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 © Graphics by Irene. Not for download. Please, visit the Free Section for cute cliparts for download.

  © Graphics by Irene. Not for download. Please, visit the Free Section for cute cliparts for download.© Graphics by Irene. Not for download. Please, visit the Free Section for cute cliparts for download.

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 Copyright © Irene. Graphic for my personal use only. Not available for dowload.

 Copyright © Irene. Graphic for my personal use only. Not available for dowload.

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Copyright © Irene. Graphic for my personal use only. Not available for dowload.Brazil is the biggest country in South America and the fifth biggest one in the world, occupying an area of 8.547.403,5 km², about half of South America. Its population is estimated in 157.070.163 inhabitants. It has borders with all countries in South America, except Chile and Ecuador. It borders on Uruguay to the south; Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia to the south-west; Peru to the west; Colombia to the north-west; and Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to the north, making a total of 15.749 km of continental borders. It also has a large Atlantic seaside (7.408 km if measured in a straight line). The whole territory corresponds to 47% of South America and Brazil represents 1/60 of the entire area of the planet. Brazil is formed by 26 states and one Federal District, where Brasília, the capital of the country is located.

For demographic and other statistical purposes, the government has divided the country into five major regions: the North, which includes the states of Acre, Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Roraima and Amapá; the North-East, containing the states of Maranhão, Piauí, Ceará, Rio Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, and Bahia, and the island territory of Fernando de Noronha; the South-East, made up of the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo; the South, including the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul; and the Central-West, consisting of the states of Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins and the Federal District, in which Brasília, capital of the country, is located.

The North Region is the largest one (approximately 3.500.000 km²) and corresponds to more than 42% of the whole national territory. The South-East Region is the most important in relation to the economy, with the largest number of inhabitants and a large industrial production. Its main cities are São Paulo (leading industrial and chief wholesale and retail commercial center; noted for libraries, publishing houses and theaters) and Rio de Janeiro (major port city; major financial, service and trading center, tourist center and cultural capital of the country).


The climatic variations in the country calls attention to the large territory that it occupies. The climate is mainly tropical, with exception to the south, which presents a subtropical climate, and a semiarid area in the north-east. Most of the rest of the country gets a moderate amount of rainfall.

Temperatures in Brazil are uniform during Summer, from November to April, averaging about 26º C over most of the lowlands in January, and a few degrees less in the highlands, depending upon elevation. The coast of Rio Grande do Sul is also somewhat cooler, averaging around 23º C. In the Brazilian highlands Winter temperatures are about 20º C and are even lower towards the south. This tropical characteristic constant along the year is due to the fact that Brazil is located between the Equator line and the Tropic of Capricorn. Above the Equator line, we find 598.656 km² (about 7% of the whole country) and, below the Tropic of Capricorn, 600.731 km².

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The Land Relief

The country can be described in terms of its highlands and lowlands, which are separated from each other by an almost continuous series of physical barriers. The lowlands are composed of three main regions: the Amazon lowlands, the west-central Pantanal, and the coastal lowlands. The largest of these regions is the Amazon lowlands. The region called the Pantanal, is an area of swamps and marshes in northwestern Mato Grosso do Sul and southern Mato Grosso states. It is dissected by the upper Paraguay river system. The Pantanal area is noted for its striking natural beauty and its rich wildlife. During the rainy season the Paraguay river overflows its banks, spreading great sheets of water that leave only the tops of scattered levees and low hills dry.

Plant and Animal Life

Brazil is the major producer of coffee, banana and sugarcane in the whole world. It occupies the second position in the production of potatoes and beans, third position in the production of corn, and soy, fourth position in the production of peanuts, fifth position in the production of tobacco and cotton and so on. Coffee is cultivated mainly in the states of Minas Gerais, Espiríto Santo, São Paulo and Paraná and the sugarcane plantations are concentrated mainly in São Paulo, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Minas Gerais and Paraná. Other important agricultural products are: rice, beans, orange, grapes etc.

Except in the more remote and sections of Brazil's eastern highlands, little of the original flora and fauna remain in the greatest part of the country. The once luxuriant forests that dominated the eastern seaboard and the valleys of the interior have been destroyed.

Monkeys, parrots, and other exotic wildlife are found only in zoos or small patches of relic habitats, where the original flora and fauna remain. In the Pantanal, the many sloughs and watercourses still support an abundance of wildlife, including the giant "pirarucu" (Arapaima gigas), the largest fresh-water fish, measuring on average 4 meters in length. Wildfowl also abound in the Pantanal. There are numerous species of snakes, including the deadly "jararaca" and the rattlesnake, a wide variety of lizards, armadillos, and anteaters, which may stand more than six feet high. Until the introduction of cattle, deer were the principal prey of the "onças", a type of jaguar, and of the ocelots that inhabited the edges of the galleries and neighboring forests. These predators have been mercilessly hunted and are now endangered species.


The settlement of what is now Brazil began many thousands of years ago with the arrival of the first tribes of Paleo-American "Indians", migrants from North America who were probably of Asian origin. Nomadic hunters and gatherers, they inhabited the less hospitable parts of the country away from the larger rivers. By the time of the European arrival, a second group had evolved, known collectively as the tropical forest "Indians". Outnumbering the nomadic "Indians", they were skilled farmers and fishermen who occupied the best lands of the Amazon and Paraguay river systems and most of the coastal plains, making up the bulk of more than 4.000.000 native inhabitants of Brazil at the time of the European arrival.


The entire indigenous population of Brazil was estimated in 4 to 5 million in the beginning of the Portuguese colonization. Today, this number has reduced to 220 thousand, concentrated mostly in the North Region of Brazil. They live in different tribes, in houses made of wood and palm tree leaves. Each tribe has its own chieftain, who is in charge of everything in the community. These people were very important to the formation of the Brazilian culture. They contributed with food, plantation techniques and some words from their language. The Africans, who began to be brought to the country in 1550 as substitutes for the Indian slave labor, also added their music, cooking and religious practices. Although the Africans brought their own religions and rituals with them, they were prohibited and Roman Catholic practices were enforced. But a strange mix of the two faiths developed and some people still follow the two faiths. European immigrants, such as Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese, and others, also contributed to enlarge the variety of ethnic groups which form Brazil.

In 1991, the population of Brazil was estimated in 146.917.459 inhabitants and maybe around 200.000.000 at the end of the year 2000. According to the first census, realized in 1872, the population of Brazil was estimated in 9.930.478 inhabitants. The results of the censes that followed were: 14.333.915 (in 1890), 17.944.397 (in 1910), 70.967.185 (in 1960), 94.508.554 (in 1970), 119.098.992 (in 1980) and 146.917.459 (in 1991).


Brazil is unique among the nations of the Americas: this former colony of Portugal did not become fragmented into separate countries, as did the British and Spanish possessions, but retained its identity throughout the centuries and a variety of forms of government. The Portuguese language is spoken throughout the whole country, except among a few thousand native "Indians" in the most remote reaches of the Amazon River system and a few immigrants, especially in the interior of the South, who still speak their native languages and know little about the Portuguese language. This is due to the governments of their homelands that supported them with teachers and school books in their native languagefor many years.

The Portuguese language has undergone many changes, both in the mother country and in Brazil, since it has been introduced to the country after the colonization. Although the two countries have, from time to time, standardized their spelling so that the written word remains mutually intelligible, pronunciations, vocabularies and the meanings of some words have diverged. New words and expressions in Brazilian Portuguese have been introduced by Italians, Germans, Japanese, and other immigrants and from across the borders with Spanish-speaking countries. One notable example, is the universal use in Brazil of "tchau" (good-bye), adopted from the Italian "ciao" (the written form is different, but the pronunciation is the same). Other words have entered through contact with foreign products and technologies. Some authorities, however, suggest that the greatest divergence of the Brazilian language from the Portuguese goes back to contact with the "Indians". The main language spoken by the tropical forest peoples of Brazil, Tupian, or "Tupí-Guaraní", became the lingua franca between the natives and the Portuguese traders, missionaries, adventurers, and administrators; it continued to be used similarly in the Amazon and western Brazil until the 19th century. The Tupian influence in Brazilian place names is overwhelming, a large numer of districts, cities, states, rivers etc, originated from the "Tupi-Guaraní", such as Ipanema (y-panema = bad river); Tijuca (tujuco = place wehere there is a lot of mud); Ipiranga (y-piranga = red river); Pernambuco (para-nã-mbuca = sea with holes, this name is due to the large number of reefs on its coast); and many others. More generally, as a result of the Tupian influence, Brazilian Portuguese became more nasal than that of the homeland, and Brazilians generally speak more slowly, pronouncing all the vowels.

Popular Feasts and Sports

Among all manifestations in the whole country, the parade that takes place in the city of Rio de Janeiro is the most popular. The first samba schools were created in the 30's and originated from the poorest communities of the city. Today, each samba school is composed by 3.000 to 4.000 people and its opened to everyone who wants to join. The carnival of Rio de Janeiro attracts people from all over the country as well as foreign tourists who come from different parts of the world. Its date varies from year to year, but it usually ranges from late February to early March. It officially begins on a Saturday and ends on a Tuesday. The following Wednesday is called "Quarta-feira de Cinzas" (Ash Wednesday). In 2000, carnival took place from March 4th to March 7th; in 2001, from February 23rd to February 26th and in 2002 it happened from February 9th to February 12th.

Beaches in Rio are social gathering spots for people, where they play football and various racket games. But soccer is the nation's most popular sport, and Brazilians are highly enthusiastic fans. It is played everywhere by young and old. Soccer draws huge crowds to international matches at stadia in the major cities. The largest of these, the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro, inaugurated in 1950 (the world's largest stadium), has a capacity of 200.000 people. Brazilian teams are consistently among the top contenders for the World Cup, and from Brazil came the world-renowned Pelé, one of the greatest players of all time, as well as the famous contemporary soccer player Ronaldo, known in Brazil as Ronaldinho.

There are also numerous public parks, both within the cities and at nearby areas, that are used for recreation and by family or group picnics. Among the most popular parks are the Tijuca National Park, in Rio de Janeiro, Itatiaia National Park, Iguaçu National Park and Serra dos Órgãos National Park.

Click HERE to know about Rio de Janeiro.

Background midi "Aquarela do Brasil" by the Brazilian composer Ary Barroso.
Farenheit to Celsius conversion table provided by The JavaScript Source.

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