Overview of Brazil
With spectacular music, wonderful Amazon wildlife, gorgeous white sand beaches, and friendly and charming people, it is hard not to fall in love with Brazil. It is regarded as one of the must-go tourist destinations, especially when it comes to the world-renowned Rio Carnival. In addition to that famous artistic event, there are myriads of fascinating things that you may not know about this beautiful South American country. Let’s take a quick look at our overview of Brazil.
Brazil is one of the must-go tourist destinations in the world
- Full name: Federative Republic of Brazil
- Population: 209.5 million (2016)
- Capital: Brasilia
- Large cities: Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Porto Alegre.
- Land area: 8.55 million sq km
- Major language: Portuguese
- Major religion: Christianity
- Currency: Real
- Coastline: 7,491 km
- Closest neighbor: Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, French Guiana (France)
Colonial Period and Political Instability
In 1500, Pedro Álvares Cabral and his fleet explored Brazil, making Portuguese the first European to set foot in Brazil. Following Cabral, many Portuguese explorers leave Portugal for Brazil for sake of searching for the valuable good and opportunity to get away from poverty in the motherland. Unlike Spanish, Portuguese explorers were mainly poor sailors so they more focused on profitable trade and agriculture rather than colonization of new land. The key item was pau-basil, which is then named for the land. Portuguese colonization began slowly from 1532 to 1549 when Brazil was claimed as a royal colony.
Brazil was discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1500
In 1808, King João VI leave Portugal and shift the capital of Portuguese Empire to Brazil. In 1820, he came back Europe and left his son – Prince Pedro - with Brazil. Two years later, the prince took over Brazil and became the first Emperor of Brazil.
Pedro I stepped down in 1831 in favor of his son (Pedro II). In 1889, Pedro II abdicated owing to military revolt. From 1889 and beyond, Brazilian politics fell into the unstable period and was controlled by military dictators until military groups agreed to return to democracy.
In 1985, Tancredo Neves was sworn in as president, becoming the first civilian president since 1964 military coup. Under the presidency of Neves, a wave of optimism spread across the country after years of military governments. However, when Neves departed his life, a period of economic instability began.
Tancredo Neves constitute to stability of the country
It was only until Fernando Henrique Cardoso became president in 1994 that Brazil's economy was boosted. Thanks to his great effort, Brazil transferred to one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Former Pre. Lula sold "brand Brazil" across the globe
His successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva or better known as Lula, made Brazil greater. He is the one who sold "brand Brazil" across the globe and made people believe that anyone can become a president. Most technical schools and universities in Brazil were created by Lula who is the first president without a university degree. His successful programs still continue under his successor's tenure – Dilma Rousseff – the first female president of Brazil.
The current and 37th president of Brazil is Michel Temer, assigned by Dilma Rousseff.
60% of Brazil is plateau
Brazil is the largest nation in South America, covering roughly half of this continent. It borders with ten out of twelve countries in South America to the west, north and south; and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Brazil seems to be flat with no point more than 3,000 meter. Plateau is the main topographic feature of Brazil, covering more than 60 percent of the country. The rest is plain.
The highlands in middle of the Amazon in the north and rivers in the south create the vast flat Mato Grosso. From here, mountains rise to the southwest and form a natural protective wall namely the Great Escarpment.
Most people in Brazil settle down near the Atlantic Ocean in the east of the country. Two largest east coast cities are Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Tropical climate dominates most of Brazil. The temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees Celsius. The climate zone is varied among the region, dividing into five climatic zones: equatorial zone, semi-arid zone, highland tropical zone, tropical and subtropical zone.
It is very dry and hot in the north-eastern region, rainy and wet in Amazon, freezing in the southwest.
Brazil has a long history of Portuguese colonization and slavery and immigration. Therefore, its culture is a great combination of various cultural traditions, mostly deriving from Africa and Europe.
Singing and dancing is a must for Brazillian to express their love for life
If each country around the world were a studio, Brazil would be the biggest one. Music is drifted anytime, anywhere. It seems like each Brazilian is an artist. A few notes of a song performed by someone can binds strangers a music band and make a bus become a live music stage in the blink of an eye. A gathering is not a truly gathering if there is no guitar, tambourine or ukulele. Even in football games, songs can be used as a tool to irritate the rivals. Singing and dancing is a must for every Brazilian to express their love for life.
Brazil boasts a countless national and regional festivals throughout the year. The most world-renowned and biggest festival in Brazil is Carnival which is a perfect profusion of music and dance performance. Beginning in the 1830s, Carnival of Brazil is originated from Portuguese tradition before Lents begin. Although carnival is held every corner of Brazil, Rio Carnival is no doubt the biggest one and is one of the most wanted artistic events in the universe. Carnival of Rio draws around 500,000 foreign tourists every single year.
Rio Carnival is the biggest carnival in the world, attracting 500,000 visitors every year
To have the world's most spectacular event, carnival clubs or samba schools must prepare year around. During 5-day carnival, performers in colorful customs dance through the streets on their trio elétrico. Each dance is born with each song. Many parties are held before, during and after Carnival day by day, night by night. It is considered as a way to say goodbye to "the pleasures of the flesh".
Brazil boasts a blend of culture, mostly from Europe and Africa. If you want to experience European and African cultural blend in Brazilian way, don’t forget to note down Brazil on your travel itinerary.