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Population: 198,739,269 (2009 estimate)
Capital: Brasilia
Official Name: Federative Republic of Brazil
Important Cities: São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador
Area: 3,287,612 square miles(8,514,877 sq km)
Coastline: 4,655 miles (7,491 km)
Highest Point: Pico da Neblina 9,888 feet (3,014 m)

Brazil is the largest country in South America and covers nearly half (47%) of the South Americancontinent. It is currently the fifth largest economy in the world, is home to the Amazon Rainforest and is a popular location for tourism. Brazil is also rich in natural resources and active in worldissues such as climate change, giving it significance on a worldwide scale.

The following is a list of the fifteen most important things to know about Brazil:

1) Brazil was given to Portugal aspart of the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 and the first person to officially claim Brazil for Portugal was Pedro Álvares Cabral.

2) The official language of Brazil is Portuguese; however, there aremore than 180 native languages spoken in the country. It is also important to note that Brazil is the only country in South America whose dominant language and culture comes from Portugal.

3) Thename Brazil comes from an Amerindian word Brasil, which describes a dark rosewood type common in the country. At a time, the wood was Brazil's main export and thus gave the country its name. Since 1968however, the export of Brazilian rosewood has been banned.

4) Brazil has 13 cities with over one million residents.

5) Brazil's literacy rate is 86.4% which is the lowest of all South Americancountries. It falls just behind Bolivia and Peru at 87.2% and 87.7%, respectively.

6) Brazil is a diverse country with ethnic groups including: 54% European, 39% mixed European-African, 6% Africa,1% other.

7) Today, Brazil has one of the largest economies in the Americas and is the largest in South America.

8) Brazil's most common agricultural exports today are coffee, soybeans, wheat,...
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