Brazil

BRAZIL

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Brazil Wikipedia



This article is about the country. For other uses, see Brazil (disambiguation).
Federative Republic of Brazil
  • República Federativa do Brasil  (Portuguese)
FlagCoat of arms
Motto: 
  • "Ordem e Progresso" (Portuguese)
  • "Order and Progress"
Anthem: 
  • Hino Nacional Brasileiro
  • "Brazilian National Anthem"


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National seal
  • Selo Nacional do Brasil
  • National Seal of Brazil
  • National Seal of Brazil (color).svg
CapitalBrasão do Distrito Federal (Brasil).svg Brasília


15°47′S 47°52′W / 15.783°S 47.867°W / -15.783; -47.867
Largest cityBrasão da cidade de São Paulo.svg São Paulo
Official languagesPortuguese
Ethnic groups (2010)
  • 47.73% White
  • 43.13% Pardoa
  • 7.61% Black
  • 1.09% Asian
  • 0.43% Amerindian
DemonymBrazilian
GovernmentFederal presidential constitutional republic
 - PresidentDilma Rousseff (PT)
 - Vice PresidentMichel Temer (PMDB)
 - President of the


Chamber of Deputies
Henrique Eduardo Alves (PMDB)
 - President of the SenateRenan Calheiros (PMDB)
 - President of the Supreme Federal CourtJoaquim Barbosa
LegislatureNational Congress
 - Upper houseFederal Senate
 - Lower houseChamber of Deputies
Independence from United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves (now Portugal)
 - Declared7 September 1822 
 - Recognized29 August 1825 
 - Republic15 November 1889 
 - Current constitution5 October 1988 
Area
 - Total8,515,767 km2 (5th)


3,287,597 sq mi
 - Water (%)0.65
Population
 - 2013 estimate201,032,714 (5th)
 - Density23.7/km2 (192nd)


61.5/sq mi
GDP (PPP)2014 estimate
 - Total$2.505 trillion (7th)
 - Per capita$12,526 (79th)
GDP (nominal)2014 estimate
 - Total$2.215 trillion (7th)
 - Per capita$11,080 (63rd)
Gini (2012)positive decrease 51.9


high
HDI (2012)Increase 0.730


high · 85th
CurrencyReal (R$) (BRL)
Time zoneBRT (UTC−2 to −5)
 - Summer (DST)BRST (UTC−2 to −5)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy (CE)
Drives on theright
Calling code+55
ISO 3166 codeBR
Internet TLD.br
a.Multiracial.
Brazil Listeni/brəˈzɪl/ (Portuguese: Brasil, IPA: [bɾaˈziw]), officially the Federative Republic of Brazil (Portuguese: República Federativa do Brasil, About this sound listen (help·info)), is the largest country in both South America and the Latin American region. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population. It is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world, and the only one in the Americas.

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 km (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas region of French Guiana; on the northwest by Colombia; on the west by Bolivia and Peru; on the southwest by Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Numerous archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz. It borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile and occupies 47 percent of the continent of South America.

Brazil was inhabited by numerous tribal nations prior to the landing of explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500, who claimed the area for Portugal. Brazil remained a Portuguese colony until 1808, when the capital of the empire was transferred from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro after French forces led by Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Portugal. In 1815, it was elevated to the rank of kingdom upon the formation of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. Its independence was achieved in 1822 with the creation of the Empire of Brazil, a unitary state governed under a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The country became a presidential republic in 1889, when a military coup d'état proclaimed the Republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to the ratification of the first constitution in 1824. An authoritarian military junta had led the nation from 1964 until 1985. Brazil's current Constitution, formulated in 1988, defines it as a federal republic. The Federation is composed of the union of the Federal District, the 26 states, and the 5,564 municipalities.

The Brazilian economy is the world's seventh largest by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity, as of 2012. A member of the BRIC group, Brazil has one of the world's fastest growing major economies, with its economic reforms giving the country new international recognition and influence. Brazil's national development bank (BNDES) plays an important role for the country's economic growth. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations, the G20, CPLP, Latin Union, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Organization of American States, Mercosul and the Union of South American Nations. Brazil is one of 17 megadiverse countries, home to a variety of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. Brazil is a regional power in Latin America and a middle power in international affairs, with some analysts identifying it as an emerging global power. Brazil has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years.

Contents

                Etymology

                Main article: Name of Brazil
                The word "Brazil" comes from brazilwood, a tree that once grew plentifully along the Brazilian coast. In Portuguese, brazilwood is called pau-brasil, with the word brasil commonly given the etymology "red like an ember", formed from Latin brasa ("ember") and the suffix -il (from -iculum or -ilium). As brazilwood produces a deep red dye, it was highly valued by the European cloth industry and was the earliest commercially exploited product from Brazil. Through the 16th century, massive amounts of brazilwood were harvested by indigenous peoples (mostly Tupi) along the Brazilian coast, who sold the timber to European traders (mostly Portuguese, but also French) in return for assorted European consumer goods.

                The official name of the land, in original Portuguese records, was the "Land of the Holy Cross" (Terra da Santa Cruz), but European sailors and merchants commonly called it simply the "Land of Brazil" (Terra do Brasil) on account of the brazilwood trade. The popular appellation eclipsed and eventually supplanted the official name. Early sailors sometimes also called it the "Land of Parrots" (Terra di Papaga).

                In the Guarani language, an official language of Paraguay, Brazil is called "Pindorama". This was the name the indigenous population gave to the region, meaning "land of the palm trees".

                History

                Main article: History of Brazil

                Pre-Cabraline era

                Main article: Pre-Cabraline Brazil



                Ceramics produced by ancient complex societies living in the Santarém region.
                The earliest human remains found in The Americas, Luzia Woman, were found in the area of Pedro Leopoldo, Minas Gerais and provides evidence of habitation going back at least 11,000 years. The earliest pottery ever found in the Western Hemisphere was excavated in the Amazon basin of Brazil and radiocarbon dated to 8,000 years ago (6000 BC). The pottery was found near Santarem and provided evidence that the tropical forest region supported a complex prehistoric culture.

                Around the Portuguese arrival, the territory of current day Brazil had an estimated indigenous population of 7 million people, mostly semi-nomadic who subsisted on hunting, fishing, gathering, and migrant agriculture. The indigenous population of Brazil was divided into large indigenous nations composed of several ethnic groups (e.g. the Tupis, Guaranis, Gês and Arawaks). The Tupí people were subdivided into the Tupiniquins and Tupinambás, and there were also many subdivision of the other groups.

                Before the arrival of Europeans the boundaries between these groups and their subgroups were marked by wars that arose from differences in culture, language and moral beliefs. These wars also involved large-scale military actions on land and water, with cannibalistic rituals on POWs. While heredity had some weight, leadership status was a more subdued over time, than allocated in succession ceremonies and conventions. Slavery among the Indians had a different meaning than it had for Europeans, since it originated from a diverse socio-economic organization, in which asymmetries were translated into kinship relations.

                Colonization

                Main article: Colonial Brazil



                Representation of the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral at Porto Seguro in 1500.



                Painting showing the arrest of Tiradentes; he was sentenced to death for his involvement in the best known movement for independence in Colonial Brazil.
                The land now called Brazil was claimed for the Portuguese Empire on 22 April 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Portuguese encountered indigenous peoples divided into several tribes, most of whom spoke languages of the Tupi–Guarani family, and fought among themselves. Though the first settlement was founded in 1532, colonization was effectively begun in 1534, when King Dom João III of Portugal divided the territory into the fifteen private and autonomous Captaincy Colonies of Brazil.

                However, the decentralized and unorganized tendencies of the captaincy colonies proved problematic, and in 1549 the Portuguese king restructured them into the Governorate General of Brazil, a single and centralized Portuguese colony in South America. In the first two centuries of colonization, Indigenous and Europeans groups lived in constant war, establishing opportunistic alliances in order to gain advantages against each other. By the mid-16th century, cane sugar had become Brazil's most important exportation product, and slaves purchased in Sub-Saharan Africa, in the slave market of Western Africa (not only those from Portuguese allies of their colonies in Angola and Mozambique), had become its largest import, to cope with plantations of sugarcane, due to increasing international demand for Brazilian sugar.


                By the end of the 17th century, sugarcane exports began to decline, and the discovery of gold by bandeirantes in the 1690s, would become the new backbone of the colony's economy, fostering a Brazilian Gold Rush, attracting thousands of new settlers to Brazil, from Portugal and all Portuguese colonies around the World, which in turn caused some conflicts between newcomers and old settlers.

                Portuguese expeditions known as Bandeiras gradually advanced the Portugal colonial original frontiers in South America to approximately the current Brazilian borders. In this era other European powers tried to colonize parts of Brazil, in incursions that the Portuguese had to fight, notably the French in Rio during the 1560s, in Maranhão during the 1610s, and the Dutch in Bahia and Pernambuco, during the Dutch–Portuguese War, after the end of Iberian Union.

                The Portuguese colonial administration in Brazil had two objectives that would ensure colonial order, and the monopoly of its wealthiest and largest colony: both keep under control and eradicate all forms of slaves' rebellion and resistance, such as the Quilombo of Palmares, as well as repress all movements for autonomy or independence, such as the Minas Conspiracy.

                United Kingdom with Portugal

                Main article: United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves
                In late 1807, Spanish and Napoleonic forces threatened the security of continental Portugal, causing Prince Regent João, in the name of Queen Maria I, to move the royal court from Lisbon to Brazil. There they established some of Brazil's first financial institutions, such as its local stock exchanges, a National Bank, and ended the monopoly of the colony trade with Portugal, opening it to other nations. In 1809, in retaliation for being forced into exile, the Prince Regent ordered the Portuguese conquest of French Guiana.

                With the end of the Peninsular War in 1814, the courts of Europe demanded that Queen Maria I and Prince Regent João return to Portugal, deeming it unfit for the head of an ancient European monarchy to reside in a colony. In 1815, in order to justify continuing to live in Brazil, where the royal court had thrived for the past six years, the Crown established the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves, thus creating a pluricontinental transatlantic monarchic state. The Portuguese leaders demanded return of the court to Lisbon, as the Liberal Revolution of 1820 required, and groups of Brazilians still demanded independence and a republic, as the 1817 Pernambucan Revolt showed. In 1821, as a demand of revolutionaries who had taken the city of Porto, D. João VI was unable to hold out any longer, and departed for Lisbon. There he swore oath to the new constitution, leaving his son, Prince Pedro de Alcântara, as Regent of the Kingdom of Brazil.

                Independent Empire

                Main articles: Independence of Brazil and Empire of Brazil



                Declaration of the Brazilian independence by the later Emperor Dom Pedro I on 7 September 1822.
                Tensions between Portuguese and Brazilians increased, and the Portuguese Cortes, guided by the new political regime imposed by the 1820 Liberal Revolution, tried to re-establish Brazil as a colony. The Brazilians refused to yield, and Prince Pedro decided to stand with them, declaring the country's independence from Portugal on 7 September 1822. This is now celebrated as Brazil's Independence Day.

                On 12 October 1822, Prince Pedro was declared the first Emperor of Brazil, with the regnal title of Dom Pedro I, resulting in the foundation of the Empire of Brazil. The new Emperor was crowned on 1 December 1822. A subsequent Brazilian War of Independence spread through northern, northeastern regions and in Cisplatina province. With the last Portuguese soldiers surrendering on 8 March 1824, Portugal officially recognized Brazil on 29 August 1825.


                In 7 April 1831, worn down by years of administrative turmoil and political dissensions with both liberal and conservative sides of politics, including an attempt of republican secession, as well as unreconciled with the way that absolutists in Portugal had given to the succession of King John VI, Pedro I went to Portugal to reclaim his daughter's crown, abdicating the Brazilian throne in favor of his five-year-old son and heir (who thus became the Empire's second monarch, with the regnal title of Dom Pedro II).



                Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil between 1831 and 1889. The Emperor was a minor from 1831 until 1840, and discharged the imperial authority in person from 1840 to 1889.
                As the new Emperor could not exert his constitutional powers until he became of age, a regency was set up by the National Assembly. In the absence of a charismatic figure who could represent a moderate face of power, during this period a series of localized rebellions took place, as the Cabanagem, the Malê Revolt, the Balaiada, the Sabinada, and the Ragamuffin War, which emerged from the dissatisfaction of the provinces with the central power, coupled with old and latent social tensions peculiar of a vast, slaveholding and newly independent nation state. This period of internal political and social upheaval, which included the Praieira revolt, was overcome only at the end of the 1840s, years after the end of the regency, which occurred with the premature coronation of Pedro II in 1841.

                During the last phase of the monarchy, internal political debate was centered on the issue of slavery. The Atlantic slave trade was abandoned in 1850, as a result of the British' Aberdeen Act, but only in May 1888 after a long process of internal mobilization and debate for an ethical and legal dismantling of slavery in the country, was the institution formally abolished.

                The foreign affairs in the monarchy were basically related issues with the countries of the Southern Cone with which Brazil has borders. Long after the Cisplatine War, that resulted in independence for Uruguay, Brazil won three international wars during the 58-year reign of Pedro II. These were the Platine War, the Uruguayan War and the devastating Paraguayan War, the largest war effort in Brazilian history.

                On 15 November 1889, worn out by years of economic stagnation, in attrition with the majority of Army officers, as well as with rural and financial elites (for different reasons), the monarchy was overthrown by a military coup.

                Early republic

                Main articles: República Velha, Estado Novo (Brazil) and Second Brazilian Republic



                In half of the first 100 years of republic in Brazil, the Army exercised power directly or through figures designated by it. Getúlio Vargas (center, bald, no hat), for example, was the military's confidence man brought to power in October 1930.
                The "early republican government was little more than a military dictatorship, with army dominating affairs both at Rio de Janeiro and in the states. Freedom of the press disappeared and elections were controlled by those in power". In 1894, following the unfoldings of two severe crises, an economic along with a military one, the republican civilians rose to power.

                Little by little, a cycle of general instability sparked by these crises undermined the regime to such an extent, that by 1930 in the wake of the murder of his running mate, the defeated opposition presidential candidate Getúlio Vargas supported by most of the military, led a successful revolt. Vargas was supposed to assume power temporarily, but instead closed the Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled with emergency powers and replaced the states' governors with his own supporters.

                In the 1930s, three major attempts to remove Vargas and his supporters from power occurred: in the second half of 1932, in November 1935, and in May 1938. Being the second one, the communist revolt which served as an excuse for the preclusion of elections, put into effect by a coup d'état in 1937, which made the Vargas regime a full dictatorship, noted for its brutality and censorship of the press.

                In foreign policy, the success in resolving border disputes with neighboring countries in the early years of the republican period, was followed by a failed attempt to exert a prominent role in the League of Nations, after its involvement in World War I. In World War II Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, when the country entered on the allied side, after suffering retaliations undertaken by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, due to the country having severed diplomatic relations with them in the wake of the Pan-American Conference.

                With the allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes in Europe, Vargas's position became unsustainable and he was swiftly overthrown in another military coup, with Democracy being "reinstated" by the same army that had discontinued it 15 years before. Vargas committed suicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis, after having returned to power by election in 1950.

                Contemporary era

                Main articles: Brazilian military government and History of Brazil since 1985



                Construction of Brasília, the new capital, in 1959
                Several brief interim governments succeeded after Vargas's suicide. Juscelino Kubitschek became president in 1956 and assumed a conciliatory posture towards the political opposition that allowed him to govern without major crises. The economy and industrial sector grew remarkably, but his greatest achievement was the construction of the new capital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960. His successor was Jânio Quadros, who resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office. His vice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strong political opposition and was deposed in April 1964 by a coup that resulted in a military regime.

                The new regime was intended to be transitory but it gradually closed in on itself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act in 1968. The repression was not limited only to those who resorted to guerrilla tactics to fight the regime, but also reached institutional opponents, artists, journalists and other members of civil society, inside and outside the country (through the infamous "Operation Condor"). Despite its brutality, like other totalitarian regimes in history, due to an economic boom, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached its highest level of popularity in the early 1970s.

                Slowly however, the wear and tear of years of dictatorial power that has not slowed the repression, even after the defeat of the leftist guerrillas, plus the inability to deal with the economic crises of the period and popular pressure, made it inevitable an opening policy, which of the regime side was led by Generals Geisel and Golbery. With the enactment of the Amnesty Law in 1979, Brazil began to slowly return to democracy, which would be completed along the 1980s.



                Ulysses Guimarães holding the Constitution of 1988 in his hands.
                Civilians returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed the presidency, becoming unpopular during his tenure due his failure in control the economic crisis and hyperinflation inherited from the military regime. Sarney's unsuccessful government allowed the election in 1989 of the almost unknown Fernando Collor, who was subsequently impeached by the National Congress in 1992. Collor was succeeded by his Vice-President Itamar Franco, who appointed Fernando Henrique Cardoso as Minister of Finance. In 1994, Cardoso produced a highly successful Plano Real, that after decades of failed economic plans made by previous governments attempting to curb hyperinflation, finally granted stability to the Brazilian economy, leading Cardoso to be elected that year, and again in 1998.

                The peaceful transition of power from Fernando Henrique to his main opposition leader, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, proved that Brazil had finally succeeded in achieving its long-sought political stability. Lula was succeeded in 2011 by the current president, Dilma Rousseff, the country's first woman president and as such one of the most powerful women in the world.

                In June 2013, following the viral phenomenon of worldwide manifestations (such as the "Arab Spring", the "Occupy Wall Street" and the "Spanish Indignados"), numerous protests erupted in Brazil. For days, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in several cities to protest. Initially a movement against the increase in public transport fares, it assumed gigantic proportions, sparked by the excessive use of force by the state polices, turning into a series of huge demonstrations by groups and individuals, angry about a range of issues (including new stadium projects for international sports events, demands on quality of public services, anger about corruption, and opposition to a constitutional amendment proposal, PEC 37, which is interpreted by some as an attempt to curb repression of corruption). Thus it became a movement containing conflicting ideologies, with so far no single political agenda nor recognizable leadership.

                Geography

                Main article: Geography of Brazil



                Topographic map of Brazil
                Brazil occupies a large area along the eastern coast of South America and includes much of the continent's interior, sharing land borders with Uruguay to the south; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Colombia to the northwest; and Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana to the north. It shares a border with every South American country except for Ecuador and Chile. 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. Including its Atlantic islands, Brazil lies between latitudes 6°N and 34°S, and longitudes 28° and 74°W.

                Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, and third largest in the Americas, with a total area of 8,514,876.599 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi), including 55,455 km2 (21,411 sq mi) of water. 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. Brazil is the only country in the world that lies on the equator while having contiguous territory outside the tropics. Brazilian topography is also diverse and includes hills, mountains, plains, highlands, and scrublands. 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). These ranges include the Mantiqueira and Espinhaço mountains and the Serra do Mar. In the north, the Guiana Highlands form a major drainage divide, separating rivers that flow south into the Amazon Basin from rivers that empty into the Orinoco River system, in Venezuela, to the north. The highest point in Brazil is the Pico da Neblina at 2,994 metres (9,823 ft), and the lowest is the Atlantic Ocean.

                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 Amazon (the world's second-longest river and the largest in terms of volume of water), the Paraná and its major tributary the Iguaçu (which includes the Iguazu Falls), the Negro, São Francisco, Xingu, Madeira and Tapajós rivers.
                Panorama of the Chapada Diamantina from the Pai Inácio Hill, in the Chapada Diamantina National Park, Bahia.

                Climate

                Main article: Climate of Brazil
                Tropical climate in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte.

                Snow in Caxias do Sul, Rio Grande do Sul.

                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 millimetres (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 the coasts, and more southerly most of the state of São Paulo, the distribution of rainfall changes, with rain falling throughout the year. The south enjoys subtropical conditions, with cool winters and average annual temperatures not exceeding 18 °C (64.4 °F); winter frosts and snowfall are not rare in the highest areas.

                Biodiversity and environment

                Main articles: Wildlife of Brazil, Deforestation in Brazil and Conservation in Brazil
                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. Scientists estimate that the total number of plant and animal species in Brazil could approach four million.
                The Amazon rainforest, the richest and most biodiverse rainforest in the world.

                The jaguar is a wild animal typical of Brazil, mainly in the Amazon jungle.

                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. Brazil's Amazon Basin is home to an extremely diverse array of fish species, including the red-bellied piranha. Despite its reputation as a ferocious freshwater fish, the red-bellied piranha is actually a generally timid scavenger. Biodiversity can contribute to agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries extraction. However, almost all economically exploited species of plants, such as soybeans and coffee, or animals, such as chicken, are imported from other countries, and the economic use of native species still crawls. In the Brazilian GDP, the forest sector represents just over 1% and fishing 0.4%.

                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 pollution, 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 the controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam.

                Government and politics

                Main articles: Politics of Brazil, Federal government of Brazil and Elections in Brazil



                Dilma Rousseff, the current Brazilian president.
                The Brazilian Federation is the "indissoluble union" of the States, the Municipalities and the Federal District. The Union, the states and the Federal District, and the municipalities, are the "spheres of government." The Federation is set on five fundamental principles: sovereignty, citizenship, dignity of human beings, the social values of labor and freedom of enterprise, and political pluralism. The classic tripartite branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial under a checks and balances system), is formally established by the Constitution. The executive and legislative are organized independently in all three spheres of government, while the judiciary is organized only at the federal and state/Federal District spheres.

                All members of the executive and legislative branches are directly elected. Judges and other judicial officials are appointed after passing entry exams. For most of its democratic history, Brazil has had a multi-party system, proportional representation. Voting is compulsory for the literate between 18 and 70 years old and optional for illiterates and those between 16 and 18 or beyond 70.



                National Congress of Brazil, seat of the legislative branch.
                Together with several smaller parties, four political parties stand out: Workers' Party (PT), Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB), Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Democrats (DEM). Fifteen political parties are represented in Congress. It is common for politicians to switch parties, and thus the proportion of congressional seats held by particular parties changes regularly. Almost all governmental and administrative functions are exercised by authorities and agencies affiliated to the Executive.

                The form of government is that of a democratic republic, with a presidential system. The president is both head of state and head of government of the Union and is elected for a four-year term, with the possibility of re-election for a second successive term. The current president is Dilma Rousseff who was inaugurated on 1 January 2011. The President appoints the Ministers of State, who assist in government. Legislative houses in each political entity are the main source of law in Brazil. The National Congress is the Federation's bicameral legislature, consisting of the Chamber of Deputies and the Federal Senate. Judiciary authorities exercise jurisdictional duties almost exclusively.

                Law and order

                Main articles: Law of Brazil, Law enforcement in Brazil and Crime in Brazil
                Brazilian law is based on Roman-Germanic[not in citation given] traditions and civil law concepts prevail over common law practice. Most of Brazilian law is codified, although non-codified statutes also represent a substantial part, playing a complementary role. Court decisions set out interpretive guidelines; however, they are seldom binding on other specific cases. Doctrinal works and the works of academic jurists have strong influence in law creation and in law cases.



                Supreme Federal Court of Brazil serves primarily as the Constitutional Court of the country.
                The legal system is based on the Federal Constitution, which was promulgated on 5 October 1988, and is the fundamental law of Brazil. All other legislation and court decisions must conform to its rules. As of April 2007[update], there have been 53 amendments. States have their own constitutions, which must not contradict the Federal Constitution. Municipalities and the Federal District have "organic laws" (leis orgânicas), which act in a similar way to constitutions. Legislative entities are the main source of statutes, although in certain matters judiciary and executive bodies may enact legal norms. Jurisdiction is administered by the judiciary entities, although in rare situations the Federal Constitution allows the Federal Senate to pass on legal judgments. There are also specialized military, labor, and electoral courts. The highest court is the Supreme Federal Court.

                This system has been criticized over the last few decades for the slow pace of decision making. Lawsuits on appeal may take several years to resolve, and in some cases more than a decade elapses before definitive rulings. Nevertheless, the Supreme Federal Tribunal was the first court in the world to transmit its sessions on television, and also via YouTube. More recently, in December 2009, the Supreme Court adopted Twitter to display items on the day planner of the ministers, to inform the daily actions of the Court and the most important decisions made by them.

                Brazil continues to have high crime rates in a number of statistics, despite recent improvements. More than 500,000 people have been killed by firearms in Brazil between 1979 and 2003, according to a report by the United Nations. As of December 2012, there were 548,003 people incarcerated in Brazilian prisons or jails (513,713 in prison system and 34,290 in police facilities), constituting 274 inmates per 100,000 of national population.

                Military

                Main article: Brazilian Armed Forces



                Brazilian Army participating in UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti.
                The armed forces of Brazil are the second-largest in Latin America, consist of the Brazilian Army, the Brazilian Navy, and the Brazilian Air Force with a total of 371,199 active personnel.

                The Army has 235,978 active personnel. The Military Police (States' Military Police) is described as an ancillary force of the Army by the constitution, but is under the control of each state's governor. The Navy once operated some of the most powerful warships in the world with the two Minas Geraes-class dreadnoughts, which sparked a South American dreadnought race between Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Today, it is a green water force and one of the ten navies that possesses an aircraft carrier. The Air Force has about 700 manned aircraft in service.

                Brazil has not been invaded since 1865 during the Paraguayan War. Additionally, Brazil has no contested territorial disputes with any of its neighbours and neither does it have rivalries, like Chile and Bolivia have with each other. The Brazilian military has also three times intervened militarily to overthrow the Brazilian government. It has built a tradition of participating in UN peacekeeping missions such as in Haiti and East Timor.

                Foreign policy

                Main article: Foreign relations of Brazil



                Diplomatic missions of Brazil
                  Brazil
                  Nations hosting a diplomatic mission of Brazil
                  Nations with a non-resident mission of Brazil
                Brazil's international relations are based on article 4 of the Federal Constitution, which establishes non-intervention, self-determination, international cooperation and the peaceful settlement of conflicts as the guiding principles of Brazil's relationship with other countries and multilateral organizations. According to the Constitution, the President has ultimate authority over foreign policy, while Congress is tasked with reviewing and considering all diplomatic nominations and international treaties, as well as legislation relating to Brazilian foreign policy.

                Brazil's foreign policy is a by-product of the country's unique position as a regional power in Latin America, a leader among developing countries, and an emerging world power. Brazilian foreign policy has generally been based on the principles of multilateralism, peaceful dispute settlement, and non-intervention in the affairs of other countries.

                An increasingly well-developed tool of Brazil's foreign policy is providing aid as a donor to other developing countries. Brazil does not just use its growing economic strength to provide financial aid, but it also provides high levels of expertise and most importantly of all, a quiet non-confrontational diplomacy to improve governance levels. Total aid is estimated to be around $1 billion per year that includes:
                • technical cooperation of around $480 million ($30 million in 2010 provided directly by the Brazilian Cooperation Agency (ABC))
                • an estimated $450 million for in-kind expertise provided by Brazilian institutions specialising in technical cooperation


                In addition, Brazil manages a peacekeeping mission in Haiti ($350 million) and makes in-kind contributions to the World Food Programme ($300 million). This is in addition to humanitarian assistance and contributions to multilateral development agencies. The scale of this aid places it on par with China and India and ahead of many western donors. The Brazilian South-South aid has been described as a "global model in waiting."

                Administrative divisions

                Atlantic


                Ocean
                Pacific


                Ocean
                North Region
                Northeast Region
                Central-West Region
                Southeast Region
                South Region
                Acre
                Amazonas
                Pará
                Roraima
                Amapá
                Rondônia
                Tocantins
                Maranhão
                Bahia
                Piauí
                Ceará
                Rio Grande


                do Norte
                Paraíba
                Pernambuco
                Alagoas
                Sergipe
                Mato Grosso
                Mato Grosso


                do Sul
                Federal


                District
                Goiás
                Minas Gerais
                São Paulo
                Rio de Janeiro
                Espírito Santo
                Paraná
                Santa Catarina
                Rio Grande


                do Sul
                Argentina
                Bolivia
                Chile
                Colombia
                French Guiana
                Guyana
                Paraguay
                Peru
                Suriname
                Uruguay
                Venezuela
                Main articles: States of Brazil and Municipalities of Brazil
                See also: Regions of Brazil
                Brazil is a federation composed of 26 States, one Federal district (which contains the capital city, Brasília) and Municipalities. States have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Federal government. They have a governor and a unicameral legislative body elected directly by their voters. They also have independent Courts of Law for common justice. Despite this, states have much less autonomy to create their own laws than in the United States. For example, criminal and civil laws can only be voted by the federal bicameral Congress and are uniform throughout the country.

                The states and the federal district may be grouped into regions: Northern, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast and Southern. The Brazilian regions are merely geographical, not political or administrative divisions, and they do not have any specific form of government. Although defined by law, Brazilian regions are useful mainly for statistical purposes, and also to define the distribution of federal funds in development projects.

                Municipalities, as the states, have autonomous administrations, collect their own taxes and receive a share of taxes collected by the Union and state government. Each has a mayor and an elected legislative body, but no separate Court of Law. Indeed, a Court of Law organized by the state can encompass many municipalities in a single justice administrative division called comarca (county).

                Economy

                Main article: Economy of Brazil
                See also: Brazilian real
                P-51, an oil platform of Petrobras.

                An E-190 commercial jet, developed by Brazilian company Embraer, the third largest producer of civil aircraft, after Airbus and Boeing.

                Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the world's seventh largest economy at market exchange rates and the seventh largest in purchasing power parity (PPP), according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Brazil has a mixed 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, provided that large investments in productivity gains are made to substitute the GDP growth of the last decade that is attributable to the increase in the number of people working. Its current GDP (PPP) per capita is $12,526 in 2014 putting Brazil in the 77th position according to IMF data. Active in agricultural, mining, manufacturing and service sectors Brazil has a labor force of over a 107 million (ranking 6th worldwide) and unemployment of 6.2% (ranking 64th worldwide).

                The country has been expanding its presence in international financial and commodities markets, and is one of a group of four emerging economies called the BRIC countries. Brazil has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years. It has become the fourth largest car market in the world. Major export products include aircraft, electrical equipment, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, footwear, iron ore, steel, coffee, orange juice, soybeans and corned beef. Adding up, Brazil ranks 23rd worldwide in value of exports.

                Brazil pegged its currency, the real, to the U.S. dollar in 1994. However, after the East Asian financial crisis, the Russian default in 1998 and the series of adverse financial events that followed it, the Central Bank of Brazil temporarily changed its monetary policy to a managed-float scheme while undergoing a currency crisis, until definitively changing the exchange regime to free-float in January 1999.



                Combine harvester in a soybean field in Rondonópolis, Mato Grosso. Brazil is the third largest exporter of agricultural products in the world.
                Brazil received an International Monetary Fund rescue package in mid-2002 of $30.4 billion, then a record sum. Brazil's central bank paid back the IMF loan in 2005, although it was not due to be repaid until 2006. One of the issues the Central Bank of Brazil recently dealt with was an excess of speculative short-term capital inflows to the country, which may have contributed to a fall in the value of the U.S. dollar against the real during that period. Nonetheless, foreign direct investment (FDI), related to long-term, less speculative investment in production, is estimated to be $193.8 billion for 2007. Inflation monitoring and control currently plays a major part in the Central bank's role of setting out short-term interest rates as a monetary policy measure.

                Between 1993 and 2010, 7012 mergers & acquisitions with a total known value of $707 billion with the involvement of Brazlian firms have been announced. The year 2010 was a new record in terms of value with 115 billion USD of transactions. The largest transaction with involvement of Brazilian companies has been: Cia Vale do Rio Doce acquired Inco in a tender offer valued at US$18.9 billion.

                Corruption costs Brazil almost $41 billion a year alone, with 69.9% of the country's firms identifying the issue as a major constraint in successfully penetrating the global market. Local government corruption is so prevalent that voters only perceive it as a problem if it surpasses certain levels, and only if a local media e.g. a radio station is present to divulge the findings of corruption charges. Initiatives, like this exposure, strengthen awareness which is indicated by the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index; ranking Brazil 69th out of 178 countries in 2012. The purchasing power in Brazil is eroded by the so-called Brazil cost.

                Tourism

                Main article: Tourism in Brazil
                Iguazu Falls, Paraná, in Brazil-Argentina border, is the second most popular destination for foreign tourists who come to Brazil for pleasure.
                Sancho Bay, in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Pernambuco, elected the most beautiful beach in the world by TripAdvisor.
                Tourism in Brazil is a growing sector and key to the economy of several regions of the country. The country had 5 million visitors in 2010, ranking i
                Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil )
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