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Indigenous peoples have populated for a long, but undetermined, period. European influence began with Pedro Alvares Cabral when he claimed Brazil as a Portuguese colony in 1500. In a little known development, Brazil actually became the location of the Portuguese government in 1808 when Napoleon chased the royal family out of Portugal. While in Brazil, the family ruled from Rio de Janeiro until 1821 when it returned to Europe. This move was motivated by a declaration of independence by Brazil, led by Dom Pedro.
As with many South American countries, Brazil has seen its ups and downs from a political perspective. In 1989, it finally completed a transition to a popularly elected government when Collor de Mello won the popular vote. Less than three years later, he was forced to resign under the cloud of corruption charges.
In 2002, Luiz Inacio da Silva rose to the position of president. Lula, as he is known, represents a major change in Brazilian politics. He is the first leader from the working class.
Brazil covers just under 3.3 million square miles of South America. The climate in Brazil is mostly tropical, particularly in light of the Amazon River basin.
With a population exceeding 186 million, Brazil is the fifth most populous country in the world and largest in South America. Despite covering a vast area, most of the population lives in urban cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belo Horizonte. If you think traffic is bad in your location, keep in mind over 18 million people live in greater Sao Paulo!
The people of Brazil are called "Brazilians." The population is 186 million people and growing at a rate of .1 percent a year. 74 percent of Brazilians consider themselves Roman Catholics. The official language is Portuguese and the literacy rate is 86 percent. Average life expectancy is 71.3 years.
Brazil is one of the world's leading producers of hydroelectric power. Over 75 percent of its electrical power is generated via dam projects.
If you are considering visiting Brazil, you should keep in mind that crime can be a problem in certain areas. Use common sense and you will have no problem. As these interesting facts about Brazil demonstrate, the country is a blast, very cheap and gets a big thumbs up as a travel destination.