To the World from Brazil

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest and most populous country in Latin America, and the fifth largest in the world in both area and population. Its territory covers 8,514,877 km² between central South America and the Atlantic Ocean, and it is the eastern-most country of the Americas.

It borders Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the department of French Guiana to the north, Uruguay to the south, Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest, Bolivia and Peru to the west, and Colombia to the northwest. The only South American countries not bordered by Brazil are Ecuador and Chile. The Brazilian coastline covers 7,367 km to the east. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Penedos de São Pedro e São Paulo, Fernando de Noronha, Trindade e Martim Vaz and Atol das Rocas.

A tropical climate is predominant. In the south of the country, subtropical climate prevails. Brazil is cut through by the Equator and Tropic of Capricorn. It is home to varied fauna and flora and extensive natural resources.

Brazil was colonized by Portugal from 1500 until its independence in 1822. The republican system has been adopted since 1889, although its parliament dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines Brazil as a Federative Republic. The Federation is formed by the indissoluble association of the States, the Federal District, and the Municipalities. There are currently 26 States and 5,564 Municipalities.

The Brazilian population tends to concentrate along the coastline in large urban centers. While Brazil has one of the largest populations in the world, population density is low and the inner continental land has large areas of low population. It is a multiracial country composed of European, Amerindian, African and Asian elements. The official language is Portuguese, and it is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas. Catholicism is the predominant religion, though Protestant communities have experienced significant growth in the last decades. Brazil has the largest Roman Catholic population in the world.

The Brazilian economy is large and developed, with mature manufacturing, mining and agriculture sectors. Technology and services also play an important role in the economy, and are growing rapidly. Brazil is a net exporter, having benefited from free trade reforms in the 1990s. Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries.