A Portrait of Brazil | Brazil recalls images of vibrant Carnaval celebrations, stunning soccer teams, bossa-nova, and samba shows romantic Brazilians dancing through the sands of Ipanema and Copacabana, as well as the gorgeous Rio de Janeiro city.
Beyond these popular images, there’s still much to learn about Brazil as it is quickly becoming an economic powerhouse worldwide. With more than fifty percent of the area of South America, Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world. Brazil’s huge size helps explain the remarkable range of different cultures and environments.
The largest cities are renowned for their cosmopolitan sophistication and vast technological advancement. In the Amazon region, some indigenous people utilize ancient techniques for agriculture.
The Portuguese colonization, which began around 1500, coupled with the influx of newcomers from all over the world and across ethnic groups, has brought an eclectic look to the country’s social structure. Portuguese is used by the vast majority of the nearly 190 million Brazilians, but many popular terms are derived from indigenous and African languages.
The country’s remarkable diversity is apparent in the largest cities, and each has distinct characteristics. The stunning modernist architecture of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia, is a stunning cityscape in Rio de Janeiro, embraced by the huge sculpture of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer).
The colonial-era buildings and Baroque treasures from Minas Gerais, the historic cities of the Northeast, and the beautiful wine-producing towns that have a European influence within Southern Brazil, are just one of the many examples of this extraordinary diversity.
The variety of Brazil is apparent in the five different ecosystems: the Amazon rainforest and the semi-arid sertao, the central cerrado (savanna), the wildlife-rich Pantanal wetlands, and The lush Mata Atlantica.
The diverse natural wonders that the region has to offer include the stunning falls of Foz do Iguacu, captivating Amazonia as well as the beautiful beach of Rio de Janeiro and the Northeast and the lush prairies of Rio Grande do Sul, the stunning white dunes of Lencois Maranhenses, and the fantastic, beautiful biodiversity and flora of Pantanal.
Brazil’s economy is among the world’s largest. The Brazilian economy is one of the top 10 in the world; however, it is rife with contradictions. The favelas (shantytowns) are in constant conflict with the tall buildings in the cities. The foundations of modern economic prosperity were laid paradoxically during the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1984 when Brazil’s leaders took loans from banks worldwide to finance various large-scale projects. But, under the administration of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1995-2002), Brazil’s economy shifted to being more market-oriented, a trend that was carried on by his successor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva “Lula.”
Brazil’s main exports are made up of manufactured items, which include automobiles and machines, and agricultural goods, like soya beans and coffee. In recent times, Brazil has emerged as an economic powerhouse and is a strong advocate for opening trade across the world to developing countries.
The company’s desire to explore new methods of energy production is evident in Petrobras, the largest oil-producing firm. State-owned Petrobras is one of the pioneers in the development of new technology derived from deep-water oil production.
In addition to Brazil’s increasing global importance, there are still huge economic disparities and regional variations. It is typical to observe wealthy and urban poor in Brazil’s most important cities, notably Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, two of the most populated cities in the world. Iniquitous growth is visible not only in the undeveloped interiors but also in the agriculture-dominated southern region, with a rising number of landless peasants.
Politicians are mighty in Brazil. Many of them begin and rise through state and municipal political life. Certain political positions that are not in the capital are highly influential, including the president of one of Brazil’s most significant cities or the state governor.
Since 1985 which was the year that the dictatorship of the military came to its end, Brazil is now one of the largest democracies. However, the current political elite has ensconced Brazil in several scandals that have involved corruption, mis-use of public funds, and abuse of power.
When the leftist and former trade union boss Lula was elected president in 2002, Brazilians were hoping for a democratic system that would favor people who are the “majority of society,” as he stated in the Workers Partido (Partido dos Trabalhadores, PT) manifesto. However, Brazil’s underprivileged majority continued to be controlled by wealthy minorities.
In 2011, Dilma Rousseff, also of the Partido dos Trabalhadores, was inaugurated as the first woman to be elected president. Brazilians, in the main of the time, share their disdain and towards their political parties.
The average educated Brazilian resents the perceived close alliance between the politicians and their ambitious business allies.
Over half of the people in South America, Brazil is the fifth-highest populous nation on the planet. Most people reside in the coastal regions and cities of significant importance, and the density of the population increases as it moves toward the interior.
Brazil is such a diverse mixture of nationalities, races, and ethnicities that it takes time to define what constitutes a typical Brazilian. Many argue that being Brazilian is more about a mental state than anything else.
The Portuguese were among the first Europeans to travel to Brazil and were followed by colonial powers who claimed regions on the Brazilian coast.
Whatever their brief influence, the French, Dutch, and British all left their mark on Brazil and its dominant Portuguese. The power of their influence is evident in the Brazilian culture and population. Enslaved people were among the millions who came to Brazil from West Africa between the 16th and 19th centuries, contributing to the country’s development as a nation and as a vibrant cultural institution.
In the 19th and 18th centuries, the influx of immigrants from Europe, particularly Italy and Germany, as well as Japan and Korea, played a role in creating Brazil’s multi-ethnic and ethnically diverse population.
While Brazil is reputed to have the world’s most prominent Catholic population, the unique mixture of people has led to the development of diverse sects and religions. The animistic beliefs of indigenous Brazilians, the ritualistic Afro-Brazilian cults, and spiritualist Kardecismare all part of other religions like Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism.
Candomble, a syncretic cult practiced in Bahia, is an exceptional combination of Catholicism and African religions. Brazil is a beacon of harmony between races. Although it’s not, overt discrimination based on race does persist.
Along with having limited education and job opportunities, African-Americans remain not adequately represented in the higher ranks of politics, academia, and the business world.
Sport & Culture
Brazil’s influence on culture and sport has brought Brazil the “Brasil” brand known throughout the globe. Brazil is the world’s most famous football nation, with a record of winning the World Cup on five occasions and being the only country to participate in every World Cup.
Pele, considered the greatest national hero, is the most renowned soccer player ever. Brazil’s athletic prowess hasn’t been limited to soccer. It has also had several other sports. Ayrton Senna Nelson Piquet, and Emerson Fittipaldi, it has been home to three Formula 1 World Champions and tennis. It also saw great success in the 1950s and the 1960s with Maria Esther Bueno and, in recent times, Gustavo Kuerten.
Cultural diversity has also been essential in shaping how people view Brazil.
The first musicians to make their impression internationally included composer Heitor Villalobos and the legendary entertainer Carmen Miranda. In literature, authors who are as diverse in their topics as Jorge Amado and Paulo Coelho have contributed to spreading information about their home country.
Brazil’s music Brazil whether it’s Bossanova, samba, or any of the different styles of music to be heard throughout the United States, has been a strong call to action in the late 1960s.
In recent years talented filmmakers have been able to make critically acclaimed films such as Walter Salles with Central do Brasil (Central Station 1998) and Fernando Meirelles with Cidade de Deus (City of God 2002).
Brazilians are known for their vibrant celebrations. Carnaval is the festival of culture which helped to put Brazil onto the world map is seen as the largest and most prestigious worldwide, and its celebrations are enjoyed by all across the country.