Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brazil, its people and its dimensions


location of Brazil worldwide

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in South America and the fifth largest in the world by land area (equivalent to 47% of the South American territory).

Population: 193,946,886 inhabitants ( 2012 estimate).

Total area: 8,515,767.049 km2 ( 3.288 million sq. miles)

Boundaries: north with Venezuela, Guaina, Suriname and French Guiana; northwest with Colombia, west by Bolivia and Peru; southwest with Argentina and Paraguay and on the south by Uruguay. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7.491km (4655 miles). Several archipelagos form part of Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Archipelago of Saint Peter and Saint Paul and Trindade and Martim Vaz. The country borders all other South American countries except Ecuador and Chile.

It is the only lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) country in the Americas and having the largest lusophone population of any country as well as one of the nations most multicultural and ethnically diverse in the world, as a result of strong immigration from many countries.

The Brazilian economy is the largest in Latin America and the Southern Hemisphere, the sixth largest in the world by nominal GDP and the seventh largest by purchasing power parity.

Reforms have given the Country new international recognition, both regionally or globally. Brazil is a founding member of the United Nations (UN), the G20, Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), the Latin Union, the Organization of American States (OAS), the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI), Common Market South (Mercosur) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), in addition being one of the BRIC countries (Brazil, India and China - countries that stand out on the world stage as developing countries).

Government: Federal Presidential Republic (formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 states and 5,565 municipalities).
Capital: Brasilia
Most populous city: São Paulo
Official Language: Portuguese
Currency: Real (R $)
Climate: Tropical, subtropical, temperate and semi-arid equatorial.
(Source: wikipedia)

The Brazilian people is marked by diversity: a variety of colors, faces, traditions and customs that attest to the wealth of the population that occupies this entire territory. It is the result of a complicated process of contact between different peoples and cultures.

Throughout prehistory, the process of occupation of the American continent has enabled the organization of various communities inside and along the coastal regions. Among these older cultures, we can highlight the presence of the ancient civilization Marajoara found in north Brazil, and the people called Sambaquis, which spread to different regions of the southern and southeastern coasts.

Moving forward in time, we highlight the formation of several indigenous communities that have sprung up in different points of the Brazilian territory. Not being a homogeneous people but marked by plurality, the Indians differ in languages ​​and practices, therefore were already part of the population of our territory. Until the sixteenth century, they were the main occupants of the wide range of land and landscapes in Brazil . All this would become part of the past in 1500, with the arrival of Europeans here. Motivated by the context of the mercantilist economy and the development of great voyages, the Portuguese occupied Brazil with the intention of making the colonization of the land and hence exploited existing wealth. Under the sign of domination and adaptation, the Portuguese brought forth the particulars of their culture of their origin in Christian Europe.

Throughout the modern and contemporary ages, we noticed the arrival of other people of European origin: Spanish, French, German and Dutch came here seeking to contest the grounds that they were being dominated by the Portuguese. In the nineteenth century, the expansion of the coffee and sugar economy in Brazil coupled with the political crises in Europe encouraged the arrival of peasants and workers willing to take jobs in both the field and in the urban centers of the time. In more recent times, we have similarly witnessed the arrival of Asians.

But before the arrival of other people of European origin, there were people of African origin. Brought by the Portuguese beginning in the sixteenth century, many African peoples came to Brazil to work as slaves. Victimized by exploitation of their labor, suffered a process of domination that also affected the indigenous population of the territory. Still, they left visible marks of their presence in the historical and cultural identity of the Brazilian people.

Among all these arrivals, conflicts, inequalities, agreements and contacts is that we see in the complexity of the Brazilian people. In summary, a blending of indigenous, African and European.
Credit to: Rainer Gonçalves Souza

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