Brazil is a country located in South America. Its capital is Brasília. Brazil has a population of more than 200 million people, the official language is Portuguese, and the most widespread religion is Roman Catholicism. The five major regions of Brazil are characterized by plateaus, valleys, forests and plains. The Amazon, the largest rainforest in the world, is located in the northern part of the country. There the Amazon River flows for over 6,000 miles. Brazil is a leader in the production and export of coffee, orange juice, sugar cane, and beef. The county also exports mineral fuels and raw materials. Brazil imports machinery, chemicals, and manufactured goods. Brazil was officially discovered on April 22, 1500, by the Portuguese Navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral, and was a Portuguese colony until 1822.
In 1889, the first president of the Republic was elected, Manuel Deodoro da Fonseca. In recent history, the country has been marked by long dictatorships. That of Getúlio Dornelles Vargas between 1930 and 1945 and by various military gorillas between 1964 and 1985. Democratic freedoms were restored in 1988, when Brazil became a Presidential Federal Republic. In 2003, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was elected president. His development policy resulted in an economic boom. The current President, Dilma Rousseff of the center-left Worker’s party, was first da Silva’s Chief of Staff and has since been elected as President by an absolute majority every 4 years. Brazil is a leader on the regional and global levels in both economic and demographic growth, and is aspiring to a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
The Brazilian culture has descended from Portuguese colonists, Indians, and African slaves. This mix of cultures led to the origin of samba and bossa nova music, which has been made famous around the world thanks to artists such as Gilberto Gil. In literature emerged Paulo Coelho and Jorge Amado, the "Bard of Bahia", who died in 2001. The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the most important folkloric event in the nation and attracts approximately 600,000 foreigners. In 2014, Brazil will host the World Cup.