Portuguese colonizationThe land now called Brazil was claimed by Portugal in April 1500, on the arrivalof the Portuguese fleet commanded by Pedro Álvares Cabral. The Portugueseencountered stone age natives divided into several tribes, most of whom spokelanguages of the Tupi–Guarani family, and fought among themselves. Thoughthe first settlement was founded in 1532, colonization was effectively begun in1534, when King Dom João III of Portugal divided the territory into twelvehereditary captaincies.This arrangement proved problematic, and in 1549 the king assigned aGovernor-General to administer the entire colony. The Portuguese assimilatedsome of the native tribes while others were enslaved or exterminated in longwars or by European diseases to which they had no immunity. By the mid-16thcentury, sugar had become Brazils most important export and the Portugueseimported African slaves to cope with the increasing international demand.History
Through wars against the French, the Portuguese slowly expanded their territory tothe southeast, taking Rio de Janeiro in 1567, and to the northwest, taking São Luís in1615. They sent military expeditions to the Amazon rainforest and conquered Britishand Dutch strongholds, founding villages and forts from 1669. In 1680 they reachedthe far south and founded Sacramento on the bank of the Rio de la Plata, in theEastern Bank region.At the end of the 17th century, sugar exports started to decline but beginning in the1690s, the discovery of gold by explorers in the region that would later be calledMinas Gerais in current Mato Grosso and Goiás, saved the colony from imminentcollapse. From all over Brazil, as well as from Portugal, thousands of immigrantswent to the mines. The Spanish tried to prevent Portuguese expansion into theterritory that belonged to them according to the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, andsucceeded in conquering the Eastern Bank in 1777. However, this was in vain as theTreaty of San Ildefonso, signed in the same year, confirmed Portuguese sovereigntyover all lands proceeding from its territorial expansion, thus creating most of thecurrent Brazilian borders.In 1808, the Portuguese royal family and the majority of the Portuguesenobility, fleeing the troops of the French Emperor Napoleon I that were invadingPortugal and most of Central Europe, established themselves in the city of Rio deJaneiro, which thus became the seat of the entire Portuguese Empire. In 1815 DomJoão VI, then regent on behalf of his incapacitated mother, elevated Brazil fromcolony to sovereign Kingdom united with Portugal. In 1809 the Portuguese invadedFrench Guiana and in 1816 the Eastern Bank, subsequently renamed Cisplatina.
Independence and empirePedro I abdicated on 7 April 1831 and went to Europe to reclaim hisdaughters crown which had been usurped by his brother, leaving behind hisfive-year-old son and heir, who became Dom Pedro II. As the new emperorcould not exert his constitutional powers until he reached maturity, a regencywas created. Disputes between political factions led to rebellions and anunstable, almost anarchical, regency. The rebellious factions, however, werenot in revolt against the monarchy, even though some declared thesecession of the provinces as independent republics, but only so long asPedro II was a minor. Because of this, he was prematurely declared of ageand "Brazil was to enjoy nearly half a century of internal peace and rapidmaterial progress.“Despite the loss of Cisplatina in 1828 when it became an independent nationknown as Uruguay, Brazil won three international wars during the 58-yearreign of Pedro II and witnessed the consolidation of representativedemocracy, mainly because of successive elections and unrestrictedfreedom of the press. Most importantly, slavery was extinguished after a slowbut steady process that began with the end of the international traffic inslaves in 1850 and ended with the complete abolition of slavery in 1888.
Early republicRepública Velha, Estado Novo, and Brazilian Second Republic The "earlyrepublican government was little more than a military dictatorship, with armydominating affairs both at Rio de Janeiro and in the states. Freedom of the pressdisappeared and elections were controlled by those in power". In 1894, followingsevere military and economic crises, the republican civilians rose to power.In foreign policy, the success in resolving border disputes with neighboringcountries in the early years of the republican period, was followed by a failedattempt to exert a prominent role in the League of Nations, after its involvementin World War I. In World War II Brazil remained neutral until August 1942, whenthe country entered on the allied side, after suffering retaliations undertaken byNazi Germany and Fascist Italy, due to the country having severed diplomaticrelations with the them in the wake of the Pan-American Conference.
Little by little, a cycle of general instability sparked by these crisesundermined the regime to such an extent, that by 1930 in the wake of themurder of his running mate, it was possible for the defeated oppositionpresidential candidate Getúlio Vargas supported by most of the military, led asuccessful revolt. Vargas was supposed to assume power temporarily, butinstead closed the Congress, extinguished the Constitution, ruled withemergency powers and replaced the states governors with his supporters.Between 1932 and 1938, 3 major attempts to remove Vargas from poweroccurred. The second one being the 1935 communist revolt which served asan excuse for the preclusion of elections, put into effect by a coup détat in1937, which made the Vargas regime a full dictatorship, noted for its brutalityand censorship of the press.With the allied victory in 1945 and the end of the Nazi-fascist regimes inEurope, Vargass position became unsustainable and he was swiftlyoverthrown in another military coup, with Democracy being "reinstated" by thesame army that had discontinued it 15 years before. Vargas committedsuicide in August 1954 amid a political crisis, after having returned to powerby election in 1950.
Contemporary eraSeveral brief interim governments succeeded after Vargass suicide.Juscelino Kubitschek became president in 1956 and assumed aconciliatory posture towards the political opposition that allowed him togovern without major crises. The economy and industrial sector grewremarkably, but his greatest achievement was the construction of the newcapital city of Brasília, inaugurated in 1960. His successor was JânioQuadros, who resigned in 1961 less than a year after taking office. Hisvice-president, João Goulart, assumed the presidency, but aroused strongpolitical opposition and was deposed in April 1964 by a coup that resultedin a military regime.The new regime was intended to be transitory but it gradually closed in onitself and became a full dictatorship with the promulgation of the FifthInstitutional Act in 1968. The repression of the dictatorshipsopponents, including urban guerrillas, was harsh, but not as brutal as inother Latin American countries. Because of the extraordinary economicgrowth, known as an "economic miracle", the regime reached its highestlevel of popularity in the years of repression.
General Ernesto Geisel became president in 1974 and began his project of re-democratization through a process that he said would be "slow, gradual and safe."Geisel ended the military indiscipline that had plagued the country since 1889, aswell as the torture of political prisoners, censorship of the press, and finally, thedictatorship itself, after he extinguished the Fifth Institutional Act. However, themilitary regime continued, under his chosen successor General João Figueiredo, tocomplete the transition to full democracy.The civilians fully returned to power in 1985 when José Sarney assumed thepresidency but, by the end of his term, he had become extremely unpopular becauseof the uncontrollable economic crisis and unusually high inflation. Sarneysunsuccessful government allowed the election in 1989 of the almost unknownFernando Collor, who was subsequently impeached by the National Congress in1992. Collor was succeeded by his Vice-President Itamar Franco, who appointedFernando Henrique Cardoso as Minister of Finance. Cardoso produced a highlysuccessful Plano Real. that granted stability to the Brazilian economy and he waselected as president in 1994 and again in 1998. The peaceful transition of power toLuís Inácio Lula da Silva, who was elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006, provedthat Brazil had finally succeeded in achieving its long-sought political stability. Lulawas succeeded in 2011 by the current president, Dilma Rousseff, the countrys firstwoman president and as such one of the most powerful women in the world.
Brazil occupies a large areaalong the eastern coast ofSouth America and includesmuch of the continentsinterior, sharing land borderswith Uruguay to the south;Argentina and Paraguay to thesouthwest; Bolivia and Peru tothe west; Colombia to thenorthwest; andVenezuela, Suriname, Guyanaand the French overseasdepartment of French Guiana tothe north. It shares a borderwith every country in SouthAmerica except for Ecuador andChile.Brazil is the fifth largest countryin the world, and third largest inthe Americas, with a total area
ClimateThe climate of Brazil comprises a wide range of weather conditions across alarge area and varied topography, but most of the country is tropical.According to the Köppen system, Brazil hosts five major climatic subtypes:equatorial, tropical, semiarid, highland tropical, temperate, and subtropical.The different climatic conditions produce environments ranging fromequatorial rainforests in the north and semiarid deserts in the northeast, totemperate coniferous forests in the south and tropical savannas in centralBrazil. Many regions have starkly different microclimates.An equatorial climate characterizes much of northern Brazil. There is no realdry season, but there are some variations in the period of the year whenmost rain falls. Temperatures average 25 °C, with more significanttemperature variation between night and day than between seasons.
The core culture of Brazil is derived from Portuguese culture, because of itsstrong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. Among other influences, thePortuguese introduced the Portuguese language, Roman Catholicism andcolonial architectural styles. The culture was, however, also stronglyinfluenced by African, indigenous and non-Portuguese European cultures andtraditions.Some aspects of Brazilian culture were influenced by the contributions ofItalian, German and other European as well Japanese and Arab immigrantswho arrived in large numbers in the South and Southeast of Brazil. Theindigenous Amerindians influenced Brazils language and cuisine; and theAfricans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion.Brazilian art has developed since the 16th century into different styles thatrange from Baroque toRomanticism, Modernism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism andAbstractionism.Culture
MusicThe music of Brazil was formed mainly from the fusion of Europeanand African elements. Until the nineteenth century Portugal was thegateway to most of the influences that built Brazilianmusic, although many of these elements were not of Portugueseorigin, but generally European. The first was José Maurício NunesGarcia, author of sacred pieces with influence of Vienneseclassicism. The major contribution of the African element was therhythmic diversity and some dances and instruments that had abigger role in the development of popular music and folk, flourishingespecially in the twentieth century.
CuisineBrazil has a variety of candies such as brigadeiros , cocada , beijinhos andromeu e julieta . Peanut is used to make paçoca, rapadura and pé-de-moleque. Local common fruits likeaçaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, cocoa, cashew, guava, orange, passionfruit,pineapple, and hog plum are turned in juices and used to makechocolates, popsicles and ice cream.Brazilian cuisine varies greatly byregion, reflecting the countrys mix of native and immigrant populations. Thishas created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regionaldifferences. Examples are Feijoada, considered the countrys national dishand regional foods such as vatapá, moqueca, polenta and acarajé.But the everyday meal consist mostly of rice and beans with beef and salad.Its common to mix it with cassava flour. Fried potatoes, fried cassava, friedbanana, fried meat and fried cheese are very often eaten in lunch andserved in most typical restaurants.The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazils native liquor.Cachaça is distilled from sugar cane and is the main ingredient in thenational cocktail, Caipirinha.
SportsVolleyball, basketball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. Brazil mensnational volleyball team, for example, currently holds the titles of the World League, WorldGrand Champions Cup, World Championship and the World Cup.The most popular sport in Brazilis football. The Brazilian national football team is ranked among the best in the world accordingto the FIFA World Rankings, and has won the World Cuptournament a record five times.Others sports practiced in Brazil are tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics havefound a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. Some sport variations have theirorigins in Brazil: beach football,, futsal and footvolley emerged in Brazil as variations of football.In martial arts, Brazilians developed Capoeira, Vale tudo,and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.In autoracing, three Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times.Brazil has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, like the 1950 FIFA World Cupand has been chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The São Paulo circuit,Autódromo JoséCarlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil.São Paulo organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963, and Rio de Janeiro hosted the XV PanAmerican Games in 2007. On 2 October 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected to host the 2016Olympic Games and 2016 Paralympic Games, the first to be held in South America and second inLatin America after Mexico City. Further, the country hosted the FIBA Basketball World Cups in1954 and 1963. At the 1963 event, the Brazil national basketball team won one of its two worldchampionship titles.
Components and energyBrazils economy is diverse, encompassing agriculture, industry, and manyservices.The recent economic strength has been due in part to a globalboom in commodities prices with exports from beef to soybeans soaring.Agriculture and allied sectors like forestry, logging and fishing accounted for5.1% of the gross domestic product in 2007, a performance that putsagribusiness in a position of distinction in terms of Brazils trade balance. Science and technologyTechnological research in Brazil is largely carried out in public universitiesand research institutes, and more than 73% of funding for basic researchcomes from government sources. Some of Brazils most notabletechnological hubs are the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, the ButantanInstitute, the Air Forces Aerospace Technical Center, the BrazilianAgricultural Research Corporationand the INPE. The Brazilian SpaceAgency has the most advanced space program in Latin America.Infrastructure
HealthThe Brazilian public health system, the National Health System , is managedand provided by all levels of government. The public health services areuniversal and available to all citizens of the country for free. However, 45.5million Brazilians have contracted a private health plan.According to the Brazilian Government, the most serious health problems are: Childhood mortality: about 2.51% of childhood mortality, reaching 3.77% inthe northeast region. Motherhood mortality: about 73.1 deaths per 100,000 born children in 2002. Mortality by non-transmissible illness: 151.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitantscaused by heart and circulatory diseases, along with 72.7 deaths per 100,000inhabitants caused by cancer. Mortality caused by external causes (transportation, violence and suicide):71.7 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants , reaching 82.3 deaths in the southeastregion.
EducationThe Federal Constitution and the Law of Guidelines and Bases of National Educationdetermine that the Federal Government, States, Federal District and municipalities mustmanage and organize their respective education systems. Each of these publiceducational systems is responsible for its own maintenance, which manages funds as wellas the mechanisms and funding sources. The new constitution reserves 25% of the statebudget and 18% of federal taxes and municipal taxes for education.According to the IBGE, in 2011, the literacy rate of the population was 90.4%, meaningthat 13 million people are still illiterate in the country; functional illiteracy has reached21.6% of the population. Illiteracy is highest in the Northeast, where 19.9% of thepopulation is illiterate. Also according to the National Household Survey, the percentage ofpeople atschool, in 2007, was 97% in the age group 6–14 years and 82.1% among people15 to 17 years, while the average total time of study among those over 10 years was onaverage 6.9 years.Higher education starts with undergraduate or sequential courses, which may offerdifferent options of specialization in academic or professional careers. Depending on thechoice, students can improve their educational background with courses of post-graduatestudies or broad sense. To attend a higher education institution is required, by Law ofGuidelines and Bases of Education, completing all levels of education suited to the needsof all students of teaching kindergarten, elementary and medium, provided the studentdoes not hold any disability, whether physical, mental, visual or hearing.