Europeans first discovered Brazil in the early 16th century when ships from Portugal arrived on the central coast north of Rio de Janeiro. But the country’s history began thousands of years earlier. Occupying half of South America’s land mass, Brazil is the giant of the continent – both in size and in population. Brazil’s history is filled with economic turmoil, veering from boom to bust, and its culture is a melting pot that has traditionally welcomed the world.
One of the BRICS major nations with emerging economies, Brazil is a top global producer of coffee, and the country’s economy is active in the agricultural, manufacturing, mining and service sectors. Brazil is one of the world’s top tourist destinations, but the country in the 21st century faces serious questions regarding poverty, inequality, governance and the environment.
Want to find out all about Brazil? Here are 10 amazing facts about the South American country!
1. Brazil is the largest country in South America
Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country and has the sixth most people living there of any country in the world.
Over 211 million people live in Brazil.
2. Brazil has 4 time zones
The reason Brazil has 4 time zones is because it is so big there is a big difference in when the sun sets across the country.
3. The Capital City is Brasilia
Lots of people think Rio de Janeiro is the Capital but it’s actually Brasilia. Other big cities include Sao Paulo, Salvador and Fortaleza.
4. Around 60% of the Amazon Rainforest is in Brazil
Most of the Amazon rainforest is in Brazil. The rainforest is full of animals and sometimes called ‘the lungs of the Earth’ because all the trees pump out oxygen which help combat climate change.
Unfortunately Brazilian rainforest is being cut and burnt down to graze cattle and grow palm oil. This is making climate change worse.
5. In Brazil people speak Portuguese
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. To say hello you say ‘Olá’.
It is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese – other South American countries mainly speak Spanish.
6. Brazil is home to the 2nd longest river in the world
The Amazon river flows through Brazil and is the 2nd longest river in the world (the Nile is the longest).
It is home to lots of animals including the Amazon river dolphin, electric eel and the green anaconda snake.
7. The Brazilian flag has 27 stars on it
The Brazilian flag is green with a yellow diamond in the center filled with a blue globe.
In the blue globe are 27 stars and a white banner with the country’s slogan, ‘Ordem e Progresso’, which means Order and Progress.
8. One of the most popular things to eat is feijoada
Feijoada is often considered a national dish in Brazil, especially Rio de Janeiro.
It is made from black beans, pork and beef stewed together.
9. Brazilians love football
Brazilians are crazy about football!
Brazil has won the FIFA World Cup finals five times, more than any other nation.
They have produced some of the worlds best football players including Pelé, Ronaldinho and Neymar.
10. Brazil has the biggest carnival in the world
The Rio Carnival in Rio de Janeiro sees 2 million people take to the streets to enjoy dancing, music and parades in incredible carnival outfits.