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Brazil

Background:

Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil overcame more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country when in 1985 the military regime peacefully ceded power to civilian rulers. Brazil continues to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of its interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, it is today South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.

Geography

Location:

Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Geographic coordinates:

10 00 S, 55 00 W

Area:

total: 8,511,965 sq km
land: 8,456,510 sq km
water: 55,455 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than the US

Land boundaries:

total: 14,691 km
border countries: Argentina 1,224 km, Bolivia 3,400 km, Colombia 1,643 km, French Guiana 673 km, Guyana 1,119 km, Paraguay 1,290 km, Peru 1,560 km, Suriname 597 km, Uruguay 985 km, Venezuela 2,200 km

Coastline:

7,491 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or to edge of the continental margin

Climate:

mostly tropical, but temperate in south

Terrain:

mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m

Natural resources:

bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber

Land use:

arable land: 6.96%
permanent crops: 0.9%
other: 92.15% (2001)

Irrigated land:

26,560 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

recurring droughts in northeast; floods and occasional frost in south

Environment - current issues:

deforestation in Amazon Basin destroys the habitat and endangers a multitude of plant and animal species indigenous to the area; there is a lucrative illegal wildlife trade; air and water pollution in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and several other large cities; land degradation and water pollution caused by improper mining activities; wetland degradation; severe oil spills

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Seals, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador

People

Population:

186,112,794
note: Brazil took a count in August 2000, which reported a population of 169,799,170; that figure was about 3.3% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, and is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census; estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 26.1% (male 24,789,495/female 23,842,715)
15-64 years: 67.9% (male 62,669,392/female 63,719,631)
65 years and over: 6% (male 4,549,552/female 6,542,009) (2005 est.)

Median age:

total: 27.81 years
male: 27.06 years
female: 28.57 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:

1.06% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:

16.83 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:

6.15 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 29.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 33.37 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 25.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 71.69 years
male: 67.74 years
female: 75.85 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.93 children born/woman (2005 est.)

Nationality:

noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian

Ethnic groups:

white (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%

Religions:

Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%, other 20%

Languages:

Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French

Literacy:

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 86.4%
male: 86.1%
female: 86.6% (2003 est.)

Government

Country name:

conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazil
local long form: Republica Federativa do Brasil
local short form: Brasil

Government type:

federative republic

Capital:

Brasilia

Administrative divisions:

26 states (estados, singular - estado) and 1 federal district* (distrito federal); Acre, Alagoas, Amapa, Amazonas, Bahia, Ceara, Distrito Federal*, Espirito Santo, Goias, Maranhao, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Para, Paraiba, Parana, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio Grande do Sul, Rondonia, Roraima, Santa Catarina, Sao Paulo, Sergipe, Tocantins

Independence:

7 September 1822 (from Portugal)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 7 September (1822)

Constitution:

5 October 1988

Legal system:

based on Roman codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

Suffrage:

voluntary between 16 and 18 years of age and over 70; compulsory over 18 and under 70 years of age; note - military conscripts do not vote

Source: CIA World Factbook