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Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil (República Fede-rativa do Brasil).

Short Name: Brazil (Brasil).

Term for Citizen(s): Brazilian(s).

Capital: Brasília.

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 Hemisphere.

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 do Iguaçu.

Data as of April 1997






About Brazil
Table A. Selected Acronyms and Abbreviations
Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Metric Conversion Coefficients and Factors
Extent of Brazil's Borderline Shared by Neighboring Countries and the Atlantic Ocean
Territory by Region and State
Brazil Data Center
Transportation and Communications
Government and Politics
National Security

Historical Setting

The Indigenous Population
The Colonial Era, 1500-1815

- Frontier Expansion That Shaped Brazil
- Early Colonization
- French and Dutch Incursions
- Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming

- The Transition to Kingdom Status
The Kingdom of Portugal and Brazil, 1815-21

The Empire, 1822-89
- Emperor Pedro I, 1822-31

- The Regency Era, 1831-40
- The Second Empire, 1840-89

The Republican Era, 1889-1985
- The Old or First Republic, 1889-1930

- The Era of Getúlio Vargas, 1930-54
- The Post-Vargas Republic, 1954-64
- The Military Republic, 1964-85

The Society and Its Environment

The Physical Setting
- Size and Location
- Geology, Geomorphology, and Drainage

- Soils and Vegetation
- Climate
- Geographic Regions

North / Northeast
South / Southeast

- The Environment
- Population Size and Distribution
- Mortality / Fertility
- Migration and Urbanization
Social Structure
Social Classes
- Gender
- Youth / Elderly
- Race and Ethnicity
- Amerindians
- Rural Groups
Cultural Unity and Diversity
- The Brazilian Way
- Language
- Mass Communications
- Family and Kinship
- Roman Catholicism
- Other Religions

Health Status and Health Care
- Indicators of Health
- Infectious and Chronic Diseases
- Nutrition and Diet
- The Health Care System
- Health Professionals and Resources
Public Health and Welfare
- Social Security

- Sanitation and Public Utilities
- Housing
- Literacy
- Primary and Secondary Schools
- Colleges and Universities
- Principal Research Libraries
Social Conflict and Participation
- Conflict and Nonviolence
- Growth of Social and Environmental Movements
- Inclusion and Exclusion

The Economy

Historical Background and Economic Growth

- The Colonial Period
The Sugar Cycle, 1540-1640
The Eighteenth-Century Gold Rush

- The Economy at Independence, 1822
- The Coffee Economy, 1840-1930
- A Period of Sweeping Change, 1930-45
- Import-Substitution Industrialization, 1945-64
- Stagnation and Spectacular Growth, 1962-80
Stagnation, 1962-67
Spectacular Growth, 1968-73

Growth with Debt, 1974-80

- Stagnation, Inflation, and Crisis, 1981-94
The 1981-84 Period
The 1985-89 Period

The 1990-94 Period

The Labor Force and Income Levels
- Employment and Earnings


- Inequality and Poverty
Structure of Production
- Agriculture
- Livestock
- Fishing
- Industry
- Mining
- Energy
Electric Power
Natural Gas
Nuclear Power

- The Services Sector

Inland Waterways
Merchant Marine

Exchange-Rate and Balance of Payments Policies
- Exchange Rates and Foreign Trade
- Capital Flows and the External Debt
Fiscal and Monetary Policy, the Public Sector, and Inflation
- Fiscal Trends in the 1980s
- Pressures on Public-Sector Expenditures in the 1980s
- Fiscal Deficits and Inflation
Brazil's Real Plan
Trade Policies
Trade Patterns and Regional Economic Integration
Economic Outlook

Government and Politics

Political Culture
Constitutional Framework
Structure of Government
- The Executive

- The Legislature
- The Judiciary
- State and Local Governments
The Political Party System
- Historical Origins and Evolution
Major Parties in Congress

Progressive Renewal Party
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party
Liberal Front Party
Brazilian Labor Party
Democratic Labor Party
Workers' Party
Brazilian Social Democracy Party
Progressive Party

Minor Parties in Congress
Party of National Reconstruction
Brazilian Socialist Party
Brazilian Communist Party
Communist Party of Brazil

- Regional Strength of the Parties
- Party Legislation
- Sarney's Presidency, 1985-90
- Collor de Mello's Presidency, 1990-92
- Franco's Presidency, 1992-94
- Cardoso's Presidency, 1995-2003
Women in Politics
The Electoral System
- The Presidential Election of 1989
- Congressional and State Elections, 1990
- Municipal Elections, 1992

- General Elections, 1994
- Municipal Elections, 1996
Interest Group Politics
- Interest Groups
- The Lobbying Process
- The Media
Foreign Relations
- The Foreign Service
- Foreign Policy Decision Making
-Multilateral Relations
- Latin America
- Europe
- The Middle East
- Africa
- Asia
- United States

National Security

The Military Role in Society and Government

- Military Rebellion and the Revolution of 1930
- From Moderator to Director, 1930-85
- The Internal Security Mission, 1964-85
- Civil-Military Relations, 1985-94
Brazil and International Conflicts, 1917-95
Foreign Military Influence
The Military Role in the Intelligence Services
- The National Intelligence Service, 1964-90
- The Strategic Affairs Secretariat, 1990-94
Defense Industries
Mission of the Armed Forces
- The Military Mission since 1988
- The Military in the Amazon
- The Military Role in Counter-Drug Actions
- Civic Action
Defense Expenditures
Organization of the Armed Forces
- Command and Control
- Brazilian Army
- Brazilian Navy
- Brazilian Air Force
Personnel and Training
- Conscription
- Ranks, Uniforms, and Insignia
- Education and Training
- Sociology of the Officer Corps
- Officer Recruitment
- Women in the Armed Forces
Security Forces
- Federal Police
- State Police
Crime and Punishment
- Crime in Brazil
- Penal Code
- Penal Institutions
Toward the Future

Science and Technology

Historical Evolution
Colonial Science

Imperial Science
Applied Science in Agriculture and Health
The Search for Alternatives
Science and Technology as Modernization, 1945-64
The Great Leap Forward, 1968-79
Science and Technology as a Pressure Group, 1979-90
The Computer Industry Policy
Science for Industrial Competitiveness
Administration of Science and Technology
The Ministry of Science and Technology

National Council for Scientific and Technological Development
The Funding Authority for Studies and Projects
The Coordination of High-Level Personnel Training
Other Activities by the Federal Government
Science and Technology in the States
The São Paulo Science and Technology System
Research and Development
University Research and Graduate Education
Research in State-Owned Corporations
Technological Research in the Private Sector
Centers of Excellence
Policy Perspectives
Nuclear Programs
The Space Program
Missile Programs

Brazil Travel and Tourism
Belo Horizonte
- Fernando de Noronha
- Foz do Iguaçu
- Porto Alegre
- Rio de Janeiro
- Salvador Bahia
- São Paulo

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Brazilian Consulate
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Dictionary -Transltation
Flights to Brazil
Information About Brazil
Map of Brazil
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