Brazil is only slightly smaller than Europe, and there are large differences
in landscape and climate from the tropical rainforest around the Amazon over the
semi-arid savannas of the Brazilian Plateau to the subtropical grasslands to the
In many millions. years, there has been calm in the earth's crust, and the
country is therefore dominated by low-lying mountains and the depositional areas
of the low-lying river basins around the Amazon, the La Plata system and São
Brazil is a multi-ethnic nation. It is a widespread notion that there is no
racial discrimination, that the races are legally equal. There are many mixed
marriages, but modern society still reflects the colonial era, when there was a
sharp division between the white colonial masters, their slaves, who were black
imported from Africa, and the country's original residents.
Do you know how many people there are in Brazil? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
Today, the descendants of slaves remain the most disadvantaged in the
country. Whites make up the majority in Brazil, and their share is increasing -
presumably because the many mixed marriages blur the previously sharp divisions
between the races. Many of mixed descent can thus be more easily recognized as
white, the most socially coveted.
The Indians are almost extinct as a result of genocide and disease. Since the
1980's, however, for the first time since the European invasion of the continent,
there has been an increase in the number of Brazilian Indians. This is partly
due to the fact that Native American societies more often organize themselves
politically against external threats. Along with continuing bloody conflicts and
massacres, many Native American communities in recent years have had their land
The current composition and regional distribution of the population reflect
the history of colonization. With the arrival of the Portuguese, the Native
American population was slowly pushed away from the shores and followed by the
European conquerors who took possession of the country. The most densely
populated areas are the areas along the coast that were colonized at the
earliest. The big cities are rarely far from the coast and thus the shipping
ports towards Europe.
Northeastern Brazil, Nordeste, it was first colonized the
area. Here, during the heyday of sugar plantations, the Portuguese introduced
several million slaves from Africa. Compared to them, the number of whites was
small. Today, the descendants of the slaves make up the majority of the coastal
region, while the Indians have been exterminated or displaced. Further inland,
where the colonists established extensive cattle breeding, the whites mingled
with the Native American population. Now the whites dominate here, but often
with pronounced Native American traits (mestizer).
From the second half of the 19th century, the southern coffee plantations
attracted millions of white immigrants from Europe. Here, too, the Indians were
displaced, and the white population dominates entirely in southern Brazil. There
are also other smaller ethnic groups here: descendants of Japanese
immigrants from the early 20th century and Arabs from the interwar period. In
general, these groups have created good positions in Brazilian society.
In the Amazon region, where the Portuguese needed Native American labor to
collect rainforest products, Native Americans still dominate. The Indians, who
did not accept the rule of the whites, fled far up the tributaries and up into
the highlands. In these areas, mineral deposits have been found in several
places, resulting in new conflicts between whites and Indians.
Developments in the industrial sector have fundamentally changed Brazilian
society: economic and political power has shifted from the estates and
plantations to the cities. The increased economic activity in the cities
attracts millions of small farmers and farm workers who have lost their lands
during the modernization process in agriculture.
In 1940, 31 percent lived in cities; in 2005 it was 84 percent, and Brazil
contains some of the world's largest cities (São Paulo about 19 million and Rio
de Janeiro about 11.5 million (2006)). The urban industries can absorb only a
small part of the many newcomers; most live in extreme poverty as a labor
reserve in the slums that spread around all cities.
It causes serious social problems and the rising crime associated with it is
officially identified as the biggest threat to Brazilian society.
Population growth has been declining sharply since the mid-1980's. A
large proportion of Brazilian women entered the labor market during this period,
and effective child restraint became necessary to ensure women's earning
potential. Society's lack of action in the field of contraception means that the
most common method of contraception is sterilization.
In the early 1990's, up to 40 percent of all Brazilian women living in
relationships were sterilized, in the poor Northeast over 70
percent. At a time when population growth is often highlighted as one of the
most serious global problems, Brazil is cited by some as a model for how it is
possible to reduce birth rates. Others point out that most women choose
sterilization as an emergency solution in a desperate social situation.
Are you interested in song associated with Brazil? Here is where you can see
song lyrics and singer about this country.
With the Portuguese colonization of Brazil, a plantation economy was
established; on vast areas, tropical products were produced for the European
Industry. The colonial power's ban on the establishment of iron
and textile industries hindered early industrial development. After independence
in 1822, the powerful landowners forced a reduction in customs duties to import
quality products from the industrialized countries, and open competition from
Europe made industrial development difficult.
Both World War I, the crisis of the 1930's and World War II meant favorable
conditions for industry in Brazil. The wars made relations between Europe and
Latin America difficult, thus giving more leeway for independent development,
while at the same time weakening the economies of the warring industrialized
countries and restructuring their production.
From the 1930's, it became a declared goal of the government that the country
should be industrialized. Under the impression of the changed conditions of
competition after World War II, a complex strategy was chosen. The government
attracted foreign companies with large government investments in infrastructure
and high import duties to protect the home industry, combined with favorable
investment terms. This led to a tremendous industrial growth, especially in the
years 1969-1974, the economic miracle of Brazil .
In the 1990's, Brazil produced over 95 percent of its own consumption of
industrial goods. However, the country remains dependent on imports of high-tech
electronics, machinery and equipment.
However, Brazil's industrial development is not unequivocally a success
story. Growth has been driven forward without regard to the environment and
nature conservation. In order to provide the industry with the best possible
growth conditions, environmental legislation has been very lenient. Several of
the country's industrial centers are among the world's most polluted
areas. Predation on nature's resources leads to lasting destruction, in the
The severe, persistent economic and political crises also suggest that
structural weaknesses are embedded in the development model. The great regional
disparities have been greatly deepened with increasing contradictions between
country and city and between north and south. The share of the poorest groups in
the population is rising, and the external debt is among the largest in the
The large loans were used for huge road construction and other infrastructure
construction, but also to sustain the country's economic growth up through the
1980's despite a growing crisis. The external debt has forced a shift in
agriculture from the production of own food to export crops to provide currency
to repay the debt.
Another example of restructuring is the so-called alcohol program,
which began in the mid-1970's. To reduce the consumption of oil products, engines
powered by alcohol fuel were developed. The automotive industry agreed to modify
passenger cars, and the state supported sugar production for the production of
As early as 1988, 80 percent of Brazil's passenger cars ran on alcohol
fuel. The program has thus been successfully implemented, but has been
criticized for leading to higher food prices due to the conversion of fields to
sugar cane production.
Agriculture has traditionally been divided between export-oriented
plantations in the coastal areas, large low-productive large estates inland, latifundies,
and a large number of minifundies, ie. homesteads where the farming
family cannot live off the land alone, but must supplement with farm work on the
The agricultural land is very unevenly distributed: the largest estates,
which make up 1.2 percent of the agricultural holdings, own 45 percent of the
Brazilian agricultural land. The low productivity of the estates means that more
than half of the agricultural area is not actually utilized, and the majority of
food production takes place on the many small farms.
10 percent of Brazil is arable land. A quarter of this vast area is
cultivated with grain, especially corn. The main export crops are coffee and
soy. Furthermore, there is a significant breeding of sugar cane, oranges,
bananas etc. Cassava (a tuberous plant) is an important food especially for the
small farmers in the Amazon and Northeast. For all these crops, Brazil is one of
the world's main producers.
There are very large differences between agriculture in the north and the
south. In the southern states, agriculture has been modernized since the 1970's
using agricultural machinery, fertilizers, and pesticides. This has especially
led to an increase in the production of export crops. In parallel, there has
been a further concentration of land on fewer properties.
In the northern regions, on the other hand, modernization has not been
successful. Here, large, low-productivity latifundies continue to dominate
against impoverished minifundies. The living conditions here can be compared to
the world's poorest countries.
The dominance of the Latifunds and the marginalization of the rural
population from economic growth are considered to be one of the main reasons why
Brazil continues to have a developing country character. Attempts to implement
land reforms have so far been stopped by the landowners' powerful organizations
with the support of the military.
Brazil remains one of the countries in the world that has the largest
difference between rich and poor: the richest 10 percent of the population
accounts for half of the incomes, while the 10 percent poorest account for only
1 percent of the incomes.
An important part of the development strategy from the 1950's was to
strengthen the cohesion of the great country. The various regions were only
loosely connected, and a rapidly expanding network of highways was constructed
to secure the supply of raw materials to the industrial centers of southeastern
Brazil, enable the marketing of industrial products, and unite Brazil into one
Based on the industrial history of the United States, the automotive industry
was designated as the "locomotive" of the 1955 five-year plan. Road traffic was
given high priority, while the large existing rail network was allowed to
decay. With the exception of two tracks, built in the 1980's for the transport of
iron ore, rail transport has completely lost importance.
Before the expansion of the road network, the rivers played a major role in
transport within the country; yet it is of importance in the Amazon, where the
rainforest makes land traffic difficult. The Amazon can be navigated by
ocean-going ships along its entire length in Brazil and on long stretches on the
major tributaries, but transportation is slow.
Energy and mining
Industrialization relied almost exclusively on oil as an energy source; the
state-owned Petrobrás became a controversial symbol of nationalist
industrial policy in the 1950's. The oil supply was largely based on imports, and
after the energy crisis in 1973, major energy programs were launched to reduce
The biggest opportunities lay in the development of hydropower, where Brazil
has some of the world's greatest potentials. With the construction of
Itaipú in Paraná (in collaboration with Paraguay and Argentina) and Tucuruí
in the Amazon contribute hydropower with about 95 percent of the country's
Oil exploration was intensified during the same period, and several fields
were found on the mainland, e.g. with AP Møller - Maersk as a stakeholder and
with the use of experience from offshore oil exploration in the North
Sea. However, Brazilian oil production remains limited.
As a uranium-producing country, Brazil was able in 1975 by the military
government to conclude a contract with West Germany for the purchase of three
nuclear power plants for installation outside Rio de Janeiro. Only one of the
works has worked satisfactorily.
Critics of the nuclear power program have pointed out that the technology
used was already obsolete at the time of the conclusion of the contract and that
safety conditions are deficient. The decision can be seen as part of the
military's development of nuclear technology.
In addition to energy raw materials, Brazil has significant mining
operations. The iron ore field at Carajás is among the largest in the world, and
Brazil is the world's largest producer of iron ore. A large part of the ore is
exported, but the country's steel production is also significant. Furthermore,
there are large deposits of bauxite, manganese, tin and other minerals.
In several places, the exploitation gives rise to conflicts with the
Indians; this is especially true of gold mining, where gold fever invasions can
occur when thousands of impoverished fortune hunters flock to gold finds in the
The natural variation, together with the colonial background, has led to
great regional differences, economically and culturally. Geographically, the
country is divided into five major regions.
The Amazon includes the states that are drained by the Amazon with
tributaries. These are Acre, Amazonas, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá and Pará. Most
of the region is covered by tropical rainforest and is very sparsely populated
and poor. Most residents live on self-sufficient agriculture or are associated
with the extraction of forest products: rubber, Brazil nuts, timber, etc. The
rubber collection is still largely based on debt slavery.
Since the 1960's, large-scale development projects have been launched in the
Amazon. Roads are being built through the region, and the forest is being
cleared for the benefit of mining projects, cattle farms and
agriculture. Financial problems and pressure from abroad have led to a slowdown
in the Brazilian state's colonization projects in the Amazon.
||population in mio. (2005)
|Mato Grosso do Sul
|Rio de Janeiro
||Rio de Janeiro
|Rio Grande do Norte
|Rio Grande do Sul
The northernmost include the states of Maranhão, Ceará, Piauí, Rio
Grande do Norte, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe and Bahia. The region is
predominantly tropical savannah and forest. The Portuguese cleared the forest
along the northeast coast in the 17th century and planted large sugar
plantations; the sugar economy continues to dominate the area.
The semi-arid plateau (sertão) was subdivided into large estates
with extensive cattle ranching. The feudal conditions of production still exist
in Nordeste's low-productivity agricultural sector, and the area is Brazil's
Southeast Brazil with the states of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo,
São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's richest region. Finds of gold,
diamonds, iron and manganese made the region the economic and political center
of Brazil from the beginning of the 18th century.
With the establishment of coffee plantations in the second half of the 19th
century, great riches gathered in the region. Here was formed the basis of the
industrialization that has led Brazil to its present state. No less than 60
percent of Brazilian industrial production is concentrated in a small area in
and around the major cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
Modernization of the region's agriculture has made it the country's main
producer of agricultural products, including coffee, soy, oranges and sugar. The
region's dynamics have largely led to developments in other regions being
subordinated to developments in south - eastern Brazil. The economic development
here attracts immigrants from the rest of the country.
Region comprises 11 percent of the area of Brazil, but here occupy up to half
of the population, and about 2/3 of income earned
here. Regional inequality is self-reinforcing: south-eastern Brazil is getting
richer and northern Brazil is getting poorer.
Southern Brazil includes the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and
Rio Grande do Sul. Here is a subtropical climate, cooler than in the rest of the
country. Originally, the area was covered with grass steppe (a continuation of
the Argentine pampas) and coniferous forests.
The European immigrants established agriculture here, which supplied the
mining sector of southeastern Brazil with food and livestock. The modernization
of agriculture has spread to this region and it is Brazil's second most
important agricultural area.
The Midwest includes the states of the Central Brazilian Plateau:
Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Goiás, Tocantins and the capital Brasilia,
which has federal district status. Far up in the 20th century, this sparsely
populated region was of no significant economic importance. Since the 1960's,
roads have been built, which have opened up for an intense colonization with the
creation of large cattle farms and modern agriculture in the savannah-like
The colonization of the Amazon and the Midwest entails a continued
administrative division of Brazil with new states and municipalities. Six of the
26 states have been established since 1960, and in 1960-1990 the number of
municipalities almost doubled (to 4491).
Brazil - plant life
In the highlands to the north occurs tropical savannah, campos,
with grasses and low trees; a type of vegetation also found in Venezuela and
Guyana. Most of the Amazon region is covered by lush, tropical rainforest with
many species from the palm family, the banana family and the legume family
Chrysobalanaceae, including Chrysobalanus. Many plants live as vines
or epiphytes; among the latter especially ferns and species in the pineapple and
orchid family. Deciduous trees occur in the drier eastern parts of the
Amazon. In stagnant and slow-flowing water, e.g. species of the genus Victoria,
"giant water lily".
In the arid regions of northeastern Brazil, grasses, cacti, thorny shrubs and
lower trees, often with swollen trunks, dominate. South of the Amazon region,
the inner highlands are dominated by campos and open, deciduous forest, and in
the state of Paraná there are remnants of large forests of the distinctive
coniferous tree Araucaria brasiliana.
In 1999, a law was implemented which, for the first time, includes
deforestation and environmental pollution under the Penal Code. It happened
with the intention of slowing down the deforestation of the Amazon
rainforest. Yet road construction through the jungle and the relocation of
hundreds of especially foreign sawmills to the region is leading to an
increasingly rapid clearing of rainforests.
Brazil - wildlife
In Brazil there are over 1500 bird species,
including macaws, toucans and hummingbirds; the vast majority live in the
Amazon region, which is also home to the majority of the approximately 250 toad
species. The rainforests also have a rich insect life with probably several
million species, of which only a small part is still known.
Of mammals there are almost 50 species of monkeys in the rainforests,
where tapir and jaguar are also found. In arid areas live giant anteaters,
pampas deer and several species of rodents, some of which have a behavior and
way of life such as deer and antelopes. Here is also the nandue, a relative of
In the rivers live pirate fish and some close relatives, who are not
predatory fish, but who feed on seeds and fruits from the trees in the
seasonally flooded forests. In total, approximately 2000 species of fish from
Brazil. The rivers are also home to turtles and mammals such as the Amazon
dolphin, the Amazon manatee and the giant otters up to 2 m long.
Brazil - language
Brazil's people have Portuguese as their mother tongue apart from a few
immigrant groups and parts of the Native American indigenous population, who
speak ge, arawak and tupi-guarani.
The regional language differences are modest but clear, and a common "state
Brazilian" norm does not yet exist. The language of Rio de Janeiro has
traditionally had the greatest prestige.
Portuguese in Brazil differs from Portuguese in Portugal in terms of
vocabulary, pronunciation, spelling and grammatical structure. For example, the
original pronoun tu 'du', like the second person of the verbs, is
almost obsolete, as is the case in several Latin American variants of Spanish.
Instead, both in the case of indictment and publicity, the 3rd person is
used, eg você vai 'you go', cf. ele vai 'he goes'. As in
Danish, a distinction is made between informal and polite indictment: você 'du'
towards o senhor and a senhora 'De'.
A spelling convention between Brazil and Portugal from 1945 was only
partially implemented, but a reform from 1986 aims to reduce the differences in
|Pronunciation differences between Portuguese in
Brazil and in Portugal
||Portuguese in Brazil
||Portuguese in Portugal
|weakening of unstressed vowel, especially in the last
||preserved as [a]
||weakened in the direction of [æ]
||weakens to [i]
||weakens to [ə]
||weakens to [u]
||weakens to [u]
|palatalization in front [i]
||preserved as [d] or [ð]
||preserved as [t]
|vocalization at the end of the syllable
||no vocalization, but velor pronunciation
|velarization at the end of the syllable
||velært r (Dog alveolært ri São Paulo mv.)
|vocal palatalization of s-sounds at the end of the
||j-deposit in front of s-sounds
|consonant palatalization of s-sounds at the end of the
||no palatalization (However, palatalization in Rio de Janeiro, etc.)
|cesto ' curve '