The Federative Republic of Brazil is simultaneously South America’s largest country (by both population and geographical size) as well as one of its most diverse and fascinating. It is filled to the brim with intriguing people, plants and animals as well as liberal doses of history, religion, culture and sporting greatness. The most densely populated parts of Brazil are in the south-central regions, which include major urban conglomerates like Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Because of the rapid growth experienced by this country in terms of urban development, industrialisation and population at the beginning of the 21st century, Brazil is facing a number of social, environmental and political challenges. However, it is also because of this growth that it is doing so well in terms of its economy. In fact, it is one of the world’s largest and most significant economies. It is also the only Portuguese-speaking country in both North and South America.
This Portuguese heritage dates back to the 1700’s, when Brazil was first colonised by this European nation. During its rich and complex history, slavery was a major part of the Brazilian heritage, although this was never formally recorded in the annals of history. Slaves were brought to the country across the Pacific Ocean from Africa. Therefore, there is also a large proportion of Brazilian inhabitants that have an African heritage.
Others of European and Asian descent immigrated to Brazil in the 19th century. These ones were mainly from Japan, Poland, Spain, Italy and Germany. Therefore, this country is now a melting pot of ethnic and cultural diversity. Despite such diversity, Brazil maintains strong national pride and religious devotion. The vast majority, approximately 75%, of the population is Roman Catholic, while the rest are largely Christian or subscribe to the various African-based beliefs.
Brazil enjoys an extensive coastline that measures almost 7 500 kilometres (or more than 4 600 miles). Its other borders are made up of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. In fact, Ecuador and Chile are the only South American countries with which Brazil does not share its borders. There are various groups of islands that also belong to Brazil, such as Saint Peter, Trindade and Fernando de Noronha, amongst others. Its entire area measures exactly 8 514 876.599 square kilometres or 3 287 612 square miles.
Apart from being geographically large, Brazil is also naturally diverse. It comprises dense rain forests and jungles, expanses of coastline, towering mountains, oceanic archipelagos (or clusters of islands), rivers, scrublands and rolling plains. Because of such a variation in habitats available to plants and animals, Brazil boasts a rich array of fauna and flora.
In fact, scientists estimate that this South American country is home to about four million different species. Particularly extensive are this country’s populations of birds and amphibians.
In terms of the local culture, Brazil continues to be influenced by the traditions and customs of the Portuguese. This is evident in the architecture, music, literature, cuisine, dance, religion and theatre of the country. Being home to the Amazon Rainforest, many other such natural wonders, cultural attractions and historical remnants makes Brazil a fascinating tourist destination and home. As the Host Country for the 2016 Summer Olympics, it is guaranteed an influx of travellers and football fans from around the world.
Brazil Music and Song
Brazil has an ancient history, one that is complex and intricate. This has created a deep sense of culture and heritage as an array of traditions, customs, colours, languages and religious denominations have settled in this South American nation. Music, song and dance remain an integral part of the identity of a society. Even the most primitive of tribes tend to establish their own sort of musical culture.
As different people set up home throughout Brazil, each brought with them and developed their own unique style of song and music. With time, these different styles have evolved somewhat. Some have remained distinct and unique, while others have influenced modern music and performance to a certain degree. This has created a characteristic sound for Brazil.
Although the native Amerindians that once occupied the jungles of South America had already established their own styles of music, the European settlers formalised these as they began to introduce formal musical instruments, as well as foreign languages (predominantly Portuguese).
From the time of European occupation in the 16th century onwards, the music of Brazil took on a particularly European identity. In addition, these settlers brought in huge numbers of African people to work for them as slaves. These ones had an established tribal style, which also began to influence the Brazilian music identity significantly.
Today, Brazilian music is a complex integration of traditional folk music, modern experimentalism and just about everything in-between. In terms of classical music, some of the modern composers include Sílvio Ferraz, Ronaldo Miranda, and Jailton de Oliveira. The national orchestras are internationally renowned for their skill and expertise.
Brazil Museums and Galleries
During the centuries of colonialisation, Brazil saw millions of immigrants and slaves from all over the world flocking into the country. As a result, it is a diverse land with an array of cultures, languages, religions, flavours, colours and histories that make up its intricate heritage.
These are accurately depicted in the many museums and galleries that are scattered throughout the country, inviting visitors to take a peek into yesteryear. This helps one to appreciate the rich history, as well as the many people that made their mark in this history, including politicians, royals, artists, scientists and even criminals.
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