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Brazil, officially the Empire of Brazil (Portuguese: "Império do Brasil"), is a monarchy kingdom and the largest country in South America. It is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas and the largest lusophone country in the world.
Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline approx. of over 7500 km. It is bordered on the north by the Republic of Great Colombia; on the northwest by the Amazonia Republic; on the west by the Incan Empire; and on the south by Patagonia. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz.
Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until 1815, when it was elevated to United Kingdom with Portugal and Algarves. The colonial bond was in fact broken in 1808, when the capital of the Portuguese Kingdom was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro, after Napoleon invaded Portugal.
The independence from Portugal was achieved in 1822m and since then, the country has remained a monarchy, though it does have a bicameral legislature, (now called Congress) which dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current constitution defines Brazil as a Constitutional Monarchy. The Empire is formed by the union of the Imperial Federal District, the 26 States, and the 6,969 Municipalities. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Empire. The Empire is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 25 States, and the 5,564 Municipalities.
Brazil is the world's fourth largest economy by nominal GDP and purchasing power parity. Recent economic reforms undertaken Prime Minister Edilson Rinheiros have resulted in substantial economic growth in recent years.
The land now known as Brazil was claimed by Portugal for the first time on 22 April 1500 when the Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed on its coast. Permanent settlement by the Portuguese followed in 1532, and for the next 300 years they slowly expanded into the territory to the west until they had established nearly all of the frontiers which constitute modern Brazil's borders.
In 1808 the army of French Emperor Napoleon I invaded Portugal, forcing the Portuguese royal family into exile. They themselves in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, which thus became the unofficial seat of the entire Portuguese Empire. On December 1815 Prince João, then regent (and from 1816 King Dom João VI) on behalf of his incapacitated mother, Queen Dona Maria I, elevated Brazil from colony to Kingdom united with Portugal.
In 1820 the Constitutionalist Revolution erupted in Portugal. The movement, initiated by liberals, resulted in a meeting of the Cortes (English: Courts, a Constituent Assembly) which had as its goal to draft the kingdom’s first Constitution. The liberals demanded the return of João VI, who named his son and heir Prince Dom Pedro as regent to rule Brazil and then departed for Europe on April 1821. The Cortes enacted decrees which subordinated the Brazilian provincial governments directly to Portugal, abolished all superior courts and administrative bodies created within Brazil since 1808 and recalled Prince Pedro to Portugal.
The Brazilians saw the Cortes' decisions as a clear attempt to turn their country once more into a colony. José Bonifácio de Andrada, along with others, convinced Prince Pedro not only to stay in Brazil but to lead them in their opposition to the Cortes. Pedro named Bonifácio to head a cabinet and on 7 September 1822 he declared the independence of Brazil from Portugal. On 12 October 1822 Pedro was acclaimed Dom Pedro I, first Emperor of Brazil. It was concurrently the beginning of Pedro's reign and the birth of the independent Empire of Brazil. He was later crowned on 1 December. The separation attempt was met with armed opposition across Brazil by troops loyal to the Cortes. The ensuing war of independence spread throughout most of the country, with battles fought in the northern, northeastern, and southern regions. The last Portuguese soldiers surrendered on March 1824, and independence was recognized by Portugal in August 1825.
The Empire of Brazil Imperial Municipality is Rio de Janeiro city, the imperial capital which was located in the province of the same name. In May 1823, the General Assembly, the Brazilian parliament, opened and initiated work towards framing a political Constitution Constitution for the new nation. It was an utter failure since the deputies neglected the creation of the Constitution as they fought for months over the control of the Assembly. The emperor signed a decree dissolving it and called for new elections. Since there was no national parliament gathered at that moment and provincial assemblies did not exist yet, Pedro I sent an improved copy of the unvoted Assembly's project of Constitution to all municipal chambers across the country so that they could decide if it should be used in the soon to be elected Assembly. The majority of the chambers, however, instead voted in favor of the immediate adoption of the project as the Constitution of the Empire. It was officially promulgated in March 1824.
Although liberal in its content, the Constitution created an overly centralized country, where the provinces had no true autonomy. That sparked a minor rebellion in some provinces in the northeast] in the middle of 1824 which was easily suppressed, but that was enough to reveal discontentment over the State organization.
Brazil is the largest national economy in South America, the world's eighth largest economy at market exchange rates and the ninth largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the Monetary Fund and the Bank. Brazil has a free market economy with abundant natural resources.
The Brazilian economy has been predicted to become one of the five largest in the world in the decades to come, the GDP per capita following and growing. Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $19,200, putting Brazil in the 34th position according to Bank data. It has large and developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors, as well as a large labor pool.
Brazilian exports are booming, creating a new generation of tycoons. Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef. The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets.
Components and energy
Brazil's economy is diverse, encompassing agriculture, industry, and many services. The recent economic strength has been due in part to a global boom in commodities prices with exports from beef to soybeans soaring.
Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for 5.1% of the domestic product in 2007, a performance that puts agribusiness in a position of distinction in terms of Brazil's trade balance, in spite of trade barriers and subsidizing policies adopted by the developed countries.
The industry — from automobiles, steel and petrochemicals to computers, aircraft, and consumer durables — accounted for 30.8% of the gross domestic product. Industry, which is often technologically advanced, is highly concentrated in metropolitan São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Campinas, Porto Alegre, and Belo Horizonte.
Brazil is the world's sixth largest energy consumer with much of its energy coming from renewable sources, particularly hydroelectricity andethanol; nonrenewable energy is mainly produced from oil and natural gas. A global power in agriculture and natural resources, Brazil experienced tremendous economic growth over the past three decades. It is expected to become a major oil producer and exporter, having recently made huge oil discoveries. 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 Bio-fuels, and the National Agency of Electricity.
Science and technology
Technological research in Brazil is largely carried out in public universities and research institutes. But more than 73% of funding for basic research still comes from government sources. Some of Brazil's most notable 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 capabilities in launch vehicles, launch sites and satellite manufacturing.
Uranium is enriched at the Resende Nuclear Fuel Factory to fuel the country's energy demands and plans are underway to build the country's first nuclear submarine. Brazil is one of two countries in Latin America with an operational Synchrotron Laboratory, a research facility on physics, chemistry, material science and life sciences.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese which is spoken by almost all of the population and is virtually the only language used in newspapers, radio, television, and for business and administrative purposes. The exception to this is in the municipality of São Gabriel da Cachoeira where Nheengatu, an indigenous language of South America, has been granted co-official status with Portuguese. 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, influenced by the Amerindian and African languages. As a result, the language is somewhat different, mostly in phonology, from the language of Portugal and other Portuguese-speaking countries. These differences are comparable to those between American and British English.
In 2008, 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 Portuguese into one international language, as opposed to two diverged dialects of the same language. All CPLP countries were given from 2009 until 2014 to adjust to the necessary changes.
Minority languages are spoken throughout the nation. One hundred and eighty Amerindian languages are spoken in remote areas and a number of other languages are spoken by immigrants and their descendants. There are significant communities of German (mostly the Hunsrückisch, a High German language dialect) and italian (mostly the Talian dialect, of Venetian origin) speakers in the south of the country, both of which are influenced by the Portuguese language. Brazil is the first country in South America to offer Esperanto to High School students.
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, Catholicism and 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 immigrants who arrived in large numbers in the South and Southeast of Brazil. The indigenous Amerindians influenced Brazil's language and cuisine; and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion. Machado de Assis, poet and novelist whose work extends for almost all literary genre, is widely regarded as the greatest Brazilian writer. 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 natives that amazed Europeans that arrived in Brazil.
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 Guarany, Iracema, Ubirajara.
Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the country's mix of native 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 vatapá, moqueca, polenta and acarajé. Brazil has a variety of candies such as brigadeiros ("brigadiers") and beijinhos ("kissies"). The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazil's native liquor. Cachaça is distilled from sugarcane and is the main ingredient in the national cocktail, Caipirinha.
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 in recent years. Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. It developed distinctive styles, among them samba, música popular Brasileira, choro, sertanejo, brega, forró, frevo, maracatu, bossa nova, Brazilian rock, and axé.
Football (soccer) is the most popular sport in Brazil. The most popular sport in Brazil is football (soccer). The Brazilian national football 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.
Basketball, volleyball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. Brazil men's national volleyball team, for example, currently hold the titles of the World League, World Grand Champions Cup, World Championship and the World Cup. Others sports practiced in Brazil are tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics that have found a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. 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. In auto racing, three Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times.
Brazil has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, including the 1950 FIFA World Cup and has been chosen to host 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, Brazil was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games, the first to be held in South America.
In May 2010 Brazil launched TV Brasil Internacional, an international television station, initially broadcasting to 49 countries.
Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior, sharing land borders with the Patagonia to the south; the Incan Empire to the west; the Amazonia to the northwest; and Colombia to the north. 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.
It spans three time zones; from UTC-4 in the western states, to UTC-3 in the eastern states (and the official time of Brazil) and UTC-2 in the Atlantic islands.
Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrubland. 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).
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 Paraná and its major tributary the Iguaçu (which includes the Iguazu Falls), São Francisco and Xingu rivers.
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 five major climatic subtypes: equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, temperate, 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 mm (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 most severe ever recorded in Brazil, caused approximately half a million deaths. The one from 1915 was devastating too.
South of Bahia, near São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, with rain falling throughout the year. The south enjoys temperate conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); winter frosts are quite common, with occasional snowfall in the higher areas.
Flora and fauna
The Macaw is a typical animal of Brazil. The country has one of the world's most diverse populations of birds and amphibians. In the right the Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical forest in the world.
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. Much of it, however, remains largely undocumented, and new species are regularly found. Scientists estimate that the total number of plant and animal species in Brazil could approach four million.
Larger mammals include pumas, jaguars, ocelots, rare bush dogs, and foxes; peccaries, tapirs, anteaters, sloths, opossums, and armadillos are abundant. 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.
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 contamination, 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 controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.