PROFILE OF BRAZIL [ BRASIL ]
Official Language: Portuguese System of Government: A Republic with a multiparty political system and Democratic elections. Area: 3,286,470 miles Population: 170 million
Geography: Occupies the East-Central South America, nearly 50% of the South American Continent
Brazil is the largest country in Latin America, and the fifth largest in the world [behind the Russian Federation, Canada, China, and the United States].
The Equator passes through the north of the country near Macapá; the Tropic of Capricorn passes through the south near São Paulo. Brazil’s greatest width, 2,684 miles (4,319.4 km), is almost the same as its greatest distance from north to south, 2,731 miles (4,394.7 km).
Brazil has 10 neighbors: the Department of French Guiana and the countries of Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, and Colombia bound Brazil on the north. Uruguay and Argentina are on the south, and on the west are Paraguay, Bolivia, and Peru. Ecuador and Chile are the only two countries of continental South America that do not share a border with Brazil. The Atlantic Ocean extends along the entire eastern side of the country, giving it a coastline of 4,578 miles (7,367 km).
Land Use: 58% is Forest, 22% is Pasture, 6% is Crop, 14% is Other
Largest Cities: Sao Paulo [10.4 million], Rio de Janeiro [5.8 million], Salvador [2.4 million], Belo Horizonte [2.2 million], Brasilia [2 million], Recife [1.4 million]
Population: 80% live in Urban, 20% in rural
Age: 35% under 15 28% 15 to 29 19% 30 to 44 10% 45 to 59 6% 60 to 74 2% 75 and older
Money: Official currency is the Real, divides into 100 Centavos.
The Name of the Country comes from a Brazilian tree, the Pau-Brasil tree or “Brazil-wood” which was explored heavily by the indigenous population and the colonisers for the extraction of red pigment.
Main Products: aircraft, bauxite, beef, cellulose, cereals, etc.
Seasons in Brazil: [Reverse of those in the U.S. and Europe] Spring = September 22 to December 21 Summer = December 22 to March 21 Autumn = March 22 to June 21 Winter = June 22 to September 21
The Amazon Forest: located in Brazil, Guyana, Surinam, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
In Brazil, the Amazon Forest covers 3.5 million sq. km or approximately 40% of Brazilian territory. In Brazil, it covers the states of Para, Amazonas, Amapa, Acre, Rondonia and Roraima. It is known to hold the largest bio-diversity in the world.
Other Topographic Areas in Brazil:
“Cerrados” Woodland savannas [25% of Brazil] located in the western portion of central Brazil in states such as Sao Paulo, Parana, Maranhao, Piaui.
“Pantanal” Swamplands [occupies 150 thousand sq. km, mostly in the State of South Mato Grosso] between the “Cerrado” and the Bolivian “Chaco” [Eastern Lowlands] is formed by the flooding of the rivers of the Paraguay basin.
“Caatinga” or “Sertao” Bush is a semi-arid region [approx. 700 hundred thousand sq km ] located in parts of the states of Bahia, Alagoas, Sergipe, Pernambuco, Paraiba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceara, Piaui, and Maranhao. It is charactaristic for its very low humidity.
“Atlantic Forest” or “Mata Atlantica” Mountainous Rainforest [today 5% of its original area is estimated at 1.5 million sq. km] it follows the Brazilian coastline closely from Rio Grande do Norte to the start of Rio Grande do Sul.
“Mata de Araucarias” or “Needle-leaved Pinewoods” Subtropical Forest located in the South occupies [nearly completely devistated] some examples are still found in Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul.
“Manguezal” or “Mangrove Swamps” a tidal forest.
and several other less expressive territorial areas but ecologically important such as the “Alpine Pastures” “Cocais” of the North, “Campos” of Rio Grande do Sul, and the beaches.