In the colonial period of 1600, the Portuguese were the first amongst the Europeans to settle in Brazil. At that time, only native Indians and nomadic tribes were living in the area. The Portuguese came not to control, conquer or develop the country instead they wanted profitable trade and agriculture. However, three centuries later the land was exploited mostly for wood, sugarcane, coffee beans and gold mining. Man power was provided by both African and Indian slaves. Many Italians settled in Brazil after the boom in coffee production.
Intermarriages between different ethnicities and cultures made Brazil one of the most multi- cultured country in the world. Most Brazilians have European, African, Amerindian, Asian and Middle Eastern ancestors. Brazil gained its independence from the Portuguese colonizers on September 7, 1822. In 1889, a military coup backed by the coffee industrialists forced the emperor to leave the country. Coffee planters had great influence in Brazil and practically ran the government for the next 30 years. Brazil struggled with military coups and economic instability in those years.
After three decades Fernando Coller de Mello was elected in the first democratic elections. He was removed from office for his corruption. The capital of the country is Brasilia and its current President is Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The country is federal presidential representative democratic republic in which the President serves as the head of state and head of government. The currency of Brazil is the “real” (BRL). Brazil follows the Roman legal system. It is a presidential democracy since 1985. The voters of the country had decided not to restore the constititutional monarchy.
Brazil is slightly smaller than the United States. It borders the Atlantic Ocean and located in the East of South America. It is the largest country in South America. It has boundaries meeting with all the South American countries except Chile and Ecuador. The low-lying Amazon Rainforest is to the North of Brazil and the south is home to farmers and the agricultural base. The highest peak of Brazil is Pico da Neblina. The largest river in the world, the Amazon also flows through Brazil. The climate varies in different regions from tropical to temperate.
The territory of Brazil is said to cover 8,514,876. 599 km2. This wide territory is split into twenty-six states and one federal district. All states are completely independent in terms of their law-making, public security, government and taxation. Brazil has highly structured agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors and its economy prevails over the economies of the other South American countries. In 1998, Brazil received a $41. 5 billion IMF-led international support program due to its large account deficits.
In 1999, the Brazilian Central Bank declared that the currency real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation slowed down the recession and the country witnessed slight economic growth. The growth of the economy was less than 2% in 2001 due to the high interest rates. At the end of 2001 the country gained much investor confidence. The economy in Brazil is said to be the “ninth largest economy in the world and tenth largest at market exchange rates”. (Wikipedia). The biggest barriers to economic development are widespread bureaucracy, corruption, poverty and illiteracy within the Brazilian Government.
. The government intervenes and plays the most important role in all of the country’s economic activities. Brazil is still a newly industrializing country (NIC) and most development has taken place in southeastern states such as Parana, Sao Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. The industries are producing automobiles and parts, machinery, equipment, steel, textiles, shoes, cement, lumber, iron ore, tin, petrochemicals, computers, aircraft, and consumer durables. Brazil has been leading in the alternative energy sector. Electricity is being generated through hydropower.
It is exporting oil despite its little amount of oil reserves. Within the service sector, the tourist industry is one of the biggest in Brazil. The Brazilian justice system is painfully slow and unjust. Laws are altered for the rich. The legal system has many defecicies. Many crimes commited by Brazialians are tried for only a limited time span. By the time the authorities get their act together, it is almost too late. Sentences are often reduced by 50% for the crimes commited at the age of 70. Brazil is also an important partner for the European Union.
It is a charter member of the UN and contributes troops for peacekeeping efforts in Angola, East Timor, Middle East, Mozambique, Belgian Congo and Haiti. It is the leading member of the G-20 group of nations. The 170 million population of Brazil consist of a majority of 53. 7% whites and 38. 5% multiracial people. Blacks, Asians, Amerindians are in insignifiant propotions. Portuguese is the most widely spoken and understood language in Brazil. Brazil follows mostly Portuguese culture and traditions brought by the colonizers.
The African Slaves inspired most of Brazil’s music, dance, cuisine, religion and language. Brazil has the largest population of Roman Catholics in the world. Almost half of the output of fiction, poetry, and drama of South America comes from Brazilians. Carnaval is a popular yearly celebration and tourist attraction which is held for forty days to mark the start of Lent. The music in Brazil is richly flavored with a variety of music styles including samba, bossa nova, forro, frevo and many others. Cinema culture started in Brazil in the late 19th century.
Many Brazilian films such as Cidade de Deus and Carandiru have received international critical acclaim. Sports specially football are very popular in Brazil. The Brazilain national footbal team has a huge local and interntional following. The team has won the FIFA world cup five times. Brazil’s most notable players are Pele, Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Other popular sports are capoeira and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Food is a reflection of the racial mix of Brazil. The most popular dishes of Brazil are Feijoada, Caipirinha and Pao de Queijo and rice and beans are basic to every menu.
Most Brazilians are in their mid-twenties while 34% are under the age of fourteen. Brazil has rapidly urbanized and almost 75% of the population live in the urban areas. They are not enough jobs in Brazil to support such a large population which is why there is widespread unemployment. Unemployement was said to have reached 9. 8% in 2005 and 8 out of 10 are living in the highly populated urban centers. The largest population of almost 11. 016. 703 people are found in the city of Sao Paulo. A huge majority of people are often forced to resort to street vending, drug peddling and prostitution.
The population in the rural areas receive fewer water and sanitation services as compared to urban areas. Many contagious diseases like cholera, diarrheas have emerged as a result of lack of basic sanitation services. WORKS CITED: • Brazil. ” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 23 Apr 2007, 11:43 UTC. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 24 Apr 2007 <http://en. wikipedia. org/w/index. php? title=Brazil&oldid=125144285>. • Brazil. CIA_The World Factbook. 2002. http://www. umsl. edu/services/govdocs/wofact2002/geos/br. html Brazil