Administrative divisions of Brazil
|Federative Republic of Brazil
|Largest city||São Paulo|
|Ethnic groups (2010)|
|Government||Federal presidential constitutional republic|
|-||Vice President||Michel Temer|
|-||President of the
Chamber of Deputies
|Henrique Eduardo Alves|
|-||President of the Senate||Renan Calheiros|
|-||President of the Supreme Federal Court||Joaquim Barbosa|
|-||Upper house||Federal Senate|
|-||Lower house||Chamber of Deputies|
|Independence from United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves|
|-||Declared||7 September 1822|
|-||Recognized||29 August 1825|
|-||Republic||15 November 1889|
|-||Current constitution||5 October 1988|
|-||Total||8,515,767 km2 (5th)
3,287,597 sq mi
|-||2013 estimate||201,032,714 (5th)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.422 trillion (7th)|
|-||Per capita||$12,118 (79th)|
|GDP (nominal)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||$2.190 trillion (7th)|
|-||Per capita||$10,958 (63rd)|
|Gini (2012)|| 51.9
|HDI (2012)|| 0.730
high · 85th
|Currency||Real (R$) (
|Time zone||BRT (UTC−2 to −4)|
|-||Summer (DST)||BRST (UTC−2 to −4)|
|Date format||dd/mm/yyyy (CE)|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||BR|
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 and occupies 47 percent of the continent of South America.
Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, who claimed the area for Portugal. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro after French forces led by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Portugal. In 1815, it was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Its independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation 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. An authoritarian military junta had led the nation from 1964 until 1985. Brazil's current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a federal republic. The Federation is composed of the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.
The Brazilian economy is the world's seventh largest by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity, as of 2012. A member of the BRIC group, Brazil has one of the world's fastest growing major economies, with its economic reforms giving the country new international recognition and influence. Brazil's national development bank (BNDES) plays an important role for the country's economic growth. 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. Brazil is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to a variety of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. Brazil is a regional power in Latin America and a middle power in international affairs, with some analysts identifying it as an emerging global power.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Government and politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Infrastructure
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Culture
- 9 National holidays
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Bibliography
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
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).
The earliest pottery ever found in the Western Hemisphere, radiocarbon-dated 8,000 years old, has been excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil, near to-day's Santarem, providing evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture; the region was inhabited by hundreds of different native tribes, the earliest going back at least 10,000 years in the highlands of Minas Gerais. The territory of current day Brazil had as many as 2,000 tribes, mostly semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture.
The indigenous population of Brazil was divided into large indigenous nations composed of several ethnic groups among which stand out the large groups like Tupis, Guaranis, Gês and Arawaks. The former were subdivided into Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, among many subdivision of the others. The boundaries between these groups and their subgroups, before the arrival of Europeans, were marked by wars between them, arising from differences in culture, language and moral. These wars also involved large-scale military actions on land and water, with ritual cannibalism on POWs. While heredity had some weight, leadership status was a more subdued over time, than allocated in succession ceremonies and conventions. Slavery among the Indians had a different meaning than it had for Europeans, since it originated from a diverse socio-economic organization, in which asymmetries were translated into kinship relations.
When the Portuguese arrived in 1500 they saw the natives as noble savages, and miscegenation of the population began right away. Tribal warfare, cannibalism and the pursuit of Amazonian brazilwood for its treasured red dye convinced the Portuguese that they should civilize the indigenous population. But the Portuguese, like the Spanish in their South American possessions, had unknowingly brought diseases with them, against which many indigenous groups were helpless due to lack of immunity. Measles, smallpox, tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and influenza killed tens of thousands. The diseases spread quickly along the indigenous trade routes, and whole tribes were likely annihilated without ever coming in direct contact with Europeans.
The land now called Brazil was claimed for the Portuguese Empire on April 22, 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Portuguese encountered indigenous peoples 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 the twelve private and autonomous Captaincy Colonies of Brazil.
The decentralized and unorganized tendencies of the captaincy colonies proved problematic, and in 1549 the Portuguese king restructured them into the Governorate General of Brazil, a single and centralized Portuguese colony in South America. In the first two centuries of colonization, Indigenous and Europeans groups lived in constant war, establishing opportunistic alliances in order to gain advantages against each other. By the mid-16th century, sugar of cane had become Brazil's most important exportation product, and slaves purchased in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the slave market of Western Africa (not only those from Portuguese allies of their colonies in Angola and Mozambique), had become its largest import, to cope with plantations of sugarcane, due to increasing international demand for Brazilian sugar.
By the end of the 17th century, sugarcane exports began to decline, and the discovery of gold by bandeirantes in the 1690s, would become the new backbone of the colony's economy, fostering an Brazilian Gold Rush, attracting thousands of new settlers to Brazil, from Portugal and all Portuguese colonies around the World, which in turn caused some conflicts between newcomers and old settlers.
Portuguese expeditions known as Bandeiras gradually advanced the Portugal colonial original frontiers in South America to where lies most of the current Brazilian borders. In this era other European powers tried to colonize parts of Brazil, in incursions that the Portuguese had to fight, notably the French in Rio during 1560s, in Maranhão during 1610s, and the Dutch in Bahia and Pernambuco, during the Dutch–Portuguese War, after the end of Iberian Union.
The Portuguese colonial administration in Brazil had two objectives that would ensure colonial order, and the monopoly of its wealthiest and largest colony: both keep under control and eradicate all forms of slaves' rebellion and resistance, such as the Quilombo of Palmares, as well as repress all movements for autonomy or independence, such as the Minas Conspiracy.
In late 1807, Spanish and Napoleonic forces threatened the security of continental Portugal, causing Prince Regent João, in the name of Queen Maria I, to move the royal court from Lisbon to Brazil. There they established some of Brazil's first financial institutions, such as its local stock exchanges, a National Bank, and ended the monopoly of the colony trade with Portugal, opening it to other nations. In 1809, in retaliation for being forced into exile, the Prince Regent ordered the Portuguese conquest of French Guiana.
With the end of the Peninsular War in 1814, the courts of Europe demanded that Queen Maria I and Prince Regent João return to Portugal, deeming it unfit for the head of an ancient European monarchy to reside in a colony. In 1815, in order to justify continuing to live in Brazil, where the royal court had thrived for the past six years, the Crown established the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, thus creating a pluricontinental transatlantic monarchic state. The Portuguese leaders demanded return of the court to Lisbon, as the Liberal Revolution of 1820 required, and groups of Brazilians still demanded independence and a republic, as the 1817 Pernambucan Revolt showed. In 1821, as a demand of revolutionaries who had taken the city of Porto, D. João VI was unable to hold out any longer, and departed for Lisbon. There he swore oath to the new constitution, leaving his son, Prince Pedro de Alcântara, as Regent of the Kingdom of Brazil.
Tensions between Portuguese and Brazilians increased, and the Portuguese Cortes, guided by the new political regime imposed by the 1820 Liberal Revolution, tried to re-establish Brazil as a colony. The Brazilians refused to yield, and Prince Pedro decided to stand with them, declaring the country's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822. This is now celebrated as Brazil's Independence Day.
On 12 October 1822, Prince Pedro was declared the first Emperor of Brazil and crowned Dom Pedro I on 1 December 1822. A subsequent Brazilian War of Independence spread through northern, northeastern regions and in Cisplatina province. With the last Portuguese soldiers surrendering on 8 March 1824, Portugal officially recognized Brazil on 29 August 1825.
In 7 April 1831, worn down by years of administrative turmoil and political dissensions with both liberal and conservative sides of politics, including an attempt of republican secession, as well as unreconciled with the way that absolutists in Portugal had given to the succession of King John VI, Pedro I went to Portugal to reclaim his daughter's crown, abdicating of Brazilian throne in favor of his five-year-old son and heir (who later became Dom Pedro II).
As the new emperor could not exert his constitutional powers until he reached maturity, a regency was set up by the government. In the absence of a charismatic figure who could represent a moderate face of power, during this period a series of localized rebellions took place, as the Cabanagem, the Malê Revolt, the Balaiada, the Sabinada, and the Ragamuffin War, which emerged from the dissatisfaction of the provinces with the central power, coupled with old and latent social tensions peculiar of a vast, slaveholding and newly independent nation state. This period of internal political and social upheaval, which included the Praieira revolt, was overcome only at the end of the 1840s, years after the end of the regency, which occurred with the premature coronation of Pedro II in 1841.
During the last phase of the monarchy, internal political debate was centered on the issue of slavery. The Atlantic slave trade was abandoned in 1850, as a result of the British' Aberdeen Act, but only in May 1888 after a long process of internal mobilization and debate for an ethical and legal dismantling of slavery in the country, was the institution formally abolished.
The foreign affairs in the monarchy were basically related issues with the countries of the Southern Cone with which Brazil has borders. Long after the Cisplatine War, that resulted in independence for Uruguay, Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II. These were the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the devastating Paraguayan War, the largest war effort in the country history.
On November 15, 1889, worn out by years of economic stagnation, in attrition with the majority of Army officers, as well as with rural and financial elites (for different reasons), the monarchy was overthrown by a military coup.
The "early republican government was little more than a military dictatorship, with army dominating 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 severe military and economic crises, the republican civilians rose to power.
Little by little, a cycle of general instability sparked by these crises undermined the regime to such an extent, that by 1930 in the wake of the murder of his running mate, it was possible for the defeated opposition presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas supported by most of the military, led a successful revolt. Vargas was supposed to assume power temporarily, but instead closed the Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the states' governors with his supporters.
In the 1930s, three major attempts to remove Vargas and his supporters from power occurred: in the second half of 1932, in November 1935, and in May 1938. Being the second one, the communist revolt which served as an excuse for the preclusion of elections, put into effect by a coup d'état in 1937, which made the Vargas regime a full dictatorship, noted for its brutality and censorship of the press.
In foreign policy, the success in resolving border disputes with neighboring countries in the early years of the republican period, was followed by a failed attempt to exert a prominent role in the League of Nations, after its involvement in World War I. In World War II Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, when the country entered on the allied side, after suffering retaliations undertaken by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, due to the country having severed diplomatic relations with them in the wake of the Pan-American Conference.
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 another military coup, with Democracy being "reinstated" by the same army that had discontinued it 15 years before. Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis, after having returned to power by election in 1950.
Several brief interim governments succeeded after Vargas's suicide. Juscelino Kubitschek 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 was not limited only to those who resorted to guerrilla tactics to fight the regime, but also reached institutional opponents, artists, journalists and other members of civil society, inside and outside the country (through the infamous "Operation Condor"). Despite its brutality, like other totalitarian regimes in history, due to an economic boom, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached its highest level of popularity in the early 1970s.
Slowly however, the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power that has not slowed the repression, even after the defeat of the leftist guerrillas, plus the inability to deal with the economic crises of the period and popular pressure, made it inevitable an opening policy, which of the regime side was led by Generals Geisel and Golbery. With the enactment of the Amnesty Law in 1979, Brazil began to slowly return to democracy, which would be completed along the 1980s.
Civilians returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency, becoming unpopular during his tenure due his failure in control the economic crisis and hyperinflation inherited from the military regime. 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. In 1994, Cardoso produced a highly successful Plano Real, that after decades of failed economic plans made by previous governments attempting to curb hyperinflation, finally granted stability to the Brazilian economy, leading Cardoso to be elected that year, and again in 1998.
The peaceful transition of power from Fernando Henrique to his main opposition leader, 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, the country's first woman president and as such one of the most powerful women in the world.
File:Pronunciamento da presidenta Dilma Rousseff.ogv In June 2013, following the viral phenomenon of worldwide manifestations (such as the "Arab Spring", the "Occupy Wall Street" and the "Spanish Indignados"), numerous protests erupted in Brazil. For days, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in several cities to protest. Initially a movement against the increase in public transport fares, it assumed gigantic proportions, sparked by the excessive use of force by the state polices, turning into a series of huge demonstrations by groups and individuals, angry about a range of issues (including new stadium projects for international sports events, demands on quality of public services, anger about corruption, and opposition to a constitutional amendment proposal, PEC 37, which is interpreted by some as an attempt to curb repression of corruption). Thus it became a movement containing conflicting ideologies, with so far no single political agenda nor recognizable leadership. In part due to this lack of a clear political agenda and recognisable leadership, as well as increasing vandalism and manipulation by the press, the movement later subsided.
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 subtropical conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); winter frosts and snowfall are not rare in the highest areas.
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. Brazil's Amazon Basin is home to an extremely diverse array of fish species, including the red-bellied piranha. Despite its reputation as a ferocious freshwater fish, the red-bellied piranha is actually a generally a timid scavenger. Biodiversity can contribute to agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries extraction. However, almost all economically exploited species of plants, such as soybeans and coffee, or animals, such as chicken, are imported from other countries, and the economic use of native species still crawls. In the Brazilian GDP, the forest sector represents just over 1% and fishing 0.4%.
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 pollution, 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.
Government and politics
The Brazilian Federation is the "indissoluble union" of 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 a 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.
Law and Order
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 report by the United Nations. As of December 2012, there were 548,003 people incarcerated in Brazilian prisons or jails (513,713 in prison system and 34,290 in police facilities), constituting 274 inmates per 100,000 of national population.
Brazil's international relations are based on article 4 of the Federal Constitution, which establishes non-intervention, self-determination, international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of conflicts as the guiding principles of Brazil's relationship with other countries and multilateral organizations. According to the Constitution, the President has ultimate authority over foreign policy, while Congress is tasked with reviewing and considering all diplomatic nominations and international treaties, as well as legislation relating to Brazilian foreign policy.
Brazil's foreign policy is a by-product of the country's unique position as a regional power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world power. Brazilian foreign policy has generally been based on the principles of multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries.
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 Army 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 once operated some of the most powerful warships in the world with the two dreadnoughts, which sparked a South American dreadnought race between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Today, it is a green water force and one of the ten navies that possesses an aircraft carrier. The Air Force has about 700 manned aircraft in service.
Brazil has not been invaded since 1865 during the Paraguayan War. Additionally, Brazil has no contested territorial disputes with any of its neighbours and neither does it have rivalries, like Chile and Bolivia have with each other. Since 1648 the Brazilian Armed Forces have been relied upon to fight in defense of Brazilian sovereignty and to suppress civil rebellions. The Brazilian military has also four times intervened militarily to overthrow the Brazilian government. It has built a tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping missions such as in Haiti and East Timor.
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 seventh 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, provided that large investments in productivity gains are made to substitute the GDP growth of the last decade that is attributable to the increase in the number of people working. Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $11,875 in 2012 putting Brazil in the 77th position according to IMF data. Active in agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors Brazil has a labor force of over a 107 million (ranking 6th worldwide) and unemployment of 6.2% (ranking 64th worldwide).
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. Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef., and has the fourth largest car market in the world. Adding up, Brazil ranks 23rd worldwide in value of exports.
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 US$18.9 billion.
Corruption costs Brazil almost $41 billion a year alone, with 69.9% of the country's firms identifying the issue as a major constraint in successfully penetrating the global market. Local government corruption is so prevalent that voters only perceive it as a problem if it surpasses certain levels, and only if a local media e.g. a radio station is present to divulge the findings of corruption charges. Initiatives, like this exposure, strengthen awareness which is indicated by the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; ranking Brazil 69th out of 178 countries in 2012. The purchasing power in Brazil is eroded by the so-called Brazil cost.
Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of the country. The country had 5 million visitors in 2010, ranking in terms of international tourist arrivals as the second destination in South America, and third in Latin America after Mexico and Argentina. Revenues from international tourists reached US$6 billion in 2010, showing a recovery from the 2008-2009 economic crisis. Historical records of 5.4 million visitors and US$6.8 billion in receipts were reached in 2011.
Natural areas are its most popular tourism product, a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, mainly sun and beach, and adventure travel, as well as cultural tourism. Among the most popular destinations are the Amazon Rainforest, beaches and dunes in the Northeast Region, the Pantanal in the Center-West Region, beaches at Rio de Janeiro and Santa Catarina, cultural tourism in Minas Gerais and business trips to São Paulo city.
In terms of the 2011 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TTCI), which is a measurement of the factors that make it attractive to develop business in the travel and tourism industry of individual countries, Brazil ranked 52nd in the world, 3rd among Latin American countries after Mexico and Costa Rica, and 7th in the Americas. Brazil's competitive advantages are its natural resources, which ranked 1st on this criteria out of the 139 countries considered, and ranked 23rd for its cultural resources, due to its many World Heritage sites. The TTCI report notes Brazil's main weaknesses: its ground transport infrastructure remains underdeveloped (ranked 116th), with the quality of roads ranking in 105th place; and the country continues to suffer from a lack of price competitiveness (ranked 114th), due in part to high ticket taxes and airport charges, as well as high prices and high taxation. Safety and security have improved significantly: 75th in 2011, up from 128th in 2008.
According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), international travel to Brazil accelerated in 2000, particularly during 2004 and 2005. However, in 2006 a slow down took place, and international arrivals had almost no growth in 2007-08. In spite of this trend, revenues from international tourism continued to rise, from USD 4 billion in 2005 to 5 billion in 2007, despite 330 000 fewer arrivals. This favorable trend is the result of the strong devaluation of the US dollar against the Brazilian Real, which began in 2004, but which makes Brazil a more expensive international destination. This trend changed in 2009, when both visitors and revenues fell as a result of the Great Recession of 2008-09. By 2010 the industry had recovered, and arrivals grew above 2006 levels to 5.2 million international visitors, and receipts from these visitors reached USD 6 billion. In 2011 the historical record was reached with 5.4 million visitors and US$6.8 billion in receipts.
Despite continuing record breaking of international tourism revenues, the number of Brazilian tourists travelling overseas has been growing steadily since 2003, resulting in a net negative foreign exchange balance, as more money is spent abroad by Brazilian than receipts from international tourists visiting Brazil. Tourism expenditures abroad grew from USD 5.8 billion in 2006, to USD 8.2 billion in 2007, a 42% increase, representing a net deficit of USD 3.3 billion in 2007, as compared to USD 1.5 billion in 2006, a 125% increase from the previous year. This trend is caused by Brazilians taking advantage of the stronger Real to travel and making relatively cheaper expenditures abroad. Brazilians traveling overseas in 2006 represented 4% of the country's population.
In 2005, tourism contributed with 3.2% of the country's revenues from exports of goods and services, and represented 7% of direct and indirect employment in the Brazilian economy. In 2006 direct employment in the sector reached 1.9 million people. Domestic tourism is a fundamental market segment for the industry, as 51 million people travelled throughout the country in 2005, and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached USD 22 billion, 5.6 times more receipts than international tourists in 2005.
In 2005, Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguaçu, São Paulo, Florianópolis and Salvador were the most visited cities by international tourists for leisure trips. The most popular destinations for business trips were São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre. In 2006 Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza were the most popular destinations for business trips.
Components and energy
Brazil's diversified economy includes agriculture, industry, and a wide range of services. Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 5.1% of the gross domestic product in 2007. Brazil is one of the largest producer of oranges, coffee, sugar cane, cassava and sisal, soybeans and papayas.
The industry — from automobiles, steel and petrochemicals to computers, aircraft, and consumer durables— accounted for 30.8% of the gross domestic product. Industry 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; the Itaipu Dam is the world's largest hydroelectric plant by energy generation. The first car with an ethanol engine was produced in 1978 and the first airplane engine running on ethanol in 2005. Recent oil discoveries in the Pre-salt layer have opened the door for a large increase in oil production. 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, with the majority of funding for basic research coming from various government agencies. Brazil's most esteemed 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, mostly for research purposes (as Brazil obtains 88% from its electricity from hydroelectricity) and the country's first nuclear submarine will be delivered in 2015 (by France). 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 fabrication plant, the CEITEC.
Brazilian 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) (22,056 mi) in 1967 to 184,140 km (114,419 mi) (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 (19,185 mi) in 2002, as compared with 31,848 km (19,789 mi) in 1970. Most of the railway system belonged to the Federal Railroad Corporation RFFSA, which was privatized in 2007. 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 and Fortaleza.
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 with nearly 20 million passengers annually, while handling the vast majority of commercial traffic for the country.
For freight transport waterways are of importance, e.g. the industrial zones of Manaus can only be reached by means of the Solimões- Amazonas waterway (3,250 km (2,019 mi) with 6 meters minimum depth).
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. Bulk carriers have to wait up to 18 days before being serviced, container ships 36,3 hours on average
The Brazilian public health system, the National Health System (SUS), is managed and provided by all levels of government. The public health services are universal and available to all citizens of the country for free. Nevertheless millions of affluent Brazilians have private health care coverage.
- Childhood mortality: about 2.51% of childhood mortality, reaching 3.77% in the northeast region.
- Motherhood mortality: about 73.1 deaths per 100,000 born children in 2002.
- Mortality by non-transmissible illness: 151.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants caused by heart and circulatory diseases, along with 72.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants caused by cancer.
- Mortality caused by external causes (transportation, violence and suicide): 71.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (14.9% of all deaths in the country), reaching 82.3 deaths in the southeast region.
The Federal Constitution and the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education determine that the Federal Government, States, Federal District and municipalities must 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 the mechanisms and funding sources. The constitution reserves 25% of the state budget and 18% of federal taxes and municipal taxes for education.
According to the IBGE, in 2011, the literacy rate of the population was 90.4%, meaning that 13 million (9.6% of population) people are still illiterate in the country; functional illiteracy has reached 21.6% of the population. Illiteracy is highest in the Northeast, where 19.9% of the population is illiterate.
Higher education starts with undergraduate or sequential courses, which may offer different options of specialization in academic or professional careers. Depending on the choice, students can improve their educational background with courses of post-graduate studies or broad sense. To attend a higher education institution is required, by Law of Guidelines and Bases of Education, completing all levels of education suited to the needs of all students of teaching kindergarten, elementary and medium, provided the student does not hold any disability, whether physical, mental, visual or hearing.
The Brazilian press has its beginnings in 1808 with the arrival of the Portuguese royal family to Brazil, hitherto forbidden any activity of the press - was the publication of newspapers or books. The Brazilian press was officially born in Rio de Janeiro on 13 May 1808, with the creation of the Royal Printing, National Press by the Prince Regent Dom João.
The Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro, the first newspaper published in the country, begins to circulate on 10 September 1808. Largest newspapers nowadays are Folha de São Paulo (from the state of São Paulo, Super Notícia (Minas Gerias 296.799), O Globo (RJ 277.876) and O Estado de São Paulo (SP 235.217).
Radio broadcasting began on 7 September 1922, with a speech by then President Pessoa, and formalized on 20 April 1923 with the creation of "Radio Society of Rio de Janeiro."
Television in Brazil began officially on 18 September 1950, with the founding of TV Tupi by Assis Chateaubriand. Since then television has grown in the country, creating large public networks such as Globo, SBT, Record and Bandeirantes. Today is the most important factor in popular culture of Brazilian society, indicated by research showing that as much as 67% of the general population follow the same daily soap opera broadcast. Digital Television, using the SBTVD standard (based on the Japanese standard ISDB-T) was adopted 29 June 2006 and launched in 2 November 2007. 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."
The population of Brazil, as recorded by the 2008 PNAD, was approximately 190 million (22.31 inhabitants per square kilometre or 57.8 /sq mi), 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, because of 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 and 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, Ukrainian, Polish, Jewish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Middle Eastern origin.
Religion in Brazil formed from the meeting of the 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 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 22% of the population. The most common Protestant denominations are Pentecostal, Evangelical, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran and the reformed churches.
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 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 on 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. The majority of 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 because of 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.
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. 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 since the 1960s.
The music of Brazil was formed mainly from the fusion of European and African elements. Until the nineteenth century Portugal was the gateway to most of the influences that built Brazilian music, although many of these elements were not of Portuguese origin, but generally European. The first was José Maurício Nunes Garcia, author of sacred pieces with influence of Viennese classicism. The major contribution of the African element was the rhythmic diversity and some dances and instruments that had a bigger role in the development of popular music and folk, flourishing especially in the twentieth century.
Popular music since the late eighteenth century began to show signs of forming a characteristically Brazilian sound, with samba considered the most typical and on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Maracatu and Afoxê are two Afro-Brazilian music tradition that have been popularized by there appearance in the annual Brazilian Carnivals. The sport of capoeira is usually played with its own music refer to as capoeira music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music.
Choro is a very popular music instrumental style. Its origins are in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style often has a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by virtuosity, improvisation, subtile modulations and full of syncopation and counterpoint. Bossa nova is also a well-known style of Brazilian music developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. The phrase "bossa nova" means literally "new trend". A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following starting in the 1960s.
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 commentary about the indigenous population that fascinated European readers. 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. Machado de Assis, one of his contemporaries, wrote in virtually all genres and continues to gain international prestige from critics worldwide. The Brazilian Modernism, evidenced by the Week of Modern Art in 1922, was concerned with a nationalist avant-garde literature, while Post-Modernism brought a generation of distinct poets like João Cabral de Melo Neto, Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Vinicius de Moraes and internationally known writers dealing with universal and regional subjects like Jorge Amado, João Guimarães Rosa and Clarice Lispector.
Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of indigenous 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. 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 average meal consist mostly 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. 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.
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.
|1 January||Confraternização Mundial||New Year's Day||Beginning of the calendar year|
|21 April||Tiradentes||Tiradentes||In honor of the martyr of the Minas Conspiracy|
|1 May||Dia do Trabalhador||Labor Day||Tribute to all workers|
|7 September||Independência||Independence of Brazil||Proclamation of Independence against Portugal|
|12 October||Nossa Senhora Aparecida||Nossa Senhora Aparecida||Patroness of Brazil|
|2 November||Finados||Souls||Day of remembrance for the dead|
|15 November||Proclamação da República||Proclamation of the Republic||Transformation Empire in Republic|
|25 December||Natal||Christmas||Traditional Christmas celebration|
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, like 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 and 2016 Paralympic 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.
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- Schwarcz, Lilia Moritz. As barbas do Imperador: D. Pedro II, um monarca nos trópicos. 2nd ed. São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1998. ISBN 85-7164-837-9. (Portuguese)
- Skidmore, Thomas E. Uma História do Brasil. 4th ed. São Paulo: Paz e Terra, 2003. (Portuguese) ISBN 85-219-0313-8
- Souza, Adriana Barreto de. Duque de Caxias: o homem por trás do monumento. Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 2008. (Portuguese) ISBN 978-85-200-0864-5.
- Vainfas, Ronaldo. Dicionário do Brasil Imperial. Rio de Janeiro: Objetiva, 2002. ISBN 85-7302-441-0 (Portuguese)
- Vesentini, José William. Brasil, sociedade e espaço – Geografia do Brasil. 7th Ed. São Paulo: Ática, 1988. (Portuguese)
- Vianna, Hélio. História do Brasil: período colonial, monarquia e república, 15th ed. São Paulo: Melhoramentos, 1994. (Portuguese)
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- Official Tourist Guide of Brazil
- Brazilian Federal Government
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- Brazil at UCB Libraries GovPubs
- Library of Congress (1997)
- Video report on Brazil in 1961
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- International Futures
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