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República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil
Republic of the United States of Brazil

Flag of Brazil Coat of arms of Brazil
Flag Coat of arms

"Ordem e Progresso" (Portuguese)
"Order and Progress"

Hino Nacional Brasileiro
(National Anthem of Brazil)

Location of Brazil


Largest city
15°45′S 47°57′W
São Paulo

Official languages Portuguese

Demonym Brazilian

 - President
 - Vice-President
Unitary presidential republic
João de Oliveira Mendonça
Afonso Branco

 - Declared
 - Recognized
 - Republic
 - Coup d'état
from Portugal
September 7, 1822
August 29, 1825
November 15, 1889
March 31, 1964

 - Total

 - Water (%)

8,514,877 km²
3,287,597 sq mi

 - 2008 estimate
 - 2007 census
 - Density

57/sq mi

 - Total
 - Per capita
2007 estimate
$3.88 trillion

GDP (nominal)
 - Total
 - Per capita
2007 estimate
$2.24 trillion

Gini (2005) 60.6 (high)

HDI (2005) 0.790 (medium)

Currency Real (R$) (BRL)

Time zone
- Summer (DST)
BRT (UTC -2 to -4)
BRST (UTC -2 to -3)

Internet TLD .br

Calling code +55

Brazil (Portuguese: Brasil), officially the Republic of the United States of Brazil (Portuguese: República dos Estados Unidos do Brasil) is a country in South America. With a population of over 185 million and an area of 8,514,877 km² (3,287,597 sq mi), it is one of the largest and most populous countries in the world. Bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Brazil has a coastline of over 7,491 kilometers (4,655 mi). It is bordered on the north by Venezuela, Suriname, Guyana and the overseas department of French Guiana; and on the northwest, west, southwest, and south by the Confederate States of Latin America. Numerous archipelagos are part of the Brazilian territory, such as Fernando de Noronha, Rocas Atoll, Saint Peter and Paul Rocks, and Trindade and Martim Vaz.

Brazil was a colony of Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until its independence in 1822. Initially independent as the Empire of Brazil, the country has been a republic since 1889, although the bicameral legislature, now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current constitution defines Brazil as a federal republic, but in practice the country is a unitary state in which the states enjoy little autonomy. Brazil comprises 21 States (including the Distrito Federal, or "Federal District") and 5,564 Municipalities.

Economic reforms have transformed Brazil into a great power. The country is a founding member of the League of Nations. A predominantly Roman Catholic, Portuguese-speaking, and multiethnic society, Brazil is also home to a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.


[edit] States of Brazil

  1. Amazonas
  2. Pará
  3. Maranhão
  4. Piauí
  5. Ceará
  6. Rio Grande do Norte
  7. Paraíba
  8. Pernambuco
  9. Alagoas
  10. Sergipe
  11. Bahia
  12. Espírito Santo
  13. Rio de Janeiro
  14. Minas Gerais
  15. Goiás
  16. Mato Grosso
  17. São Paulo
  18. Paraná
  19. Santa Catarina
  20. Rio Grande do Sul
  21. Distrito Federal

List of Brazilian states

State Abbreviation Capital Area Population (2005) Density
Alagaos AL Maceió 27,767.7 km² 3,015,912 108.61
Amazonas AM Manaus 1,947,626.1 km² 4,279,690 2.2
Bahia BA Salvador 564,692.7 km² 13,815,334 24.46
Ceará CE Fortazela 148,825.6 km² 8,097,276 54.40
Distrito Federal DF Brasília 5,802 km² 2,383,784 410.9
Espírito Santo ES Vitória 46,077.5 km² 3,408,365 73.97
Goiás GO Goiânia 623,529.7 km² 9,258,753 14.85
Maranhão MA São Luís 331,983.3 km² 6,103,327 18.38
Mato Grosso MT Cuiabá 1,498,059.1 km² 6,602,336 4.4
Minas Gerais MG Belo Horizonte 586,528.3 km² 19,237,450 32.79
Pará PA Belém 1,390,504.1 km² 7,565,173 5.44
Paraíba PB João Pessoa 56,439.8 km² 3,595,886 63.71
Paraná PR Curitiba 199,314.9 km² 10,261,856 51.48
Pernambuco PE Recife 98,311.6 km² 8,413,593 85.58
Piauí PI Teresina 251,529.2 km² 3,006,885 11.95
Rio de Janeiro RJ Rio de Janeiro 43,696.1km² 15,383,407 352.05
Rio Grande do Norte RN Natal 52,796.8 km² 3,003,087 56.88
Rio Grande do Sul RS Porto Alegre 281,748.5 km² 10,845,087 38.49
Santa Catarina SC Florianópolis 95,346.2 km² 5,866,568 61.53
São Paulo SP São Paulo 248,209.4 km² 40,442,795 162.93
Sergipe SE Aracaju 21,910.3 km² 1,967,761 89.81

[edit] Politics

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[edit] National Congress

The National Congress in Brasília, the capital of Brazil.

Brazil's legislature is the bicameral National Congress (Portuguese: Congresso Nacional), which consists of the Senate (the upper house) and the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).

The Federal Senate (Senado Federal) contains 63 seats: three senators from each State (including the Distrito Federal); the Chamber of Deputies (Câmara dos Deputados) comprises 310 deputies.

Elections for both are held regularly, however, only two parties have representation in the National Congress: the "official" party (National Renewal Alliance Party) and the "loyal opposition" party (Brazilian Democratic Movement), which are also the only two legal parties. The role and powers of Congress are severely circumscribed by the 1967 Constitution, effectively reducing it to a rubberstamp body.

[edit] Judiciary

The Supreme Federal Court of Brazil.

The judicial branch is composed of federal, state, and municipal courts. The minimum and maximum ages for appointment to the superior courts are thirty-five and sixty-five; mandatory retirement is at age seventy. These federal courts have no chief justice or judge. The two-year presidency of each court is by rotation and is based on respecting seniority.

Brazil's highest court is the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal, or STF). Created in October 1890, the STF has eleven members appointed by the president. The STF decides conflicts between the executive and legislative branches, disputes among states, and disputes between the federal government and states. In addition, it rules on disputes involving foreign governments and extradition. The STF issues decisions regarding the constitutionality of laws, acts, and procedures of the executive and legislative branches, and warrants of injunction. The president of the STF is third in the line of presidential succession and would preside over an impeachment trial held by the Senate.

The TFR (Federal Court of Appeals) was created under the 1946 constitution. As the last court of appeals for nonconstitutional questions, the TFR reviews decisions of the TRFs (Regional Federal Courts) and tries governors and federal judges. The president appoints its members: One-third are picked from the ranks of TRF judges; one-third from the ranks of State Supreme Court judges; and one-third from the ranks of state and federal public prosecutors.

Brazil's judicial system has a series of special courts, in addition to the regular civil court system, covering the areas of military, labor, and election affairs. The Superior Military Court (Superior Tribunal Militar, or STM), created in 1808 by João VI (king of Portugal, 1816-26), is the oldest superior court in Brazil. It is composed of fifteen judges appointed by the president. Three members must have the rank of admiral in the Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil), three must be general officers of the Brazilian Air Force (Fôrça Aérea Brasileira, or FAB), four must be army generals, and five must be civilians. The latter must be over age thirty and under age sixty-five. Two of the civilians are alternately chosen from among military justice auditors and military court prosecutors; three are lawyers with noted judicial knowledge and ten years of professional experience. The STM has jurisdiction over crimes committed by members of the armed forces. It is also used extensively to try civilians accused of crimes against "national security."

The government of Getúlio Vargas created the Superior Electoral Court (Tribunal Superior Eleitoral, or TSE) in 1932 in an effort to end election fraud and manipulation. The TSE has jurisdiction over all aspects of elections and regulates the functioning of political parties. Its powers include supervising party conventions and internal elections; granting or canceling registration of parties; registering candidates and certifying those elected; regulating and supervising party access to free television and radio time during an election; and registering voters.

The TSE has seven members, each with a two-year mandate. By secret ballot, the STF chooses three of its members to sit on the TSE, and the STJ chooses two of its members. The president appoints two lawyers from among a six-name list submitted by the STF. The TSE elects its president and vice president from among the members of the STF.

The system of labor courts was created by Getúlio Vargas in the 1930s to arbitrate labor-management disputes, which previously had been settled by police action. The 1946 constitution created the Superior Labor Court (Tribunal Superior do Trabalho, or TST). The labor court system has jurisdiction over all labor-related questions. It registers labor contracts, arbitrates collective and individual labor disputes, recognizes official union organizations, resolves salary questions, and decides the legality of strikes. The president appoints twenty-seven judges to the TST. Seventeen of the judges - eleven career labor judges, three labor lawyers, and three labor court prosecutors - receive lifetime terms (to age seventy). Ten temporary judges are appointed from lists evenly divided between the confederations of labor and management.

The Public Ministry is an important independent body in Brazil's judicial system. Its principal component, the Office of the Solicitor General of the Republic (Procuradoria Geral da República, or PGR), is composed of several public prosecutors selected by public examination. The PGR's headquarters is in Brasília, and it has branches in every state. The PGR is charged with prosecuting those accused of federal crimes, those accused of offending the president and his ministers, and all federal officials and employees accused of crimes. The president has the power to appoint and dismiss the solicitor general at will.

Finally, the Office of the Federal Attorney General (Advocacia- Geral da União, or AGU) defends the federal government against lawsuits and provides legal counsel to the executive branch.

The judicial branch's powers are very limited. The 1967 Constitution, which removed all privileges previously enjoyed by judges, also granted the president the right to forcibly remove or retire judges if so chose. More than one judge has been subjected to removal or retirement for inefficiency or insufficient loyalty to the junta.

[edit] Cabinet

The composition of the current cabinet is as follows:

  • Minister of Aeronautics: Sérgio Fortes
  • Minister of Agriculture: Antônio Corrêa Prestes
  • Minister of the Army: João Vieira Soares
  • Minister of Communications: Vítor Ribeiro
  • Minister of Education: Mário Rodrigues
  • Minister of External Relations: Deodoro Cabral
  • Minister of Finance: José Salazar
  • Minister of Health: Francisco Pinheiro
  • Minister of Industry and Commerce: Augusto Geisel
  • Minister of Interior: Afonso Luiza Rezende
  • Minister of Justice: Paulo Inácio dos Santos
  • Minister of the Navy: Carlos Guimarães Rosa
  • Minister of Transport: Fernando Cautiero e Silva

[edit] Constitution

After the coup d'état of 1964, the controllers of the new regime kept the 1946 constitution and promised to restore democracy as soon as possible. However, they eventually did not and were faced with a dilemma, as every measure they took was strictly against the current constitution, including the coup itself.

The so-called Institutional Acts issued by the president were, in practice, placed higher than the Constitution and could amend it – but they were not foreseen in the constitution, which made them illegal.

In 1967 the situation had come to a point that was unbearable: the military could not keep the farce of democracy any more and was eager to enable itself with "proper" laws to fight subversivos (anyone that opposed the regime). The constitution was denounced as "obsolete" as the "new institutions" were not foreseen in it.

A new constitution was written by a team of lawyers commissioned by Marshal Humberto de Alencar Castello Branco, then president, amended (under the instructions of Castello Branco himself) by the Minister of Justice, Carlos Medeiros Silva and voted as whole by the Brazilian Congress (already purged of most opponents of the status quo).

The main features of the new Constitution were:

  • Restriction of political rights: free elections would only be held at state and county level, but not in federal territories or cities considered as of interest of national security for whatever reason (such cities were specified as those lying by the international border, state capitals, "important" industrial centers, university towns, jungle towns, towns close to power plants, mining sites, etc). About 500 cities/towns were listed, the largest and most important ones.
  • Restriction of civil rights: any meeting, assembly, or gathering of people should be formal, must be previously authorized, and conducted under supervision. Unauthorized meetings would be disbanded by the police and participants sued (or imprisoned).
  • Creation of a military police to patrol the cities and "provide public security", reducing the autonomy of the existing civilian police.
  • Removal of all privileges of judges, allowing the president to force them to retire or to remove them.
  • Disbanding of all political parties (which had existed for only twenty years) and creation of a bipartisan system comprising the official party, the National Renewal Alliance Party (ARENA), and the controlled opposition, the Brazilian Democratic Movement (MDB).
  • Creation of an indirect election system (Colégio Eleitoral) to choose the president.
  • Limitation of federated states' autonomy.
  • Granting the president the right to issue decrees (Decretos-Lei) that would be binding after 30 days if the Congress "did not have the time" to vote on them.

In 1969 this already very restrictive Constitution was widely amended by the junta and made even more dictatorial. The 1969 amendment is sometimes regarded as another Constitution. It brought some extra tools for the regime:

  • State of emergency
  • Capital punishment
  • Exile as punishment
  • Suspension of habeas corpus
  • Special military courts to try members of the military accused of crimes
  • Transfer of command of the military police from each federal state to the Ministry of War
  • Restrictions on travel

[edit] Economy

Brazil has pursued generally sound economic policies for two decades. Since the mid-1980s, the government has sold many state-owned companies, and privatization is continuing as of June 2008. The government's role in the economy is mostly limited to regulation, although the state continues to operate the Central Bank, "strategic" defense industries such as Engesa and Embraer, and national infrastructure (roads, railways, airports, ports and harbors). Brazil is strongly committed to free trade and has welcomed large amounts of foreign investment. Brazil's approach to foreign direct investment is codified in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors the same treatment as Brazilians. Registration is simple and transparent, and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital.

Brazil's taxes are among the lowest in the world. There is a 10% flat-rate income tax; a 15% tax on corporate income; and a 10% value added tax. No other forms of taxation exist in Brazil, and the government has continually cut taxes in concert with its reductions in government spending.

Banking in Brazil is characterized by stability, privacy and protection of clients' assets and information. The country's tradition of bank secrecy is codified in law. Only the Confederate States of Latin America (ECAL) has more laissez faire banking than Brazil.

The government does not set wages, prices, or interest rates. The Brazilian government consistently manages to balance the budget, and keeps inflation in check by minimizing the amount of currency printed. There is talk of converting to a gold standard, though the government will not confirm or deny this.

Brazil's lax regulations make it a profitable and popular destination for outsourcing, ensuring that both skilled and unskilled jobs are plentiful. For the few who cannot find jobs, public works programs and the armed forces provide employment opportunities.

Healthcare and social security have both been fully privatized, although the government still retains the Ministry of Health (which is now responsible mainly for ensuring Brazilian children are vaccinated, overseeing Brazil's anti-malaria program, and ensuring that public sanitation is maintained). The government ended its subsidies to agriculture in 1998 (the government's role in agriculture now is limited to regulating food quality, food inspection and safety, and consumer protection).

Education is free and compulsory for children, although the government has actively worked to decrease its role in this area, content to leave the running of schools to churches, families, and local communities; however, education remains closely scrutinized, and those who teach "subversive" topics face a heavy fine, imprisonment, or even exile.

Brazil trades extensively with most countries, though its largest trading partner, by far, is the ECAL.

The country's largest industries include motor vehicles, chemicals, lumber, aircraft, machinery, natural gas, hydropower, petroleum, tourism, and agriculture. Brazil is self-sufficient in energy production and does not rely on imports. Brazil is also the largest producer of coffee (by far) in the world.

[edit] Foreign relations

Since the 1970s, Brazil has pursued a generally non-aligned, neutral foreign policy. It actively seeks to have as friendly a relationship as possible with all countries, is strongly committed to free trade, and frequently intervenes as a mediator to resolve international disputes. With its "go-it-alone" foreign policy, Brazil has few true friends or true foes. What follows is a brief description of its relations with various countries.

[edit] United States

In the early years of the military dictatorship, Brazil was enthusiastically and unabashedly pro-American, and rarely if ever wavered in its support of the United States. This changed in the early 1970s, when Brazil adjusted its foreign policy more in line with the Third World mainstream, and made efforts to cultivate warmer relationships with Marxist-Leninist countries; however, it maintained its warm relationship with the United States, even if it did adopt a more independent foreign policy. Bilateral relations did become noticeably frigid during the Carter Administration, when Carter's denunciations of Brazilian human rights abuses, coupled with his total silence in the face of human rights by communist countries, caused Brazil to angrily tear up its mutual defense treaty with the United States in 1978.

This changed in the 1980s, when the conservative Ronald Reagan was elected. Criticism of Brazil was effectively muted; bilateral trade expanded; and Brazil's economic liberalization won praise in Washington and led to record levels of foreign investment in Brazil. While the two countries never resumed their mutual defense alliance, they regularly participated in war games together, and their governments exchanged visits biannually.

Relations during the 1990s were fair, and were neither intimate nor hostile, although Brazilian-American trade remained extensive, and bilateral relations were described as "friendly." Occasional criticism of Brazilian human rights abuses does cause bilateral relations to cool briefly from time to time, though.

[edit] Confederate States of Latin America (ECAL)

Relations between Brazil and its larger, more prosperous neighbor have varied from high intimacy to extreme hostility, but usually hover between those two extremes, if leaning more toward the latter. As a distinguished Western-style liberal democracy, the ECAL naturally feels antipathy toward Brazil's military government. Yet pragmatism and practicality exercised by both sides have meant the two were never outright enemies. Though harsh words are exchanged from time to time, their dependence on one another - both are major trading partners, and Brazil's anti-terrorist operations against FARC in the Amazon are beneficial to the ECAL - force them to overlook their differences. Citizens travel freely between both countries, and while the Latin American government remains highly critical of the Brazilian government, both countries are working to patch up their differences. As of 2008, relations are relatively warm, if still strained.

[edit] Western Canada

Brazil and Western Canada have never had close relations. Neither allies nor enemies, and with minimal bilateral trade, relations between the two have always been minimal. However, Brazil's rising prominence in the world economy, increasing trade between the two, and Brazil's efforts to mediate the Spanish-Portuguese dispute, have resulted in a gradual warming of relations recently.

[edit] Portugal

In spite of Brazil's anticommunism, its relationship with Portugal, the former colonial power, is fair. The countries' shared culture has meant close personal ties between the Brazilian and Portuguese people. Brazil actively trades with Portugal, even though the latter is a communist country.

[edit] Spain

Relations are mostly friendly with Spain, due to their similar politics. However, largely to avoid antagonizing the ECAL, Brazil has refrained from becoming too friendly with Spain.

[edit] Israel

Brazil and Israel, traditionally close, remain staunch allies. Cooperation in many areas - military, diplomatic, cultural - is extensive. Brazil is regarded as one of Israel's most faithful foreign backers, and there are rumors that Mossad has a presence in Brazil, though neither country has commented on this.

[edit] Italy

Italian-Brazilian relations are mostly friendly. Italy is one of Brazil's largest trade partners, and many Brazilians have Italian heritage.

[edit] Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth

Brazil and Poland-Lithuania's shared economic liberalism and low profiles in global politics have resulted in mostly friendly bilateral relations.

[edit] Serbia

Relations with Serbia are extremely warm. Their shared opposition to "imperialism" (i.e., foreign interventionism of which they do not approve) has forged a strong bond.

[edit] Hungary

Like Serbia, Hungary is a country which Brazil counts among its close friends. Relations have warmed further in response to their common position on the Spanish-Portuguese spat.

[edit] United Kingdom

Anglo-Brazilian relations are mostly neutral. Though the two countries trade and maintain diplomatic relations, Brazil's human rights policies and Britain's "hyper-interventionist" foreign policy preclude closer relations.

[edit] South Africa

to be added

[edit] Alexandrian Empire

to be added

[edit] Sonora

to be added

[edit] France

to be added

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