Brazil - Country information
Brazil covers almost 50% of South America, is home to nearly half of the continent's population and has borders with every nation on the continent except Chile and Ecuador. Its largest river, the Amazon, is navigable for ocean steamers all the way to Iquitos, Peru, 2,300 mi (3,700 km) upstream.
About 54% (95 million) of its population are of European origin, being the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of immigrants from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany and Eastern Europe. Over 45% (80 million) are black or of mixed, owing to the African slave trade. Less than 1 percent (700,000) are from indigenous peoples. Small numbers of Japanese and Asian nationalities, as well as Arabs live in the larger Brazilian cities.
Political progress has been made after long-time military dictatorship subsided. Civilian rule began in 1985. Social progress came in the form of lower infant mortality rates and higher literacy rates. Economic development is fostered by Brazil's growing urbanization. (Some 80 percent of Brazilians live in cities). However, serious social and environmental problems in cities are one of the sad consequences.
Brazil's largest metropolis, Sao Paulo, with its 18 million people is the leading industrial producer and financial center. But pollution, overcrowding, and poverty abound.
Facts about Brazil
||República Federativa do Brasil
||São Paulo, 18,333,000 (metropolitan area), 10,927,985 (city proper); Rio de Janeiro, 11,469,000 (metropolitan area), 6,094,183 (city proper); Salvador, 2,590,400; Belo Horizonte, 2,347,500; Recife, 1,485,500; Porto Alegre, 1,372,700
||3,265,059 sq mi (8,456,511 sq km)
||3,300,169 sq mi (8,547,403 sq km)
|Form of Government:
||textile, shoes, chemical, cement, lumber, iron ore.
||coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, beef.
||transport equipment, iron ore, soybeans, shoes, coffee.
|GDP per Capita:
||white 53.7%, mixed white and black 38.5%, black 6.2%, other 0.9%, unspecified 0.7%
||Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
||Roman Catholic 74%, Protestant 15%, Spiritualist 1%, none 7%