Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil (República
Fede-rativa do Brasil).
Short Name: Brazil (Brasil).
Term for Citizen(s): Brazilian(s).
Independence: September 7, 1822 (from Portugal).
Size and Location: Standard figure is 8,511,996 square kilometers
(including oceanic islands of Arquipélago de Fernando de
Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and
Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo). According to revised
figure of Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Fundação
Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística--IBGE), which
takes into account new measurements, total area is 8,547,403.5 square
kilometers. Brazil occupies about 47 percent of continental area.
Country situated between 05°16'20" north latitude and 33°44'32"
south latitude, and between 34°47'30" east longitude and
73°59'32" west longitude. Its boundaries extend 23,086
kilometers, of which 7,367 kilometers on Atlantic Ocean. To north,
west, and south, Brazil shares boundaries with all South American
countries except Chile and Ecuador.
Standard Time: With an east-to-west territorial
dimension of 4,319 kilometers, Brazil has four time zones. In most
of country, time is three hours earlier than Greenwich time. Between
summer months of October and February, country adopts daylight savings
time, setting clock forward by one hour, in Southeast (Sudeste),
Center-West (Centro-Oeste), and South (Sul) regions, and in states
of Bahia in Northeast (Nordeste) and Tocantins in North (Norte).
Maritime Claims: Exclusive economic zone 322 kilometers
(200 nautical miles).
Boundary Disputes: A short section of boundary
with Paraguay, just west of Salto das Sete Quedas (Guairá
Falls) on Paraná; and two short sections of boundary with
Uruguay--Arroio Invernada area of Cuareim and islands at confluence
of Quaraí and Uruguai.
Topography and Climate: Consisting of dense forest,
semiarid scrub land, rugged hills and mountains, rolling plains,
and long coastal strip, Brazil's landmass dominated by Amazon Basin
and Central Highlands. Principal mountain ranges (Serra do Mar)
parallel Atlantic coast. Climate varies from mostly tropical in
North, where it is seldom cold, to more temperate in South, where
it snows in some places. Also wide range of subtropical variations.
World's largest rain forest located in Amazon Basin. Higher annual
measurements (26°C to 28°C) occur in Northeast's interior
and mid- and lower Amazon River. Lowest values (under 18°C)
occur in hilly areas of Southeast and largest part of South. Highest
absolute values, over 40°C, are recorded in Northeast's low
interior lands; in Southeast's depressions, valleys, and lowlands;
in Center-West's Pantanal (Great Wetlands) and lower areas; and
in South's central depressions and Uruguai Valley. Lowest absolute
temperatures often show negative values in most of South, where
frosts and snow usual. Rainy areas correspond to Pará's coastal
lands and western Amazonas, where annual rainfall greater than 3,000
millimeters. In Southeast on Serra do Mar (São Paulo State),
recorded annual rainfall exceeds 3,500 millimeters. Drought areas
located in interior Northeast, where annual rainfall under 500 millimeters.
Maximum precipitation occurs during summer-autumn in most parts
of country, except for Roraima and north Amazonas, where rainy season
occurs during winter because these two states are located in Northern
Principal Rivers: Vast, dense drainage system
consisting of eight hydrographic basins. Amazon and Tocantins-Araguaia
basins account for 56 percent of total drainage area. World's greatest
fluvial island, Bananal, located in Center-West Region on Araguaia.
With ten of world's twenty greatest rivers, Amazon (Amazonas) is
world's largest in volume of water and one of world's longest (6,762
kilometers, of which 3,615 kilometers are in Brazil), discharging
15.5 percent of all fresh water flowing into oceans from rivers.
Union of Paraná and Iguaçu in South, at border between
Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, forms Iguaçu Falls at Foz
Data as of April 1997