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Geography



Location



Brazil is the largest country in South America with 15,735 km (9,777 miles) of boundaries with 10 out of the 12 South American countries: Argentina, Paraguai, Uruguai, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Guiana, Suriname, and French Guiana.


There are only two South American countries that do not border with Brazil: Ecuador and Chile. Brazil has 7,491 km (4,655 miles) on the Atlantic Coast.

  

 

With such a large coastline, there are inumerous beautiful beaches in Brazil. But there are many other interesting landscapes. Check below.

Area

Brazil has 8,514,215 square kilometers (3,287,343 square miles) of land, making it the 5th largest in the world. Only Russia, Canada, China, and the US have larger territories than Brazil.

If you take out Alaska, all of the US could fit inside Brazil with a little to spare. All 23 European countries could easily fit inside Brazil.

Climate

Brazil is a tropical country. Its territory are for the major part situated north of the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs near São Paulo. The tropical siting manifests itself most in the climate and vegetation, therefore influencing the land use, the way of life and the character of Brazilian people.

Population






Brazil is the 5th most populous nation in the world, only surpassed by China, India, Indonesia, and the US. Most of the 180 million Brazilians live in cities located in the relatively narrow coastal corridor which widens somewhat south of Minas Gerais. The interior of the country is either lightly populated or still uninhabited. However, many additional development areas have sprung up in the last few years. There are more people living in the southern part of the country than in the northern one. Relatively few people live in the Amazon Rainforest. Check out the extension of the Amazon Rainforest on the map below.

Brazilian people bear a large variety of races and skin colors, made up of approximately 55% whites, 32% mixed of all shades, plus some 8% blacks. A small part of the remaining percent is made up of native Indians, whose numbers are estimated to be anything from 50 to 200 thousand. A much larger group are the Japanese, who make up between 1% and 2% of the population.

Government

Politically and administratively, Brazil comprises five major regions - South, Southeast, Center-west, North, and Northeast - 26 federal states, and the capital Brasília, located in the federal district. If you want to know more about the five major regions of Brazil, click here.

 

 

Brazil is a federative republic. At the top of the executive branch is the president, both the chief of state and head of government. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral National Congress, with a Federal Senate (81 seats) and a Chamber of Deputies (513 seats). At the top of the Judicial branch is the Supreme Federal Tribunal, composed by 11 ministers appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Each state has a governor and each city has a mayor.  The president, governors and mayors, as well as senators, congressmen, state and city representatives are elected by the people.  Brazilians vote in electronic ballot boxes which ensure a perfect count every time.  It’s as secure as using an ATM at your local bank, and it’s also very quick. Soon after the election is over, the results are known.

 








The current President of Brazil, Luís Inácio Lula da Silva, was elected in 2002 with more than 52 million votes. He took office on January 1, 2003.

 

Salvador was the first capital of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro the second. Since 1960, Brazil's capital is Brasília, located in the heartland of the country, in a central plateau.



The president works at the Palácio do Planalto


Palácio do Planalto


National Congress

Congressmen and senators work at the National Congress.


The Supreme Court Justices work at the Supreme Court.




The Supreme Court


These three buildings are situated around a large square in Brasilia, called The Square of the Three Powers.




Water Resources





Brazil has the largest hydrographical network in the world, with 55 thousand square kilometers of rivers.


If you travel through Brazil, you will cross many bridges over many rivers. Some rivers are long and wide, like the Amazon, São Francisco and the Paraná, but most are smaller in size. Look below for a sunset over the Amazon River.



Rivers are important for transportation purposes, for irrigation and also because they supply a great deal of electrical energy to the country. In many countries, coal burning power plants supply electricity, but they pollute the air. Energy may also come from nuclear power, but disposing of the spent nuclear fuel can be a big problem. In Brazil, however, most of the energy comes from hydroelectric power that uses the waters own weight under gravity to drive turbines to generate electricity.

In fact, the second largest hydroelectric plant in the world is in southern Brazil on the Paraná river. It is called Itaipu.