South America: Brazil

About Brazil

Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil became Latin America's leading economic power by the 1970s. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Brasilia
Population: 174,468,575
Percent below poverty: 17.4% (1990 est.)
Language: Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French
Date of independence: 7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
Form of government: federative republic
Title of Leader: President
Natural Resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
Environmental Issues: deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers the existence of a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and wa
Agricultural Products: coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef
Imports: machinery and equipment, chemical products, oil, electricity
Exports: manufactures, iron ore, soybeans, footwear, coffee
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: US 24%, Argentina 12%, Germany 10%, Japan 5%, Italy 5% (1999)
EXPORTS: US 23%, Argentina 11%, Germany 5%, Netherlands 5%, Japan 5% (1999)


Brazil Headlines


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