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From Wikitravel
South America : Brazil
Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil), [1], is the largest country in South America and fifth largest in the world. Famous for its football (soccer) tradition and its annual Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Recife and Olinda. It is a country of great diversity, from the bustling urban mosaic of SãoPaulo to the infinite cultural energy of Pernambuco and Bahia, the untouched wilderness of the Amazon rainforest and world-class landmarks such as the Iguaçu Falls, there is plenty to see and to do in Brazil.
[edit] Understand
[edit] History and Economy
Until 1500, Brazil was inhabited solely by indigenous people, mainly of the Tupi and Guaraniethnic groups. Actual settling by the Portuguese began later that century, with the extraction of valuable pau-brasil wood, from which the country draws its name. Brazil was settled by the Portugese and not the Spanish (as the rest of Central and South America in New World was because of the Papal Line of Demarcation). Despite Portugese rule, large parts of Brasil formed a Dutch colony between 1630and 1654. They founded several cities (Mauritsville) and many sugar reed plantations. The Dutch fought a grim jungle war with the Portugese, and without the support of the Republic of the Seven United Provinces (The Netherlands) because of the war with England, the Dutch surrendered to Portugese, though they did not officially recognized Portugese rule, which led to a all-out war with Portugal offthe coast of Portugal in 1656. In 1665 the Peace Treaty of The Hague was signed, Portugal lost its Asian ciolonies and had to pay 63 tons of gold to compensate the Dutch Republic for its losing its colony. The following four centuries saw further exploitation of the country's natural riches (gold and rubber) besides the rise of an economy based on agriculture (sugar and coffee) and slave labor,millions of Africans taken to the new world in a forced diaspora. Meanwhile, extermination or Christianizing of natives kept its pace, and the 19th Century saw a second wave of European (mainly Italian and German) immigration, adding to this unique and complex set of factors that generated today's equally complex and unique Brazilian culture and society.
Following three centuries under the ruleof Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation on September 7th, 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, it has also overcome more than two decades (1964-1988) of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue a democratic ruling, while facing the challenge of keeping its industrial and agricultural growth and developing its interior. Exploiting vastnatural resources and a large labor pool, today Brazil is South America's leading economic power and a regional leader. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem. A consequence of this is a high crime rate, specifically in large cities.
After 20 years of democracy, the country has grown strong, and despite the social problems of the unequal income distribution, the peoplehave remained happy and festive.
[edit] Culture
Owing to Brazil’s continental dimensions, varied geography, history and people, the country’s culture is rich and diverse. It has several regional variations, and in spite of being mostly unified by a single language, some regions are so different from each other that they could have become different countries altogether.
Music plays an importantpart in Brazilian identity. Styles like choro, samba and bossa nova are considered genuinely Brazilian. Caipira music is also in the roots of sertanejo (the national equivalent to country music). MPB stands for Brazilian Popular Music, which mixes several national styles under a single concept. Forró, a north-eastern happy dancing music style, has also become common nationwide. New urban styles...
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