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By - Craig Mullins

Visit Brazil The Largest South American Country

Brazilians tend to feel they live on a separate continent due to the expanse of this enormous and diversified country. And the rest of South America regard them as a race unto their own probably because it is the only South American country which does not have Spanish as its official language.

Information

Capital: Brasilia
Official Language: Portuguese
Currency: Real (pronounced in Brazil as Rice)
Flag: Green, Blue, White. There are 27 stars which represent various states and they are arranged in an order which depicts them over a Brazilian night sky. The globe has a white band with the words ORDEM E PROGRESSO which means Order and Progress.
Land size: 3,286,470 square miles or 8,511,965 square kilometres
Mountain Ranges: Serra do Mar, Serra do Espinhaço
Major Rivers: Amazon, São Francisco, Paraná
Temperatures: Average 22 – 26 °C with highest temperatures in the northeast with
38°C and higher.
Summer months: November – February
Staple Food: Rice

Brazilian History

During the late 15th century when the Portuguese and Spanish exploration team added Brazil to the world map there were approximately 30 million indigenous people living there, also known as Amerindians. Those who remain today are mostly found in the remotest parts of the country and estimated to be no more than about 300 000.
It was the Portuguese who established the first colony in 1530. Those who stayed after stepping off the boats planted sugarcane plantations along the coastal areas and diamonds and gold found there were shipped back to Europe. Not long after they brought in West Africans to work as slaves. The discovery of gold in the interior of Brazil brought about that thousands of people from the coastal areas and Europe started flocking to the interior of the country to mine this precious metal.

1789 saw Brazilians trying to oust the Portuguese rulers. They were unsuccessful, but it was the beginning of a movement toward their independence, which was gained in 1822 and slavery was abolished in 1888.

Wild Life and Nature

Not only is this country rich in cultural diversity but is home to the largest variety of animals in any given country in the world. The jungle is where you will find the largest population of different species, but many others can be found in the pampas as well as in the semi-desert areas.

The world’s biggest wetland lies in the central western part of Brazil, named the Pantanal. It is a pattern of flooded lagoons and small islands. If you are into finding out just how big some anacondas can become, this is the place to visit.

Over many, many years, the jungles of this magnificent country have been exploited. Unfortunately, at this moment in time deforestation has become the largest and most threatening problem as huge areas of the Amazon are disappearing at an alarming rate.

A Few Tourist Attractions

Spread across half of South America, this country is the 5th largest in the world. It boasts gorgeous white sand beaches and tropical islands, charming, hospitable people, and nightlife that never ends. The interior of Brazil is the showcase to magnificent waterfalls, wetland areas filled with amazing wildlife, and the awe-inspiring Amazon rainforest.

Campos do Jordao

The town of Campos do Jordao, also referred to as the Switzerland of Brazil, is located at the highest point in the breathtaking Mantiqueira Mountains. Due to its height above sea level, many Brazilians escape to this particular part of the country to get away from the humidity and heat of the summer months. Campos de Jordao is well known for its winter festival, a classical music event held during the month of July drawing musicians from across the globe.

Lencois Maranhenses National Park

When people think of Brazil, most will think of stunning beaches and jungles. While the Lencois Maranhenses National Park is largely comprised of huge sand dunes the interesting part is it is not actually a desert. Come the month of July severe rain in the area creates large lakes or lagoons which can fill to depths of 3 meters. More astonishing is the fact that while these lakes or lagoons are filled with water you will find fish swimming in them. These will disappear with the water during the dry season, definitely a wonder to behold.

Bonito

Some of the most stunning natural wonders are to be found here with waterfalls and caves. The waters are crystal clear, and you can swim with the fish, or walk among the stalagmite and cave formations. Here you can also snorkel or dive into the caverns to experience breathtaking sights.

Amazon River

The 2nd longest river in the world the Amazon and stretches over 6000km. Rich in a diversity of fish species to be seen with new species being recorded all the time, it is within this basin that you will discover the rain-forests. If you are looking for an adventure through the rain-forest though, most are undertaken in a boat, not enabling you to see the amazing animal life which lives within the forest itself.

Iguaçu Falls

Situated on the border between Brazil and Argentina is one of the worlds natural wonders. Along the Iguazu River, you will encounter over 200 waterfalls and it rises near the city of Curitiba the most amazing and impressive being the Devil’s Throat waterfall. The name is said to be derived from the Guarani or Tupi words having the meaning of water.

Cathedral of Brasilia

The 12th September 1958 saw architect Oscar Niemeyer’s geniality come to life by the laying of the cornerstone to this Cathedral which was finished in 1960. This is probably the most visited place in Brasilia with around the 100 000 people yearly. It is located near the central area of the city and can be visited daily except during times of Mass.

A country filled with history, humor and a love of life is always a recommendation for a relaxing and inspiring holiday destination and Brazil is rich in all of these. Whether you would like to lounge on the beautiful white sand beaches or take an exciting adventure through the rain-forests, you will have a memorable holiday experience in Brazil.