Brazil, formally the Federative Republic of Brazil, is South America’s and Latin America’s biggest nation. As the world’s fifth-biggest nation in terms of both territory and population, it is also the largest country with Portuguese as an official language, and the only one in the Americas. Brazil, which is bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, has a 7,491-kilometer-long coastline (4,655 mi). It has a land border with every other South American country except Ecuador and Chile and accounts for 47.3 percent of the continent’s land area. Its Amazon River basin is covered by a huge tropical forest that is home to a diversity of species, biological systems, and abundant natural resources spread over many protected areas. Brazil is one of 17 megadiverse nations as a result of this unique natural legacy, and is the topic of much worldwide attention and discussion over deforestation and environmental preservation.
Brazil was inhabited by many indigenous tribes prior to explorer Pedro lvares Cabral’s arrival in 1500, when he claimed the region for the Portuguese Empire. Brazil was a colony of Portugal until 1808, when the empire’s capital was relocated from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro. The colony was raised to kingdom status in 1815 as part of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. In 1822, the Empire of Brazil was established as a unified state ruled by a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. The first constitution, ratified in 1824, resulted in the establishment of a bicameral legislature, currently known as the National Congress. In 1889, after a military coup, the nation became a presidential republic. In 1964, an authoritarian military junta took control and governed until 1985, when civilian government restored. Brazil is a democratic federal republic, as defined by the country’s current constitution, which was drafted in 1988. The federation is made up of the Federal District of Columbia, 26 states, and 5,570 municipalities.
As of 2015, Brazil’s economy was the ninth biggest in the world in terms of nominal GDP and the seventh largest in terms of GDP (PPP). Brazil, a BRICS member, was one of the world’s fastest growing major economies until 2010, thanks to economic reforms that earned the country unprecedented worldwide reputation and influence. Brazil’s development bank is critical to the country’s economic progress. Brazil founded the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS, Unasul, Mercosul, the Organization of American States, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the CPLP, and the Latin Union. Brazil is a regional power in Latin America and a medium power in international politics, with some experts predicting that it could emerge as a global power in the near future. Brazil, one of the world’s main breadbaskets, has been the world’s biggest coffee grower for the past 150 years.