Background: After spending three centuries under Portuguese rule, Brazil became an independent country in 1822. Being the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil was ruled by military regimes for more than half a century, achieving industrial and agrarian growth and development of the hinterland. The exploitation of rich natural resources and a large number of laborers made Brazil the leader among Latin American economies by the 1970s. One of the most important problems remains the very uneven distribution of income. See areacodesexplorer.com to know more about Brazil History.
Location: Eastern South America, Atlantic coast.
Geographical coordinates: 10° 00′ S. latitude, 55° 00′ W
Reference map: South America.
Area: total: 8,511,965 km2; land surface area: 8,456,510 km2; water surface area: 55,455 km2; note: including Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, Rocas Atoll, Trindade Island, Martin Vas Islands, Sao Paulo Islands.
Comparative area: somewhat smaller than the US.
Land borders: total: 14,691 km; with neighboring states: with Argentina 1,224 km, with Bolivia 3,400 km, with Colombia 1,643 km, with French Guiana 673 km, with Guyana 1,119 km, with Paraguay 1,290 km, with Peru 1,560 km, with Suriname 597 km, with Uruguay 985 km, with Venezuela 2,200 km.
Coastline: 7,491 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: 200 nautical miles; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Mostly tropical, temperate in the south.
Terrain: mostly flat or rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains and a narrow strip of coast.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Neblin peak 3,014 m.
Natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, oil, hydropower, timber.
Land use: arable land: 5%; cultivated land: 1%; pastures: 22%; forests and plantations: 58%; others: 14% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 28,000 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: periodic droughts in the northeast; floods and occasional frosts in the south.
Current environmental issues: deforestation in the Amazon Basin destroys natural habitats and threatens many plant and animal species found in the area; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and some other big cities; soil degradation and water pollution as a result of improper mining practices; note: in September 1999, President CARDOSO signed an environmental crimes decree that for the first time made dumping and deforestation a crime, administrative or criminal.
International agreements on environmental protection: participant: Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Tropical timber 1983, Tropical timber 1994, Wetlands, Whaling; signed but not ratified: Kyoto Protocol.
Geography note: largest country in South America; has common borders with all countries of South America, except for Chile and Ecuador.
Population: 174,468,575; note: Brazil had a census in August 1996 with a population of 157,079,573; this was 5% lower than the US Census Bureau’s estimate, comparable to the 1991 Census adjustment of 4.6%; estimates for this country take into account the rising death rate from AIDS; due to the spread of AIDS, life expectancy, population size and population growth may actually be lower, and child mortality and overall mortality rates correspondingly higher; there may also be changes in age structure and sex ratios (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 28.57% (male 25,390,093; female 24,449,902); 15 to 64 years old: 65.98% (male 56,793,895; female 58,507,289); over 65: 5.45% (male 3,857,564; female 5,659,886) (2001 OC).
Population growth: 0.91% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 18.45 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 9.34 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.03 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.04 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.97 male/female; over 65: 0.68 male/female; for the general population: 0.97 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 36.96 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 63.24 years; men: 58.96 years; women: 67.73 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.09 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: 0.57% (1999).
Number of people infected with HIV: 540,000 (1999).
AIDS deaths: 18,000 (1999).
Nationality: noun: Brazilian; adjective: Brazilian.
Ethnic groups: white (including Portuguese, Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Poles) 55%, descendants of whites and blacks 38%, blacks 6%, others (including Japanese, Arabs, Indians) 1%.
Believers: Roman Catholic (nominally) 80%.
Language(s): Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French.
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 83.3%; men: 83.3%; women: 83.2% (1995 est.).
Common long form: Federative Republic of Brazil;
conventional short form: Brazil; local long form: Republica Federative do Brasil local short form: Brasil.
State structure: federal republic.
Administrative divisions: 26 states and 1 federal district*: Acre, Alagoas, Amazonas, Amapa, Bahia, Goiás, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Gros so do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rio de Janeiro, Rondonia, Roraima, Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, Ceara, Sergipe, Tocantins, Federal District*, Espe Ritu Santo.
Independence: September 7, 1822 (until 1822 – a colony of Portugal).
National holiday: Independence Day, September 7 (1822).
Constitution: adopted October 5, 1988
Legal system: based on Roman law; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: voluntary from 16 to 18 and over 70; Compulsory from 18 to 70 years old.
chief of state: President Fernando Henrique CARDOSO (since 1 January 1995) Vice President Marco MACIEL (since January 1, 1995); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Fernando Enrique CARDOSO (since January 1, 1995); Vice President Marco MACIEL (since January 1, 1995); note – the president is both head of state and head of government; elections: the president and vice president are elected on a single list by universal suffrage for four years; elections last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held in October 2002); election results: Fernando Henrique CARDO- | SO is re-elected president; the percentage of votes scored – 53%.
legislature: bicameral National Congress consists of the Federal Se- | nata (81 seats; three members from each state ! or federal district are elected by majoritarian principle ! for eight years; every four years, a part of senators is elected: a third at the end of one four-year period and two i-thirds at the end of the next four-year period i period) and the Chamber of Deputies (513 seats; members are elected by proportional representation for 4 years); elections: Federal Senate – last held 4 October 1998, one-third of the Senate elected (next to be held in October 2002, two-thirds of the Senate to be elected); Chamber of Deputies – last held 4 October 1998 (next to be held October 2002); election results: Federal Senate, distribution of votes between parties: NA; distribution of seats among parties: PMDB 27, PFL 20, PSDB 16, RT 7, РРВ 5, PSB 3, PDT 2, PPS 1; Chamber of Deputies, distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: PFL 106, PSDB 99, PMDB 82, PPB 60, PT 58, PTB 31, PDT 25, PSB 19, PL 12, PCdoB 7, others 14.
Judiciary: Supreme Federal Tribunal, 11 judges appointed for life by the President and confirmed by the Senate; Supreme Court? instances; regional federal courts (judges are appointed for life).
Political parties and leaders: Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB) (Jader BARBALHO, president); Brazilian Workers’ Party (PTB) (Roberto JEFFERSON); Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) (Teotonio VILELA Filno, president); Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB) (Miguel ARRAES, president); Brazilian Progressive Party (PPP) (Paulo Salim MALUF, president); Communist Party of Brazil (PCdoB) (Sergio Roberto Gomes SOUZA, Chairman); Democratic Labor Party (PDT) (Leonel BRIZOLA, president); Party Liberal Front (PFL) (Jorge BORNHAUSEN, president); Liberal Party (PL) (Francisco Teixeira de OLIVEIRA, president); People’s Socialist Party (PPS) (Ciro GOMEZ, president); Workers’ Party (PT) (Jose DIRCEU, president).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: the Catholic Left, the Landless Workers’ Movement, and the trade unions allied with the Left Workers’ Party criticize the government’s social and economic policies.
Participation in international organizations: AfDB, BIS, CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-15, G-19, G-24, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, NAM (observer), NSG, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNITAR, UNMOP, UNTAET, UNU, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic representation in the USA: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Rubens Antonio BARBOSA; office: 3006 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 238-2700;. fax: [C (202) 238-2827; consulates general: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco.
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Anthony S. HARRINGTON; embassy: Avenida das Nacoes, Quadra 801, Lote 3, Brasilia, Distrito Federal Ser 70403-900 Brazil; mailing address: Unit 3500, APO AA 34030; phone:  (61) 321-7272; phage:  (61) 225-9136; consulates general: Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo; Consulate: Recife.
Flag Description: green with a large yellow diamond centered on a blue celestial sphere with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and federal district); the arrangement of the stars is like the night sky over Brazil; the sphere also has a white equatorial band bearing the inscription ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress).