0

Brazil | Wikipedia audio article


Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil Portuguese pronunciation:
[bɾaˈziw]), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa
do Brasil, listen ), is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At
8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 209 million people,
Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. The capital
is Brasília, and the most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed
of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It
is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in
the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over
a century of mass immigration from around the world.Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on
the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 mi). It borders all other
South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3% of the continent’s
land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife,
a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected
habitats. This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 megadiverse countries,
and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental
protection. Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations
prior to the landing in 1500 of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral, who claimed the area for
the Portuguese Empire. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the
empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. In 1815, the colony was elevated
to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil
and the Algarves. 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 ratification
of the first constitution in 1824 led to the formation of a bicameral legislature, now
called the National Congress. The country became a presidential republic in 1889 following
a military coup d’état. An authoritarian military junta came to power in 1964 and ruled
until 1985, after which civilian governance resumed. Brazil’s current constitution, formulated
in 1988, defines it as a democratic federal republic. Due to its rich culture and history,
the country ranks thirteenth in the world by number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.Brazil
is considered an advanced emerging economy. It has the eighth largest GDP in the world
by both nominal and PPP measures. It is one of the world’s major breadbaskets, being the
largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It is classified as an upper-middle
income economy by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country, with the largest share
of global wealth in Latin America. Brazil is a regional power in Latin America and sometimes
considered a great power in international affairs, while some analysts identify it as
a middle power. It has an international recognition and influence, and is subsequently classified
as an emerging power and a potential superpower by several analysts. Brazil is a founding
member of the United Nations, the G20, BRICS, Union of South American Nations, Mercosul,
Organization of American States, Organization of Ibero-American States and the Community
of Portuguese Language Countries.==Etymology==It is likely that the word “Brazil” comes
from the Portuguese word for 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 textile industry and was the earliest commercially
exploited product from Brazil. Throughout 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 Portuguese 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) because of the brazilwood
trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and eventually supplanted the official Portuguese
name. Some early sailors called it the “Land of Parrots”.In the Guarani language, an official
language of Paraguay, Brazil is called “Pindorama”. This was the name the indigenous population
gave to the region, meaning “land of the palm trees”.==History=====Pre-Cabraline era===Some of the earliest human remains found in
the Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provide
evidence of human habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery ever
found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon
dated to 8,000 years ago (6000 BC). The pottery was found near Santarém and provides evidence
that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture. The Marajoara
culture flourished on Marajó in the Amazon delta from 800 CE to 1400 CE, developing sophisticated
pottery, social stratification, large populations, mound building, and complex social formations
such as chiefdoms.Around the time of the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil
had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people, mostly semi-nomadic who
subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. The indigenous population
of Brazil comprised several large indigenous ethnic groups (e.g. the Tupis, Guaranis, Gês
and Arawaks). The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, and
there were also many subdivisions of the other groups.Before the arrival of the Europeans,
the boundaries between these groups and their subgroups were marked by wars that arose from
differences in culture, language and moral beliefs. These wars also involved large-scale
military actions on land and water, with cannibalistic rituals on prisoners of war. While heredity
had some weight, leadership status was 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 socioeconomic organization, in which
asymmetries were translated into kinship relations.===Portuguese colonization===The land now called Brazil was claimed for
the Portuguese Empire on 22 April 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 effectively began in 1534, when
King John III of Portugal divided the territory into the fifteen private and autonomous Captaincy
Colonies of Brazil.However, 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 European groups lived in constant
war, establishing opportunistic alliances in order to gain advantages against each other.
By the mid-16th century, cane sugar had become Brazil’s most important export, 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 a Brazilian Gold Rush which attracted
thousands of new settlers to Brazil from Portugal and all Portuguese colonies around the world.
This increased level of immigration 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 approximately 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 the 1560s, in Maranhão during
the 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 Portugal’s wealthiest and largest colony:
to keep under control and eradicate all forms of slave rebellion and resistance, such as
the Quilombo of Palmares, and to repress all movements for autonomy or independence, such
as the Minas Conspiracy.===United Kingdom with Portugal===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 Rio de Janeiro. There they established
some of Brazil’s first financial institutions, such as its local stock exchanges, and its
National Bank, additionally ending the Portuguese monopoly on Brazilian trade and opening Brazil
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, to justify continuing to live in Brazil, where the royal court had
thrived for the prior six years, the Crown established the United Kingdom of Portugal,
Brazil, and the Algarves, thus creating a pluricontinental transatlantic monarchic state.
However, such a ploy didn’t last long, since the leadership in Portugal, resentful of the
new status of its larger colony, continued to require the return of court to Lisbon (as
postulated by the Liberal Revolution of 1820), and also groups of Brazilians, impatient for
practical and real changes, still demanded independence and a republic, as demonstrated
by the 1817 Pernambucan Revolt. 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 an oath to the new constitution, leaving his son, Prince
Pedro de Alcântara, as Regent of the Kingdom of Brazil.===Independent empire===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. A month later, Prince Pedro was declared the first
Emperor of Brazil, with the royal title of Dom Pedro I, resulting in the foundation of
the Empire of Brazil.The Brazilian War of Independence, which had already begun along
this process, spread through northern, northeastern regions and in Cisplatina province. The last
Portuguese soldiers surrendered on 8 March 1824; Portugal officially recognized Brazil
on 29 August 1825.On 7 April 1831, worn down by years of administrative turmoil and political
dissent with both liberal and conservative sides of politics, including an attempt of
republican secession, and unreconciled to the way that absolutists in Portugal had given
in the succession of King John VI, Pedro I went to Portugal to reclaim his daughter’s
crown, abdicating the Brazilian throne in favor of his five-year-old son and heir (who
thus became the Empire’s second monarch, with the royal title of Dom Pedro II). As the new Emperor could not exert his constitutional
powers until he became of age, a regency was set up by the National Assembly. 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, such as the Cabanagem in Grão-Pará Province,
the Malê Revolt in Salvador da Bahia, the Balaiada (Maranhão), the Sabinada (Bahia),
and the Ragamuffin War beginning in Rio Grande do Sul and supported by Giuseppe Garibaldi.
These emerged from the dissatisfaction of the provinces with the central power, coupled
with old and latent social tensions peculiar to a vast, slaveholding and newly independent
nation state. This period of internal political and social upheaval, which included the Praieira
revolt in Pernambuco, 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 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 to issues with the countries of the
Southern Cone with which Brazil had 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 Brazilian history.Although there was no desire among the majority of
Brazilians to change the country’s form of government, on 15 November 1889, 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. 15 November is now Republic
Day, a national holiday.===Early republic===The early republican government was nothing
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. Only in 1894, following the unfoldings of two severe crises, an economic along with
a military one, the civilians rose to power staying there until October 1930.If in relation
to its foreign policy, the country in this first republican period maintained a relative
balance characterized by a success in resolving border disputes with neighboring countries,
only broken by the Acre War (1899–1902) and its involvement in World War I (1914–1918),
followed by a failed attempt to exert a prominent role in the League of Nations; Internally,
from the crisis of Encilhamento and the Armada Revolts, a prolonged cycle of financial, political
and social instability began Until the 1920s, keeping the country besieged by various rebellions,
both civilian and military. Little by little, a cycle of general instability
sparked by these crises undermined the regime to such an extent, that in the wake of the
murder of his running mate, the defeated opposition presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas supported
by most of the military, successfully led the October 1930 Coup. Vargas and the military
were supposed to assume power temporarily, but instead closed the Congress, extinguished
the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the states’ governors with their
own supporters.In the 1930s, three failed attempts to remove Vargas and his supporters
from power occurred. The first was the Constitutionalist Revolution in 1932, led by the Paulista oligarchy.
The second was a Communist uprising in November 1935, and the last one a putsch attempt by
local fascists in May 1938. The 1935 uprising created a security crisis in which the Congress
transferred more power to the executive. The 1937 coup d’état resulted in the cancellation
of the 1938 election, formalized Vargas as dictator, beginning the Estado Novo era, which
was noted for government brutality and censorship of the press.Foreign policy during Vargas
years was marked by the antecedents and World War II. Brazil remained neutral until August
1942, when the country entered on the allied side, after suffering retaliation by Nazi
Germany and Fascist Italy, in a strategic dispute over the South Atlantic. In addition
to its participation in the battle of the Atlantic, Brazil also sent an expeditionary
force to fight in the Italian campaign.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 “reinstated” by the same army that
had ended it 15 years earlier. Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis,
after having returned to power by election in 1950.===Contemporary era===Several brief interim governments followed
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. Kubitschek’s successor, Jânio Quadros, 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
gradually closed in on itself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of
the Fifth Institutional Act in 1968. Oppression was not limited 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 authoritarian regimes, due to an
economic boom, known as an “economic miracle”, the regime reached a peak in popularity in
the early 1970s.Slowly however, the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power that had
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 an
opening policy inevitable, which from the regime side was led by Generals Ernesto Geisel
and Golbery do Couto e Silva. With the enactment of the Amnesty Law in 1979, Brazil began a
slow return to democracy, which was completed during the 1980s.Civilians returned to power
in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency. He became unpopular during his tenure through
failure to control the economic crisis and hyperinflation he inherited from the military
regime. Sarney’s unsuccessful government led to the election in 1989 of the almost-unknown
Fernando Collor, subsequently impeached by the National Congress in 1992.Collor was succeeded
by his vice-president, Itamar Franco, who appointed Fernando Henrique Cardoso 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 stabilized the Brazilian economy. Cardoso won the 1994 election, and again in
1998. The peaceful transition of power from Cardoso
to his main opposition leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (elected in 2002 and re-elected
in 2006), was seen as proof that Brazil had achieved a long-sought political stability.
However, sparked by indignation and frustrations accumulated over decades from corruption,
police brutality, inefficiencies of the political establishment and public service, numerous
peaceful protests erupted in Brazil from the middle of first term of Dilma Rousseff, who
had succeeded Lula after winning election in 2010.Enhanced by political and economic
crises with evidence of involvement by politicians from all the primary political parties in
several bribery and tax evasion schemes, with large street protests for and against her,
Rousseff was impeached by the Brazilian Congress in 2016. In 2017, the Supreme Court asked
for the investigation of 71 Brazilian lawmakers and nine ministers in President Michel Temer’s
cabinet allegedly linked to the Petrobras corruption scandal. President Temer is himself
accused of corruption. In 2018, 62% of the population on a poll claimed that corruption
was Brazil’s biggest problem.==Geography==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, Guyana, Suriname and France (French overseas
region of French Guiana) to the north. It shares a border with every South American
country except 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 8,515,767.049 km2 (3,287,956
sq mi), including 55,455 km2 (21,411 sq mi) of water. It spans four time zones; from UTC−5
comprising the state of Acre and the westernmost portion of Amazonas, to UTC−4 in the western
states, to UTC−3 in the eastern states (the national time) and UTC−2 in the Atlantic
islands.Brazil is the only country in the world that has the equator and the Tropic
of Capricorn running through it. 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.===Climate===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 six major climatic subtypes:
desert, equatorial, tropical, semiarid, oceanic 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 worst in Brazil’s history, caused approximately
half a million deaths. A similarly devastating drought occurred in 1915.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.===Biodiversity and environment===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, mostly
invertebrates.Larger mammals include carnivores pumas, jaguars, ocelots, rare bush dogs, and
foxes, and herbivores peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, opossums, and armadillos. 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 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 chickens, 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
the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.==Government and politics==The form of government is a democratic federative
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 Michel Temer, who
replaced Dilma Rousseff after her impeachment. 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. Brazil is a democracy, according to the Democracy Index 2010.The
political-administrative organization of the Federative Republic of Brazil comprises the
Union, the states, the Federal District, and the municipalities. The Union, the states,
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)
are 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 and 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 (MDB) 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.===Law===Brazilian law is based on the civil law legal
system 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, 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, 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 criticized 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.===Military===The armed forces of Brazil are the largest
in Latin America by active personnel and the largest in terms of military equipment. It
consists of the Brazilian Army (including the Army Aviation Command), the Brazilian
Navy (including the Marine Corps and Naval Aviation), and the Brazilian Air Force. Brazil’s
conscription policy gives it one of the world’s largest military forces, estimated at more
than 1.6 million reservists annually.Numbering close to 236,000 active personnel, the Brazilian
Army has the largest number of armored vehicles in South America, including armored transports
and tanks. It is also unique in Latin America for its large, elite forces specializing in
unconventional missions, the Brazilian Special Operations Command, and the versatile Strategic
Rapid Action Force, made up of highly mobilized and prepared Special Operations Brigade, Infantry
Brigade Parachutist, 1st Jungle Infantry Battalion (Airmobile) and 12th Brigade Light Infantry
(Airmobile) able to act anywhere in the country, on short notice, to counter external aggression.
The states’ Military Police and the Military Firefighters Corps are described as an ancillary
forces of the Army by the constitution, but are under the control of each state’s governor.Brazil’s
navy, the second-largest in the Americas, once operated some of the most powerful warships
in the world with the two Minas Geraes-class dreadnoughts, which sparked a South American
dreadnought race between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Today, it is a green water force
and has a group of specialized elite in retaking ships and naval facilities, GRUMEC, unit specially
trained to protect Brazilian oil platforms along its coast. It’s the only navy in Latin
America that operates an aircraft carrier, NAe São Paulo, and one of the ten navies
of the world to operate one.The Air Force is the largest in Latin America and has about
700 manned aircraft in service and effective about 67,000 personnel.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. The Brazilian military has also three times intervened militarily
to overthrow the Brazilian government. It has built a tradition of participating in
UN peacekeeping missions such as in Haiti, East Timor and Central African Republic.===Foreign policy===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 the 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 cooperationIn 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. The Brazilian
South-South aid has been described as a “global model in waiting.”===
Law enforcement and crime===In Brazil, the Constitution establishes five
different police agencies for law enforcement: Federal Police Department, Federal Highway
Police, Federal Railroad Police, Military Police and Civil Police. Of these, the first
three are affiliated with federal authorities and the last two are subordinate to state
governments. All police forces are the responsibility of the executive branch of any of the federal
or state powers. The National Public Security Force also can act in public disorder situations
arising anywhere in the country.The country still has above-average levels of violent
crime and particularly high levels of gun violence and homicide. In 2012, the World
Health Organization (WHO) estimated the number of 32 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, one
of the highest rates of homicide of the world. The number considered tolerable by the WHO
is about 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. However, there are differences between the
crime rates in the Brazilian states. While in São Paulo the homicide rate registered
in 2013 was 10.8 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, in Alagoas it was 64.7 homicides per 100,000
inhabitants.Brazil also has high levels of incarceration and the third largest prison
population in the world (behind only China and the United States), with an estimated
total of approximately 700,000 prisoners around the country (June 2014), an increase of about
300% compared to the index registered in 1992. The high number of prisoners eventually overloaded
the Brazilian prison system, leading to a shortfall of about two hundred thousand accommodations.===Administrative divisions===Brazil is a federation composed of 26 states,
one federal district, and the 5570 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 be voted by only 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).==Economy==Brazil is the largest national economy in
Latin America, the world’s eighth largest economy and the eighth largest in purchasing
power parity (PPP) according to the 2017 estimates. Brazil has a mixed economy with abundant natural
resources. After rapid growth in preceding decades, the country entered an ongoing recession
in 2014 amid a political corruption scandal and nationwide protests.
Its GDP (PPP) per capita was $15,919 in 2017 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. Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. 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 has
become the fourth largest car market in the world. Major export products include aircraft,
electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee,
orange juice, soybeans and corned beef. In total, 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 Brazilian firms have been
announced. The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with US$115 billion 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 in 2010, 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 perceive it as a problem only
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.===Energy===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.===Tourism===Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and
key to the economy of several regions of the country. The country had 6.36 million visitors
in 2015, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the main destination in
South America and second in Latin America after Mexico. 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 2015 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 in the 28st place at the world’s level, third
in the Americas, after Canada and United States.Brazil’s main competitive advantages are its natural
resources, which ranked 1st on this criteria out of all 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 US$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
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 Brazilians than comes in as receipts from international
tourists visiting Brazil.Tourism expenditures abroad grew from US$5.8 billion in 2006, to
US$8.2 billion in 2007, a 42% increase, representing a net deficit of US$3.3 billion in 2007, as
compared to US$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 traveled
throughout the country in 2005, and direct revenues from Brazilian tourists reached US$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.==Infrastructure=====
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, with significant resources
to launch vehicles, and manufacture of satellite. Owner of relative technological sophistication,
the country develops submarines, aircraft, as well as being involved in space research,
having a Vehicle Launch Center Light and being the only country in the Southern Hemisphere
the integrate team building International Space Station (ISS).The country is also a
pioneer in the search for oil in deep water, from where it extracts 73% of its reserves.
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 was 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. According to
the Global Information Technology Report 2009-2010 of the World Economic Forum, Brazil is the
world’s 61st largest developer of information technology.Brazil also has a large number
of outstanding scientific personalities. Among the most renowned Brazilian inventors are
priests Bartolomeu de Gusmão, Landell de Moura and Francisco João de Azevedo, besides
Alberto Santos-Dumont, Evaristo Conrado Engelberg, Manuel Dias de Abreu, Andreas Pavel and Nélio
José Nicolai.Brazilian science is represented by the likes of César Lattes (Brazilian physicist
Pathfinder of Pi Meson), Mário Schenberg (considered the greatest theoretical physicist
of Brazil), José Leite Lopes (only Brazilian physicist holder of UNESCO Science Prize),
Artur Ávila (the first Latin American winner of Fields Medal) and Fritz Müller (pioneer
in factual support of the theory of evolution by Charles Darwin).===Transport===Brazilian roads are the primary carriers of
freight and passenger traffic. The road system totaled 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.The first investments in road infrastructure
have given up in the 1920s, the government of Washington Luis, being pursued in the governments
of Getúlio Vargas and Eurico Gaspar Dutra. President Juscelino Kubitschek (1956–61),
who designed and built the capital Brasília, was another supporter of highways. Kubitschek
was responsible for the installation of major car manufacturers in the country (Volkswagen,
Ford and General Motors arrived in Brazil during his rule) and one of the points used
to attract them was support for the construction of highways. With the implementation of Fiat
in 1976 ending an automobile market closed loop, from the end of the 1990s the country
has received large foreign direct investments installing in its territory other major car
manufacturers and utilities, such as Iveco, Renault, Peugeot, Citroen, Honda, Mitsubishi,
Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Hyundai, Toyota among others. Brazil is the seventh most important
country in the auto industry.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.
The country has an extensive rail network of 28,538 kilometres (17,733 miles) in length,
the tenth largest network in the world. Currently, the Brazilian government, unlike the past,
seeks to encourage this mode of transport; an example of this incentive is the project
of the Rio–São Paulo high-speed rail, that will connect the two main cities of the country
to carry passengers. 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 be reached only by means of the Solimões–Amazonas
waterway (3,250 kilometres (2,020 miles) with 6 metres (20 feet) minimum depth). The country
also has 50,000 kilometres (31,000 miles) of waterways.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.===Health===The Brazilian public health system, the Unified
Health System (SUS), is managed and provided by all levels of government, being the largest
system of this type in the world. On the other hand, private healthcare systems play a complementary
role. Public health services are universal and offered to all citizens of the country
for free. However, the construction and maintenance of health centers and hospitals are financed
by taxes, and the country spends about 9% of its GDP on expenditures in the area. In
2012, Brazil had 1.85 doctors and 2.3 hospital beds for every 1,000 inhabitants.Despite all
the progress made since the creation of the universal health care system in 1988, there
are still several public health problems in Brazil. In 2006, the main points to be solved
were the high infant (2.51%) and maternal mortality rates (73.1 deaths per 1000 births).
The number of deaths from noncommunicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases
(151.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants) and cancer (72.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants),
also has a considerable impact on the health of the Brazilian population. Finally, external
but preventable factors such as car accidents, violence and suicide caused 14.9% of all deaths
in the country. The Brazilian health system was ranked 125th among the 191 countries evaluated
by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2000.===Education===The
Federal Constitution and the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Education determine
that the Union, the states, the Federal District, and the 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.
Attending an institution of higher education is required by Law of Guidelines and Bases
of Education. Kindergarten, elementary and medium educations are required of all students,
provided the student does not hold any disability, whether physical, mental, visual or hearing.
The University of São Paulo is the second best university in Latin America, according
to recent 2019 QS World University Rankings. Of the top 20 Latin Americans universities,
eight are Brazilian. Most of them are public.===Media and communication===The Brazilian press had 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, began to circulate on 10 September 1808. The largest newspapers nowadays are
Folha de S.Paulo (from the state of São Paulo), Super Notícia (Minas Gerais 296.799), O Globo
(RJ 277.876) and O Estado de S. Paulo (SP 235.217).Radio broadcasting began on 7 September
1922, with a speech by then President Pessoa, and was 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 it 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 on 2 November 2007. In May 2010,
Brazil launched TV Brasil Internacional, an international television station, initially
broadcasting to 49 countries.==Demographics==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 Pardo (brown), 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 estimated that Brazil has 67 different uncontacted
tribes, up from their estimate of 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 Amerindians, Europeans, and Africans 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 (officially called pardo in Portuguese, also colloquially
moreno) 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, Spanish, German, Ukrainian,
Polish, Jewish, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, and Arab origin.===Religion===Religion in Brazil was formed from the meeting
of the Catholic Church with the religious traditions of enslaved African peoples 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 Catholic Church, characterized by traditional Portuguese festivities, and
in some instances, Allan Kardec’s Spiritism (a religion which incorporates elements of
spiritualism and Christianity). Religious pluralism increased during the 20th century,
and the Protestant community has grown to include over 22% of the population. The most
common Protestant denominations are Pentecostal and Evangelical ones. Other Protestant branches
with a notable presence in the country include the Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Lutherans
and the Reformed tradition. 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 in forms of Pentecostalism
and Evangelicalism, 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 as of 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.===Urbanization===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 urban agglomerations in Brazil are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte
– all in the Southeastern Region – with 21.1, 12.3, 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.===Language===The official language of Brazil is Portuguese
(Article 13 of the Constitution of the Federal 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. 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.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 a few influences from the Amerindian and African languages,
especially West African and Bantu restricted to the vocabulary only. 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 connection to contemporary European Portuguese).
These differences are comparable to those between American and British English.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.The
sign language law legally recognized in 2002, (the law was regulated in 2005) 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. 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 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.==Culture==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, Jewish and Arab immigrants who arrived in large numbers
in the South and Southeast of Brazil during the 19th and 20th centuries. 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.===Architecture===The architecture of Brazil is influenced by
Europe, especially Portugal. It has a history that goes back 500 years to the time when
Pedro Cabral discovered Brazil in 1500. Portuguese colonial architecture was the first wave of
architecture to go to Brazil. It is the basis for all Brazilian architecture of later centuries.
In the 19th century during the time of the Empire of Brazil, Brazil followed European
trends and adopted Neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture. Then in the 20th century
especially in Brasilia, Brazil experimented with Modernist architecture.
The colonial architecture of Brazil dates to the early 16th century when Brazil was
first explored, conquered and settled by the Portuguese. The Portuguese built architecture
familiar to them in Europe in their aim to colonise Brazil. They built Portuguese colonial
architecture which included Churches, civic architecture including houses and forts in
Brazilian cities and the countryside. During 19th Century Brazilian architecture saw the
introduction of more European styles to Brazil such as Neoclassical and Gothic Revival architecture.
This was usually mixed with Brazilian influences from their own heritage which produced a unique
form of Brazilian architecture. In the 1950s the modernist architecture was introduced
when Brasilia was built as new federal capital in the interior of Brazil to help develop
the interior. The architect Oscar Niemeyer idealized and built Government buildings,
Churches and civic buildings was constructed in the modernist style.===Music===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 traditions that have been popularized by their appearance in the annual Brazilian
Carnivals. The sport of capoeira is usually played with its own music referred to as capoeira
music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music. Forró
is a type of folk music prominent during the Festa Junina in northeastern Brazil. Jack
A. Draper III, a professor of Portuguese at the University of Missouri, argues that Forró
was used as a way to subdue feelings of nostalgia for a rural lifestyle.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,
subtle 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.===Literature===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 Guarani, Iracema and Ubirajara. Machado de Assis, one of his contemporaries,
wrote in virtually all genres and continues to gain international prestige from critics
worldwide.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, Vinicius
de Moraes, Cora Coralina, Graciliano Ramos, Cecília Meireles, and internationally known
writers dealing with universal and regional subjects like Jorge Amado, João Guimarães
Rosa, Clarice Lispector and Manuel Bandeira.===Cuisine===Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region,
reflecting the country’s varying 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 beiju, feijão tropeiro,
vatapá, moqueca, polenta (from Italian cuisine) and acarajé (from African cuisine).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.A typical meal
consists mostly of rice and beans with beef, salad, french fries and a fried egg. Often,
it’s mixed 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 fried pastry); coxinha (a variation of chicken croquete);
pão de queijo (cheese bread and cassava flour / tapioca); pamonha (corn and milk paste);
esfirra (a variation of Lebanese pastry); kibbeh (from Arabic cuisine); empanada (pastry)
and empada, little salt pies filled with shrimps or heart of palm.
Brazil has a variety of desserts such as brigadeiros (chocolate fudge balls), bolo de rolo (roll
cake with goiabada), cocada (a coconut sweet), beijinhos (coconut truffles and clove) and
romeu e julieta (cheese with goiabada). Peanuts are used to make paçoca, rapadura and pé-de-moleque.
Local common fruits like açaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, cocoa, cashew, guava, orange,
lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and hog plum are turned in juices and used to make chocolates,
ice pops and ice cream.===Cinema===The Brazilian film industry began in the late
19th century, during the early days of the Belle Époque. While there were national film
productions during the early 20th century, American films such as Rio the Magnificent
were made in Rio de Janeiro to promote tourism in the city. The films Limite (1931) and Ganga
Bruta (1933), the latter being produced by Adhemar Gonzaga through the prolific studio
Cinédia, were poorly received at release and failed at the box office, but are acclaimed
nowadays and placed among the finest Brazilian films of all time. The 1941 unfinished film
It’s All True was divided in four segments, two of which were filmed in Brazil and directed
by Orson Welles; it was originally produced as part of the United States’ Good Neighbor
Policy during Getúlio Vargas’ Estado Novo government.
During the 1960s, the Cinema Novo movement rose to prominence with directors such as
Glauber Rocha, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Paulo Cesar Saraceni and Arnaldo Jabor. Rocha’s
films Deus e o Diabo na Terra do Sol (1964) and Terra em Transe (1967) are considered
to be some of the greatest and most influential in Brazilian film history.During the 1990s,
Brazil saw a surge of critical and commercial success with films such as O Quatrilho (Fábio
Barreto, 1995), O Que É Isso, Companheiro? (Bruno Barreto, 1997) and Central do Brasil
(Walter Salles, 1998), all of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language
Film, the latter receiving a Best Actress nomination for Fernanda Montenegro. The 2002
crime film City of God, directed by Fernando Meirelles, was critically acclaimed, scoring
90% on Rotten Tomatoes, being placed in Roger Ebert’s Best Films of the Decade list and
receiving four Academy Award nominations in 2004, including Best Director. Notable film
festivals in Brazil include the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festivals
and the Gramado Festival.===Theatre===The theatre in Brazil has its origins in the
period of Jesuit expansion when theater was used for the dissemination of Catholic doctrine
in the 16th century. in the 17th and 18th centuries the first dramatists who appeared
on the scene of European derivation was for court or private performances. During the
19th century, dramatic theater gained importance and thickness, whose first representative
was Luis Carlos Martins Pena (1813–1848), capable of describing contemporary reality.
Always in this period the comedy of costume and comic production was imposed. Significant,
also in the nineteenth century, was also the playwright Antônio Gonçalves Dias. There
were also numerous operas and orchestras. The Brazilian conductor Antônio Carlos Gomes
became internationally known with operas like Il Guarany. At the end of century 19th century
orchestrated dramaturgias became very popular and were accompanied of songs of famous artists
like the conductress Chiquinha Gonzaga.Already in the early 20th century there was the presence
of theaters, entrepreneurs and actor companies, but paradoxically the quality of the products
staggered, and only in 1940 the Brazilian theater received a boost of renewal thanks
to the action of Paschoal Carlos Magno and his student’s theater, the comedians group
and the Italian actors Adolfo Celi, Ruggero Jacobbi and Aldo Calvo, founders of the Teatro
Brasileiro de Comedia. From the 1960s it was attended by a theater dedicated to social
and religious issues and to the flourishing of schools of dramatic art. The most prominent
authors at this stage were Jorge Andrade and Ariano Suassuna.===Visual arts===Brazilian painting emerged in the late 16th
century, influenced by Baroque, Rococo, Neoclassicism, Romanticism, Realism, Modernism, Expressionism,
Surrealism, Cubism and Abstracionism making it a major art style called Brazilian academic
art. The Missão Artística Francesa (French Artistic Mission) arrived in Brazil in 1816
proposing the creation of an art academy modeled after the respected Académie des Beaux-Arts,
with graduation courses both for artists and craftsmen for activities such as modeling,
decorating, carpentry and others and bringing artists like Jean-Baptiste Debret.Upon the
creation of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, new artistic movements spread across the country
during the 19th century and later the event called Week of Modern Art broke definitely
with academic tradition in 1922 and started a nationalist trend which was influenced by
modernist arts. Among the best-known Brazilian painters are Ricardo do Pilar and Manuel da
Costa Ataíde (baroque and rococo), Victor Meirelles, Pedro Américo and Almeida Junior
(romanticism and realism), Anita Malfatti, Ismael Nery, Lasar Segall, Emiliano di Cavalcanti,
Vicente do Rego Monteiro, and Tarsila do Amaral (expressionism, surrealism and cubism), Aldo
Bonadei, José Pancetti and Cândido Portinari (modernism).===Sports===The most popular sport in Brazil is football.
The Brazilian men’s national 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. The 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. In auto racing, three Brazilian
drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times.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. Brazil has hosted several high-profile international
sporting events, like the 1950 FIFA World Cup and recently has hosted 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, making it the first South American
city to host the games and second in Latin America, after Mexico City. Furthermore, 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.===National holidays=====
See also==Index of Brazil-related articles
Outline of Brazil==Notes

Stephen Childs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *