The Federal Republic of Brazil, which is located in eastern South America, is the fifth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, the United States of America, and China.
Brazil has an area of 3,287,613 square miles (8,514,879 square kilometers) and makes up almost half of South America.
It is made up of 26 states and a federal district, which contains the capital city of Brasilia.
Brazil has a presidential system of government.
The official currency of Brazil is the real, which equals 100 centavos.
The Amazon River, the longest river in South America and the second longest river in the world, runs through Brazil. The Amazon is 4,049 miles (6,516 kilometers) long. Of all the other rivers on Earth, only the Nile is longer.
Along the river, there are flood plains with shallow lakes, swamps, and mangrove forests.
At 2,500,000 square miles (6,475,000 square kilometers), the Amazon River basin in northwestern Brazil is the largest drainage basin in the world.
The Amazon River and its tributaries carry one fifth of the fresh water on Earth.
The Amazon Rainforest, the largest tropical rainforest on earth, covers more than one third of Brazil.
Large amounts of rain and the deposition of large quantities of silt from the Amazon river system have caused the Amazon rainforest to be extremely fertile.
The rainforest contains many natural resources. Large tracts of rainforest are exploited for agriculture, industry and urban expansion.
North of the Amazon basin are the Brazilian Highlands. These highlands are drained by the Amazon, São Francisco and Paraguay-Paraná river systems. Here, well-eroded mountains with rich mineral deposits border hills, deep valleys and plateaus.
The São Francisco river basin is prone to severe drought. It has almost no rain at all during the dry season.
The Guiana highlands are south of the Amazon river basin.
In southern Brazil, the Serra do Mar Mountains run along the Atlantic Coast, toward the city of Porto Alegre.
Southern Brazil contains the Pantanal region. This is an extension of the Gran Chaco Plain.
The Pantanal region has many marshes and swamps and is known for its unique wildlife.
Iguaçu Falls is in the far south, on the border with Argentina. Iguaçu Falls is part of the Iguaçu River, which runs toward the Paraná River.
Pão de Açúcar, or Sugarloaf Mountain, overlooks Rio de Janeiro, on the southeast coast. Sugarloaf Mountain is a volcanic structure consisting of a domed core of lava that solidified and remained after the original volcano had eroded completely. This type of structure is known as a volcanic plug.
Northeastern Brazil contains a scrubland area known as the caatinga. This is a dry area with thorny woodland and cactus. This region is extremely difficult to penetrate.
In the southeast, Brazil has deep natural harbors, including Baía da Guanabara. Here, the steep slopes of the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range overlook the ocean.
There is a 1600 mile (2,565 kilometer) escarpment along Brazil's east coast.
Serra do Mar State park, which is located in São Paulo State, contains Picinguaba beach.
The beaches of São Paulo State run for 386 miles (622 kilometers) along the Atlantic coast.
Along the Atlantic coast of southeastern Brazil, there are many inland tidal lakes and large lagoons. When the sea level dropped thousands of years ago, long-term lagoons were formed. Drifting sand and sediment have created spits and sandbars, resulting in the formation of more temporary lagoons.
It is hot, wet and humid in the Amazon basin. The rest of Brazil is drier and cooler.
193,734,000 people live in Brazil.
Most of them live along the coast or in the central plateau, in urban areas.
São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil, as well as the largest city in the southern hemisphere. The São Paulo metropolitan area has more than 20 million people.
Almost 12 million people live in Rio de Janeiro.
Duing Mardi Gras, an annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro that lasts for five days, there is a parade through the city with extravagant floats, samba music and dancing.
54% of the people of Brazil are white, 6% are black and 38% are mixed race.
The official language is Portuguese. Other languages sop ken are Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Japanese and Native American languages.
74% of the people are Roman Catholic and 15% are Protestant.
Brazil has a larger economy than all of the other countries in South America put together.
It has large service, agricultural and mining industries.
Brazil produces more coffee than any other country in the world. Soybeans, sugar cane and grains are also important crops.
The country is a large producer of livestock. Beef herding is an important occupation on the Rio Grande do Sul grasslands, in southern Brazil.
Brazil has reserves of gold, iron and aluminum.
There are also significant food product, machinery, transport equipment and chemical industries.
Although many people in Brazil have become very prosperous, there is a large amount of poverty.
In the city of Rio de Janeiro, wealthy neighborhoods can be found next to shantytowns known as favelas.
The country has a great deal of foreign debt.