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Brazil

  • 8,514,877 km²
  • 15°45'S
  • 47°57'W
  • 7 Sept 1822
  • Brasília
  • 190,732,694
  • Real
  • 22/km2
  • Dilma Rousseff
  • Portuguese
  • São Paulo
Brazil Map
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Brazil Map

Brazil is the largest country in South America in both area and population. It occupies almost half the continent and has more people than all the other South American nations combined. Brasilia is the capital of Brazil. The country's culture is a mixture of traditions of all kinds of peoples, particularly Europeans, Africans and Native Americans. Everyone joins in when the most famous colourful carnival festival in the world takes place each year during the four days before the Christian observance of Lent. All over Brazil the streets come alive with colourful parades, music and dancing. Carnival is especially spectacular in Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city. The magnificent Iguacu Falls, which form part of the border between Brazil and Argentina, are about 2 miles (3 kilometres) wide. This city also shows the huge gap between rich and poor people in Brazil. Slums exist just a short distance away from modern, high-rise buildings and sophisticated nightclubs.

Brazil is filled with natural wonders. The brown, sluggish waters of the great Amazon River snake their way across the north of the country. The river passes through the world's largest area of dense, steamy rainforest, which teems with wildlife. Brazil also has rich mineral resources and fertile soils where timber, coffee, cocoa and sugar-cane grow. This should bring great wealth but, like much of South America, Brazil suffers from economic problems. There is widespread poverty among its ever-growing population. So a lot of people have moved inland in search of new farmland. As a result, huge areas of the Amazon rainforest are being destroyed. This has become an environmental issue of world-wide concern. Brazilian gauchos or cowboys tend grazing sheep in the central and southern plateau region.