Introduction Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822 and a republic in 1889. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution and crime remain pressing problems.


In the territory of current day Brazil, most native tribes who were living in the land by the year 1500 are thought to have descended from the first wave of migrants from North Asia (Siberia), who are believed to have crossed the so-called Bering Land Bridge at the end of the last Ice Age, around 9000 BC. At the time of European discovery, the territory of current day Brazil had as many as 2,000 nations and tribes, an estimated total population of nearly 3,000,000 Amerindians. A somewhat dated linguistic survey found 188 living indigenous languages with 155,000 total speakers. On 18 January 2007, Fundação Nacional do Índio reported that it had confirmed the presence of 67 different uncontacted tribes in Brazil, up from 40 in 2005. With this addition Brazil has now overtaken the island of New Guinea as the country having the largest number of uncontacted peoples. When the Portuguese arrived in 1500, the Indians were mostly semi-nomadic tribes, living mainly on the coast and along the banks of major rivers.

Unlike Christopher Columbus, who thought he had reached the East Indies, the Portuguese, most notably by Vasco da Gama, had already reached India via the Indian Ocean route when they reached Brazil. Nevertheless the word índios ("Indians"), was by then established to designate the peoples of the New World and stuck being used today in the Portuguese language to designate these peoples, while the people of India, Asia are called indianos in order to distinguish the two peoples. Initially, the Europeans saw the natives as noble savages, and miscegenation of the population began right away. Tribal warfare, cannibalism and the pursuit of brazilwood for its treasured red dye convinced the Portuguese that they should enculture the Indians.[6]


Initially Portugal had little interest in Brazil, mainly because of high profits gained through commerce with Indochina. After 1530, the Portuguese Crown devised the Hereditary Captaincies system to effectively occupy its new colony, and later took direct control of the failed captaincies.[7][8] Although temporary trading posts were established earlier to collect brazilwood, used as a dye, with permanent settlement came the establishment of the sugar cane industry and its intensive labor. Several early settlements started to be founded across the coast, among them the colonial capital, Salvador, established in 1549 at the Bay of All Saints in the north, and the city of Rio de Janeiro on March 1567, in the south. The Portuguese colonists adopted an economy based on the production of agricultural goods that were exported to Europe. Sugar became by far the most important Brazilian colonial product until the early 18th century.[9][10] Even though Brazilian sugar was reputed as being of high quality, the industry faced a crisis during the 17th and 18th centuries when the Dutch and the French started producing sugar in the Antilles, located much closer to Europe, causing sugar prices to fall.

During the 18th century, private explorers who called themselves the Bandeirantes found gold and diamond deposits in the state of Minas Gerais. The exploration of these mines were mostly used to finance the Portuguese Royal Court's expenditure with both the preservation of its Global Empire and the support of its luxury lifestyle at mainland. The way in which such deposits were explored by the Portuguese Crown and the powerful local elites, however, burdened colonial Brazil with excessive taxes. Some popular movements supporting independence came about against the taxes established by the colonial government, such as the Tiradentes incident in 1789, but the secessionist movements were often dismissed by the authorities of the ruling colonial regime. Gold production declined towards the end of the 18th century, starting a period of relative stagnation of the Brazilian hinterland.[11] Both Amerindian and African slaves' man power were largely used in Brazil's colonial economy.[12]

In contrast to the neighbouring Spanish possessions in South America, the Portuguese colony of Brazil kept its territorial, political and linguistic integrity due to the action of the Portuguese administration effort. Although the colony was threatened by other nations across the Portuguese rule era, in particular by Dutch and French powers, the authorities and the people ultimately managed to protect its borders from foreign attacks. Portugal had even to send bullion to Brazil, a spectacular reversal of the colonial trend, in order to protect the integrity of the colony.[13]


In 1808, the Portuguese court, fleeing from Napoleon’s troops which had invaded Portugal, established themselves in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which thus became the seat of government of Portugal and the entire Portuguese Empire until 1821, even though being located outside of Europe. After João VI returned to Portugal in 1821, his heir-apparent Pedro became regent of the Kingdom of Brazil, within the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Following a series of political incidents and disputes, Brazil achieved its independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822. On October 12, 1822, Dom Pedro became the first Emperor of Brazil, being crowned on December 1, 1822.

In 1824, Pedro closed the Constituent Assembly, stating that the body was "endangering liberty". Pedro then produced a constitution modeled on that of Portugal (1822) and France (1814). It specified indirect elections and created the legislative, executive and judiciary branches of government; however, it also added a fourth branch, the "moderating power", to be held by the Emperor. Pedro's government was considered economically and administratively inefficient. Political pressures eventually made the Emperor step down on April 7, 1831. He returned to Portugal leaving behind his five-year-old son Pedro II. Until Pedro II reached maturity, Brazil was governed by regents from 1831 to 1840. The regency period was turbulent and marked by numerous local revolts including the Male Revolt, the largest urban slave rebellion in the Americas, which took place in Bahia in 1835.[14]

On July 23, 1840, Pedro II was crowned Emperor. His government was highlighted by a substantial rise in coffee exports, the War of the Triple Alliance, and the end of slave trade from Africa in 1865, although slavery in Brazilian territory would only be abolished in 1888. Brazil stopped trading slaves from Africa in 1850, with the Eusébio de Queirós law,[15] and abandoned slavery altogether in 1888, thus becoming the last country of the Americas to ban slavery.[16][17] When slavery was finally abolished, a large influx of European immigrants took place.[18][19][20] By the 1870s, the Emperor's grasp on domestic politics had started to deteriorate in face of crises with the Roman Catholic Church, the Army and the slaveholders. The Republican movement slowly gained strength. In the end, the empire fell due to a military coup d'etat and because the dominant classes no longer needed it to protect their interests and deeply resented the abolition of slavery.[21] Indeed, imperial centralization ran counter to their desire for local autonomy. By 1889 Pedro II had stepped down and the Republican system had been adopted to Brazil.


Pedro II was deposed on November 15, 1889 by a Republican military coup led by general Deodoro da Fonseca,[22] who became the country’s first de facto president through military ascension. The country’s name became the Republic of the United States of Brazil (which in 1967 was changed to Federative Republic of Brazil). From 1889 to 1930, the dominant states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais alternated control of the presidency.[23][24] A military junta took control in 1930. Getúlio Vargas took office soon after, and would remain as dictatorial ruler (with a brief democratic period in between), until 1945. He was re-elected in 1951 and stayed in office until his suicide in 1954. After 1930, the successive governments continued industrial and agriculture growth and development of the vast interior of Brazil.[24][25] Juscelino Kubitschek's office years (1956-1961) were marked by the political campaign motto of plunging "50 anos em 5" (English: fifty years of development in five).[26]

The military forces took office in Brazil in a coup d'état in 1964, and remained in power until March 1985, when it fell from grace because of political struggles between the regime and the Brazilian elites. Just as the Brazilian regime changes of 1889, 1930, and 1945 unleashed competing political forces and caused divisions within the military, so too did the 1964 regime change.[27] Democracy was re-established in 1988 when the current Federal Constitution was enacted.[28] Fernando Collor de Mello was the first president truly elected by popular vote after the military regime.[29] Collor took office in March 1990. In September 1992, the National Congress voted for Collor's impeachment after a sequence of scandals were uncovered by the media.[29][30] The vice-president, Itamar Franco, assumed the presidency. Assisted by the Minister of Finance at that time, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Itamar Franco's administration implemented the Plano Real economic package,[29] which included a new currency temporarily pegged to the U.S. dollar, the real. In the elections held on October 3, 1994, Fernando Henrique Cardoso ran for president and won, being reelected in 1998. Brazil's current president is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, elected in 2002 and reelected in 2006.

Geography Location: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean
Geographic coordinates: 10 00 S, 55 00 W
Map references: South America
Area: total: 8,511,965 sq km
land: 8,456,510 sq km
water: 55,455 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than the US
Land boundaries: total: 16,885 km
border countries: Argentina 1,261 km, Bolivia 3,423 km, Colombia 1,644 km, French Guiana 730.4 km, Guyana 1,606 km, Paraguay 1,365 km, Peru 2,995 km, Suriname 593 km, Uruguay 1,068 km, Venezuela 2,200 km
Coastline: 7,491 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin
Climate: mostly tropical, but temperate in south
Terrain: mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m
Natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Land use: arable land: 6.93%
permanent crops: 0.89%
other: 92.18% (2005)
Irrigated land: 29,200 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 8,233 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 59.3 cu km/yr (20%/18%/62%)
per capita: 318 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south
Environment - current issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills
Environment - international agreements: party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador

The Brazilian Federation is based on the indissoluble association of three autonomous political entities: the States, the Municipalities and the Federal District.[2] A fourth entity originated in the aforementioned association: the Union.[2] There is no hierarchy among the political entities. The Federation is set on six fundamental principles:[2] sovereignty, citizenship, dignity of the people, social value of labor, freedom of enterprise, and political pluralism. The classic tripartite division of power, encompassing the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches under the checks and balances system, is formally established by the Constitution.[2] The Executive and Legislative are organized independently in all four political entities, while the Judiciary is organized only in the Federal and State levels.

All members of the executive and legislative branches are elected by direct suffrage.[31][32][33] Judges and other judicial authorities are appointed after passing entry exams.[31] Voting is compulsory for those aged 18 or older.[2] Four political parties stand out among several small ones: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Democrats (formerly Liberal Front Party - PFL). Practically all governmental and administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated with the Executive. The form of government is Republican and democratic,[2] and the system of government is Presidential.[2] The President is Head of State and Head of Government of the Union and is elected for a four-year term,[2] with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term. Currently the President of Brazil is Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He was elected on October 27, 2002,[34] and re-elected on October 29, 2006.[35] The President appoints the Ministers of State, who assist in governing.[2] Legislative houses in each political entity are the main source of laws in Brazil. The National Congress is the Federation’s bicameral legislature, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. Judiciary authorities exercise jurisdictional duties almost exclusively.


Brazilian Law is based on Roman-Germanic traditions.[36] Thus, civil law concepts prevail over common law practices. Most of Brazilian law is codified, although non-codified statutes also represent a substantial part of the system, playing a complementary role. Court decisions set out interpretation guidelines; however, they are not binding towards other specific cases except in a few situations. Doctrinal works and comments of legal academic pundits have strong influence in law creation and in legal cases. The Federal Constitution, promulgated on October 5, 1988, is the fundamental law of Brazil and it rules the system. All other legislation and court decisions must conform to its rules.[37] As of April 2007, it has been through 53 Amendments. States also adopt their own Constitutions, but they must also not contradict the Federal Constitution.[38] Municipalities and the Federal District do not have their own Constitutions; instead, they adopt "organic laws" (leis orgânicas).[2][39] Legislative entities are the main source of statutes, although in certain matters judiciary and executive bodies may also enact legal norms.[2]

Jurisdiction is administered by the judiciary entities, although in rare cases, the Federal Constitution allows the Federal Senate to pass on legal judgments.[2] There are also specialized military, labor, and electoral courts.[2] The highest court is the Supreme Federal Tribunal. This system has met criticism over the last decades in relation to the slow pace at which final decisions are issued. Lawsuits on appeal may take several years to resolve, and in some cases more than a decade to see definitive rulings.[40]

Foreign relations and the military

Brazil is a political and economic leader in Latin America.[41][42] However, social and economic problems prevent it from becoming an effective global power.[43] Between World War II and 1990, both democratic and military governments sought to expand Brazil's influence in the world by pursuing a state-led industrial policy and an independent foreign policy. More recently, the country has aimed to strengthen ties with other South American countries, engage in multilateral diplomacy through the United Nations and the Organization of American States.[44] Brazil's current foreign policy is based on the country's position as a regional power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world power.[45] Brazilian foreign policy has generally reflected multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and nonintervention in the affairs of other countries.[46] The Brazilian Constitution also determines the country shall seek the economic, political, social and cultural integration of the nations of Latin America.[2][47][48][49]

The Armed forces of Brazil comprise the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian Navy, and the Brazilian Air Force.[2] The Military Police (States' Military Police) is described as an ancillary force of the Army by constitution, but under the control of each state's governor.[2] The Brazilian armed forces are the largest in Latin America. The Brazilian Air Force is the aerial warfare branch of the Brazilian armed forces, being the largest air force in Latin America, with about 700 manned aircraft in service.[50] The Brazilian Navy is responsible for naval operations and for guarding Brazilian territorial waters. It is the oldest of the Brazilian Armed forces and the only navy in Latin America that operates an aircraft carrier, the NAeL São Paulo (formerly FS Foch of the French Navy).[51] Finally, the Brazilian Army is responsible for land-based military operations, with a strength of approximately 190,000 soldiers.

People Population: 190,010,647
note: Brazil conducted a census in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,799,170; that figure was about 3.3% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census; estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 25.3% (male 24,554,254/female 23,613,027)
15-64 years: 68.4% (male 64,437,140/female 65,523,447)
65 years and over: 6.3% (male 4,880,562/female 7,002,217) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 28.6 years
male: 27.9 years
female: 29.4 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.008% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 16.3 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.19 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.983 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.697 male(s)/female
total population: 0.976 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 27.62 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 31.27 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 23.78 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 72.24 years
male: 68.3 years
female: 76.38 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 1.88 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 660,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 15,000 (2003 est.)
Nationality: noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian
Ethnic groups: white 53.7%, mulatto (mixed white and black) 38.5%, black 6.2%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 0.9%, unspecified 0.7% (2000 census)
Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census)
Languages: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 88.6%
male: 88.4%
female: 88.8% (2004 est.)
Government Country name: conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil
Government type: federal republic
Capital: name: Brasilia
geographic coordinates: 15 47 S, 47 55 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins third Sunday in October; ends third Sunday in February
note: Brazil is divided into four time zones, including one for the Fernando de Noronha Islands
Administrative divisions: 26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins
Independence: 7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
National holiday: Independence Day, 7 September (1822)
Constitution: 5 October 1988
Legal system: based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Suffrage: voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote
Executive branch: chief of state: President Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (since 1 January 2003); Vice President Jose ALENCAR (since 1 January 2003)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single four-year term; election last held 1 October 2006 with runoff 29 October 2006 (next to be held 3 October 2010 and, if necessary, 31 October 2010)
election results: Luiz Inacio LULA DA SILVA (PT) reelected president - 60.83%, Geraldo ALCKMIN (PSDB) 39.17%
Legislative branch: bicameral National Congress or Congresso Nacional consists of the Federal Senate or Senado Federal (81 seats; 3 members from each state and federal district elected according to the principle of majority to serve eight-year terms; one-third and two-thirds elected every four years, alternately) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara dos Deputados (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Federal Senate - last held 1 October 2006 for one-third of the Senate (next to be held in October 2010 for two-thirds of the Senate); Chamber of Deputies - last held 1 October 2006 (next to be held in October 2010)
election results: Federal Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PFL 6, PSDB 5, PMDB 4, PTB 3, PT 2, PDT 1, PSB 1, PL 1, PPS 1, PRTB 1, PP 1, PCdoB 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PMDB 89, PT 83, PFL 65, PSDB 65, PP 42, PSB 27, PDT 24, PL 23, PTB 22, PPS 21, PCdoB 13, PV 13, PSC 9, other 17; note - as of 1 January 2008: Federal Senate - seats by party - PMDB 20, DEM (formerly PFL) 14, PSDB 13, PT 12, PTB 6, PDT 5, PR 4, PRB 2, PSB 2, PCdoB 1, PP 1, PSOL 1; Chamber of Deputies - seats by party - PMDB 90, PT 83, PSDB 64, DEM (formerly PFL) 62, PP 41, PR 34, PSB 28, PDT 23, PTB 21, PPS 17, PV 13, PCdoB 13, PSC 7, PAN 4, PSOL 3, PMN 3, PTC 3, PHS 2, PTdoB 1, PRB 1
Judicial branch: Supreme Federal Tribunal or STF (11 ministers are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate); Higher Tribunal of Justice; Regional Federal Tribunals (judges are appointed for life); note - though appointed "for life," judges, like all federal employees, have a mandatory retirement age of 70
Political parties and leaders: Brazilian Democratic Movement Party or PMDB [Federal Deputy Michel TEMER]; Brazilian Labor Party or PTB [Roberto JEFFERSON]; Brazilian Renewal Labor Party or PRTB [Jose Levy FIDELIX da Cruz]; Brazilian Republican Party or PRB [Vitor Paulo Araujo DOS SANTOS]; Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB [Senator Sergio GUERRA]; Brazilian Socialist Party or PSB [Governor Eduardo Henrique Accioly CAMPOS]; Christian Labor Party or PTC [Daniel TOURINHO]; Communist Party of Brazil or PCdoB [Jose Renato RABELO]; Democratic Labor Party or PDT [Carlos Roberto LUPI]; the Democrats or DEM (formerly Liberal Front Party or PFL) [Federal Deputy Rodrigo MAIA]; Freedom and Socialism Party or PSOL [Heloisa HELENA]; Green Party or PV [Jose Luiz de Franca PENNA]; Humanist Party of Solidarity or PHS [Paulo Roberto MATOS]; Labor Party of Brazil or PTdoB [Luis Henrique de Oliveira RESENDE]; Liberal Front Party or PFL (now known as the Democrats or DEM); National Mobilization Party or PMN [Oscar Noronha FILHO]; Party of the Republic or PR [Sergio TAMER]; Popular Socialist Party or PPS [Federal Deputy Fernando CORUJA]; Progressive Party or PP [Francisco DORNELLES]; Social Christian Party or PSC [Vitor Jorge Abdala NOSSEIS]; Workers' Party or PT [Ricardo Jose Ribeiro BERZOINI]
Political pressure groups and leaders: Landless Workers' Movement or MST; labor unions and federations; large farmers' associations; religious groups including evangelical Christian churches and the Catholic Church
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar PATRIOTA
chancery: 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 238-2700
FAX: [1] (202) 238-2827
consulate(s) general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission: Ambassador Clifford M. SOBEL
embassy: Avenida das Nacoes, Quadra 801, Lote 3, Distrito Federal Cep 70403-900, Brasilia
mailing address: Unit 3500, APO AA 34030
telephone: [55] (61) 3312-7000
FAX: [55] (61) 3225-9136
consulate(s) general: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
consulate(s): Recife
Flag description: green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)

A wide variety of elements influenced Brazilian culture. Its major early influence derived from Portuguese culture, because of strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. Among other inheritances, the Portuguese introduced the Portuguese language, the Catholic religion and the colonial architectural styles. Other aspects of Brazilian culture are contributions of European and Asian immigrants, Native South American people (such as the Tupi), and African slaves. Thus, Brazil is a multicultural and multiethnic society.[132] Italian, German and other European immigrants came in large numbers and their influences are felt closer to the Southeast and South of Brazil.[133] Amerindian peoples influenced Brazil's language and cuisine and the Africans, brought to Brazil as slaves, influenced Brazil's music, dance, cuisine, religion and language.[134]

Brazil's cultural tradition extends to its music styles which include samba, bossa nova, forró, frevo , pagode and many others. Brazil has also a large contribution to the genres of classical music, which can be seen in the works of many composers. Brazilian Carnival (Portuguese: Carnaval) is an annual celebration held 40 days before Easter and marks the beginning of Lent. Brazilian Carnival has distinct regional characteristics. Other regional festivals include the Boi Bumbá and Festa Junina (June Festivals).


The most popular religion in Brazil is Roman Catholicism and the country has the largest Roman Catholic population in the world. Adepts of Protestantism are rising in number. Until 1970, the majority of Brazilian Protestants were members of "traditional churches", mostly Lutherans, Presbyterians and Baptists. Since then, numbers of Pentecostal and Neopentecostal members have increased significantly. Although Islam was first practiced by African slaves,[135] the Muslim population of Brazil is comprised mostly by Arab immigrants. However, a new trend has been the increase in conversions to Islam among non-Arab citizens;[136] only 27,000 Muslims live in Brazil as of 2000.[137] The largest population of Buddhists in Latin America lives in Brazil, mostly because the country has the largest Japanese population outside Japan.[138]

The latest IBGE census presents the following numbers: 74% of the population is Roman Catholic (about 139 million); 15.4% is Protestant (about 28 million), including Jehovah's Witnesses (1,100,000) and the Latter-day Saints (600,000),[139] ; 7.4% considers itself agnostics or atheists or without a religion (about 12 million); 1.3% follows Spiritism (about 2.2 million); 0.3% follows African traditional religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda and 1.7% are members of other religions. Some of these are Buddhists (215,000), Jews (150,000), Islamic (27,000) and some practice a mixture of different religions.[137]


Football (Portuguese: futebol) is the most popular sport in Brazil.[140] The Brazilian national football team (Seleção) is currently ranked second in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings. They have been victorious in the World Cup tournament a record five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Basketball, volleyball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. Though not as regularly followed or practiced as the previously mentioned sports, tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics have found a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. In auto racing, Brazilian drivers have won the Formula 1 world championship eight times: Emerson Fittipaldi (1972 and 1974), Nelson Piquet (1981, 1983 and 1987) and Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990 and 1991). The circuit located in São Paulo, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil.[141] Some sport variations have their origins in Brazil. Beach football, futsal (official version of indoor football) and footvolley emerged in the country as variations of football. In martial arts, Brazilians have developed Capoeira,[142] Vale tudo,[143] and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.[144]

Brazil has undertaken the organization of large-scale sporting events: the country organized and hosted the 1950 FIFA World Cup[145] and is chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup event.[146] São Paulo organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963[147] and Rio de Janeiro hosted the XV Pan American Games in 2007.[148] Brazil also tried for the fourth time to host the Summer Olympics with Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Economy Economy - overview: Characterized by large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. Having weathered 2001-03 financial turmoil, capital inflows are regaining strength and the currency has resumed appreciating. The appreciation has slowed export volume growth, but since 2004, Brazil's growth has yielded increases in employment and real wages. The resilience in the economy stems from commodity-driven current account surpluses, and sound macroeconomic policies that have bolstered international reserves to historically high levels, reduced public debt, and allowed a significant decline in real interest rates. A floating exchange rate, an inflation-targeting regime, and a tight fiscal policy are the three pillars of the economic program. From 2003 to 2007, Brazil ran record trade surpluses and recorded its first current account surpluses since 1992. Productivity gains coupled with high commodity prices contributed to the surge in exports. Brazil improved its debt profile in 2006 by shifting its debt burden toward real denominated and domestically held instruments. LULA DA SILVA restated his commitment to fiscal responsibility by maintaining the country's primary surplus during the 2006 election. Following his second inauguration, LULA DA SILVA announced a package of further economic reforms to reduce taxes and increase investment in infrastructure. The government's goal of achieving strong growth while reducing the debt burden is likely to create inflationary pressures.
GDP (purchasing power parity): $1.838 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $1.269 trillion (2007 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 4.5% (2007 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $9,700 (2007 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 5.1%
industry: 30.8%
services: 64% (2007 est.)
Labor force: 99.47 million (2007 est.)
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 20%
industry: 14%
services: 66% (2003 est.)
Unemployment rate: 9.8% (2007 est.)
Population below poverty line: 31% (2005)
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 0.9%
highest 10%: 44.8% (2004)
Distribution of family income - Gini index: 56.7 (2005)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 4.1% (2007 est.)
Investment (gross fixed): 17.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Budget: revenues: $244 billion
expenditures: $219.9 billion (FY07 est.)
Public debt: 43.9% of GDP (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products: coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Industries: textiles, shoes, chemicals, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, steel, aircraft, motor vehicles and parts, other machinery and equipment
Industrial production growth rate: 4.5% (2007 est.)
Electricity - production: 396.4 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - production by source: fossil fuel: 8.3%
hydro: 82.7%
nuclear: 4.4%
other: 4.6% (2001)
Electricity - consumption: 368.5 billion kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports: 160 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports: 39.2 billion kWh; note - supplied by Paraguay (2005)
Oil - production: 1.59 million bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - consumption: 2.1 million bbl/day (2006 est.)
Oil - exports: 278,400 bbl/day (2005)
Oil - imports: 674,500 bbl/day (2004)
Oil - proved reserves: 11.24 billion bbl (1 January 2006 est.)
Natural gas - production: 9.37 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 17.85 billion cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - exports: 0 cu m (2005 est.)
Natural gas - imports: 8.478 billion cu m (2005)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 312.7 billion cu m (1 January 2006 est.)
Current account balance: $10.2 billion (2007 est.)
Exports: $159.2 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Exports - commodities: transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee, autos
Exports - partners: US 17.8%, Argentina 8.5%, China 6.1%, Netherlands 4.2%, Germany 4.1% (2006)
Imports: $115.6 billion f.o.b. (2007 est.)
Imports - commodities: machinery, electrical and transport equipment, chemical products, oil, automotive parts, electronics
Imports - partners: US 16.2%, Argentina 8.8%, China 8.7%, Germany 7.1%, Nigeria 4.3%, Japan 4.2% (2006)
Economic aid - recipient: $191.9 million (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold: $178 billion (24 December 2007)
Debt - external: $230.3 billion (30 June 2007)
Stock of direct foreign investment - at home: $214.3 billion (2006 est.)
Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad: $99.99 billion (2006 est.)
Market value of publicly traded shares: $711.1 billion (2006)
Currency (code): real (BRL)
Currency code: BRL
Exchange rates: reals per US dollar - 1.85 (2007 est.), 2.1761 (2006), 2.4344 (2005), 2.9251 (2004), 3.0771 (2003)
Fiscal year: calendar year
Communications Telephones - main lines in use: 38.8 million (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 99.919 million (2006)
Telephone system: general assessment: good working system; fixed-line connections have remained relatively stable in recent years and stand at about 20 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular telephone density has risen to nearly 55 per 100 persons
domestic: extensive microwave radio relay system and a domestic satellite system with 64 earth stations; mobile-cellular usage has more than tripled in the past 5 years
international: country code - 55; landing point for a number of submarine cables that provide direct links to South and Central America, the Caribbean, the US, Africa, and Europe; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean), 1 Inmarsat (Atlantic Ocean region east), connected by microwave relay system to Mercosur Brazilsat B3 satellite earth station (2007)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 1,365, FM 296, shortwave 161 (of which 91 are collocated with AM stations) (1999)
Radios: 71 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations: 138 (1997)
Televisions: 36.5 million (1997)
Internet country code: .br
Internet hosts: 8.265 million (2007)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 50 (2000)
Internet users: 42.6 million (2006)
Transportation Airports: 4,263 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways: total: 718
over 3,047 m: 7
2,438 to 3,047 m: 25
1,524 to 2,437 m: 167
914 to 1,523 m: 467
under 914 m: 52 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways: total: 3,545
1,524 to 2,437 m: 83
914 to 1,523 m: 1,555
under 914 m: 1,907 (2007)
Heliports: 16 (2007)
Pipelines: condensate/gas 244 km; gas 12,070 km; liquid petroleum gas 351 km; oil 5,214 km; refined products 4,410 km (2007)
Railways: total: 29,295 km
broad gauge: 4,932 km 1.600-m gauge (939 km electrified)
standard gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge
narrow gauge: 23,773 km 1.000-m gauge (581 km electrified)
dual gauge: 396 km 1.000 m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails) (78 km electrified) (2006)
Roadways: total: 1,751,868 km
paved: 96,353 km
unpaved: 1,655,515 km (2004)
Waterways: 50,000 km (most in areas remote from industry and population) (2007)
Merchant marine: total: 135 ships (1000 GRT or over) 2,020,182 GRT/3,039,015 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 20, cargo 21, carrier 1, chemical tanker 6, container 9, liquefied gas 12, passenger/cargo 12, petroleum tanker 47, roll on/roll off 7
foreign-owned: 16 (Chile 1, Denmark 2, Germany 7, Mexico 1, Norway 1, Spain 4)
registered in other countries: 5 (Bahamas 1, Ghana 1, Liberia 3) (2007)
Ports and terminals: Guaiba, Ilha Grande, Paranagua, Rio Grande, Santos, Sao Sebastiao, Tubarao
Military Military branches: Brazilian Army, Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil (MB), includes Naval Air and Marine Corps (Corpo de Fuzileiros Navais)), Brazilian Air Force (Forca Aerea Brasileira, FAB) (2008)
Military service age and obligation: 21-45 years of age for compulsory military service; conscript service obligation - 9 to 12 months; 17-45 years of age for voluntary service; an increasing percentage of the ranks are "long-service" volunteer professionals; women were allowed to serve in the armed forces beginning in early 1980s when the Brazilian Army became the first army in South America to accept women into career ranks; women serve in Navy and Air Force only in Women's Reserve Corps (2001)
Manpower available for military service: males age 19-49: 45,586,036
females age 19-49: 45,728,704 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service: males age 19-49: 33,119,098
females age 19-49: 38,079,722 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually: males age 18-49: 1,785,930
females age 19-49: 1,731,648 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 2.6% (2006 est.)
Transnational Issues Disputes - international: unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations; uncontested dispute with Uruguay over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada boundary streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina
Illicit drugs: illicit producer of cannabis; trace amounts of coca cultivation in the Amazon region, used for domestic consumption; government has a large-scale eradication program to control cannabis; important transshipment country for Bolivian, Colombian, and Peruvian cocaine headed for Europe; also used by traffickers as a way station for narcotics air transshipments between Peru and Colombia; upsurge in drug-related violence and weapons smuggling; important market for Colombian, Bolivian, and Peruvian cocaine; illicit narcotics proceeds earned in Brazil are often laundered through the financial system; significant illicit financial activity in the Tri-Border Area