brazil map

Source: IBGE

History and Geography

The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country and the only Portuguese-speaking country in South America. Brazil was a colony of Portugal since the arrival of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until its independence in 1822. As a result of the Napoleonic occupation of Portugal, the Portuguese royal family, the Braganzas went into exile in Brazil, the most important of the Portuguese colonies. What followed was a period when Brazil actually became the capital of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves, a whole new status, and enjoyed self-government under the Braganza dynasty, with no reference to the authorities in Lisbon. This nurtured a distaste for the idea of returning to status quo ante upon the overthrow of Napoleon's influence over Portugal. Therefore, Brazil came to be independent of Portugal, albeit under the rule of a member of the Portuguese royal family.

After its independence from the Portuguese on September 7, 1822 Brazil became a monarchy, the Empire of Brazil which lasted until the establishment of a republican government on November 15, 1889. Two emperors occupied the throne in that period: Pedro I, from 1822 to 1831; and Pedro II, from 1831 to 1889. King João VI of Portugal also held the title of Emperor of Brazil as stipulated by the treaty recognizing Brazilian independence.

The end of the Empire in 1889 and the foundation of the republic was a reactionary development following the abolition of slavery in 1888, which had created a serious threat to the interests of the economic and political oligarchy. Since then, Brazil has been a republic, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 26 States, and the 5,565 municipalities.

Brazil is the world's tenth largest economy by nominal GDP and the ninth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a founding member of the United Nations and the Union of South American Nations. Brazil is also home to a diversity of wildlifenatural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats. Brazil also has 15 to 20% of the world biodiversity, including the vast Amazon Rainforest with 3,6 millions of square kilometers, the Mata Atlântica, the Pantanal (wetlands), and the Cerrado.


RS Rio Grande do Sul PA Pará SC Santa Catarina
RR Roraima PR Paraná AP Amapá
SP São Paulo MA Maranhão RJ Rio de Janeiro
TO Tocantins MG Minas Gerais PI Piauí
ES Espirito Santo CE Ceará MS Mato Grosso do Sul
RN Rio Grande do Norte GO Goiás PB Paraíba
DF Distrito Federal PE Pernambuco MT Mato Grosso
AL Alagoas RO Rondônia SE Sergipe
AC Acre BA Bahia AM Amazonas


Brazilian music

Aquarela do Brasil (Watercolor of Brazil, click here to hear it) is one of the most famous Brazilian songs of all time, written by Ary Barroso in 1939. Aquarela do Brasil was first performed by Aracy Cortes on June 10, 1939, at the premiere of the musical play Entra na Faixa, by Barroso and Luís Iglesias. Despite Cortes' huge popularity at the time, the song flopped, perhaps for not adjusting well to her voice. A month later, it was performed by the baritone Cândido Botelho on Joujoux e Balangandans, a benefit concert sponsored by Darcy Vargas, then First Lady of Brazil. It was then recorded by Francisco Alves, arranged by Radamés Gnattali and his orchestra, and released by Odeon Records on August 1939. In 1940, it was not among the top three songs of that year's Carnival in Rio. The president of the jury was Heitor Villa-Lobos, and Ary Barroso, offended that his masterpiece was not on the list, ended his relationship with him. The song only became famous after it was included on the 1942 Walt Disney animated film Saludos Amigos (click here to watch the Alma Carioca). After that, the song became known not only in Brazil, but worldwide, becoming the first Brazilian song to be played over a million times on American radio. Due to the huge popularity achieved in the United States, it received an English version by composer Bob Russell.

The melody of the Brazilian National Anthem (hear it as MIDI or MP3 performed by a choir from the Brazilian Army or from the Ministry of Education) was composed by Francisco Manuel da Silva in 1822 and had been given at least two sets of lyrics before a decree of 1922 gave it the definitive lyrics, by Joaquim Osório Duque Estrada, after several changes were made to his proposal, written in 1909. In style, the music resembles early Romantic Italian music such as that of Gioachino Rossini (Barber of Sevilla, Overtune to barber, Overtune to William Tell). During the Imperial period (1822-1889) and in the early years of the Republic, the Brazilian national anthem was usually performed with no lyrics. When the Republic was proclaimed, the 'Hymn to the Proclamation of the Republic' (hear it as MP3 performed by a choir from the Brazilian Army or from the Ministry of Education) was composed and adopted as one of Brazil's official patriotic songs, equivalent in status to the 'Hymn to Independence' (hear it as MP3 performed by a choir from the Brazilian Army or from the Ministry of Education) and to the 'Hymn to the National Flag' (hear it as MP3 performed by a choir from the Brazilian Army or from the Ministry of Education), the latter being of more recent composition. Several republicans suggested that the newly composed hymn commemorating the proclamation of the Republic should replace the music composed upon the foundation of the Empire, but Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca, head of the Provisional Government of the Republic, expressed his preference for the traditional anthem. As a consequence, he confirmed the music by Francisco Manuel da Silva as the national anthem by Decree 171 issued on January 20, 1890.


The Music of Brazil encompasses various regional music styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. After 500 years of history the Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles like chorosertanejobregaforrófrevosambamaracatuBossa novaMPB, Brazilian rockaxé and others. Samba is no doubt the best known form of Brazilian music worldwide, though Bossa nova and other genres have also received much attention abroad. All genres of Brazilian music formed a solid tradition.

Admirável gado novo O canto dessa cidade O Brasileirinho Trem das onze Samba do avião Pacato cidadão
Águas de março É o Tcham Foi uma pedra que rolou Foi um rio que passou em minha vida O bêbado e o equilibrista Fixação
Aquarela Flores Carinhoso Chão de estrelas Papel mache Garota nacional
Yolanda Chove chuva Saudade de voce Cinco letras que choram Chega de saudades Esmola
Coração de estudante Prefixo do verão A vida e um samba      
Espanhola   Sons de carrilhões      
Garota de Ipanema          
Lua e estrela          
Maria Maria          

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