Country Brazil


The largest nation in South America, occupying nearly half the continent, bordering on every country in South America except Ecuador and Chile. Even before Europeans reached this region, the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494 divided the non-Christian world between Spain and Portugal. It modified a Papal Bull of 1493, similar to the treaty, so as to give Portugal claim to Brazil when it was discovered.

In 1499 the Florentine navigator in Portuguese service, Amerigo Vespucci, discovered the mouth of the Amazon River. The next year the Spanish navigator Vicente Yanez Pinzon reached the Brazilian coast in January, while the Portuguese Pedro Alvarez Cabral followed in April and claimed the region for Portugal. The French also showed interest, and in 1530 Martin Alfonso de Sousa was sent to drive them away. He established the first European settlement at Sao Vicente in 1532. In 1555 the French settled near present Rio de Janeiro, but in 1567 Mem de Sa, the first Portuguese governor general of Brazil, drove them out and founded Rio.

Beginning in 1624 the Dutch made a determined effort to secure much of Brazil. They captured Salvador, formerly Bahia, founded in 1549, and held it for a year. By 1633 the Dutch West India Company controlled all the northeast area and had rebuilt Recife, formerly Pernambuco, founded in 1548. No help came from Portugal, from 1580 to 1640 united to the Spanish Crown. In 1654, however, the Dutch were driven out. The first revolt against Portuguese rule began in the late 1780s under the leadership of Joaquim Jose de Silva Xavier, known as Tiradentes. The plot was betrayed in 1789 and the leaders imprisoned. When Napoleon I invaded Portugal in 1807, King John (Joao) VI fled to Brazil and set up his court there in 1808, making Brazil the capital of the Portuguese Empire. When he returned to Portugal in 1821, his son Pedro I remained as regent. Restrictive policies of the homeland caused Pedro to declare Brazil a separate empire on September 7, 1822. Portugal recognized Brazil’s independence on August 19, 1825.

Wanting to keep Uruguay part of Brazil, Pedro engaged in a war with that country and Argentina in 1827 but was defeated. His increasing unpopularity led him to resign in favor of his son, Pedro II, in 1831. During his reign Brazil joined with Argentina and Uruguay in the War of the Triple Alliance against a dictator of Paraguay. The war, from 1865 to 1870, left Paraguay devastated. Brazilian troops remained in the country until 1876.

Slavery had long been established in Brazil. Although there were about 6 million Indians when Europeans came, they were unmanageable for labor in the sugarcane fields, introduced as early as the 16th century. Consequently, black slaves were imported from Africa, and over the years Brazil became a mixture of the black, white, and Indian races. The slave trade was abolished in 1850, and a law of 1871 provided for the gradual elimination of slavery. When an end was put to the system in 1888, the large planters were angered. Their complaints and others resulted in Pedro’s ouster in 1889 and the end of the empire. The first president of the republic was Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca, but he was forced to resign in 1891. The political situation continued to be volatile, but Brazil prospered in the late 19th century by reason of its coffee and rubber exports. The country came into World War I on the Allies’ side in October 1917. Dictator Getulio Dornelles Vargas, president during 1930–45 and during 1951–54, forced the development of industry and more diversified agriculture. World War II brought a new boom in rubber, and Brazil joined the Allies again in August 1942. In the 1960s there were both inflation and political turmoil. The leftist government of Joao Goulart was overthrown in 1964, and the military took over. General Joao Baptista da Figueiredo was elected president in 1978. Although Brazil has developed economically in the early 1980s, the government continued to be repressive. In 1985, civilian rule was restored as Tancredo Neves was elected president by the electoral college, but died soon after, and Jose Sarney, his vice president, assumed the presidency. In 1989, Fernand o Collor de Mello was elected, but corruption scand als caused his impeachment and resignation. Fernand o Henrique Cardoso was elected president in 1994 and reelected in 1998. Cardoso’s terms saw a number of financial crises as Brazil has developed into an industrial powerhouse, but has also seen a growing divide in income between rich and poor. In the 2002 election, Luiz Inacio (Lula) da Silva was elected as Brazil looked to the left for an alternative. Brasilia is the capital. Sao Paulo is the largest city.

Brazil Images


Brazil: Top Cities

Sao Paulo 10,021,295 Estado de Sao Paulo -46.64 x -23.55 America/Sao_Paulo
Rio de Janeiro 6,023,699 Rio de Janeiro -43.21 x -22.90 America/Sao_Paulo
Salvador 2,711,840 Estado da Bahia -38.51 x -12.97 America/Bahia
Fortaleza 2,400,000 Estado do Ceara -38.54 x -3.72 America/Fortaleza
Belo Horizonte 2,373,224 Estado de Minas Gerais -43.94 x -19.92 America/Sao_Paulo
Brasilia 2,207,718 Distrito Federal -47.93 x -15.78 America/Sao_Paulo
Curitiba 1,718,421 Estado do Parana -49.27 x -25.43 America/Sao_Paulo
Manaus 1,598,210 Amazonas -60.03 x -3.10 America/Manaus
Recife 1,478,098 Estado de Pernambuco -34.88 x -8.05 America/Recife
Belem 1,407,737 Estado do Para -48.50 x -1.46 America/Belem
Porto Alegre 1,372,741 Estado do Rio Grand e do Sul -51.23 x -30.03 America/Sao_Paulo
Goiania 1,171,195 Estado de Goias -49.25 x -16.68 America/Sao_Paulo
Guarulhos 1,169,577 Estado de Sao Paulo -46.53 x -23.46 America/Sao_Paulo
Campinas 1,031,554 Estado de Sao Paulo -47.06 x -22.91 America/Sao_Paulo
Nova Iguacu 1,002,118 Rio de Janeiro -43.45 x -22.76 America/Sao_Paulo
Maceio 954,991 Estado de Alagoas -35.74 x -9.67 America/Maceio
Sao Luis 917,237 Estado do Maranhao -44.30 x -2.53 America/Fortaleza
Duque de Caxias 818,329 Rio de Janeiro -43.31 x -22.79 America/Sao_Paulo
Natal 763,043 Estado do Rio Grand e do Norte -35.21 x -5.80 America/Fortaleza
Teresina 744,512 Estado do Piaui -42.80 x -5.09 America/Fortaleza
Sao Bernardo do Campo 743,372 Estado de Sao Paulo -46.57 x -23.69 America/Sao_Paulo
Campo Grand e 729,151 Estado de Mato Grosso do Sul -54.65 x -20.44 America/Campo_Grand e
Jaboatao 702,621 Estado de Pernambuco -35.00 x -8.18 America/Recife
Osasco 677,856 Estado de Sao Paulo -46.79 x -23.53 America/Sao_Paulo
Santo Andre 662,373 Estado de Sao Paulo -46.54 x -23.66 America/Sao_Paulo
Joao Pessoa 650,883 Estado da Paraiba -34.86 x -7.12 America/Fortaleza
Jaboatao dos Guararapes 630,008 Estado de Pernambuco -35.01 x -8.11 America/Recife
Contagem 627,123 Estado de Minas Gerais -44.05 x -19.93 America/Sao_Paulo
Sao Jose dos Campos 613,764 Estado de Sao Paulo -45.89 x -23.18 America/Sao_Paulo
Uberland ia 563,536 Estado de Minas Gerais -48.28 x -18.92 America/Sao_Paulo