Map of Brazil
almost half of South America and
has a population larger than all
the other countries of the continent
combined (Over 50%).
fifth largest in area (8,511,999
square kilometre) and population,
with a very varied landscape, from
the tropical rainforest of the sprawling,
mighty Amazon to towering mountains.
The central and southern plains
are fertile farmlands, but the country's
vast interior remains little developed.
The world's largest rain forest
the Amazon is largely in Brazil,
with a very large and unique animal
and over 40,000 varieties of plants.
The Amazon river, the world's second
longest, only after the Nile is
longer is Brazil largest.
Ocean going ships can travel on the Amazon's
entire length within Brazil.
Brazil is the only Portuguese speaking
country in South America.
In 1494, the treaty of Tordesillas
divided the Americas between Spain
and Portugal (Line of Demarcation).
Portugal claimed possession of Brazil
on April 22, 1500, as Pedro Alvares
Cabral the Portuguese fleet commander
landed on the coast.
The name comes
from trees with glowing ember colour,
brazilwoods (Brasa in Portuguese).
Most of the Brazilians live in big
cities and towns that lie on or
near the Atlantic coast, except
Brasilia, the nation's capital,
that was built about 1,000 kilometres
from the coast to
help draw Brazilians inland.
Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
are Brazil's two largest cities
and in the world in terms of population.
They are also the fastest growing
cities in the world.
fast-paced city is Brazil's chief
commercial and industrial centre.
About 60 per cent of the country's
population are of European ancestry,
German, Italian, Portuguese, and
Afro-Brazilians make up
about 7 per cent and Amerindians,
the original Brazilians, form less
than 1 per cent of Brazil's people.
Many Brazilians have mixed ancestry.
Brazil has many natural resources
such as iron ore, manganese, and
many other minerals and a wide range
of agricultural products, such as
coffee, bananas, cacao beans, cattle,
cotton, horses, lemons, maize, oranges,
pineapples, rice, sheep, soybeans,
sugar cane, nuts, timber, and tobacco,
that helped make Brazil a growing
Power plants on
its rivers generate a great amount
In spite of Brazil's
great wealth there's also great
poverty around. Most Brazilians
are very poor.
Brazil was a Portuguese colony from
1500 to 1822 and is the
country in Latin America.
The early Portuguese
colonists also brought
Roman Catholicism to Brazil.
Today, Brazil has more
Catholics than any
Brazil has been a republic since
1889, with a strong national government,
but had periods of dictatorial rule
It has 26 states and 1
federal district of Brasilia, the
As most republics, Brazil's
federal government has three branches,
the executive branch headed by a
president, a legislative branch
called the Congress, and a judicial
branch, or court system.
Brazil has universal
suffrage with some
minor exceptions, electing the resident,
Vice President and Congress, also
the local bodies as well.
Constitution transferred most powers
to the legislative Congress, of
an 81-member Senate and a 503-member
Chamber of Deputies.
The 26 states
and the federal district send 3
Senators and a number of Deputies,
depending on population to Congress.
Almost all of Brazil's people speak
Portuguese, the nation's official
Amerindian groups in the
Amazon area still use their own
In general, the people in rich,
industrialised southern Brazil have
a higher standard of living than
the people in the more rural Northeast
and the largely undeveloped Amazon
Due to the rapid urban
drift many new comers to the cities
lack experience and qualification
and are unemployed and live in slums,
called favelas, made of cardboard,
metal, or wood and lack sewers and
running water. The Brazilian government
has torn down a number of favelas
and replaced them with low-cost
Feijoada, is Brazil's national dish,
combines black beans, dried beef,
Coffee is Brazil's chief
Brazilians also like batidas (sweet
fruit beverages made with rum) and
a tea-like drink called mate.
Soccer is Brazil's favourite sport.
Some games attract over 200,000
supporters Maracana Stadium to the
world's largest stadium in Rio de
A number of colourful festivals
also brighten life in Brazil.
One of the best known is the Carnival
of Rio de Janeiro, just before Christmas
in year with thousands of richly
costumed people dance to the rhythms
of the samba and ride magnificent
floats to compete for prizes while
huge crowds lining the streets.
Brazil has a free state primary
and secondary school system, children
from 7 to 14 must attend school.
Brazil has about 65 colleges and
The Catholic Church
runs many secondary schools.
Most Brazilians can read and write.
Brazil's farms, forests, and mines
have long produced an enormous amount
of valuable exports.
factories and service industries
contribute the most to Brazil's
gross domestic product Brazil's
GDP is the highest in Latin America
and one of the highest in the world.
Brazil's economy is based on
But the government
controls many basic industries,
including the oil, petrochemical,
and steel industries.
Brazil also faces major
economic problems, including
inflation and unemployment.
In 1807, Prince John,
of Portugal's ruler,
fled to Rio de Janeiro with his
family, when Napoleon invaded Portugal
for supporting Great Britain in
In 1808, Rio became capital of the
In 1815, Brazil was made a kingdom.
In 1821, John returned to Portugal
with his family and left his son
Pedro to rule Brazil.
In 1822, Pedro declared Brazil independent
and soon became emperor, Pedro I.
He granted Brazil a constitution
In 1828, Brazil lost a war against
Argentina and gave up the territory
that is now the nation of Uruguay.
Pedro I was unpopular and soon his
young son Pedro II succeeded him.
In the War of the triple Alliance
(1865-1870), Brazil joined Argentina
and Uruguay in defeating Paraguay.
In 1888, a law abolished slavery
in Brazil and freed about 750,000
In 1889, Brazil became a republic
and soon adopted
a constitution similar to the United
Brazil has enormous resources, and
the economy flourishing at times,
but inflation and unemployment also
returns in regular cycles.
Brazil has a democratic government
at present, but military rule figured
at times during the 20th Century.
Brasilia, the capital since 1960
with a population of about 2 million
Designed by the Brazilian
architect Oscar Niemeyer, about
1,000 kilometres from the coast
to help draw Brazilians inland,
built in the shape of an aeroplane,
with the many impressive buildings,
in an unpopulated region, on a site
at the geographical centre of the
Soon after our arrival at
the Airport we were accosted by
one of the agents (Bayardo Hornos)
of Four Tourist travel and a very
attractive picture of our sightseeing
trip was presented to us. We were
promised everything until we paid
In reality we ended up very unhappy
and feeling fiddled, cheated and
people have wide knowledge of
various countries visitors are likely to
They endear themselves to you by
praising your country and call you
by the nickname of your country,
(Kiwis in our case) also rattling
off numbers of people they dealt
with from your country etc.
promises and the unkept promises.
We were very interested to take the
trip, after all that's what we came
for, and the sales talk and promises
sound very good, but very soon we
got our first disappointment, he would
not accept our Visa (Cost too much
commission and rampant inflation, he
As New Zealanders we have to buy U.S.
dollars of which we only
had a limited supply, to last
another 6 weeks.
We were to go on a jungle
safari, a boat ride up to the falls,
(We did get these two and thoroughly
enjoyed it too) then we were to be
transferred to a regular free boat to
go to the island where another boat
would have taken us to the Devil's
Arriving at the landing we were
promised a video of our boat trip,
to be delivered to our hotel
but we never received that and we were told
the free boat to the island
was not running, neither did the boat to the
From the landing site now we had
to walk to catch a little
train to take us near the
walkway over the falls.
We got lost because the
people promised to meet us at
arranged places just weren't there.
over the falls was terrific,
Next day the
continuation of our tour
was just as troublesome.
I desperately wanted to
explore Foz do Iguacu, the Brazilian
Iguazu town, but our driver only give
us a glimpse of it, claiming
we had no time, but we had to spend 5 hours
at the Airport waiting for our plane.
Iguazu town, our Hotel the Los
was reasonably priced and quiet adequate)
and the spectacle of the
falls were terrific.
Please be careful with the choice
of tour companies, the many unkept
promises can be expensive and disappointing.
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