BRAZIL

Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. It is 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million miles) and it has over 211 million people. Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the sixth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District.

Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of 7,491 kilometers (4,655 miles). It borders all other countries in South America except Ecuador and Chile and covers 47.3 percent of the continent's land area. Its Amazon River basin includes a vast tropical forest, home to diverse wildlife, a variety of ecological systems, and extensive natural resources spanning numerous protected habitats. This unique environmental heritage makes Brazil one of 17 mega-diverse countries, and is the subject of significant global interest and debate regarding deforestation and environmental protection.

The name Brazil comes from a tree named Brazilwood. When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil, the brazilwood tree was everywhere. They named the country Brazil. The Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500 and kept the country as one of their colonies for 322 years. They stayed until locals fought for independence and won it on September 7, 1822. Brazilians speak Portuguese. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas. Although Portuguese is the official language, Brazil has approximately 180 languages that are spoken mostly by approximately 160,000 indigenous people.

Brazil is one of the most multicultural nations, due to over a century of ethnically diverse immigration from around the world. With 82 percent of its population tracing ancestry back to slavery, Salvador is described as the largest African city outside Africa. Brazil and West Africa were once attached but were separated by plate tectonics. If you review them on a map you will see that they would fit together.

Roughly 55 percent of the Brazilian population is of African descent. Brazil has the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. In 1908, the first Japanese immigrants arrived, and it has developed into the largest Japanese population outside of their home country. Today, approximately 1.5 million Brazilian Japanese live in Brazil.

While millions of people in Brazil struggle with extreme poverty, São Paulo is among the most important financial and industrial centers in the world and has the highest GDP in the southern hemisphere. São Paulo dictates the Brazilian economy and accounts for more than 30 percent of the country's GDP.

Many people believe the lone star at the top half of the flag is Brasília, the country's capital. That is not true. The lone star represents Pará, a northern state. At that time, Pará was the northernmost state in Brazil, Amapá and Roraima were created later. Each star on the Brazilian flag represents a state or the capital in a specific constellation. Since each state's position on the flag was chosen according to their location in Brazil, Pará is the lone star.

Many people believe that the world's best beach is Baia do Sancho, in Brazil. It is likely that they are correct - Baia do Sancho is remarkable. It is found in the archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. Twenty-one islands form a marine park that attracts divers from all over the world to see green and hawksbill turtles, whales, lemon and reef sharks, clownfish, anemones, and parrotfish.

Brazil is one of the world's most bio-diverse countries, with approximately four million plant and animal species. It has more species of monkey than any other nation. The golden conure parrot is a colorful bird species in Brazil. Fishermen in Laguna, in the southeast of Brazil, use dolphins to help them catch fish. Dolphins will herd fish towards waiting nets. This practice has been employed by Brazilian fishermen for generations, but has only recently been reported by Western media.

Brazil has the most national parks in the whole American continent. There are 72 national parks with most in the northern region. The Amazon Jungle has the greatest biodiversity on the planet. In 2007, it was reported that there are at least 67 tribes in the Brazilian Amazon who have never had contact with modern man. The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world and the world's largest river by volume.

The statue of Christ the Redeemer is at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 feet) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park that overlooks the city of Rio de Janeiro. It was constructed between 1922 and 1931. It weighs 635 metric tons, is 38 metres (98 feet) high including its pedestal, its arms stretch 28 metres (92 feet) wide, and it was named one of the "New Seven Wonders of the World" in 2007. It is a symbol of Christianity across the world, and a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete and soapstone.

In 2014, Brazil won the Guinness World Record for the largest wine flute, which holds 100.5 litres!

Brazilians love their dogs. There are more dogs in Brazil than any other country, except America.

If you drink coffee, you have probably drunk Brazilian coffee. Brazil supplied about 80 percent of the world's coffee in the 1920s. That figure is approximately 30 percent of exported coffee today, making Brazil still the world's largest exporter of coffee.

Brazil is ranked number nine in the world soccer standings. It has won the World Cup five times and perhaps its most famous player is Pelé. Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Pelé is among the most successful and popular sports figures of the 20th century. Most cities have a soccer stadium because Brazilians are passionate about soccer.

There is much more about Brazil. Please research further on your own, if you wish to learn more.