maracana, at the 2007 Pan American Games Opening Ceremony.
Football (Portuguese: futebol) is the most popular sport in Brazil.
The Brazilian national football team (Seleçao) is currently ranked
second in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings. They have been
victorious in the World Cup tournament a record five times, in 1958, 1962,
1970, 1994 and 2002. Basketball, volleyball, auto racing, and martial arts also
attract large audiences. Though not as regularly followed or practiced as the
previously mentioned sports, tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics
have found a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. In auto
racing, Brazilian drivers have won the Formula 1 world championship eight
times: Emerson Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974), Nelson Piquet (1981, 1983 and 1987)
and Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990 and 1991). The circuit located in Sao Paulo, Autódromo
José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil. Some
sport variations have their origins in Brazil. Beach football, futsal
(official version of indoor football) and footvolley emerged in the country as
variations of football. In martial arts, Brazilians have developed Capoeira 135] Vale tudo, and Brazilian
Brazil has undertaken the
organization of large-scale sporting events: the country organized and hosted
the 1950 FIFA World Cup and
is chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup event. Sao Paulo
organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963 and Rio de Janeiro
hosted the XV Pan American Games in 2007. Brazil also tried for the fourth time to host
the Summer Olympics with Rio de Janeiro in 2016.