The word brasil means “red like an ember” from the Portuguese brazil wood tree with its orange-red heartwood used to make bows for stringed instruments.
Brazil is the largest country in South America, and the fifth largest nation in the world. It has borders with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador and is nice and tropical.
Sounds like a good place for a tropical holiday!
But besides this tropical rainforest and huge river, is also has dry grasslands, called pampas, rugged hills, pine forests, sprawling wetlands, huge plateaus and a long coastal plain.
The Amazon river is actually not one river but hundreds of different waterways that stretch over 4,250 miles (6,840 kilometers), making it the longest river on Earth.
Thousands of species live in the river, including the infamous piranha and the pink river dolphin. Now that would be a site to see.
Brazil has the greatest variety of animals in the world with over 600 mammal species, 1,500 fish species, 1,600 bird species, and 100,000 different types of insects. Whoa…who knows what you’ll come across?
They certainly have their fair share of interesting animals.
For centuries people have exploited the jungles of Brazil, but since Europeans arrived about five centuries ago, forest destruction is widespread.
Most of Brazil’s Atlantic rain forest has gone, and huge tracts of the Amazon disappear every year. That’s so sad.
Southeastern Brazil was once covered with dense forest but now houses 43% of its population in industrial cities.
Brazil’s population was 199.24 million between 2004 and 2014. In 1940 less than one-in-three Brazilians lived in cities and towns. Today more than 83% live in urban areas.
History of Brazil
By 9000 BC, communities lived in the Amazon region. By 1500AD, Portugal claimed the region before it became independent in 1822 and a republic in 1889.
By the 1970s, the Trans-Amazon Highway encouraged settlement in the Amazon region, and native species became endangered.
In 1992, the first International Earth Summit was held in Rio de Janeiro. The heads of state of 100 different countries met to discuss ways to protect the environment.
Brazilian People and Culture
Most Brazilians descend from Amerindians, European settlers (mainly from Portugal) and Africans.
In the 19th century, waves of immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and even Japan arrived, making the culture rich and diverse.
There is no official religion but Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world.
Many Brazilians embrace blended religions combining elements of Catholicism, West African religions or Amerindian religions.
Brazil is known for its music, especially the samba, carnivals, literature, theatre and filmmaking.
For centuries, music and dance were the central point to indigenous religious ceremonies, but today it is African rhythms and influences that are seen more.
Brazilians love soccer and produce some of the best players like Pelé and Ronaldo. They’ve won the World Cup soccer final five times, and they hosted the World Cup in 2014.
The mixture of martial arts and dance called capoeira is uniquely Brazilian and regarded as a sport.
Where do killer bees come from? Answer: Brazil!
Well amazingly the killer bee was created in a Brazilian laboratory by mixing European honeybees with African bees, so that they could have a bee that made more honey.
Instead, out came a very angry bee and it escaped from the laboratory and spread through Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Texas and California.
Related: US states
These bees are very bad-tempered and you don’t want to come across one of them!
They’ll attack if they smell perfume, see shiny jewelry, dark clothes and loud sounds.
Even more amazingly is if you try and escape underwater, they wait for you and then attack.
They release a chemical that smells like ripe bananas which attracts even more bees. If you ever come across these, run in a straight line as they don’t fly as fast as humans can run! Beware.
Clever Brazilian Dolphins
It’s been going on for so long, but it is only recently that other people found out about it.
What do you think of these facts about amazing Brazil? We hope you enjoyed them!