Useful information on Brazil.
Brazil is located on the Atlantic coast of South America. It is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest country in the world, both in area and population. It covers almost half (47.3%) of South America's territory, totaling an area equivalent to 8,547,403 square kilometers.The country borders Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia.
The Equator line crosses the northern country, next to Macapá, while the Capricorn Tropic crosses the southern country, next to São Paulo. Ecuador and Chile are the only two countries of South America with which Brazil makes no frontiers. The Atlantic Ocean extends along the entire Brazilian east cost, forming a 7,367-km seacoast.
Brazil became independent on September 7th, 1822, and it became an Empire lead by D. Pedro I, and then by D. Pedro II. In 1889, the Republic was established and it is kept until today. Brazil is subdivided in 5.564 autonomous municipalities.
Brazil was colonized by Portugal, and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas. The Catholicism is the predominant religion. Brazilian society is a melting pot, one of the most mixed in the world.
Brazil’s historical heritage is one of the oldest in America. A great part of it is found in the state of Minas Gerais (in the cities of Ouro Preto, Diamantina, São João del-Rei, Sabará, ect.), and in other specific areas such as the historical centers in the cities of Recife, São Luís, Salvador, Olinda etc.
Culture & People
Few places in the world provide the same welcoming atmosphere to newcomers like Brazil. Its immense size also makes Brazil a very rich country in terms of cultural diversity, integrating the several ethnic groups that form the Brazilian people. Although Brazil was a Portuguese colony, other ethnic groups had great influence in the national culture, especially the Native Indians, the Africans, the Italians, and the Germans.
The Native Indian and African influence left their mark in Brazilian music, culinary, folklore, and popular celebrations. It is obvious that some regions were more influenced by those groups: the Northern states had a great influence from the Native Indian cultures while certain regions of the Northeast were more influenced by African cultures.
The more we go south in Brazil, the more European the culture becomes. The influence of Italian and German immigrants in the south of Brazil is clearly seen through the culinary, music, habits, and the physical appearance of the people. Other ethnic groups such as the Arabs, the Spanish, the Polish, and the Japanese also contributed to the Brazilian culture.
Brazil is divided in five regions made of a group of Federation units (States or Districts), which are grouped according to territorial proximity and geographical characteristics, such as similar vegetation and soil.
The purpose of the country’s division in regions is statistical and economic. The five Brazilian regions are: Northeast, Southeast, South, Central West, and North.
Due to a number of factors, the climate diversity across Brazil is remarkable. The geographic features, the extensive territory, the relief, and the air masses dynamics are among the most important.
This last factor is extremely important because it directly affects both the temperature and the rainfall causing the regional climate differences.
The air masses which have direct influence are the equatorial (continental and atlantic), the tropical (continental and atlantic), and the polar atlantic. Brazil presents tropical, equatorial, sub-tropical, and semi-arid climates.
Brazil is the country with the greatest biodiversity in the planet, which is marked by diversity in ecosystems, biological species, and genetic heritage.
Due to its immense size and the great geomorphologic and climatic diversity, Brazils is home for six major biomes (great communities characterized by a predominant vegetation type): the Amazon Forest, the savanna-like “Cerrado”, the Atlantic Forest, the wetlands of “Pantanal”, the Fields of the South or “Pampas”, and the semi-arid “Caatinga”.
Brazil has the richest flora in the world with up to 56.000 species of superior plants already described; more than 3.000 species of river fish; 517 species of amphibians; 1.677 species of birds; and 530 species of mammals; it might have up to 10 million insects.
The Brazilian territory is largely covered by forests as well as agricultural and cattle ranching areas.
Portuguese is the mother language, although very different from that spoken in Portugal and other ancient Portuguese colonies. Some people state that currently Brazilians speak “Brazilish”, with a pretty different accent and intonation. A comparison can be made with the English spoken by American and English people: each one has its own regional characteristics. Many Brazilians also speak English, Spanish and especialy German and Italian in southern cities, thanks to the influence of colonization.
Flight / Travel Statistics
For more information about Tourism in Brazil: http://www.brasilnetwork.tur.br
For more information visit the UK Brazilian Embassy www.brazil.org.uk