Brazil /brəˈzɪl/ (Portuguese: Brasil, IPA: [bɾaˈziw]), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil, listen (help·info)), is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people. It is the largest Lusophone country in the world, and the only one in the Americas.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to the rank of kingdom and the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves was formed. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese colonial empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal.Independence was achieved in 1822 with the formation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The country became a presidential republic in 1889, when a military coup d'état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to the ratification of the first constitution in 1824. Its current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.
The Brazilian economy is the world's sixth largest by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity (as of 2011). Brazil is one of the world's fastest growing major economies. Economic reforms have given the country new international recognition. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Organization of American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations, and is one of the BRIC countries. Brazil is also one of the 17 Megadiverse countries, home to diverse wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. With a confirmed presence of 67 isolated tribes by the Fundação Nacional do Índio, Brazil has the world's greatest number of uncontacted peoples.
The word "Brazil" comes from brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from Latin brasa ("ember") and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium). As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was highly valued by the European cloth industry and was the earliest commercially-exploited product from Brazil. Through the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples (mostly Tupi) along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders (mostly Portuguese, but also French) in return for assorted European consumer goods.
The official name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross" (Terra da Santa Cruz), but European sailors and merchants commonly called it simply the "Land of Brazil" (Terra do Brasil) on account of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and eventually supplanted the official name. Early sailors sometimes also called it the "Land of Parrots" (Terra di Papaga).
In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama". This was the name the natives gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".
The land now called Brazil was claimed by Portugal in April 1500, on the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Portuguese encountered stone age natives divided into several tribes, most of whom spoke languages of the Tupi–Guarani family, and fought among themselves. Though the first settlement was founded in 1532, colonization was effectively begun in 1534, when King Dom João III of Portugal divided the territory into twelve hereditary captaincies, but this arrangement proved problematic and in 1549 the king assigned a Governor-General to administer the entire colony. The Portuguese assimilated some of the native tribes while others were enslaved or exterminated in long wars or by European diseases to which they had no immunity. By the mid-16th century, sugar had become Brazil's most important export and the Portuguese imported African slaves to cope with the increasing international demand.
Through wars against the French, the Portuguese slowly expanded their territory to the southeast, taking Rio de Janeiro in 1567, and to the northwest, taking São Luís in 1615. They sent military expeditions to the Amazon rainforest and conquered British and Dutch strongholds, founding villages and forts from 1669. In 1680 they reached the far south and founded Sacramento on the bank of the Rio de la Plata, in the Eastern Bank region. At the end of the 17th century, sugar exports started to decline but beginning in the 1690s, the discovery of gold by explorers in the region that would later be called Minas Gerais in current Mato Grosso and Goiás, saved the colony from imminent collapse. From all over Brazil, as well as from Portugal, thousands of immigrants came to the mines. The Spanish tried to prevent Portuguese expansion into the territory that belonged to them according to the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, and succeeded in conquering the Eastern Bank in 1777. However, this was in vain as the Treaty of San Ildefonso, signed in the same year, confirmed Portuguese sovereignty over all lands proceeding from its territorial expansion, thus creating most of the current Brazilian borders.
In 1808, the Portuguese royal family and the majority of the Portuguese nobility, fleeing the troops of the French Emperor Napoleon I that were invading Portugal and most of Central Europe, established themselves in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which thus became the seat of the entire Portuguese Empire. In 1815 Dom João VI, then regent on behalf of his incapacitated mother, elevated Brazil from colony to sovereign Kingdom united with Portugal. In 1809 the Portuguese invaded French Guiana (which was returned to France in 1817) and in 1816 the Eastern Bank, subsequently renamed Cisplatina.
Independence and empire
After the Portuguese military had successfully repelled Napoleon's invasion, João VI returned to Europe in April 1821, leaving his elder son Prince Pedro de Alcântara as regent to rule Brazil. The Portuguese government, guided by the new political regime imposed by the Liberal Revolution of 1820, attempted to turn Brazil into a colony once again, thus depriving it of its achievements since 1808. The Brazilians refused to yield and Prince Pedro stood by them declaring the country's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822. On 12 October 1822, he was declared the first Emperor of Brazil and crowned Dom Pedro I on 1 December 1822. At that time most Brazilians were in favour of a monarchy and republicanism had little support. The subsequent Brazilian War of Independence spread through almost the entire territory, with battles in the northern, northeastern, and southern regions. The last Portuguese soldiers surrendered on 8 March 1824 and independence was recognized by Portugal on 29 August 1825.
Pedro I abdicated on 7 April 1831 and went to Europe to reclaim his daughter’s crown which had been usurped by his brother, leaving behind his five year old son and heir, who became Dom Pedro II. As the new emperor could not exert his constitutional powers until he reached maturity, a regency was created. Disputes between political factions led to rebellions and an unstable, almost anarchical, regency. The rebellious factions, however, were not in revolt against the monarchy, even though some declared the secession of the provinces as independent republics, but only so long as Pedro II was a minor. Because of this, he was prematurely declared of age and "Brazil was to enjoy nearly half a century of internal peace and rapid material progress."
Despite the loss of Cisplatina in 1828 when it became an independent nation known as Uruguay, Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II (the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the Paraguayan War) and witnessed the consolidation of representative democracy, mainly due to successive elections and unrestricted freedom of the press. Most importantly, slavery was extinguished after a slow but steady process that began with the end of the international traffic in slaves in 1850 and ended with the complete abolition of slavery in 1888. The slave population had been in decline since Brazil's independence: in 1823, 29% of the Brazilian population were slaves but by 1887 this had fallen to 5%. When the monarchy was overthrown on 15 November 1889 there was little desire in Brazil to change the form of government and Pedro II was at the height of his popularity among his subjects. However, he "bore prime, perhaps sole, responsibility for his own overthrow." After the death of his two sons, the Emperor believed that "the imperial regime was destined to end with him." He cared little for the regime's fate and so neither did anything, nor allowed anyone else to do anything, to prevent the military coup, backed by former slave owners who resented the abolition of slavery.
The "early republican government was little more than a military dictatorship. The army dominated affairs both at Rio de Janeiro and in the states. Freedom of the press disappeared and elections were controlled by those in power". In 1894, following several military and economic crises, the republican civilians rose to power. By 1902, the government was successful in negotiating several treaties that expanded (with the purchase of Acre) and secured the Brazilian boundaries.
In the 1920s the country was plagued by several rebellions caused by young military officers. By 1930, the regime was weakened and demoralized, which allowed the defeated presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas to lead a coup d'état and assume the presidency. Vargas was supposed to assume the presidency temporarily but instead, he closed the National Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the states' governors with his supporters. In 1935 Communists rebelled across the country and made an unsuccessful bid for power. The communist threat, however, served as an excuse for Vargas to launch another coup d'état in 1937 and Brazil became a full dictatorship. The repression of the opposition was brutal with more than 20,000 people imprisoned, internment camps created for political prisoners in distant regions of the country, widespread torture by the government agents of repression, and censorship of the press.
Brazil remained neutral during the early years of World War II until the government declared war against the Axis powers in 1942. Vargas then forced German, Japanese and Italian immigrants into concentration camps, and, in 1944, sent troops to the battlefields in Italy. With the allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes in Europe, Vargas's position became unsustainable and he was swiftly overthrown in a military coup. Democracy was reinstated and General Eurico Gaspar Dutra was elected president and took office in 1946. Vargas returned to power in 1951, this time democratically elected, but he was incapable of either governing under a democracy or of dealing with an active opposition, and he committed suicide in 1954.
Several brief interim governments succeeded after Vargas's suicide.Juscelino Kubitscheck became president in 1956 and assumed a conciliatory posture towards the political opposition that allowed him to govern without major crises. The economy and industrial sector grew remarkably, but his greatest achievement was the construction of the new capital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960. His successor was Jânio Quadros, who resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office. His vice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strong political opposition and was deposed in April 1964 by a coup that resulted in a military regime.
The new regime was intended to be transitory but it gradually closed in on itself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act in 1968. The repression of the dictatorship's opponents, including urban guerrillas, was harsh, but not as brutal as in other Latin American countries. Due to the extraordinary economic growth, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached its highest level of popularity in the years of repression. General Ernesto Geisel became president in 1974 and began his project of re-democratization through a process that he said would be "slow, gradual and safe." Geisel ended the military indiscipline that had plagued the country since 1889, as well as the torture of political prisoners, censorship of the press, and finally, the dictatorship itself, after he extinguished the Fifth Institutional Act. However, the military regime continued, under his chosen successor General João Figueiredo, to complete the transition to full democracy.
The civilians fully returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency but, by the end of his term, he had become extremely unpopular due to the uncontrollable economic crisis and unusually high inflation. Sarney's unsuccessful government allowed the election in 1989 of the almost unknown Fernando Collor, who was subsequently impeached by the National Congress in 1992. Collor was succeeded by his Vice-President Itamar Franco, who appointed Fernando Henrique Cardoso as Minister of Finance. Cardoso produced a highly successful Plano Real. that granted stability to the Brazilian economy and he was elected as president in 1994 and again in 1998. The peaceful transition of power to Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, proved that Brazil had finally succeeded in achieving its long-sought political stability. Lula was succeeded in 2011 by the current president, Dilma Rousseff.
Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior, sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the French overseas department of French Guiana to the north. It shares a border with every country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile. It also encompasses a number of oceanic archipelagos, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. Its size, relief, climate, and natural resources make Brazil geographically diverse. Including its Atlantic islands, Brazil lies between latitudes 6°N and 34°S, and longitudes 28° and 74°W.
Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and third largest in the Americas, with a total area of 8,514,876.599 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi), including 55,455 km2 (21,411 sq mi) of water. It spans three time zones; from UTC-4 in the western states, to UTC-3 in the eastern states (and the official time of Brazil) and UTC-2 in the Atlantic islands. Brazil is the only country in the world that lies on the equator while having contiguous territory outside the tropics.
Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. Much of the terrain lies between 200 metres (660 ft) and 800 metres (2,600 ft) in elevation. The main upland area occupies most of the southern half of the country. The northwestern parts of the plateau consist of broad, rolling terrain broken by low, rounded hills.
The southeastern section is more rugged, with a complex mass of ridges and mountain ranges reaching elevations of up to 1,200 metres (3,900 ft). These ranges include the Mantiqueira and Espinhaço mountains and the Serra do Mar. In the north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 2,994 metres (9,823 ft), and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean.
Brazil has a dense and complex system of rivers, one of the world's most extensive, with eight major drainage basins, all of which drain into the Atlantic. Major rivers include the Amazon (the world's second-longest river and the largest in terms of volume of water), the Paraná and its major tributary the Iguaçu (which includes the Iguazu Falls), the Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and Tapajós rivers.
The climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across a large area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical. According to the Köppen system, Brazil hosts five major climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, temperate, and subtropical. The different climatic conditions produce environments ranging from equatorial rainforests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, to temperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in central Brazil. Many regions have starkly different microclimates.
An equatorial climate characterizes much of northern Brazil. There is no real dry season, but there are some variations in the period of the year when most rain falls. Temperatures average 25 °C (77 °F), with more significant temperature variation between night and day than between seasons.
Over central Brazil rainfall is more seasonal, characteristic of a savanna climate. This region is as extensive as the Amazon basin but has a very different climate as it lies farther south at a higher altitude. In the interior northeast, seasonal rainfall is even more extreme. The semiarid climatic region generally receives less than 800 millimetres (31.5 in) of rain, most of which generally falls in a period of three to five months of the year and occasionally less than this, creating long periods of drought. Brazil's 1877–78 Grande Seca (Great Drought), the most severe ever recorded in Brazil, caused approximately half a million deaths. The one from 1915 was devastating too.
South of Bahia, near the coasts, and more southerly most of the state of São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, with rain falling throughout the year. The south enjoys temperate conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); winter frosts are quite common, with occasional snowfall in the higher areas. Other kinds of solid precipitation happen in a wider area, including cities as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Fall of snow grains and ice pellets, deemed as not dissimilar from true hail, are popularly called granizo.
Brazil's large territory comprises different ecosystems, such as the Amazon Rainforest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world, with the Atlantic Forest and the Cerrado, sustaining the greatest biodiversity. In the south, the Araucaria pine forest grows under temperate conditions. The rich wildlife of Brazil reflects the variety of natural habitats. Scientists estimate that the total number of plant and animal species in Brazil could approach four million.
Larger mammals include pumas, jaguars, ocelots, rare bush dogs, and foxes; peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, opossums, and armadillos are abundant. Deer are plentiful in the south, and many species of New World monkeys are found in the northern rain forests. Concern for the environment has grown in response to global interest in environmental issues.
The natural heritage of Brazil is severely threatened by cattle ranching and agriculture, logging, mining, resettlement, oil and gas extraction, over-fishing, wildlife trade, dams and infrastructure, water contamination, climate change, fire, and invasive species. In many areas of the country, the natural environment is threatened by development. Construction of highways has opened up previously remote areas for agriculture and settlement; dams have flooded valleys and inundated wildlife habitats; and mines have scarred and polluted the landscape. At least 70 dams are said to be planned for the Amazon region, including controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.
The Brazilian Federation is the "indissoluble union" of three distinct political entities: the States, the Municipalities and the Federal District. The Union, the states and the Federal District, and the municipalities, are the "spheres of government." The Federation is set on five fundamental principles:sovereignty, citizenship, dignity of human beings, the social values of labour and freedom of enterprise, and political pluralism. The classic tripartite branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial under the checks and balances system), is formally established by the Constitution. The executive and legislative are organized independently in all three spheres of government, while the judiciary is organized only at the federal and state/Federal District spheres.
All members of the executive and legislative branches are directly elected. Judges and other judicial officials are appointed after passing entry exams. For most of its democratic history, Brazil has had a multi-party system, proportional representation. Voting is compulsory for the literate between 18 and 70 years old and optional for illiterates and those between 16 and 18 or beyond 70. Together with several smaller parties, four political parties stand out: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Democrats (DEM). Fifteen political parties are represented in Congress. It is common for politicians to switch parties, and thus the proportion of congressional seats held by particular parties changes regularly. Almost all governmental and administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated to the Executive.
The form of government is that of a democratic republic, with a presidential system. The president is both 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. The current president is Dilma Rousseff who was inaugurated on 1 January 2011. The President appoints the Ministers of State, who assist in government. Legislative houses in each political entity are the main source of law 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 almost exclusively.
Brazilian law is based on Roman-Germanic traditions and civil law concepts prevail over common law practice. Most of Brazilian law is codified, although non-codified statutes also represent a substantial part, playing a complementary role. Court decisions set out interpretive guidelines; however, they are seldom binding on other specific cases. Doctrinal works and the works of academic jurists have strong influence in law creation and in law cases.
The legal system is based on the Federal Constitution, which was promulgated on 5 October 1988, and is the fundamental law of Brazil. All other legislation and court decisions must conform to its rules. As of April 2007[update], there have been 53 amendments. States have their own constitutions, which must not contradict the Federal Constitution. Municipalities and the Federal District have "organic laws" (leis orgânicas), which act in a similar way to constitutions. Legislative entities are the main source of statutes, although in certain matters judiciary and executive bodies may enact legal norms. Jurisdiction is administered by the judiciary entities, although in rare situations the Federal Constitution allows the Federal Senate to pass on legal judgments. There are also specialized military, labor, and electoral courts. The highest court is the Supreme Federal Court.
This system has been criticised over the last few decades for the slow pace of decision making. Lawsuits on appeal may take several years to resolve, and in some cases more than a decade elapses before definitive rulings. Nevertheless, the Supreme Federal Tribunal was the first court in the world to transmit its sessions on television, and also via YouTube. More recently, in December 2009, the Supreme Court adopted Twitter to display items on the day planner of the ministers, to inform the daily actions of the Court and the most important decisions made by them.
Brazil continues to have high crime rates in a number of statistics, despite recent improvements. More than 500,000 people have been killed by firearms in Brazil between 1979 and 2003, according to a new report by the United Nations. In 2010, there were 473,600 people incarcerated in Brazilian prisons and jails.
Foreign relations and military
Brazil is a political and economic leader in Latin America. However, social and economic problems have prevented it from becoming an effective global power. Between 1945 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, and 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. In general, current Brazilian foreign policy reflects multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and nonintervention in the affairs of other countries. The Brazilian Constitution also determines that the country shall seek the economic, political, social and cultural integration of the nations of Latin America.
An increasingly well-developed tool of Brazil's foreign policy is providing aid as a donor to other developing countries. Brazil does not just use its growing economic strength to provide financial aid, but it also provides high levels of expertise and most importantly of all, a quiet non-confrontational diplomacy to improve governance levels. Total aid is estimated to be around $1 billion per year that includes:
- technical cooperation of around $480 million ($30 million in 2010 provided directly by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC))
- an estimated $450 million for in-kind expertise provided by Brazilian institutions specialising in technical cooperation
In addition, Brazil manages a peacekeeping mission in Haiti ($350 million) and makes in-kind contributions to the World Food Programme ($300 million). This is in addition to humanitarian assistance and contributions to multilateral development agencies. The scale of this aid places it on par with China and India and ahead of many western donors. The Brazilian South-South aid has been described as a "global model in waiting."
The armed forces of Brazil consist of the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian Navy, and the Brazilian Air Force. With a total of 371,199 active personnel, they constitute the largest armed force in Latin America. The Army is responsible for land-based military operations and has 235,978 active personnel.
The Military Police (States' Military Police) is described as an ancillary force of the Army by the constitution, but is under the control of each state's governor. The 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 to operate an aircraft carrier, the NAe São Paulo (formerly FS Foch of the French Navy). The Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the Brazilian armed forces, and the largest air force in Latin America, with about 700 manned aircraft in service.
Brazil is a federation composed of 26 States, one Federal district (which contains the capital city, Brasília) and Municipalities. States have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Federal government. They have a governor and a unicameral legislative body elected directly by their voters. They also have independent Courts of Law for common justice. Despite this, states have much less autonomy to create their own laws than in the United States. For example, criminal and civil laws can only be voted by the federal bicameral Congress and are uniform throughout the country.
The states and the federal district may be grouped into regions: Northern, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast and Southern. The Brazilian regions are merely geographical, not political or administrative divisions, and they do not have any specific form of government. Although defined by law, Brazilian regions are useful mainly for statistical purposes, and also to define the distribution of federal funds in development projects.
Municipalities, as the states, have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Union and state government. Each has a mayor and an elected legislative body, but no separate Court of Law. Indeed, a Court of Law organized by the state can encompass many municipalities in a single justice administrative division called comarca (county).
Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world's sixth largest economy at market exchange rates and the seventh largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Brazil has a mixed economy with abundant natural resources. The Brazilian economy has been predicted to become one of the five largest in the world in the decades to come, the GDP per capita following and growing. Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $10,200, putting Brazil in the 64th position according to World Bank data. It has large and developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool.
Brazilian exports are booming, creating a new generation of tycoons. Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef. The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is one of a group of four emerging economies called the BRIC countries.
Brazil 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 Central Bank of Brazil 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 International Monetary Fund rescue package in mid-2002 of $30.4 billion, then a record sum. Brazil's central bank paid back the IMF loan in 2005, although it was not due to be repaid until 2006. One of the issues the Central Bank of Brazil recently dealt with was an excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country, which may have contributed to a fall in the value of the U.S. dollar against the real during that period. Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in production, is estimated to be $193.8 billion for 2007. Inflation monitoring and control currently plays a major part in the Central bank's role of setting out short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure.
Between 1993 and 2010, 7012 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of $707 billion with the involvement of Brazlian firms have been announced. The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with 115 billion USD of transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Brazilian companies has been: Cia Vale do Rio Doce acquired Inco in a tender offer valued at $18.9 billion USD.
The purchasing power in Brazil is eroded by the so-called Brazil cost.
Components and energy
Brazil's economy is diverse, encompassing agriculture, industry, and many services. The recent economic strength has been due in part to a global boom in commodities prices with exports from beef to soybeans soaring.Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 5.1% of the gross domestic product in 2007, a performance that puts agribusiness in a position of distinction in terms of Brazil's trade balance, in spite of trade barriers and subsidizing policies adopted by the developed countries.[vague]
The industry — from automobiles, steel and petrochemicals to computers, aircraft, and consumer durables— accounted for 30.8% of the gross domestic product. Industry, which is often technologically advanced, is highly concentrated in metropolitan São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Porto Alegre, and Belo Horizonte.
Brazil is the world's tenth largest energy consumer with much of its energy coming from renewable sources, particularly hydroelectricity and ethanol; nonrenewable energy is mainly produced from oil and natural gas. A global power in agriculture and natural resources, Brazil experienced tremendous economic growth over the past three decades. It is expected to become a major oil producer and exporter, having recently made huge oil discoveries. The governmental agencies responsible for the energy policy are the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Council for Energy Policy, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels, and the National Agency of Electricity.
Science and technology
Technological research in Brazil is largely carried out in public universities and research institutes, and more than 73% of funding for basic research comes from government sources. Some of Brazil's most notable technological hubs are the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, the Butantan Institute, the Air Force's Aerospace Technical Center, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation and the INPE. The Brazilian Space Agency has the most advanced space program in Latin America.
Uranium is enriched at the Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory to fuel the country's energy demands and plans are underway to build the country's first nuclear submarine. Brazil is one of the three countries in Latin America with an operational Synchrotron Laboratory, a research facility on physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences. And Brazil is the only Latin American country to have a semiconductor company with its own fab, the CEITEC.
Brazil has a large and diverse transport network. Roads are the primary carriers of freight and passenger traffic. The road system totalled 1.98 million km (1.23 million mi) in 2002. The total of paved roads increased from 35,496 km (22,056 mi) in 1967 to 184,140 km (114,425 mi) in 2002.
Brazil's railway system has been declining since 1945, when emphasis shifted to highway construction. The total length of railway track was 30,875 km (19,186 mi) in 2002, as compared with 31,848 km (19,789 mi) in 1970. Most of the railway system belongs to the Federal Railroad Corp., with a majority government interest. The government also privatized seven lines in 1997. The São Paulo Metro was the first underground transit system in Brazil. The other metro systems are in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Recife, Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Teresina, Fortaleza, and Salvador.
There are about 2,500 airports in Brazil, including landing fields: the second largest number in the world, after the United States.São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, near São Paulo, is the largest and busiest airport, handling the vast majority of popular and commercial traffic of the country and connecting the city with virtually all major cities across the world.
Coastal shipping links widely separated parts of the country. Bolivia and Paraguay have been given free ports at Santos. Of the 36 deep-water ports, Santos, Itajaí, Rio Grande, Paranaguá, Rio de Janeiro, Sepetiba, Vitória, Suape, Manaus and São Francisco do Sul are the most important.
The population of Brazil, as recorded by the 2008 PNAD, was approximately 190 million (22.31 inhabitants per square kilometer), with a ratio of men to women of 0.95:1 and 83.75% of the population defined as urban. The population is heavily concentrated in the Southeastern (79.8 million inhabitants) and Northeastern (53.5 million inhabitants) regions, while the two most extensive regions, the Center-West and the North, which together make up 64.12% of the Brazilian territory, have a total of only 29.1 million inhabitants.
The first census in Brazil was carried out in 1872 and recorded a population of 9,930,478. From 1880 to 1930, 4 million Europeans arrived. Brazil's population increased significantly between 1940 and 1970, due to a decline in the mortality rate, even though the birth rate underwent a slight decline. In the 1940s the annual population growth rate was 2.4%, rising to 3.0% in the 1950s and remaining at 2.9% in the 1960s, as life expectancy rose from 44 to 54 years and to 72.6 years in 2007. It has been steadily falling since the 1960s, from 3.04% per year between 1950–1960 to 1.05% in 2008 and is expected to fall to a negative value of –0.29% by 2050 thus completing the demographic transition.
In 2008, the illiteracy rate was 11.48% and among the youth (ages 15–19) 1.74%. It was highest (20.30%) in the Northeast, which had a large proportion of rural poor. Illiteracy was high (24.18%) among the rural population and lower (9.05%) among the urban population.
Race and ethnicity
According to the National Research by Household Sample (PNAD) of 2008, 48.43% of the population (about 92 million) described themselves as White; 43.80% (about 83 million) as Brown (Multiracial), 6.84% (about 13 million) as Black; 0.58% (about 1.1 million) as Asian; and 0.28% (about 536 thousand) as Amerindian (officially called indígena, Indigenous), while 0.07% (about 130 thousand) did not declare their race.
In 2007, the National Indian Foundation reported the existence of 67 different uncontacted tribes, up from 40 in 2005. Brazil is believed to have the largest number of uncontacted peoples in the world.
Since the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, considerable miscegenation between these groups has taken place, in all regions of the country (with European ancestry being dominant nationwide according to the vast majority of all autosomal studies undertaken covering the entire population, accounting for between 65% to 77%).
Brazilian society is more markedly divided by social class lines, although a high income disparity is found between race groups, so racism and classism can be conflated. Socially significant closeness to one racial group is taken in account more in the basis of appearance (phenotypes) rather than ancestry, to the extent that full siblings can pertain to different "racial" groups.Socioeconomic factors are also significant, because a minority of pardos are likely to start declaring themselves White or Black if socially upward. Skin color and facial features do not line quite well with ancestry (usually, Afro-Brazilians are evenly mixed and European ancestry is dominant in Whites and pardos with a significant non-European contribution, but the individual variation is great).
The brown population (as multiracial Brazilians are officially called; pardo in Portuguese, also colloquially moreno, or swarthy) is a broad category that includes caboclos (assimilated Amerindians in general, and descendants of Whites and Natives), mulatos (descendants of primarily Whites and Afro-Brazilians) and cafuzos (descendants of Afro-Brazilians and Natives). People of considerable Amerindian ancestry form the majority of the population in the Northern, Northeastern and Center-Western regions. Higher percents of Blacks, mulattoes and tri-racials can be found in the eastern coast of the Northeastern region from Bahia to Paraíba and also in northern Maranhão, southern Minas Gerais and in eastern Rio de Janeiro. From the 19th century, Brazil opened its borders to immigration. About five million people from over 60 countries migrated to Brazil between 1808 and 1972, most of them of Portuguese, Italian, Spaniard, German, Japanese and Middle Eastern origin.
Brazil possesses a richly spiritual society formed from the meeting of the Roman Catholic Church with the religious traditions of African slaves and indigenous peoples. This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella of Brazilian Roman Catholicism, characterized by traditional Portuguese festivities, and in some instances, Allan Kardec's Spiritism (most Brazilian Spiritists are also Christians). Religious pluralism increased during the 20th century, and a Protestant community has grown to include over 15% of the population. The most common Protestant denominations are Pentecostal, Evangelical, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran and the reformed churches.
Roman Catholicism is the country's predominant faith. Brazil has the world's largest Catholic population. According to the 2000 Demographic Census (the PNAD survey does not inquire about religion), 73.57% of the population followed Roman Catholicism; 15.41% Protestantism; 1.33% Kardecist spiritism; 1.22% other Christian denominations; 0.31% Afro-Brazilian religions; 0.13% Buddhism; 0.05% Judaism; 0.02% Islam; 0.01% Amerindian religions; 0.59% other religions, undeclared or undetermined; while 7.35% have no religion.
However, in the last ten years Protestantism, particularly Pentecostal and/or Evangelical Protestantism, has spread in Brazil, while the proportion of Catholics has dropped significantly. After Protestantism, individuals professing no religion are also a significant group, exceeding 7% of the population in the 2000 census. The cities of Boa Vista, Salvador and Porto Velho have the greatest proportion of Irreligious residents in Brazil. Teresina, Fortaleza, and Florianópolis were the most Roman Catholic in the country.Greater Rio de Janeiro, not including the city proper, is the most Irreligious and least Roman Catholic Brazilian periphery, while Greater Porto Alegre and Greater Fortaleza are in the opposite sides of the lists respectively.
According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) urban areas already concentrate 84.35% of the population, while the Southeast region remains the most populated one, with over 80 million inhabitants. The largest metropolitan areas in Brazil are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte — all in the Southeastern Region — with 19.5, 11.5, and 5.1 million inhabitants respectively. Almost all of the state capitals are the largest cities in their states, 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 São Paulo (Campinas, Santos and the Paraíba Valley), Minas Gerais (Steel Valley), Rio Grande do Sul (Sinos Valley) and Santa Catarina (Itajaí Valley).
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese (Article 13 of the Constitution of the Federative Republic of Brazil), which almost all of the population speaks and is virtually the only language used in newspapers, radio, television, and for business and administrative purposes. The most famous exception to this is a strong sign language law that was passed by the National Congress of Brazil. Legally recognized in 2002, the law was regulated in 2005. The law mandates the use of the Brazilian Sign Language, more commonly known by its Portuguese acronym LIBRAS, in education and government services. The language must be taught as a part of the education and speech and language pathology curricula. LIBRAS teachers, instructors and translators are recognized professionals. Schools and health services must provide access ("inclusion") to deaf people.
Brazilian Portuguese has had its own development, mostly similar to 16th century Central and Southern dialects of European Portuguese (despite a very substantial number of Portuguese colonial settlers, and more recent immigrants, coming from Northern regions, and in minor degree Portuguese Macaronesia), with some influences from the Amerindian and African languages, especially West African and Bantu. As a result, the language is somewhat different, mostly in phonology, from the language of Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries (the dialects of the other countries, partly due to the more recent end of Portuguese colonialism in these regions, have a closer connexion to contemporary European Portuguese). These differences are comparable to those between American and British English.
Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas, making the language an important part of Brazilian national identity and giving it a national culture distinct from those of its Spanish-speaking neighbors.
In 1990, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), which included representatives from all countries with Portuguese as the official language, reached an agreement on the reform of the Portuguese orthography to unify the two standards then in use by Brazil on one side and the remaining lusophone countries on the other. This spelling reform went into effect in Brazil on 1 January 2009. In Portugal, the reform was signed into law by the President on 21 July 2008 allowing for a 6-year adaptation period, during which both orthographies will co-exist. The remaining CPLP countries are free to establish their own transition timetables.
Minority languages are spoken throughout the nation. One hundred and eighty Amerindian languages are spoken in remote areas and a significant number of other languages are spoken by immigrants and their descendants. In the municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, Nheengatu (a currently endangered South American creole language – or an 'anti-creole', according to some linguists – with mostly Indigenous Brazilian languages lexicon and Portuguese-based grammar that, together with its southern relative língua geral paulista, once was a major lingua franca in Brazil, being replaced by Portuguese only after governmental prohibition led by major political changes), Baniwa and Tucano languages had been granted co-official status with Portuguese. There are significant communities of German (mostly the Brazilian Hunsrückisch, a High German language dialect) and Italian (mostly the Talian, a Venetian dialect) origins in the Southern and Southeastern regions, whose ancestors' native languages were carried along to Brazil, and which, still alive there, are influenced by the Portuguese language. Talian is officially a historic patrimony of Rio Grande do Sul, and two German dialects possess co-official status in a few municipalities.
Learning at least one second language (generally English and/or Spanish) is mandatory for all the 12 grades of the mandatory education system (primary and secondary education, there called ensino fundamental and ensino médio respectively). Brazil is the first country in South America to offer Esperanto to secondary students.
The core culture of Brazil is derived from Portuguese culture, because of its strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. Among other influences, the Portuguese 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.[broken citation] Some aspects of Brazilian culture were influenced by the contributions of Italian, German and other European as well Japanese and Arab immigrants who arrived in large numbers in the South and Southeast of Brazil.[broken citation] The indigenous Amerindians influenced Brazil's language and cuisine; and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion.
Brazilian art has developed since the 16th century into different styles that range from Baroque (the dominant style in Brazil until the early 19th century) to Romanticism, Modernism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstractionism.
Brazilian cinema dates back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century and has gained a new level of international acclaim in recent years.[broken citation]
Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. It developed distinctive styles, among them samba, MPB, choro, Sertanejo, brega, forró, frevo, maracatu, bossa nova, and axé.
Brazilian literature dates back to the 16th century, to the writings of the first Portuguese explorers in Brazil, such as Pêro Vaz de Caminha, filled with descriptions of fauna, flora and natives that amazed Europeans that arrived in Brazil.[broken citation] Brazil produced significant works in Romanticism — novelists like Joaquim Manuel de Macedo and José de Alencar wrote novels about love and pain. Alencar, in his long career, also treated Indigenous people as heroes in the Indigenist novels O Guarany, Iracema, Ubirajara.
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 preservation of regional differences. Examples are Feijoada, considered the country's national dish; and regional foods such as vatapá, moqueca, polenta and acarajé.
Brazil has a variety of candies such as brigadeiros (chocolate fudge balls), cocada (a coconut sweet), beijinhos (coconut truffles and clove) and romeu e julieta (cheese with a guava jam known as goiabada). Peanut is used to make paçoca, rapadura and pé-de-moleque. Local common fruits like açaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, cocoa, cashew, guava, orange, passionfruit, pineapple, and hog plum are turned in juices and used to make chocolates, popsicles and ice cream.
Popular snacks are pastel (a pastry), coxinha (chicken croquete), pão de queijo (cheese bread and cassava flour / tapioca), pamonha (corn and milk paste), esfirra (Lebanese pastry), kibbeh (from Arabic cuisine), empanada (pastry) and empada little salt pies filled with shrimps or hearth of palm.
But the everyday meal consist mosty of rice and beans with beef and salad. Its common to mix it with cassava flour (farofa). Fried potatoes, fried cassava, fried banana, fried meat and fried cheese are very often eaten in lunch and served in most typical restaurants.
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.
The most popular sport in Brazil is football. The Brazilian national football team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings, and has won the World Cup tournament a record five times.
Volleyball, basketball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. Brazil men's national volleyball team, for example, currently holds the titles of the World League, World Grand Champions Cup, World Championship and the World Cup.
Others sports practiced in Brazil are tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics have found a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. Some sport variations have their origins in Brazil: beach football,futsal (indoor football) and footvolley emerged in Brazil as variations of football. In martial arts, Brazilians developed Capoeira,Vale tudo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In auto racing, three Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times.
Brazil has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including UFC 134, the 1950 FIFA World Cup and has been chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The São Paulo circuit, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil.
São Paulo organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963, and Rio de Janeiro hosted the XV Pan American Games in 2007. On 2 October 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the first to be held in South America and second in Latin America after Mexico City. Further, the country hosted the FIBA Basketball World Cups in 1954 and 1963. At the 1963 event, the Brazil national basketball team won one of its two world championship titles.
In May 2010 Brazil launched TV Brasil Internacional, an international television station, initially broadcasting to 49 countries. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former President of Brazil, described its aim as "presenting Brazil to the world."
- Outline of Brazil
- Index of Brazil-related articles
- International rankings of Brazil
- List of Brazilians
- Official Tourist Guide of Brazil
- Brazilian Federal Government
- Chief of State and Cabinet Members
- Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics
- Brazil entry at The World Factbook
- Brazil at UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Brazil at the Open Directory Project
- Country Profile from the U.S. Library of Congress (1997)
- Brazil travel guide from Wikitravel
- Video report on Brazil in 1961
- Brazil from the BBC News
- Brazil at Encyclopædia Britannica
Geographic data related to Brazil at OpenStreetMap
- Key Development Forecasts for Brazil from International Futures
- Democracy in Brazil from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archives
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