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The Federative Republic of Brazil is the largest country in Latin America. With respect to the geographical size it is larger than the United States of America. About half of the South American region is acquired by Brazil. It contains the largest river of the world Amazon that constitutes to be the source of 20 percent of world's fresh water. The history of the country constitutes of colonial era till early 1800s. It was ruled by Portugal till 1822, after which it gained independence as a separate republic. The most interesting feature of the country that differentiates it from other nations is that Brazilians are a nation with a single culture, except for the presence of a minor Indian population who has a little different cultural frameset. It is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in Latin America. Brazil is also significantly different from its neighbors in cultural aspects as the rest of the nations in Latin America have Hispanic traditions. The ethnic backgrounds of the Brazilian population is linked to Italy, Germany, Arabian region, Japan and other nations, as a number of immigrants from these regions settled in Brazil in the end of nineteenth century. These ethnic differences are not obvious any more because the majority of the population nowadays is Portuguese Speaking.

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Brazil is considered to be the largest Roman Catholic population of World. The majority of the population of Brazil is concentrated in urban areas. The city of Sao Paulo is one of the largest metropolitan areas of the world. The Brazilian journalists are famous around the world for their aggressiveness. They have revealed interesting facts and scandals relating to banks, environmental abuses and the corruption in Government setup. Because of the excessive developments in media, Brazil is now the World’s eighth largest advertising market. The country is well advanced technologically as well. Brazilians are known around the globe for their creative abilities and technical innovation. It is the most technologically advanced country in Latin America. It has a very strong industrial infrastructure, which is the backbone of the Brazilian economy. Major industries in Brazil include automobiles, steel, aerospace, hydroelectric power and nuclear technology. Other industrial productions include textiles, electrical and electronic equipments and garments. in recent years the country has emerged as a growing market of computers and has significantly increased the production of computer software. 

Business and Economy:

The economy of Brazil is the largest in Latin America and the eighth largest in the world. The pace with which the country is advancing towards more prosperity it is predicted that it will soon become the sixth largest economy. The GDP estimate for the year 1997 was about US$775.5 billion. The country is rich in natural resources, as it possesses the largest rain forest of the world, which constitutes of the majority of the Brazilian land. The major foreign trade is done with the United States, Germany, Switzerland, France, Canada, Japan and Mexico. The huge river system of the country serves for it as a transportation network as well as a source of producing energy. Major part of the energy requirements are fulfilled through hydroelectric power plants built on these rivers. Brazil is also quite advanced in agricultural sector as well. Its major agricultural productions include bananas, coffee and orange. It owns a rich treasure of precious metals and minerals. Iron and steel are the major metals produced in Brazil.

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The banking system in Brazil is one of the most sophisticated and well managed. It is home to some of the largest Banks in Latin America. The country has been rated as one of the top choices for investments by the foreign investors especially the American multinationals. Multinationals in Brazil made huge profits and expect to gain more in the future. The most premier choices for foreign investments in Brazil are the mining, telecommunications, energy and petroleum industries. The automobile industry in the country is one of the largest in the world. High tariffs on imports of automobiles from foreign producers helped the industry to grow to a noticeable extent. However, heavy production of cars has increased the problem of congestion and pollution in the country. The economy of Brazil has grown with a steady pace and is expected to grow further in future. It is one of the fastest emerging economies of the world.

Government and Politics:

Brazil is one of the largest democracies of the world. A military government once ruled the country. This military dictatorship lasted for almost 20 years. In 1985 the civilian government was formed. However, the period of military rule was quite reasonable as compared to the military regimes of other countries. The country is free from any kind of revolutionary activities, violence, terrorism etc. However, in the decades of 1960s and 70s the terrorism activities from some groups brought a bad name to the image of Brazil. In general, the Brazilian public is considered to be jolly, caring and non-violent people. The recent political system in Brazil declares the President as the central authority. The presidents of the country have more powers as compared to their counterparts in other countries. There is also a parliamentary system that assists the president in major country matters. All the branches of the government work in close coordination with each other. Every branch of the government respects and follows the rules and decisions made by each other and it is very rare that any sort of conflict arises. However, there is some level of conflict as is the case of many democratic systems. The presidential elections are held after every four years. There are a number of political parties participating in the elections and the number of these political players has increased in recent years. The major political parties are mostly based strongly in any specific region.

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Though the image of Brazil was that of a non violent, economically prospering and a politically stable country. However, these claims of an ideal Brazil have shrouded some bitter realities such as violence in the urban areas, corruption and a high level of unequal income distribution. According to World Bank the inequality in income distribution is the highest in Brazil. Some other problems prevailing in the society includes child abuse, discrimination and excessive inequality in allocation of economic and social rights to citizens.

Culture and Society:

The culture of Brazil is a mixture of many different cultures. The major cultural transformations started to take place in the sixteenth century. It has merged the traditional Iberian, African, and Western values in the same way as they were developed in other parts of the World such as Europe and the United States. There are however some conflicts of values and practices but in general there is an admirable level of harmony and unity among the Brazilian nation instead of the presence of so much cultural diversity. The existence of differences in norms, values, beliefs and practices is not any recent issue but it has been observed throughout the history of Brazil. The colonial times in the Brazilian history was a major turn over point for transformation of cultural norms and values. During the Portuguese regime, the culture brought to the region by the west integrated with that of the local norms and traditions. However, the merger of these cultures was not an easy process and it took considerable time. The general public’s attitude towards the laws and regulations is very casual and they do not give it a serious consideration. The reason for such an attitude is that the implementation of any law is considered to be something from the outside and that is why it lacks the level of respect and consideration it should be given. In any society, the implementation of any law is considered to be a social contract between the citizens and the government and it is believed that this legal structure is for the common good. This attitude is however absent in the Brazilian society. Brazilians though claim to follow idealistic norms and values but in real life their actual practices are not in conformance to any such norms. They are very flexible in switching their set of cultural values whether it be a traditional code of ethics or a modern values and norms.

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About Brazil: from the World Wide Web: http://gosouthamerica.about.com/library/weekly/aa063099.htm

Articles and reviews:  Brazil: Edward A. Riedinger: from the World Wide Web:

IA –The World fact book: Brazil: from the World Wide Web: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/br.html


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