The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country in South America and Latin America, and the fifth largest country in the world by land area and population. It shares a border with all South American countries except Chile and Ecuador, and covers three different time zones.
Brazil was inhabited by various tribal groups until Portugal claimed the territory in 1500. It took Brazil over 300 years to achieve independence but in 1822, the Empire of Brazil was created with a monarchy and parliament system. However, citizens of Brazil were dissatisfied with the monarch and planned a coup d’etat that led to a period of ruling by military dictators. One last revolt later, Brazil became a federal republic with the drafting of the Constitution in 1988.
Today, Brazil possesses one of the largest economies in the world, only trailing behind six countries by both nominal GDP and purchasing power parity. It is one of the 77 founding members of the UN and is considered an emerging global power.
Below are some more quick facts about the country –
- Capital: Brasilia President: Dilma Rousseff
- Official language: Portuguese
- National holiday: September 7 (Independence Day)
- Currency: Real (R$; USD$1 = R$2.62)
- Total Area: 3.3 million square miles
- Total population: Approximately 202 million people
- Largest city in Brazil: Sao Paolo (approximately 12 million people)
- Total GDP (PPP) in 2014: $3.073 trillion
- Total GDP (Nominal) in 2014: $2.244 trillion
- Climate: Tropical
- Drive: On the right-hand side of the road
BRAZILIAN CULTURE & LIFESTYLE
Culture: Brazilian culture is influenced by cultures from three continents – the many cultures of the native indios, European cultures from Portugal and elsewhere, and African cultures blend together in many iterations. Residents of Sao Paulo are referred to as “paulistanos”, while those from Rio are “cariocas”. The indigenous population is more than 700,000 people, comprising over 200 tribes. This population has more than tripled since 1970, and customs and beliefs vary widely by tribe. Favelas are an important part of urban culture, found in nearly every city; these slums are as large as 70,000 people. The largest population of Roman Catholics is also in Brazil (123 million people, which equals to 64% of its population).
Music: Like the greater culture, Brazilian music features South American, European, and African influences. Pop music, known as Musica Popular Brasilia (MPB), includes tropicalia and pagode, as well as pop, rock, and hip hop. Here are Buzzfeed’s 12 Brazilian songs from 2013 and 23 classic Brazilian songs.
Sports: Football (soccer) is the most popular sport, and there are more than 400 league teams. The national team has won the World Cup 5 times. Sao Paulo has three big teams – Corinthians (the most popular), Palmeiras (the main rival), and Sao Paulo.
Food and beverage: Food varies greatly from region to region, but classic Brazilian dishes include barreado, feijoada, churrasco, moqueca, and pão de queijo. In Sao Paulo, Japanese (Brazil has the largest population of Japanese outside of Japan), Lebanese, Italian restaurants are rumored to be particularly good, as is the wood-fired pizza. In Rio, you can expect to find food from every region. Beer also flows freely – Bohemia and Original are well-known national brands, but microbrews are becoming more popular as well. And then, of course, there is the caipirinha!