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Brazil country information

Brazilian Flag and its motto: Order and Progress

Brazil is the largest country in South America. Once the main colony of the Portuguese empire, it is an incredible land of pristine beaches, green jungles and huge modern cities. Music and dancing are as necessary here as eating or sleeping, and you´ll find as many regional styles as there are shades of people, from Rio de Janeiro samba´s sensual rhythms to Bahia´s axé-charged beats. Every February, Brazil hosts its famous carnival, one of the largest parties on Earth.

Brazilian landscape and culture

Brazil's impressive Iguaçu Falls

Brazil is a country of staggering beauty. There are stretches of unexplored rainforest, islands with paradise tropical beaches and endless rivers. And last but not least, is the Brazilian themselves with their endless energy and joy, which are always a delight to visitors.

Brazil in the BRIC

Sao Paulo, the heart of the Brazilian economic boom

Part of the BRIC (Brasil, Russia, India, China), Brazil is the strongest emerging market on the planet and one of the first to start the economic recovery after the 2008 economic crisis.

Some interesting facts about Brazil

General information

Map of the Brazilian states

Brazil

Capital: Brasilia

Location: 15°45?S 47°57?W
Largest city: São Paulo
Official language: Portuguese
Government: Presidential Federal republic
Independence from Portugal: - Declared September 7, 1822 - Recognised August 29, 1825 - Republic November 15, 1889
Area: 5th in the World
Total: 8,514,877 km² (3,287,597 sq mi)
Water (%): 0.65
Population: 188,078,261 (5th) (2006 estimate)
Density: Density 22 /km² (182nd) (57 /sq mi)
GDP (PPP) : Total $943.6 billion[1] (10th) (2006 estimate)
Per capita $5,017 (74th)
HDI (2004) : 0.792 (medium) (69th)
Currency: Real (BRL)
Calling code: +55
Internet TLD: .br
Member of: UN, OAS, CSN, CPLP, Mercosur

Brazil in the globe

Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. It spreads across almost half (47.3%) of South America, and occupies a total area of 8,547,403.5 km2. It is the fifth largest country in the world after Canada, the Russian Federation, China and the United States. Except for a small number of islands, Brazil is a single and continuous landmass. The Equator crosses through the Northern region, near Macapa, and the Tropic of Capricorn cuts through the South of the country, near São Paulo.
Brazil´s east to west extension (4,319.4 km) is almost equivalent to the distance from north to south (4,394.7 km). The country borders French Guiana, Suriname, Guiana, Venezuela and Colombia, to the north; Uruguay and Argentina, to the south; and Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, to the west. Ecuador and Chile are the only two countries on the South American continent that do not border Brazil. The Atlantic Ocean extends along the country´s entire eastern coast, providing 7,367 km of coastline.

Language of Brazil

The official language is Portuguese; the accent and the intonation, however, are very different from what one hears in Portugal and other former Portuguese colonies. Some people say that Brazilians speak "Brazilian", just like Americans can say they speak "American", and not English. And there are also many Brazilians who are descendants of immigrants and who speak German and Italian, especially in towns in southern Brazil.

Brazil - a country which greets visitors with a huge smile

Brazil welcomes all tourists!

The mixture of races has made Brazil a culturally rich and at the same time unique country. This miscegenation began with the Indian, the African and the Portuguese, but soon after, immigrants from around the world began to arrive: Europeans, Asians, Jews and Arabs. The result is a happy people, open to everything new, a people one can only find in Brazil.
Because of this massive diversity, Brazil is one of the last places on Earth where no one is a foreigner, where one can change one´s destiny without losing one´s identity and where each and every Brazilian has a little of the entire world in his or her blood. This may be the reason why Brazilian´s welcome people from another land so openly. According to surveys carried out with foreign tourists who visited the country, 97.2% intend to return soon; 56.5% had their expectations completely satisfied; and, for 31.7%, it exceeded their expectations in every way. As you can see, those who go to Brazil become fans on their first visit.

Brazilian democracy

Brazil has been a Republic since 1889. Throughout this entire period, the country actually experienced little more than thirty years of democracy (1946-1964 and from 1985 to the present). Nevertheless, it is one of the most democratic nations on Earth. Brazilian democracy, which was won back after 21 years of a military dictatorship, proved to be vigorous and became an important part of the life of its people.
The National Congress has been operating like clockwork for 175 years. In the entire history of the country, only on three occasions did the elected representatives not complete their terms. The strength of the Congress is actually so great that not even the military dictatorship of the 1960s could do without it. There have been national elections in Brazil since 1823. And these elections have been open to voters in a manner almost unheard of even for European democracy standards.

Useful Information

Visas and Passports

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Tourists and visitors from Mercosul countries do not need to present passports. They merely need to show their ID cards. Visitors from other countries must present a passport that is valid for the next six months.

Electricity Voltage

Electricity voltages vary from one state to another. Check the voltage before connecting any electrical appliance to an outlet.

Car Hire

All the well know car hire firms have counters at the country´s main airports and in the main urban centers. Tourists may also book cars through their travel agencies.

Taxis

The tourist may opt to take an ordinary taxi easily found in the streets or through radio taxi services. It is recommended that accredited taxi services at the airports and at points nearby the main hotels be given priority. It is not usual in Brazil to tip a taxi driver although it is common to round off the amount and let the driver keep the change as a gratuity.

Tips

Most bars and restaurants include a service charge of 10% in the Bill. It is usual to leave a little extra if the service has been satisfactory. When no service charge has been included then a tip of 10% to 15% is the general rule.

Currency

Real, the Brazilian currency

The Brazilian currency unit is the Real ($R). Dollars and Travelers Checks can easily be changed in hotels, banks or travel agencies. Most establishments accept credit cards.



Communications

To make an international call, dial: 00 + operator code* + country code + area code (if there is one) + telephone number For reverse charge international calls dial 0800 7032111.

Operators:

Brasil Telecom 14
Embratel 21
CTBC 34
GVT 25
Intelig 23
Telefónica 15
Telemar 31

Language

The national language is Portuguese but it is a little different from the Portuguese spoken in Portugal.

Climate

The climate is predominantly tropical with some variation according to the region. The average annual temperature in the north is 28º C and 22º C in the south.

Time Zones

Because of its continental dimensions Brazil has 4 time zones. The official time is Brasília time and it corresponds to 3 hours less than GMT. From September to February the clocks are put forward one hour in most Brazilian States.

History of Brazil

Origins of Modern Brazil

A brief history of Brazil begins with the arrival of the first indigenous peoples, over 8,000 years ago, into the present territory of that nation.
It is widely accepted that Brazil was first "discovered" by Europeans on April 22, 1500, by Pedro Álvares Cabral.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, Brazil was a colony of Portugal. On September 7, 1822, the country declared its independence from Portugal and became a constitutional monarchy, the Empire of Brazil. A military coup in 1889 established a republican government. The country has been nominally a democratic republic ever since, except for three periods of overt dictatorship (1930-1934; 1937-1945 and 1964-1985).
Brazil is today South America´s largest economy, the world´s ninth largest economy, and fifth most populous nation.

A country in motion

The land area of Brazil extends over 8.5 million square kilometers, occupying just under half (47%) of the area of Latin America. The country possesses 20% of all the world´s biodiversity; an example of this natural wealth is the Amazon Rainforest, with 3.6 million square kilometers. The political and administrative organization comprises three main Branches of Power: the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislative, and the principle of autonomy among the Union, the Federal District, 26 states and 5,563 towns and cities (IBGE/2003).
Ranking fifth among the world´s most populated countries, the population of Brazil amounts to 50 million families or approximately 180 million inhabitants (2004), the majority - 81% - in urban areas. The national birth rate, which reached as high as 6.3 in 1960, currently stands at 2.1 children per female. The result of this decline, which can be associated to an improvement in social indicators and consequently in quality of life, will be a population whose majority of citizens will be aged between 15 and 44 years within the next four decades. This will represent one of the largest job and consumer markets among the countries on the American continent.

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